Category Archives: Filmmaking

Get Adler (Director’s Cut)

Image of the Get Adler gameA while back I directed and shot a commercial for the award-winning game, GET ADLER.

The game’s creator originally said he only wanted a close up of the actress he hired to be sitting down and talking on the phone. As the director and a filmmaker, I felt we could do much better than just a talking head, so my girlfriend and I designed a set to look like an office from the time period of the game (1930’s) and I added a bit of movement and drama to the shoot.

The storyline I came up with was Agent Gold comes back to her office so she can call Inspector Sharpe and ask for his help, but she believes she is being followed by Adler, the rogue agent. Once she is in her office she locks the door, peaks through the blinds to see if he is following her, then goes to her gun cabinet so she can protect herself before she sits down to call the Inspector.

For hours Margie and I rearranged my living room to create the 1930’s-era office, complete with pictures of the King and Prime Minister of that time and an antique tea set. I used an old leather camera bag and a leather briefcase to help hide the modern day baseboard rads. We spent hours tweaking the set so it was just right. I even researched paperclips to make sure they were invented back then before I used one to attach Adler’s photo to the file folder.

During post-production I sent my edit to the game’s creator – he requested a piece cut here and a section cut there until eventually the final commercial was just her sitting at the desk talking on the phone like he originally wanted. It’s his commercial so the client is always right, but I was quite proud of our set that no one would ever see – so here’s my “Director’s Cut” of the shoot:

Get Adler

I had the great pleasure of being tasked with shooting a commercial for the award-winning board game, Get Adler!

The game’s creator, Randall Thompson, was looking to put together a quick commercial for the Christmas season and he wanted it shot in Cape Breton. The problem was he couldn’t be on set for the filming, but he got the ball rolling by writing a script (taken from a scene in one of the Get Adler short stories that he penned) and he hired his friend Shannon MacDonald to play the role of Agent Gold. The rest was up to the videographer to capture the scene from the story – but he didn’t have anyone to shoot it and put a call out to anyone with a video camera who was willing to shoot the commercial.

Shannon recommended that he contact me – she knew my work from my film, THE BATTLE WITHIN, where she played a small role as the nurse in my film.  Introductions were made, I read his script, and agreed to do the project.

I immediately contacted my good friend and fellow filmmaker, Michael G. MacDonald to voice the role of Inspector Sharpe, then I got in touch with Chad Bryden, who starred in my upcoming film, WINTER’S HUNT, to narrate the commercial. With those pieces set in play, my girlfriend and I began the long process of converting my living-room to look like Agent Gold’s office.

The set of Get Adler commercial shoot
The Get Adler set designed by Kenn Crawford and Margie Marr

With me directing from behind the camera, Margie Marr running the set as my 1st AD (First Assistant Director) and Michael, Chad and my good friend Andrew Parland running the microphone boom and recorder, we shot the commercial. As they headed home for the evening I settled in for an all-nighter editing the footage so I could send Randy a finished commercial. At 5 a.m. I had a commercial I was happy with and uploaded a private viewing for Randy.

A few hours sleep later I was re-editing the footage to Randy’s specifications and we publicly released this commercial:
In another post I will share my original Director’s Cut but in the meantime, here’s some more information on the award-winning GET ADLER! game…

Image of the Get Adler gameLondon, 1937 — Intelligence has discovered that Top-Secret documents are missing. The only clue is an intercepted message between rogue MI6 agent and his contact: “Trafalgar at seven.” Hot on his trail are MI5 Agent Gold, Inspector Sharpe of Scotland Yard, and Constable Townsend. They have seven hours to find Adler and retrieve the missing documents.

Here’s a review by gameboygeek of the GET ADLER! game:
GET ADLER! makes a great stocking-stuffer and is fun for the whole family. Visit Caper Games to order it online or for more information on retailers carrying the GET ADLER! game.

Cuts & Transitions

In filmmaking there are three stages: Pre-production, which is the planning stage; Production, which is shooting the raw footage; and Post-Production, editing it all together.  In a perfect world all your footage would edit together seamlessly as if it was one long, continuous shot and the movie would be done as soon as you filmed it.  Meanwhile, here in the real world, it is in the editing room where the movie is really made – not in the writing or planning and not even on set when the cameras are rolling. The real movie magic begins in the editing room.

Like a giant puzzle the editor must put all the pieces together to form a complete story, and he or she does this by cutting and transitioning from one piece of raw footage to the next.  The type of cut or transition you use should not be because it would look cool, it should reinforce the scene and the story as a whole. There are so many different types of cuts and transitions to choose from it can be a bit overwhelming. Knowing what they are and how the work on other films is a good starting point

In the video below, Director/Editor Joey Scoma lists and defines the different cuts and transitions available to you as an editor, with examples from classic and modern films. I thinks it’s a great video for anyone interested in getting into filmmaking because chances are, as a indie filmmaker you’ll be the one editing your first few shorts or movies.

Learning how to cut in your software of choice is not nearly as important and learning what type of cut or transition to use… and why.

Don’t forget to check out my YouTube channel for short films, audio short stories and the complete audiobook version of Dead Hunt.