The Challenges of Weather Dependent Productions

Capture.JPG

There are various factors to take into consideration when going on video shoots here at Knack Factory:  What perspectives should be captured on camera? What equipment will be used during the production? What will the narrative of our finished product be?

Kurt Graser, our Partner and Lead Video Producer, believes that the most influential circumstance that needs consideration is often one out of our control. The weather, he explains, can often make or break the fluid process of film production.

Weather dependent productions can be tricky, especially when the summer forecast suddenly changes from sunshine to rain clouds. In moments like these, the crew has to seriously reconsider the 5 W’s of the planning process. Most importantly, they must ask themselves, “Is there a way we can accommodate the bad weather into our production, or is it best to simply reschedule?”

A more recent example of this comes from a shoot Knack Factory did in late May, where the forecast of rainfall in Cape Cod posed challenges for filming that was originally supposed to be shot along the coastline.

The project, a commercial video for the company Evenflo, aimed to capture the essence of baby products with the narrative of a family leaving their home for a summertime vacation. Products such as car seats and strollers were to be used, and up until Kurt checked the weather two weeks before the planned production, everything seemed to be working in his favor.

Much to his disappointment, the weather looked terrible. During the time the crew was set to shoot, it was supposed to rain. Hoping that the weather forecast would change to sunshine as the days grew closer, the team waited it out.

On Sunday evening, just 12 hours before their first schedule shot on Cape Cod, our Producer Lindsay Heald called the National Weather Service and asked for a detailed report on the conditions. She was told the storm would only get worse, so the KF team had to come up with a plan and do so quickly.

In that short amount of time, they changed the entire focus of the original project to accommodate the weather. Instead of focusing on how to “Embrace the Summer,” it was decided to focus on a more realistic concept of, “Embrace the Unexpected.” Crew members who have children of their own all agreed that this concept is something most parents experience.

Evenflo was more than happy to work with the creative accommodation, but the change in plans presented a challenge to the entire team. The shot schedule changed, shooting locations were rescheduled, even the details of shot perspective had to be changed. The project, which had taken months of preparation, needed to be completely reworked in a matter of 12 hours.

Luckily, Kurt says the entire team worked really well together to make the new concept a reality. He admits, it could have been a disaster, but due to experienced crew, everyone on the team did exceptionally well pivoting fast toward the client’s wants and needs. Instead of shooting video on the beach, like originally planned, they shot at the movie theater, an ice cream shop and at three of the houses they rented for the commercial production.

Kurt says that more often than not, weather plays a super important role in the process of their day-to-day projects. Especially during the summertime, when a lot of clients want New England’s scenic and natural landscape to be a highlight of their video. In the case of the video shoot with Evenflo, the KF production team had to take into consideration how the cold temperatures and dreary rainfall would affect the young children actors and wanted to make sure they weren’t exposed to it for extensive periods of time.

When working in bad weather, particularly rain, the risk of damaging equipment begins to increase. More recently, Kurt points to an example of filming on a golf course. The goal was to shoot content to promote golf training aides on a beautiful summer day, but yet again sheets of rainfall were in the forecast.

He recalls being in the middle of that golf course with Associate Producer Thomas Starkey when a thunder and lightening storm darkened the field. With a strong wind gust and sudden downpour, they retreated under a tiny tent and waited until it was over. Overall, the production was a success, but not without the trials that rainfall cast down on them.

On days where bad weather can make or break a video shoot, Kurt says the team just has to do what they can to make the project a reality. If someone wants to do video on the beach, hearing and seeing rain is not what they’re going to want to capture. So unless there is a creative way to work around the weather, the shoot will be rescheduled or cancelled entirely.

While it can be a nuisance to organize around the unpredictable patterns of New England weather, it poses a challenge that Kurt says all producers will encounter at some point or another during their career endeavors. Like all challenges life throws our way, we must overcome the obstacles before us by forging a path of newfound knowledge, fresh with creative expression and ready for new ways of thinking.

