Never Hike Alone | Location Scout | Unit Stills

I love Horror movies. LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE them. My appreciation for the genre grew in college when I moved into a house full of theater majors and we began (starting the first night we moved in) to make a steady stream of films. Nights were spent filming and days spent editing, using two VCR’s and other equipment hodgepodged together in our living room. We used slushies from 7-11 for visual effects and everyone got bumps and bruises from our terrible attempts at stunt work. There is a reason there are PROFESSIONALS in every field in this biz. But we were energetic college kids who easily bounced back from whatever we threw ourselves down, stairs in my case.

Every since I started working as a Unit Stills Photographer, I have longed for the chance to create images for a Horror film. Patience and persistence pays off as the first Horror movie that I will be creating images for is an homage to Friday the 13th! The cool factor is bumped because the original was one of the first horror films I ever saw, I must have been around 8 years old and I definitely wasn’t allowed to watch those type of movies. My mom still can’t get through anything scarier than Criminal Minds. It was at my parent’s friends house during a party. The parents left a few of us kids together under the watchful eye of their older son while they socialized. The watchful eye decided to scare the ever living shit out of the younger kids with a viewing of his video tape of the first Friday the 13th. It was awesome and terrifying. See, I grew up in the middle of the woods on a lake. Oh yeah!! I don’t know how long it took for my mom to stop me from trying to sneak into their bed at night. ha!

So I was very excited when the awesome guys that make up Womp Stomp Films took me along to location scout for Never Hike Alone honoring the Friday the 13th films. Vincente DiSanti drove us deep in the woody mountains somewhere east of LA to a long abandoned camp at the end of a twisting and turning ‘road’ with a steep drop to one side and boulders going up the other. It was a slow climb to the top with frequent stops to clear trees and larger rocks from the ‘road’ and boy oh boy was it worth it! YAHHHSSSSS!!! The abandoned camp is exactly where a 13th homage must happen. We were all looking over our shoulders the entire time and as I explored the cabins farther away from base camp by myself, I sort of expected to turn the corner and find sweet ole Jason taking a nap. I cannot wait till principle photography.

How perfect is this?

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Vinny and Christopher James Thellas testing out the sony a7s ii low light capabilities

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Costume + Location tests

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and we were gifted a beautiful sunset on our ride back to civilization!

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Cannot wait to watch the awesome unfold.

 

Half The Picture | Unit Stills

I’ve been creating images for a documentary called Half The Picture on female directors (and convos on women in the biz) and it got me thinking that my journey in the world of movie making has been a very different journey than what a lot of females experience. My first project was a wonderful pilot called “Wake Up America.” It had a female producing team, female director and two female leads! My 2nd project was written by a woman who also was the producer. And then my 3rd experience was staffed ENTIRELY by women! The production company 6 With Heels states in their mission statement that every project they work on will be filled by at least 50% women! They went 100% with their first project, Chickadee in which every position, like every single one, was manned by a female. From the director to the grips to the camera to the art to the sound, to the actors every single position was rocked by a lady. The only male on set was a neighbor who kept wandering into frame to watch every once in a while. Considering the usual ration of men to women on sets, this is RARE start to my Unit Stills photography career. Not saying that the fella’s don’t do a rocking job, they do and I love working with the fellas and there are a lot who are very supportive of females on set. BUT the amount of women usually filling roles on sets is very low. Especially when you look towards the directors chair, where around a whopping 9% find women sitting in that chair.

If only 9% of films that shape our culture are told by women that means 91% of what influences our society is told from a (mostly white) male point of view. This is problematic. We need stories championed by female voices (and more from minority voices too, while we are at it.) Movies shape the way people see the world and how they act towards each other. They direct our culture. All people’s voices should have a say in what is seen as normal or okay, the views that influence society. When everyone has a voice in telling their stories there will be a more even look at what is normal and thus a healthier point of view shaping the world. What is seen influences what is liked, so the more points of view that people are exposed to leads to a wider world experience.

