"THE CYCLE CONTINUES"
THE CREATIVE BRIEF
In 2020, Cherise Newsome, now the Director of Communications for the Hampton Roads Community Foundation reach out to work on a couple projects. After helping her with a project highlighting an overview of HRCF's partnership with Tidewater Community College as "TBD," she saw an opportunity for Pro Look Media to assist her with a bigger brand film. The goal of this film was to speak directly to successful minority professionals that have a heart for giving back and making an impact within their local community.
In December of 2020, we sat down at a conference room at a local coffee shop and I took her through a creative process that I have been refining over the years. It is a process that helps lay the foundation and give handle bars to the work that we would be embarking on. After sitting down for about 6 hours in a creative collaborative meeting, we had a synopsis for a short story that I would then write a screen play to.
When January of 2021 came around I had draft ready. We made multiple revisions and I was ready to get one of the most pivotal parts of this project figured out - budget. I sat down with Eric Camacho (Reel Operations, LLC) and we prepared a budget to produce this film. We had to look at what was the most important to being able to pull off this project but ensure we maintained the quality that we wanted to deliver. So we had to be creative in how we approached locations, props, the cast and crew.
DAY ONE FILMING
Early Friday morning, I woke up to a text message of images of snow covering Moose's, G&E (grip & electric), van. He informed us that he wouldn't be able to make because of the snow. So we immediately had to improvise to solve a key problem which was replacing our gaffer and grip. We were able to get G&E from Greg Boyd in which he was already the camera operator for this project.
Also, the Coach, best friend to the main character Deshawn, was originally cast to another person but the same snow storm didn't allow him to make it. So we reached out to Anthony he showed up to set in less than an hour, went to makeup, learned his lines, rehearsed with Phil (Deshawn) and was ready for his part within two hours max.
I.C. Norcom High School
Auditorium & Gymnasium
Utilizing our relationships, Cherise was able to help us to get access to I.C.Norcom's Auditorium and Gymnasium for us to film. It was provided to us at no cost which again helps with budget. We had to inform them of the time frames we were going to need the spaces even though we were in the middle of the pandemic. Reason being, students were coming into the school for testing on certain days and time but also the students were practicing for sports in the evening. So coordination and scheduling was key because it would be very difficult to coordinate another day if we didn't film everything we needed on the day we were requesting.
One of the things we consider when scouting locations are props that are already at our locations and ensuring that they can be used and made available the day of. We also ask about where we can load and unload and get a gauge of what environment we would be working in.
DAY TWO FILMING
So day one we filmed the begining and end of the film. Day two we filmed the middle. The main character Deshawn studying and opening his financial aid bill, the job interview, and to his present day promotion. Main part of the story is his interaction between his financial advisor who presented an opportunity for him to consider.
We used the same space to film his job interview, his interaction with his assistant, which eventually was cut, and the financial advisor conversation. In the revision of the film we used the hallway and the atrium of the office building where we were filming.
ADDITIONAL SHOOT DAYS
Based off of feedback from HRCF, we went back and spent a half-day filming modifications to key scenes that would help us reach a part of our target audience that we thought was left out. As you can see below we made switches in key roles to help us speak to the Asian professionals and Hispanic professionals that work alongside HRCF in their philanthropic endeavors. This wasn't an oversight but based off of scheduling it was difficult to find the talent we needed for these roles when we first started to film because of covid-19.
Original & Revised Scenes
Original Interview Scene
Revised Interview Scene
Chatting With Coworker
Original Scene: His assistant hands him a card from his mother and congratulates him on his promotion and she goes over his schedule for the day.
Revision: Him being congratulated by a peer on his promotion and a key person that pushes Deshawn forward in his journey but to stay grounded.
EDITING & FINAL CUT
There were a number of things that arose during post-production, for instance, Deshawn Watson was the main character's name. However, we had to change it because of recent news coverage surrounding the NFl player Desean Watson and we didn't want any confusion. So we had to ensure this change not only happened visually but also audibly. We had to use ADR (Automatic Dialogue Replacement) on the beginning scholarship scene. There were a couple other spots we had to do ADR on to ensure clarity.
We had to decide whether we wanted the check to be show in the beginning and the end. We needed to modify the amounts on the checks to ensure they were realistic for what a person would have received in the early 90s versus 2010's. We use VFX tracking and compositing to replace the ending scene's dollar amount.
Original Hire to Promotion Scene
All in all, everyone brought their "a game" to the table to pull off this production. We met challenges but we had to rely on our creativeness and problem solving skills to be able to turn over a product that the client would be able to use and gain the results desired. In which, we know that it did and are grateful for the opportunity to be able to work on something that can be impactful for the community.
Hampton Roads Community Foundation, Inc is a great organization to partner with if you want to pursue giving to initiatives that can be deeply fulfilling.