By Schaefer Team in Journal

Lights. Camera. Action

There’s so much more than hiring a good actor and flipping on a camera to producing top quality video content.
We’ve recently teamed up with the folks at 1820 Productions to bring TTI’s Ask The Specialist (ATS) series to life. Take a peak behind the curtain with Korey Miller, one of the directors of the ATS Series, as he walks us through their production process.
 Schaefer: Walk us through the process you go through when forming a creative approach while interpreting a script.
 Korey: Creative by definition means relating to or involving the imagination, so in order to interpret a script you have to picture something that does not exist. When the client provides the script the genesis for me is putting myself in the shoes of the actor that will be delivering these foreign lines. I start to rehearse how it might sound, I ask myself how should the dialogue be paced fast or slow, should it roll of the tongue or be choppy? Once I’ve done the homework, I begin making notes on the script to help guide the actor.
Schaefer: Working with art direction for the set – We give you a script and high level details on what the end result could look like. What factors do you consider when prop shopping for forming the set?
Korey: The art direction of a set really is a blast.  I always ask for as many details from the agency/creative director as possible to make sure I have a clear understanding of what their vision is before beginning to add my own. Once I have a strong grasp, I begin storyboarding/pre visualizing key elements of the set. This is not necessarily a typical process for all directors, but for me I find it helpful before shopping for props. I always give the Art Director a very clear idea of how things should look and how we can use them multiple ways. I don’t like to purchase props that can’t be repurposed, I try to think more universal.
Schaefer: You all have nicknames when on set, what are some of the other secret code keywords you use?
Korey: Yep nicknames are a big part of our culture, it keeps things fun.  If you’re a crew member you typically earned the name in some obscure way, for instance “POP BISCUIT” is the nickname of one of our DP’s because he hates the sound biscuit cans make when they’re opened.
One secret term we use is called a 50/50.  This is a term that I use with the crew to alert everyone that we’re rolling without talent knowing. Sometimes the talent can over think things, so it’s the way I get real moments without yelling “Action”.
Schaefer: You’ve really helped define the ATS style through your editing. How did you help get us there?
Korey: Our approach to editing this series is a team effort. Our lead editor typically begins by assembling a rough edit, this is how we make sure that above all the story is told. Once the story is locked, we begin throwing around lots of ideas. The editor and director spend hours looking at the footage and angles in search of fun moments.  We use all kinds of tricks of the trade to enhance what has been shot. If we told you more we’d have to kill you.
Schaefer: Describe your approach to talent sourcing. We give you a character in a script form, how do you bring this to life?
Korey: As a director my approach to sourcing talent for shoots always starts with the story. I first ask who can best serve the narrative, sometimes the actor may not have the right look but their tone or delivery is spot on.  The process of finding the right actor happens by auditions or sometimes an actor will get the roll because we have worked with them before and know that they will be perfect for a part.  When I’m auditioning a talent I most often talk very little about the script, I focus more on finding nuances in their normal speech patterns body language or how their eye darts during a laugh, finding these subtle distinctions are where I begin when building a character.”
Schaefer: What is the strangest prop request from Schaefer so far?
Korey: The strangest prop request thus far has been asking us to use a wench to hang our main actor Matt upside down on. When I saw this request I thought to myself have I just died and gone to heaven! The truth is I love quirky, outlandish ideas, this is how you keep things interesting and create memorable moments the make you ask yourself…”Did we go too far…Nahhhh!”
Schaefer: What is your favorite part about working with TTI and the ATS series?
Korey: Our favorite part of working on this series is definitely the collaboration.  The agency and clients allow us the freedom to bring fresh ideas to the table and it helps that they all have a wicked sense of humor too!
Thanks Korey, the pleasure is all ours! We look forward to many future episodes. And it looks like we need to come up with some more challenges for the script and prop requests – get ready!