“We are notes in this beautiful concert of existence.” – Mozart in the Jungle. I look forward to hearing more voices in the mix!

“Directing isn’t the only dark spot for women, either. The report shows that women represented just 11% of writers in 2015, 20% of executive producers, 26% of producers, 22% of editors, and 6% of cinematographers. Women fared slightly better across each category than they did in 2014 — which may be the source of an intra-industry butterfly effect. It turns out that when women are in key positions on film sets, the representation of women is better overall than if men are leading the show.” – Refinery 29 (check out the full article)

I heard about a documentary that was exploring these issues and the EEOC’s investigation into unfair hiring practices at the beginning of this year and I leapt at the chance to participate. Half the Picture is a documentary directed by Amy Adrion. Amy is diving deep into these issues and what it means to be a female director with her interviews of some of the top players in the industry including Mary HarronKimberly PeirceMaria BurtonKaryn Kusama, Caroline LibrescoDaisy von Scherler Mayer, Tina MabryEmily Best, and Destri Martino (and lots more, they had already been filming for 3 months when I joined the team and many more interviews still to come!)

The conversations that I have gotten to be privy to at these interviews is simultaneously heartening and devastating, inspiring and terrifying and 100% empowering. The hurtles and uphill battles these women have had face to be able to create their award winning films is mind boggling. A woman can direct a film that wins the lead an oscar but then can’t get another project for a decade while their male counterpart puts out a flop and has a new film gift wrapped and handed to them. It just makes no sense. I’m looking forward to the EEOC’s findings and meanwhile I am having a great time with Amy and her crew; Yamit ShimonowitzOna IsartDavid HarrisDelrissa MachainJenn GittingsKarla Mendoza, Laura Peyer, Jeanne TysonBella Sosis, Soraya Selene, Eve Cohen, and Evan Menak

Interviews are ongoing, we have our next one in a few weeks.

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Cuddles with mom after another successful shoot.

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How many male directors are asked how they balance their career with their families? Every female director is………

 

 

Chickadee | Unit Still Photographer

I was so excited to be a part of the 100% cast & crew family as the Unit Still Photographer for the short film Chickadee!
#GirlPower

When I heard what producers Sarah Chaney and Heather Olt were putting together with Alissa Jessup, I knew this was an incredible opportunity. I’ve been working in the film world a long time as both a hand model and a photographer and the ratio of women to men on every set is very low. I have worked with three female director and one female DP in the 13 years I have been working on commercials! The articles going around about gender inequality in hollywood aren’t exaggerating.  There are very few women found on the majority of sets. & the crazy thing is if you look at the history of cinema, you find that 1/2 of all writers, directors and production company owners before 1925 were women!  So what happened between 1925-2015 to create such imbalance? and what can happen in 2015 to start a reversal?

One great thing to help start a new trend, is 6 With Heels. The production company founded by Sarah & Heather, they state very clearly in their mission statement that “women will make up at least half of the cast,crew and content of our multimedia productions. YES!

and then they tossed out ‘half’ for their first project and said ‘f.it, lets go all in’ and a cast and crew was formed entirely of ladies.

“I’d love to see four girls who actually get along in a movie that’s not about chasing some guy or marrying somebody. Like, where the f–k is our ’Pulp Fiction?’ Where is our ’Reservoir Dogs’? Where’s that cool s–t with the chicks kicking ass, having some fun?” – Michelle Rodriguez

Here ya go, Michelle Rodriguez, here ya go.

100% women cast and crew short film #girlpower

100% women cast and crew short film #girlpower

After being inspired by Michelle Rodriquez’s words, Allissa Jessup wrote, directed and starred in the hysterically real and funny comedy about a gal who throws a baby sister for her sister. A gal, who is the older sister, married, without children and very unfiltered. Things detour rather quickly from a simple afternoon party.

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Images from the table read to the weekend shoot!

