The Making of “esperanza”


This little project started with an invitation to shoot at my friend Mark Hewett’s store, Area. Lynn and I shop there, and we have rented and bought props from Mark for years for the studio. We even shot a print project there once, back when there was money spent on hosiery advertising (that seems like another lifetime!) I knew I wanted to shoot something that took advantage of the great windows upstairs, and had an element of a fashion and lifestyle look to it, but it had to have a story. I did not want to shoot just a collection of pretty pictures.

I was talking to Kelly Swanson from Ink Photography Productions about this, and she was excited to help. We spent a few phone calls and a lunch talking about cast, props, crew, time of day, everything except the lost subject, the story. After a few months of ruminating on this subject, it suddenly became clear in a moment – as these things often do. A story about longing for what might be, or what might have been. It would be the woman’s story with the guy in the supporting, but perhaps not supportive, role.

Also going on at the same time over this past winter was a brewing battle of two new cameras, the Red Scarlett and the Canon C300. Both were announced to much fanfare on November 3rd, 2011, but with no exact delivery time. I was in the market to make a change, and I went back and forth with my excitement and decision. I worked on this every night, reading every test and comment I could find. Finally by mid-February, I had made a decision to buy the Canon C300, and as predicted, this has proved to be the correct move on my part. It shoots a wonderful image, with tons of latitude, and it is great in low light. We have already shot more than a dozen projects with this camera.

I have been thinking about a technique for manipulating the image on a motion picture camera that would feel very real, as in not done in post, and has a emotional feeling associated with it. I have tested many filters, lenses, mirrors and various objects to achieve what I saw happening in the head upon my shoulders, but nothing seemed to work. At last this camera plus some very old lenses gave me the combination to make this imagined image come to life. I am really excited about this look, and what’s more, I can achieve it with still photography, too. A few clients have already asked me to create stills and video using this look.

(Please call me to find out more or how we can use this look for your project!)

So, back to the story of the story, longing is a theme that appears in many artistic forms, perhaps I am most knowledgeable with the subject from the writing of the Sufi poet Rumi. I decided, (after much mental tennis), that the film should end the way life often does, with some degree of uncertainty. Endings do not always end like the movies, I doubt I’m the only one who feels this. The way you see the ending may have to do with how you look at life, or then perhaps not. I go back and forth less now than i did during the edit, but even I still have mixed feelings about it.

Kudos to everyone who helped make this a reality, Kelly and Lauren at Ink, Mark at Area, Cheri Osterholt and Kent Chilton for opening themselves up for a great performance, Stephan Weed for all the hard work on shoot day, Stephen van Vuuren of SV2 Studio for help on set and on story building, Jill Davis for tons of post production support, and to Lynn for listening to me talk about this for months and her support on getting out and shooting it.

Hope you enjoy it.

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