What's Good, All Roads? 2017 Teaser || KNACK FACTORY + LOMA

A few months back we sent our friends from LOMA up to All Roads to capture what's good up there. They came back with, appropriately enough, with a short series called What's Good. The short series kicks off this upcoming Tuesday with a new episode following weekly thereafter. What's Good is presented by us, Knack Factory, and LOMA Media.

Meet the Knack Factory Interns, Summer 2017 Edition

We are excited to welcome JP Touchette and Krysteana Scribner to our team as part of our Summer internship program. Thank you to all of those who took the time to apply for the position! We are so grateful to have the opportunity to work with these two for the next handful of months.

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

JP: I love drumming.

Krysteana: I'm currently a Senior at the University of Southern Maine. With a major in English and a minor in media and communications, it is my hope to tell stories through media production, whether that be through journalistic endeavors or video/audio production.

My favorite food are Pierogies (European dumplings), my favorite place to relax and read is underneath the Casco Bay Bridge at a beautiful park unknown even to most Portlander's and I play several instruments/love to sing. When I'm not biking around Portland with my backpack and camera on me, I can be found studying at the Glickman library, working at Hot Suppa as a Hostess, or sleeping. I love to sleep.

What is something that is popular now that annoys you?

JP: Nearly everything this popular now annoys me. ex: memes, mumble rap, the Kardashians etc. 

Krysteana: Fidget spinners. I see them everywhere. Their popularity will rise and fall like any other fad in history. I get annoyed by the people who use them in moments they aren't distracted by their phones or laptops. We live in strange times, for sure.

What’s your favorite way to waste time?

JP: Playing video games.

Krysteana: I love to watch pointless comedy skits of "Rooster Teeth Animated Adventures" while eating endless amounts of pasta. It's just a bunch of short, hilarious podcast segments put to animation, where a bunch of bros talk openly about hilarious experiences they've had in life. The videos can't be more than 3-5 minutes each, but after watching several of them... well, you get the gist. 

If you had intro music, what song would it be and why?

JP: In the Light-Led Zeppelin... should be self explanatory.

Krysteana: "Reasons Why" by Nickel Creek. It was a favorite song of mine growing up, and it encompasses how I feel about life in general. So very emotional, so very beautiful.

Who had the biggest impact on the person you are today?

JP: Brian Olson, my school teacher and mentor.

Krysteana: My mother, father and stepmother of course. It was the three of them that shaped me into the decent human being I am today. They all offered me guidance and support in different areas of my life and I couldn't express enough just how thankful I am to have them as a part of my existence.

Why are you interested in working in production?

JP: I simply feel good when I produce images and sounds.

Krysteana: There's something calming and relaxing about putting together something you've worked so hard to gather materials for. I could work in InDesign doing layout and edit audio all day. It's also really rewarding to see the final product and show it off to the public. I also love the process of interviewing and gathering the materials needed (such as video and audio content). It allows me to meet a lot of new people, try new things and do what I love all at the same time. 

How do you introduce yourself at parties? 

JP: With an awkward attempt at a handshake.

Krysteana: With a handshake and a smile. Then, I find a corner to hang out in and people watch.  

What draws you to media production? 

JP: Emotion.

Krysteana: I like telling stories, regardless of the platform. Whether it be through video, audio or written work, everyone has something important to say and everywhere you look there is a story waiting to be told. 

If you could give advice to a younger you, what would it be?

JP: Grow out your hair.

Krysteana: Save all that money you're making working two jobs while in High School! It's not like you have bills to pay anyway. Older Krysteana would appreciate having that extra savings available.

What sorts of things have you worked on in the past?

JP: Short films. 

Krysteana: I've done a lot of work in journalism and audio production. I worked at a photography studio for a year, was the Editor-in-chief of the USM Free Press paper for three years, had an internship at the Bangor Daily News and also worked at the Journal Tribune in Biddeford for a year.  

What is your favorite movie?

JP: I don't have any specific favorite but the Tree of Life changed everything for me. 