Talented women are available for every position in front of and behind the camera. Women are not a niche, we write, direct, light, prop, gaff, boom, photo, whatever is needed.
and if that isn’t enough,
a female crew will slash your crafty budget. (I heard after wrap, a lot of the unopened crafty was returned.}

though nothing remained of the pie! Thanks Piehole for the delicious prop!!!

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Interesting Articles on women in film

http://therepresentationproject.org/career-pipeline-from-shorts-to-studio-films-fails-female-filmmakers/

http://deadline.com/2015/10/female-directors-discrimination-probe-eeoc-interviews-1201585045/

http://www.thewrap.com/arclight-to-launch-women-in-entertainment-summit-in-november/

 

plus there is the spontaneous dancing.

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#‎chickadeeshort‬ ‪#‎6wh‬

Scott Land The Puppet Man in LA

4/25/15

Team America wins on many levels, and the sex scene is one of the best in any movie!

Lots of things happen with ‘movie magic,’ they can pretty much do anything in post nowadays, but that movie magic happened because of sheer awesome talent. See, those are marionettes worked by the fabulous Scott Land. He manipulated every nuance of that loving and I was in awe of him before I had the pleasure of knowing him.

Fast forward a lot of years and I was introduced to him through a mutual friend and then I found myself crouching in the wings of a theater making images of him working his magic on Michael Jackson, Obama and (my favorite) a chicken.  Yes, a chicken, a regular grocery store chicken!!! Scott said the chickens always move better on the 3rd day but that they get pretty stinky by the fourth. Scott and his wife, Lisa, are one heck of a talented team (and awesome people) – they make and paint the puppets that are used for his shows and by lots of other puppeteers around the world. Their work is incredible – Scott Land Marionettes!!

The show was mindblowing.  Seriously, how does he do all that. Not only do the puppets move with intention and grace, they have the right expression for each of the moves. Michael Jackson feels it when he goes down on one knee and Obama gives a knowing glance at the audience and you don’t feel like you are looking at puppets anymore. Magic.

If you ever get the opportunity to experience Scott Land’s show, I highly recommend you take it. You will be blown away!!!

Brain Wash Me Video Shoot | PlayLA | Unit Stills

3/21/15

Director, Brandon Nicholas turned Play LA into a visual playground of awesome to create a video for The Conduit’s new song “Brain Wash Me.”  The day was an adventure in reflective insulation blankets, body paint and awesome.  After hearing “Brain Wash Me” over and over and over, I was still into hearing it another time!  The song is catchy and cool.  I cannot wait to see the video once it is finished.  It was a joy to be the still photographer for this talented team.

Anna Copa Cabanna Video Shoot | Big Sky Works, NYC | Unit Stills

3/15/15

Unexpected awesome in NYC helping BA Miale and Anna Copa Cabanna make video magic for Turn to Crime’s video for “Light.”  Anything BA does has magic to it, her projections and creations are beautiful, cool and mesmerizing and this night I found out the same applies to Anna Copa Cabanna.  She is beautiful, cool and mesmerizing and watching her dance in front of BA’s beautiful, cool and mesmerizing projects was almost too much awesome to handle.  BA makes badass music videos and I was tickled pink that she asked me to come lend her a hand at the shoot at Big Sky Works (one of my fave Brooklyn venues.)

 

Had a blast making some stills and shooting some video for BA. She makes everything look so cool.

Behind the Scenes on a shoot with Lara Jade | Covington Portraits

As the air turns chilly, I have fond memories of this lovely warm summer day when Lara Jade and her incredible team came over for a fantastic NYC roof day.  It was a treat to watch her work and meet her team while creating images of them doing what they do best!  She surrounds herself with fantastic people and they get an incredible job done while having a great time.

