Category Archives: Short Films

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.

So You Wanna be a Filmmaker?

Filming THE AMGYDALA PROJECT was more than just fun and fulfilling… it was a great learning experience. I learned more on set filming it than I did watching the hundreds of hours of filmmaking videos and tutorials leading up to the project.

A photo posted by Kenn Crawford (@kenncrawford) on

I didn’t actually keep track of how many books, videos and podcasts I studied over the years, but suffice it to say that reading, watching or listening is still no substitute to actually Doing.

If you want to be a filmmaker you have to make films. It really is that simple.

THE FINAL GOODBYE was my first film – a no-budget, 8-minute short about a war vet filled with darkness and sorrow when he visits his mother’s grave to say one final goodbye. I’ve shot countless hours of videos, took tens of thousands of pictures as a photographer, and I directed comedy shows, but filmmaking is another matter entirely.  Everything I learned over the years had served me well and gave me a great foundation, but being on set and yelling “Action” is when your real education begins.

A few people have asked me how they could get into filmmaking and my answer is always the same: Write a great script. Not a good script, not a script that just needs a little work, a great script. It has to be perfect.  Once you have the perfect script, gather up your friends and shoot it.

It doesn’t have to be any more complicated than that. You’ll make mistakes and things will go wrong but guess what? That’s how you make better films – by making mistakes. By getting knocked down, getting back up, dusting yourself off, and doing it again. And again. And again.

If your movie would be awesome if you could get so-and-so to act in it – you need to write a better script. If all you need is _______ to make your movie – write a better script. They say you’re only as good as your weakest link and believe me your script better not be anything but the strongest link!

Great actors cannot bring life to a dull script. Expensive cameras, the most kick-ass locations, and having a special effects wizard on speed dial will not make a great film – only the script can help you do that so it has to be perfect.

With free screenwriting software like Celtx available for PCs and Mac, as well as apps for Android and iOS, there is no excuse why you cannot be sitting down right now and writing your perfect screenplay.

When you’re ready to start filming forget about needing this or needing that – use what you have, even if all you have is an iphone. Remember, TANGERINE, a film that won 22 awards, was shot entirely on iPhones. So tell me again why you can’t make your movie?

So you wanna be a filmmaker? Then stop thinking about being a filmmaker  – write the great script, gather up your friends, and shoot your movie!