Worth Every Second

I wonder sometimes if everyone thinks about making movies, and simply decides they can or can't depending on their mood, or if real, considerate thought goes into it. Truthfully (not that it's unique to my writing), I can't imagine anyone choosing this business on purpose.

The thing about movies and acting and film-making or whatever you want to call "the industry" that no one living or having lived can escape is that making a movie looks glamorous. Calling yourself an "actor" or a "filmmaker" or any number of other nouns is an inescapably inviting description of a person, and whether you're at the pump or at the cinema, someone will ask what you do in the normal course of work. If you're like me, you say something stupidly vague like "this and that" or "write a lot of emails and get a more work than you'd expect from Facebook." Fortunately, as an actor who is dedicated to telling the truth at every turn, this jives with the responsibility. Unfortunately, it means that most people are underwhelmed and turned off at the thought of you providing their entertainment. Maybe I'm simply not your first choice of first-responders... Heh. Whatever.

But, the question is still valid! So, what do I do?

This may be a part-er. That's what I do. Let's start simple.

On Losing Addison, I am a producer- an Executive Producer. This doesn't mean I came to the table with any money. It doesn't mean I had any particular connections with anyone, or could get any specific thing that anyone else couldn't get. What it means is this:

          I'm willing to ask questions most people aren't willing to ask.  Being an Executive Producer means I'm able, for example, to ask the bartender at a place I find particularly interesting if I can film there. If she says "no," I ask who I can speak to above her. This goes down the line until I've reached someone qualified to make the decision about my inquiry.

If the topmost person I am able to communicate with is unable to respond to my inquiry, it's usually because of either money, or availability. Sometimes, availability is unavoidable: on Losing Addison, for example, we have a two-week window (ten days) within which to complete principal photography (the most of the main movie that can be filmed with all the main characters); at our budget level (SAG ULB- a silly industry shorthand for "under $250,000" [really means "Screen Actors' Guild {union} Ultra-Low Budget"]), this means that over the course of two weeks, we will shoot every part of the film that requires every actor essential to the overall driving-forward of the story. This, of course, translates to some of the performers being confined to a very specific window of time within which to do their work, rather than to be given their ideal period of preparation, because the union (SAG) wishes to keep their performers and legislation very orderly. As a performer myself, and a producer, I would rather maintain a communal schedule..., but alas! This is what the people have asked for. If the refusal is due to lack of funds, my role as a producer is to negotiate- to ask for a discounted venue or employee, and explain why it is ultimately beneficial, even if it isn't so, immediately, on paper- or to ask for more money from investors, donors (in the case of Kickstarter), or even find out what- if anything- I can sacrifice from my own production and still maintain the commitment to quality storytelling to which I have dedicated myself. Most often, the first sacrifice made is my own paycheck... at least on the smaller passion projects, where I'm making a piece of art as an artist rather than running an organization (whose goal happens to be a work of art, the fact notwithstanding), like I am with Losing Addison.

Another of my producer duties is hiring. Most of the time, particularly in this business, the hiring is done on someone else's set. This doesn't mean you go to someone else's set and poach their talent, of course; it means that the introduction, the interview, the resume all come from that time spent together working on someone's project: you learn their workmanship, their work ethic, how they work in groups and teams, their personality, etc. Many of the people I have or haven't hired have been chosen or not based on my experience with them on set. Sometimes, it comes down to how I think their personality will mesh with another key individual's personality on set. Alternately, if someone I know and trust has recommended someone, I'm more likely to hire based solely on that recommendation for exactly the same reasons. What it ultimately boils down to it trust. People I've worked with trust me on set, and to run a feature film, so they want to work with and for me; people I trust are happy to recommend people they trust. It's very cyclical. I am always eager to pass along a name of someone who showed up every day, kicked ass, and collaborated on the vision in a way that assisted the smooth and swift flow of production. I don't think I've ever looked at a resume, except for an actor's; I don't know if I ever will. I've watched tons of reels for fun, though. I love enjoying people's hard work and talent. I, as a producer, am the first audience.