Lara Jade for Bryan Bantry Agency.   LINK TO THE EDITORIAL

Assistant – Natalie Walsh
Hair Stylist – Stefano Greco
Makeup – Misuzu Miyake
Stylist – Anna Katsanis
Model – Veronica Zoppolo 

Jennifer Lilya | Fashion Illustrator Portraits |Covington Imagery

I know that I say this all the time, but these things are good for repeating. I am so grateful for what I get to do. I get behind the curtain access to the most incredible people. Most recently, I was invited into the home of Jennifer Lilya, a star fashion illustrator.  She needed some portraits and after discussing how she worked, we decided that the best way to create images would be for me to just go to her studio while she was working.  Images that captured who she was and how created was the goal for her environmental portraits. Being a girl who could never draw with pen or marker (the camera has always been my only artistic outlet) I am fascinated by people who can turn a blank piece of paper into something, especially something beautiful. If left to my own devices, I’d end up with a blob of color. Jennifer made it look easy. She works in stages on a series of images. First she does a light outline of the basic shape in a light flesh colored tone, that sheet is set aside and she draws the next light figure and so on. Once the first one is dry, she adds a bit more color on another layer. The round robin drawing continues until she completes the figure costumed in an amazing creation.

To say I was blown away watching this happen would be an understatement. Thank you Jenn for having me into your home and sharing your art.

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The Bouncing Souls + Matt Pinfield | Paramount Theatre, Asbury Park NJ | CovingtonRock

This past monday night to the wee hours of Tuesday morning were epic.  I had the honor of being part of an incredible team of people who were all committed to making awesome happen.   And it was fucking awesome.   I was asked to be the behind the scenes still photographer for a TV pilot directed by Jason DeSimone and hosted by Matt Pinfield and featuring the NJ Punk-Rock band, The Bouncing Souls.   This was like the culmination of everything I love about life.

Music.  Photography.  Old Theatres.  Cool People.  Sets.  Details.  Love it.  LOVE IT!

I love all the details that go into making something happen.  Especially on TV or movie sets.  I remember being on sets as a kid and being fascinated by what everyone did.  So many people with very specific, detail oriented jobs that each have to happen in order for the whole production to happen.  It is captivating to me, always has been.

Since the series is musically based the production team wanted a photographer that could slide between performance shots, portrait work, and detail shots to save the story of the whole experience with images.   I was tickled pink that they considered me and absolutely rosy that they asked me to join their team.  It was awesome.  One of the best times I’ve had behind a camera and it doesn’t hurt that I’m a long time souls fan and that the souls were totally cool and into climbing around the theatres grid and braving burnt out bathrooms for some epic shots.  HUGE SHOUT OUT TO JASON DERMER for making that a truly back/over/under stage tour.
Matt Pinfield also told me that I’m cool.  Then he saw my business card and said “Holy Shit.  You are even cooler than I thought.”  To this 90’s MTV kid that is like one of the highest compliments that I never thought I would get in life.  Best. Night. Ever.

Here is a statement released by the production crew about the project:

“The Venue was the iconic Paramount Theater in Asbury Park, NJ. Once serving as home for East Coast premieres of studio films in the 30’s, the theater is now used mostly for concerts and stage performances.  The show travels to different American cities and tells their story through their local music scene. Matt speaks to those involved and gets the real story, from music historian to venue owners.  The episode closes out with an interview and song performance by a band with a “local connection.”

The set created on stage was designed by Alison Hepler and adorned with antiques from the private collection of Ken Jakupko,  of Ken’s Antiques in Asbury Park.  The set was inspired by the Souls connection to the city of Asbury Park and it’s famed boardwalk.  Before playing, the band sat down with Matt to discuss the decision to move their label to Asbury Park, the annual “Home for the Holidays” concert series at the Stone Pony, and their experience being a truly independent rock band. The acoustic set was filled with songs from across the bands 20+ year career including, Ghost’s on the Boardwalk, Quick Check Girl, and of course, Moon Over Asbury.  It’s safe to say the crew’s many die hard Soul’s fans got a treat that night.

Big thanks to the city of Asbury Park, Tom Gilmore, Madison Marquette, Bridgit Media, Red Wheelbarrow Productions and The Bouncing Souls for an unforgettable evening”

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I love flare so much.
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