Krysteana: I'm a fan of the film Good Will Hunting with Robin Williams and Matt Damon. Basically, any movie with Robin Williams as a lead role is probably one that I'd like. I'm also a big fan of any horror films, but they have to be done well.

What have you been listening to lately?

JP: Cream, Captain Beefheart, Howlin' Wolf, Fela Kuti.  

Krysteana: Bon Iver's song, CRΣΣKS. There's just something about it that is melancholic and meaningful.

If you won the lottery, what is the first thing you would do? 

JP: Give all the money away.

Krysteana: I would definitely pay off some of my college debt, but not all of it. Just enough to feel comfortable with the impending doom that I'll have to start paying them soon. I'd also give some to my family, as a way to say thank you for raising me and putting up with me for 18+ years. Then I'd probably buy a plane ticket (or several) and travel the world. Also, food. So much food.

Truth or Dare?

JP: Dare.

Krysteana: Truth. I'm more likely to embarrass myself trying to perform a dare than I would answering someone's question, regardless of how personal or strange they may be.

What’s your favorite season and why?

JP: Spring because it's relieving after the mud season.

Krysteana: Early Fall, when the weather's still warm enough to wear summer attire during the day, but the evening chill requires a sweater. It's the best season for campfires and enjoying nature.

If you had to change your name, what would your new name be?

JP: Hank. I don't know why. I just thought of that. I like that name.

Krysteana: I've always had a deep love for old fashioned names, such as Dorothy or Clara or Joyce. If I had to chose a different name, it would probably be Claudia, pronounced in a posh way like, “clow-dee-ah.” I find the name to be beautiful and elegant.

What is the silliest fear you have?

JP: Deep water. It's terrifying. It's just one of those phobias I have.

Krysteana: Like many people who fear the unknown, I'm afraid of the dark. Granted, this fear permeates even the safest of spaces I reside in. So, if I wake up in the middle of the night and stare off into the direction of, let's say, the closet, I may very well feel the adrenaline of flight mode telling me there could be something hiding in the darkness that threatens my safety, when clearly it's never the case in a home where I check for locked doors several times before falling asleep.

Photographer Smith Galtney on loving his subjects

"For me, I've always sort of found that the very act of photography in itself is kind of an act of love. The process in itself, the act in itself, can be very intimate, especially if it's in a studio atmosphere or if you're taking someone's portrait."

Our friend Smith Galtney told us about his love for photography and his subjects. You can see his and Matthew Papa's show "The Loved Ones" at Speedwell Projects Thursday thru Sunday, 12-6pm, or by appointment.

Don Lindgren talks history of lobster preparation

"Lobster has been identified with the state of Maine for ages and you can find the word Maine in the names of recipes for lobster going back to at least the late nineteenth century."

Meet Don Lindgren, owner of Rabelais: Fine Books on Food & Drink. You're guaranteed to learn something new in this latest video from our Hard Tellin' series with Knack Factory. Don shares with us some history of lobster in recipes and cookbooks. Here's hoping that dogfish follows in the same footsteps as lobster and bluefin tuna. Watch the video and let us know what you think. Happy Fourth! We hope you're eating lots of lobster and fish this holiday. 

Lauren Rioux on teaching versus performing

"I'm constantly growing. The other day I had to learn a Justin Bieber song. I like old time fiddle, but yet I was working on Justin Bieber because that's what a student wanted. So I'm constantly growing as a human and a musician."

The wondrous Lauren Rioux one of the many amazing and talented musicians we are so fortunate to know. The performer and educator was in talking with us about her role as an instructor at the Ossipee Valley Music Festival String Camp [July 23 - July 27]. She shared with us how teaching is different from performing, and she played for us a song.

Alex was profiled as an "Emerging Maine Icon"

Alex talked about where Knack Factory is going, and where we've been, in this profile by the folks at Maine Icons:

“It defines everything we’re into, from production to storytelling to our interest in social justice. It felt like ‘us’ all the way around,” mentions Steed of the project. Their finished video caught the attention of a number of high profile news outlets throughout the world, demonstrating the power of Knack Factory’s storytelling abilities.

