So I won a Gold Addy at the 2013 Western Virginia for “The Culture of Silver Seas PR”, a short film.
To be honest I didn’t think I would win anything but at least I would get the film in front of some eyeballs. Well, if I want to be honest though, I wouldn’t have entered it if I didn’t think it was worth entering.
Screw it…to be totally honest, I entered it thinking that it would at least win a Silver and I spent a large amount of time fantasizing about it winning Gold and how I would react!
How I reacted was to let out a large, Ric Flair “The Nature Boy” style “WOOOO!” followed by a “YES!”, a “DG” and two F-bombs (the “GD” and F-bombs were a little more low key, I did realize I was in a room full of powerful ad men and media moguls). Although I fantasized about it, I did not practice it and the reaction was authentic, so much so that I don’t really remember what was going on around me. After the announcement, the short film was played in it’s entirety and I relished the moment (actually all 2 minutes and 6 seconds). This is a first for me in the creative world.
The film was done for upstart company Silver Seas PR which specializes in getting media coverage for cultural creatives. At our first creative meeting we discussed what kind of clients the company would cater to and the image the company wanted to project. My suggestion was to do something as “non corporate” as possible, something that didn’t even mention the company name, who they were, or what they did. That was agreed upon. We next toyed with questions to ask, things to think about, memories to exhume. “What happened when you read Khalil Gibran’s ‘The Prophet’?” “What did you think when you visited a museum for the first time?” “How did your perception of movies change when you saw ‘Star Wars’ or ‘Citizen Kane’ or ‘Taxi Driver’?” We decided that approach could potentially turn people away if they did not like our choice of iconic cultural media creations so we settled on defining “Culture” itself. “Settled on it” you say? “That’s a big, broad topic to define.” I know, so we enlisted the help of record producer Marty Thau to help us. He wrote the script and it was decided to have various people in their respective environments to deliver the script on camera a few lines at a time.
The total budget for “Culture” was about what a good sound man would charge for a full day. However, it was shot over four separate days in six different locations using a still camera that shoots 720P30 HD, a home made dolly, a home made jib, two pieces of white foam core, one borrowed Tota light, and the willingness and camaraderie of true, working creatives who donated their time and energy. They say necessity is the mother of invention and when I don’t have the money for something, I’ll make it myself if I can or use what others regard as useless. The creative process for me isn’t just limited to visual aesthetics and interest. It’s alive in how I figure out how to do something with the materials at hand, whether it be a cheap camera, using clothesline and skateboard parts for camera support and grip gear, or how I can make a week’s worth of leftover, almost rotten food seem palatable to a 13 year old boy.
Now I know there are gaping lapses in technical fidelity in “Culture”. Believe me, I know. I’m a “pixel peeper” and a tech geek. But after it was in the can and edited, I was able to see that the whole was greater than the sum of the parts. I didn’t go into it thinking I would enter it into anything…that was not the goal.
The goal was to come up with something that was not corporate in nature and could be a stand-alone piece with a message of its own not connected to any corporate entity. See for yourself.
Dave Perry is an award winning Roanoke Virginia digital film producer.
His sideburns are only a hobby.