Monday, April 21, 2008

On the Set with the AF

My friend Margie just sent me this…

On set with the Angry Filmmaker

I am a long time friend of Kelley Baker. I know nothing about making films. I went to college with Kelley at University of Oregon, and back then he was kind of cool. At 18 most of us had no idea what we wanted to do with our lives, but even then Kelley knew he wanted to be a filmmaker. We all were jealous that he had a direction and drive to make his dreams come true (not to mention his beautiful long hair). We gave him a big send off before he went to USC and Hollywood and I didn't meet up with him until nearly 30 years later, and by golly not only was he a filmmaker, he was a pretty famous filmmaker.

Last week he invited me to come out to where he was shooting a music video for Paula Sinclair ( I felt like such a groupie telling the proprietor of the shop, "I'm here for the video shoot."

I walked into the back room and it was set up for the video. It was quiet and relaxed. Somehow, I imagined that it took about a dozen people to shoot a video and everything would be rather chaotic, but here were 4 people plus Kelley. Everyone was busy and there wasn't much talking. In fact throughout the whole shoot there wasn't much talking. Obviously, these people knew what they were doing and were just doing it. They were efficient and serious. When there was talking between Kelley and the crew, they talked in a kind of shorthand that comes with working together for a long time. They finished each other's sentences, offered suggestions and cracked jokes. But they were there to work seriously. Problem solving and getting it done were a priority.

The first video was shot before lunch. Did I mention that there was food? Yes, snacks, coffee, soft drinks and really good pizza for lunch, and plenty of it. After lunch, they set up for the second video. The set was the same, but through the magic of movie making, and the expertise of the crew it looked completely different. A few props, lighting, camera techniques – I don't know, they made it fit the mood of the music. It was shot in one long take and they only did it a couple of times.

I have never seen Kelley at a shoot before. He obviously had in mind exactly what he wanted to accomplish, yet it felt like a collaborative effort with the crew. He was focused, yet respectful and caring. And I have never seen him more alive and passionate than when we there. He never shouted, cursed or got upset. He's the Angry Filmmaker, but certainly not on the set or with the cast or crew.

As they finished up well before 4:00, one of the crew said to me, "It's been a while since I worked with Kelley, but this is what we live for."

Do me a favor, check out Margie's website, (, and don't forget to check out Paula's as well, ( And it wouldn't hurt any of you to buy something at either site.

And now, your AF Tip of the Day.

A short film is from 2 to 10 minutes in length. I hate 25 minute short films. They are usually ponderous, and always need a good editor. If you are going to make shorts, make them short.
- - from The Angry Filmmaker Survival Guide (coming in Spring 2008)


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