You can read the whole profile here

[PHOTO CREDIT: Peter Anania || Maine Icons

A hungry Antiquarian and his love for food and drink

"If I'm looking at a book and it wants to tell me as many stories as it can tell me, it's going to tell me the story of the author of the book, the people who compiled it, perhaps even the people who created the recipes that are one step removed or ten steps removed. What happens to that book after it's sold out into the world? It starts to accumulate all the information about who owned it, what they thought of it, what they disagreed with, and then passing it to the next person to start that whole process all over again."

We wanted to spend time with someone who is equal parts insightful and sort of magical. Our friends at Big Tree Hospitality (Hugo's RestaurantThe Honey Paw and Eventide Oyster Co.) inspired us to talk with the great Don Lindgren of Rabelais: Fine Books on Food & Drink. It is safe to say that Don absolutely did not disappoint.

John K. Welsh on the importance of music

"Music is a nice way to connect with other humans. It’s a great way to non-verbally form a connection with people that you may otherwise not have other things in common. You know, in bluegrass there’s a wide variety of political representation across the spectrum. I appreciate that. There’s a lot of ways where we’re sort of sequestered into bubbles. Playing music is one way we’re not. I can go to a jam and become friends with someone and we can form a bond even though we don’t agree on everything. And I think that’s an important thing in our cultural moment. Aside from that, I think it’s a nice way to share time with humans." — Joe K. Walsh

We're huge fans of Joe, both the person and musician. The performer and educator was in talking with us about his role as an instructor at the Ossipee Valley Music Festival String Camp [July 23 - July 27]. He shared with us the following insight on why he believes music is a common and unifying language and then played for us a tune.

#MSCW2017 Monday Recap

Yesterday was a blast!

So many thanks to everyone who made it possible. Be sure to check out our daily recaps—hosted by Holly Nunan—to brush up on what you experienced, or to catch what you may have missed.

Here's an overview of just some of the many great speakers and sessions that took place yesterday.

Dr. Wiljeana Glover, Professor at Babson College, explained the importance of bouncing ideas off trusted sources and peers.

Katy Tynan, Chief Talent Development Strategist at CoreAxis Consulting, underscored why it is necessary to stay on top of changing cultures within your organization.

And at today’s keynote talk, Angela Lee, Founder of 37 Angels and Assistant Dean and Chief Innovation Officer at Columbia Business School, discussed what we as an ecosystem can do to expand diverse representation.

Hard Tellin' with Mike Wiley

We were psyched to put out this installment of Hard Tellin', our ongoing collaboration with Maine Coast Fishermen's Association, because it features Chef Mike Wiley who is one of our favorite people. Wiley is the co-owner of Big Tree Hospitality (Hugo's Restaurant, The Honey Paw and Eventide Oyster Co.) and was most recently recognized by way of a James Beard Award.

Here he talks about how he's watched his guests' taste for fish change over the past 5 years, and discusses the struggle fishermen face when marketing their products.

We are happy to support Maine Youth Leadership

We are proud supporters of Maine Youth Leadership, an annual seminar for which one sophomore from each Maine high school is selected to participate. The 2017 event kicked off on Thursday and wrapped Sunday afternoon. There, students—each of whom are selected by their high school based on a range of diverse criteria as decided by that school—come together to volunteer, discuss character, bond, meet and hear from folks like Senator Angus S. King and more. By the time they are to leave come Sunday nearly every young adult has been so moved that they cry at the thought of being separated from each other, and MYL staff works with and challenges them to imagine ways to take the lessons and vibes that moved them back to school.

We support this program in a number of ways, from throwing fundraisers to do contributing funds and lending me [Alex] to the seminar so that I can give a bunch of time and serve as a volunteer staffer. We do it because I went to the program when I was a kid. Before I went, I was a kid with a good heart who was bored and so I did a lot of stupid things. MYL was the first place I felt taken seriously for being empathic and intellectually curious by other students and adults, not written off as "just a kid." My school noted a marked difference in my outlook and disposition. The change did not come because I was told or shown anything beyond the fact that I mattered and, if I felt disaffected there were things I could do.

