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As the master of all things love and heartbreak once accurately (and a little somberly) sang:

“No, it’s not like any other love. This one’s different because it’s us.”

Although Morrissey doesn’t necessarily deliver this line from “Hand in Glove” with a tone that will give you the warm and fuzzies, it does perfectly capture the essence of being in love: Every couple has their own love, each one feels that love is unique, and every story is different because it’s theirs.

So why shouldn’t each couple’s wedding film be different too?

Weddings themselves are a time-honored tradition that generally follow a similar structure, but wedding features really do not need to follow a set structure. In fact, we find they’re a lot better when they don’t follow anything but the couple’s individual story.

Winnie and Jerry’s wedding feature is a great example of how investing in the couple’s individual story (and not so much the wedding-ness of it all) will make all the difference in their film. After meeting with Winnie and Jerry, hearing their story, and asking them all the right questions, we had all the necessary information to start assembling their perfect wedding film.

Here’s what we came up with:


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When you’re working with a cast full of “doers,” it’s not always an option to put their “doing” on hold so you can get your footage — sometimes not even for 10 minutes.

We were constantly challenged by this while working with some very influential (and extremely busy) people on our shoot for “City of Doers”/”Where The World Changes, a piece that we teamed up with director Rob Baget to produce for the city of San Francisco.

As many of you know, we pride ourselves on being able to shoot lean, under pressure, and in circumstances that would normally be considered unrealistic for a production crew.

But for this piece, we really put that pride to the test!

The cast was composed of the business world’s most innovative minds — some of whom simply didn’t have the time to care about us and our agenda, because they were busy running fast-growing, multi-million dollar companies.

For the director, Rob, this was more of a low-budget project, but one that was close to him personally. We’d worked under his direction on the Callaway series (which we now hold very dear to our hearts), so we responded to his request for help on this project with an affirmative “sounds like a blast — let’s do this!”

Here’s everyone we got to spend (very limited) time with:

  • Jack Dorsey – Co-Founder and CEO of Square, Founder and Executive Chairman at Twitter.
  • Ron Conway – Special Advisor to SV Angel and major startup investor for Google, Facebook, Twitter, Square— basically this guy is behind everything you love about the internet.
  • Heather Hiles – Founder and CEO of Pathbrite, a startup career portfolio platform.
  • Lynn Jurich – Co-CEO of Sunrun, an innovative solar power organization focused on affordability.
  • Laura Weidman Powers – Founding Executive Director of Code 2040, a nonprofit organization that provides opportunities for underrepresented minority computer engineers.
  • Craig Dalton – Cofounder and President of DODOcase.
  • Art Gensler – Founder and CEO of Gensler.
  • Dr. Regis B. Kelly – Director of ¼ of the California Institutes for Science Innovation.
  • David Lee – Founder and Managing Partner of SV Angel, an angel investment fund.
  • Edwin M. Lee – Mayor of San Francisco.
  • Kevin Yeaman – President and CEO of Dolby.

With this kind of all-star lineup, it would only make sense to break out the finest quality equipment we could find, right?

Wrong.

For this job, we specifically chose to bring our Canon 5D Mark III DSLRs instead of the Red Epic, because we anticipated set-up time and overall speed being major factors in the success of this shoot.

These people weren’t going to have all day. We had to be flexible — and match the unpredictable nature of their schedules and availability.

And boy did that decision pay off.

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Superdome Slider

We are practically living in New Orleans these days.

For the past couple months we’ve populated countless hotels (and Airbnb houses) as part of several features we’ve been involved with for Super Bowl game day.

Getting to tell stories that will be featured on Super Bowl sunday on CBS? You know we are all over that!

The largest project we are working on is a 44 minutes feature story set to air a few hours before the actual game itself.

*****

NOTE: Thanks to everyone who tuned in to watch this live. If / when we receive permission to share the recording, we’ll post it here on the blog. 

In the meantime, check out this emotional feature that also aired on Superbowl Sunday, which focuses on the Aurora, Colorado theater shooting.

*****

It’s a 44 minute show – that’s nearly half of A Game of Honor - and have shot this all in just a matter of months.

Shooting such a long feature with a limited number production days means we need to be really efficient.

Many people mistake efficiency for “not taking risks” or “being sure to stick to the script” or “doing what is expected.”

But that’s not the Stillmotion way.

Through the course of putting this piece together there’s been several times that we’ve done things in an unconventional way because it fits the story as opposed to what was right or what was expected or what’s been done before.

You know that scene in the Matrix, where Neo meets the boy that can bend the spoon?

Stay with me…

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photo courtesy of Marc Bryan Brown Photography

We’re back from a much needed holiday break – and ready for a kickass 2013!

Who’s with us?

Each New Year, to really amp things up, we have a little process we go through.

First, we look back at the last year – in this case 2012.

We ask ourselves:

  • What were our biggest accomplishments?
  • How far have we come this year? (relish in how far you’ve come)
  • Where didn’t we do well? (It’s ok to outline this too).
  • What do we want to do more of?
  • What do we want to STOP doing?

Each of these questions can yield powerful brainstorming sessions.

Grab a notebook and go through each one. Be honest with yourself.

The amazing things we accomplished in 2012!…

When we sat down to reflect on the first two questions above, we knew there would be a pretty decent list of moments.

But it wasn’t until we started writing that we realized how much we had achieved. There were times that we had to stop writing just to take a breath and grasp how intense this year really has been…

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We’ve had one heck of an amazing year in 2012!

And as the team sat around talking recently, we knew we wanted to do something equally amazing to give back.

After all, without the support from you, our readers, fans, attendees, and supporters, 2012 wouldn’t have been one of the most engaging and rewarding years of our lives.

So, to thank you properly – we’re tapping into the holiday season of giving.

We’re making all of our premium tutorials on SMAPP (our iPhone app) completely free – starting right now.

That’s right, all the tools, all the tutorials, have been made 100% free!

If you have the app installed, simply make sure you update it on your device. Or if you’ve yet to download it, well – there is no excuse now (getsmapp.com).

Note to Android users: We’re actively working on an Android version for you as we speak. Stay tuned, it’s coming! :)

If you purchased a few of the tutorials from us previously this year, we really appreciate your early support – and hope you’ve applied those lessons and benefited already from access. You’ve now got access to even more to help push your storytelling to new heights!

If you purchased a handful of tutorials recently on the app, over $20, please click here and fill out this quick form. We’d love to talk with you directly. (Unfortunately, Apple won’t give us your contact info, but it’ll be worth your time to fill out the quick form.)

Cheap Interview Lighting: Grab a few bucks and get resourceful!…

To celebrate two new updates to SMAPP, we’ve created a tutorial we’ve been wanting to shoot for a long time now (scroll up and click play).

Seriously, you should have seen Patrick when we gave him $26 and sent him to Home Depot – he was like a kid on Christmas morning! ;)

We wanted to show you that great interview lighting can be achieved on almost nothing (you can judge for yourself in our example).

This can really happen to you, too.

We’ve been on sets with our luggage delayed, inadequate resources (we weren’t given all the information correctly), or random wrenches thrown in our best pre-production plans (let’s say the location changes suddenly).

We work our butts off to make sure we minimize these major issues – but they still happen – all the time!

Resourcefulness (and a positive attitude) have saved us more times than we can count. :)

*****

Once again, thank you for an amazing year – and I hope you enjoy the dozens of new tools and tutorials you have access to on SMAPP.

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