As we ramp into production over the next few weeks, wehave and continue to assemble the best talent in front of and behind the camera. Today, I'd like to share with you some of the talent behind the camera, where you might not normally recognize even the job title, let alone the name. These men and women behind the camera are rarely celebrities, but thanks to them and their tremendous skill, creativity, and vision, we have the ground-breaking and breathtaking beauty of cinema today. The first two individuals I'd like to introduce you to are Dennis Noack, our Director of Photography (DP), and Kevin Dyer, our Gaffer.

 Originally from Germany, Dennis is a Cinematographer and Photographer currently based in Los Angeles. His works include short films, commercials, music videos, and documentaries, with two features currently slated for production in 2017 and 2018. Dennis frequently shoots while on the road, including both domestically and abroad. He spent four months in 2016 traveling through seventeen different European countries on a photography tour. In total, Dennis has traveled to twenty-six different countries around the globe. Dennis has credits with Netflix, Fox Digital, the Jim Henson Company, Disney Interactive, PBS, and numerous other production companies. He has shot with all major digital cameras as well as 16mm and 35mm film cameras.  Dennis Graduated with a degree in Film & Television Production from the School of Cinematic Arts at the University of Southern California.  More of his work is available  here .

Originally from Germany, Dennis is a Cinematographer and Photographer currently based in Los Angeles. His works include short films, commercials, music videos, and documentaries, with two features currently slated for production in 2017 and 2018. Dennis frequently shoots while on the road, including both domestically and abroad. He spent four months in 2016 traveling through seventeen different European countries on a photography tour. In total, Dennis has traveled to twenty-six different countries around the globe.
Dennis has credits with Netflix, Fox Digital, the Jim Henson Company, Disney Interactive, PBS, and numerous other production companies. He has shot with all major digital cameras as well as 16mm and 35mm film cameras. 
Dennis Graduated with a degree in Film & Television Production from the School of Cinematic Arts at the University of Southern California.

More of his work is available here.


 Kevin Dyer is a cinematographer and photographer from Reno, NV. He currently lives in Portland, OR, but travels all over the world for video work, ranging from feature films, to music videos, to marketing and commercial work for small and large businesses. He is affiliated with the production company ETN Studios in Las Vegas, NV, and you can see his work on their website at  etnstudios.com  or on his personal website at  kevindyer.net . Kevin has experience working as a DP, Gaffer, Camera Operator, AC and Stills Photographer, on a variety of different productions.  As our Gaffer, Kevin is responsible for the lighting of the film. A visual medium, for a movie to look good, it must be lit well, and this almost always means adding or removing lights in an unnatural way in order to create a heightened sense of reality. The Gaffer is in charge of moving, directing, removing, and often even designing the lighting of the film, in order to best create the look, feel, and tone of the image, in collaboration with the Director of Photography.

Kevin Dyer is a cinematographer and photographer from Reno, NV. He currently lives in Portland, OR, but travels all over the world for video work, ranging from feature films, to music videos, to marketing and commercial work for small and large businesses. He is affiliated with the production company ETN Studios in Las Vegas, NV, and you can see his work on their website at etnstudios.com or on his personal website at kevindyer.net. Kevin has experience working as a DP, Gaffer, Camera Operator, AC and Stills Photographer, on a variety of different productions.

As our Gaffer, Kevin is responsible for the lighting of the film. A visual medium, for a movie to look good, it must be lit well, and this almost always means adding or removing lights in an unnatural way in order to create a heightened sense of reality. The Gaffer is in charge of moving, directing, removing, and often even designing the lighting of the film, in order to best create the look, feel, and tone of the image, in collaboration with the Director of Photography.

I hope you've enjoyed this brief look into two of our creative geniuses behind the camera, and I look forward to sharing more with you over the coming weeks! As always, please visit our Kickstarter and donate and share, and stop by our Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook pages and say hi!

God Bless,

Adam