Thursday, March 22, 2012

Long Overdue Update

Clearly it's been a while since I have updated my Production Log, but thats just because good things have been happening. 

Poutine Nation is complete, and has been performing quite well on YouTube, for a first film, it currently has over 2,500 views, so if you haven't seen it yet please check it out.

In other news I spent last summer working in the Ottawa Bureau for Global National News, and I loved every minute of it (I'll post a more detailed blog shortly).

And the big exciting news is that I have been working on lining up my next documentary project, and I'l be starting to shoot in late April or early May. This time my lens will be aimed at the world of Roller Derby here in Canada's Capital City.

Stay tuned!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Poutine Nation Trailer

And now, without any further ado here is the trailer for my upcoming documentary Poutine Nation.

The completed film can be seen Saturday April 30th as part of the Algonquin Docfest. This year’s event will be held at Centrepointe Theatre, doors open at 5:30pm.

I need to thank the people involved in the making of the film.

Ryan Smolkin founder of Smoke’s Poutinerie
Charles-Alexandre Théorêt Author of Maudite Poutine
Kate Rutledge from Zak’s Diner in the Market
Randy and Skip from Petit Bills Bistro on Wellington (home of the Lobster Poutine)
Frenchy’s Super Fries (also on Wellington and on facebook)

Friday, April 1, 2011

Shooting vs. Editing - Main Street Experience

While I plug away at editing my poutine documentary, I a little corner of myself wishing I could just hand off the editing to someone else so I can get out there and shoot something new. The catch of course, is that if someone else edited the movie it might not match my vision.

Back in October I had the chance to work on a promotional video for Main Street Community Services in Stittsville as part of their campaign for the Aviva Community Challenge.

My job was simple, take my camera and shoot, I only had one day to do it, and it was an excellent opportunity for me to try my hand and shooting solo. It’s only a few months later and there are a ton of things I would do differently now, but I’m still happy with the result.

Once shooting was done I had the luxury of handing the footage over to Jeff Power and he did the editing. In this case I think it turned out better than if I had tried to edit it myself.

Please check out the video, we may not have won the Aviva Challenge but the people at Main Street are doing incredible work and deserve all the recognition they can get.

Now I need to get back to editing.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

From the Cutting Room Floor

Access is key in making a documentary, and some times to get that access you have to grab your opportunities as you see them.

One the wish list items I had hoped to include in my poutine documentary were short poutine testimonials from Canadian celebrities. The hard part of course is I don’t know any personally.

So I started emailing people, and hoping for the best. I emailed former Prime Minister Paul Martin, I tried Former pro wrestler Trish Stratus, I even traded a few promising emails with Kim Mitchell's Publicist, but nothing really worked out and I Shelved the idea for when I actually have some funding in place and a broadcaster lined up.

I did however find myself in the same room as Eric Longley last week, and I figured the local entertainment reporter / weather man is a great place to start, so I asked him about poutine, and this is what I got.

Will he make it into the finished Doc? Time will tell, but I would like to once again Thank Eric for being a good sport and helping out.

And again if you have 2 minutes of access it’s a great place to start.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Poutine Documentary... So Far

For my second documentary I have turned my attention to artists of a different kind… people who make Poutine! As a proud Canadian and junk food enthusiast, this concoction of French fries, cheese curds and gravy is a give-in for guilty pleasure of the year (along with pizza, chocolate, and really most fatty foods). But more than that I think it has become a symbol of Canada. So I wanted to find out why.

To be honest the idea started as a joke, something I might shoot over the summer for fun, but my instructors were genuinely enthusiastic about the idea, so I set out on a path of weight gain and discovery. Over the next couple of posts I will talk about the places my journey has taken me, and the delicious discoveries I made along the way, but first here are three things I learned about the documentary process as I got started
  1. Accessibility is key, and a lot of the time all you have to do is ask, and people will be more than willing to help.  I was amazed at how accommodating these restaurants have been in allowing me into their kitchens, and just taking the time to answer my questions.  
  2. You cannot over shoot. Even if you get everything you wanted when you were shooting, you may not have everything you needed for editing.
  3. Food documentaries are the way to go! Every place I have shot at has been kind enough to let me sample their poutine on the house. For Zak’s I knew what I was getting, I had eaten there before a number of times, but Petit Bill's Bistro, Smoke’s Poutinerie, and most recently Frenchie’s Super Fries were all new experiences for me. And all come very highly recommended.
I’ll hopefully have a trailer up by the end of the week, as a sample of some of the things I’ve seen so far in my investigation into Quebec’s controversial culinary concoction.

Until then I have some editing to do.

My First Premiere

My first short documentary was screened at the Wakefield International Film Festival.

After years of starting and stopping on various projects, I was starting to think the day would never come. I had written and shot some very lowbrow (and low budget) comedy sketches with friends a few years ago, but nothing ever happened with the tapes (probably for the best).

I’ve written a feature length screenplay (still looking for a producer), some concepts for animated series, and started a few other projects that never made it past the first act.

While my concepts were strong I was starting to realized you’ll never make it anywhere as an “idea guy” alone, you have to roll up your sleeves and shoot something… and then roll them up again and edit what you shot. By the end of the day you’re bare armed up to the shoulder blades, but if everything lines up you may have something decent to show for yourself.

Having completed the short in December I had already moved on emotionally (far faster than I had expected to) and I hadn’t even looked at the film on well over a month, so seeing it again, this time with an audience and on a big screen was an excellent experience. The five minutes went by fast, the crowd applauded. The Reviews were positive. I could officially say that I was a filmmaker, who has been screened at an international film festival.

I was on a high. My fiancée rolled here eyes, amazed yet again at the power of my own ego, and I was brought back down to earth and reminded yet again that the important part is doing the work. The rest will come.

Until then check out my first short Karen Bailey: A Portrait.