night shoots w/ the Green Hornet

night shoots w/ the Green Hornet

hey friends,

exciting news – “Updating Paige” is finished! and we have a premiere date scheduled. there will be a screening at “Web Series Unplugged” on Wednesday March 16th at El Cid in Los Angeles. details on the screening series can be found at

expect to see it online shortly thereafter! since that’s a month away, I’ve decided to release a film that’s been in my hip pocket for a while.

back when preparing to shoot the Grand Vanity “Got A Nerve” video I realized we were paying to have a camera package all weekend, but the music video shoot was just Saturday. it seemed a shame to not use the gear both days. so, I floated an idea to my producer, Tony Federico – should we try and shoot another project on Sunday? he liked the idea of filming something else, as long as we had a manageable idea. we asked Brett Pawlak, our director of photography and he was down for the challenge as well.

we had the gear, we had the crew, now we just needed a project. I went to my old sketchbooks and poured through them. somewhere there must be an idea that would fit. something that could be done with a skeleton crew, with basically no budget, in less than a day of shooting…

here’s a scan of the original idea. (click on it to see bigger)

original note

over the next few days we worked on getting the idea flushed out and figuring out what locations we wanted to use. but we were still missing an actor.

the day of the Grand Vanity shoot came and we still didn’t have talent. Tony posted an ad on craigslist, then throughout the day he checked the responses and forwarded any promising prospects on to me.

but it wasn’t until the morning of the shoot that we confirmed our actor. Tony gave him a call and he was in. Jerome would be meeting us at our first location, the Huntington Library that afternoon.

just like with the music video, the changing weather had provided us with an amazing backdrop for the shoot.

wait, let me stop for a minute. Huntington Library is a very interesting place. it’s not a “library” in the way your local public library is…and it’s not just a park…or a museum…or a garden. it’s a bit all of those put together. you can look at rare books, see art, wander the gardens, or have high tea there. it’s really an amazing place.

so just outside was this row of ginkgo biloba trees. their leaves were brilliant yellow. the wind would gust and send a shower of them floating down. it was amazing. and we filmed it.

ginko & jerome

next we ventured into the park. one of the advantages of shooting on a DSLR is that people don’t bother you… for the most part you look like you are shooting “real” pictures. I’m sure eventually people will get savvy to this, but for now there is an incredible amount of access that this format affords.

there is NO WAY we would have been able to afford to permit this location. it’s a non-starter. there was no reason to even consider asking about it.

but, grab a DSLR, have a small crew, don’t spend too much time “directing” your actor…and security guards will walk right by you.

skeleton crew

as the sun set we packed up and headed to our next location – Century City. I think it was on one of my long bus rides shortly after moving to Los Angeles that I experienced the strangeness of Century City for the first time. here was a group of large, modern buildings…but at night there was NO ONE around. it was like something out of “Omega Man.” eerie to say the least.

however, when we got to the location we found out someone else was there…namely Michel Gondry and the very large production of “The Green Hornet.” this actually turned out to be quite a boon for us. Sony spared no expense in shining light. three giant sun trucks, each with 15 10K lights bounced light all around the normally darkened streets. and we used it.

sun truck

hornet set

leaf drop

William P.

here’s one of our takes that was interrupted by a car chase. (how rude!)

it was a very low key and easy going shoot. we didn’t have any set locations, or a script for that matter…but it didn’t really matter. everyone was up for the adventure and we took what came our way and made the most of it.

the post on this project went as smoothly as the production. Carey Williams edited, Jeff McDonoungh did the score, Steve Romero did the sound design, and Bruce Cathcart did some stabilization and color correction.

and here it is… enjoy!


1 Comment
  • teal
    Posted at 15:20h, 14 February Reply

    i love that you got to poach light from the “green hornet”. =)!

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