I return, and we support the program, because this is an awesome thing to do for kids. It's run 100% by volunteers and nearly wholly by alumni who were served by it. But I return for selfish reasons too. I come back because there's nothing better than the energy of optimistic kids who are inspired by feeling heard and taken seriously. And there's nothing better than being with kids like this, and kids like me who aren't inherently optimistic but would benefit from knowing they aren't alone, that they have more agency than they imagined. That recharges my internal battery. To disconnect from the world [as much as one can] for 4 days and to just sit in this inspiration and be made fortunate by their willingness to share that with you—I clearly get as much from them as they do from the annual experience.

You can support the group here, and I hope you do:

https://www.maineyouthleadership.org/

If not, it's cool too. I just wanted you to know about this great thing that's out there in the world.

Hard Tellin' Chebeague Island

"[It] makes me a little emotional. You won't see that on the mainland. Not really. The fishing community every where sticks together—supports you. When somebody is broke down, somebody needs a tow, somebody has taken on water, everybody rushes to your aid. You don't necessarily see that in a lot of other industries."

Another great—this time especially heartwarming—story from Alex Todd by way of our collaboration with Maine Coast Fishermen's Association.

Hard Tellin' Cousins and Maine Lobster

"It's a surprise to me how many people know about Maine. Everyone has such fond memories whether they are are from there, used to vacation there, or has family there. Everyone is so excited to tell us how they're tied to Maine."

Many thanks to Sabin Lomac of Cousins Maine Lobster for meeting and talking with us at their flagship location in NCIS: Los Angeles. Thanks to Jim Tselikis for helping to set this up.

This is another installment in a series we're producing for Maine Coast Fishermen's Association in which we try to better understand the ins and ours of the Maine fishing industry.

The series, Hard Tellin', aims to demystify how fish get from the water and onto our plates, and to introduce us to those who make that happen.

ATTN: THIS COULD BE YOU (Summer Video Production Internship)

What we are seeking:

  • A talented short-term teammate who has experience with video production; from cinematographer to grip, all levels should apply.
  • A video editor; animation skills a plus
  • A student or non-student of any age or stage of your career.
  • An interest in telling and sharing stories is a must.
  • A team player who doesn't mind helping out wherever needed.

What we are offering:

  • A part-time or full-time summer PAID internship lasting up to 3 months (negotiable based on availability).
  • A judgment-free learning experience.
  • A chance to flex your creative muscles by pitching and shooting stories.
  • A space to hang out in our office in downtown Portland, Maine.
  • The occasional taco from El Corazon.

What we would like to see:

  • A reel or sample of your video work.
  • Your resume.
  • A cover letter specific to this position (like, why Knack Factory?).
  • Knowledge of the Adobe Suite - Premiere, After Effects, Photoshop specifically.

Please email your information to info@knack-factory.com with subject line 2017 Summer Intern by June 1st.

Just a few examples of how much fun we have (but really, we do):

Shooting Scallops off the coast of Maine

"Maine, it seems to me, was founded around fishing. A lot of the communities that were fishing communities are now retirement communities and we gotta fight that as long as we can."

We loved having the opportunity to talk with Alex Todd.

We have partnered with Maine Coast Fishermen's Association to produce a series of videos (lots of awesome videos) that will share untold stories about our fisheries.

Dark Tiers

Sometimes a client will—bafflingly—give you the freedom to help produce their story employing science fiction film motifs from the 70s and 80s. And they'll be so psyched about making the project happen that they'll be partners in making it great.  

And sometimes, by some magic, the project just so happens to launch on the day everyone celebrates the most iconic franchise of that era. Bonkers.  

Many thanks to John Rooks and Justin Jaffe of Rapport for inviting Knack Factory to go down this galactic road with them. 

And thanks to Jason Welborn of Welborn Design for his badass animation skills. Additional appreciation goes out to our very own Kurt Graser for designing the hell out of the sound. We are psyched all around.