Tag: los angeles

After Party Interview

Earlier this year I found this clip of our after party interview at the La Jolla International Fashion Film Festival. I’m with cinematographer Roberto Correa and we’re talking about our film, The Selfie That Changed The World. I remember doing it but forgot all about it until I stumbled upon it.

Where you drunk during the interview?

Even though this interview took place at the after party around 1am at The Lot, a bar and restaurant in La Jolla, and I appear to forget what I did on the film near the beginning of the video, I assure you I was very lucid.

Related article: Aliens and selfie addiction on Amazon Prime Video.

We had a very good time at the festival and our film got a great response. The film is a fashion comedy that takes a peek inside the mind of a selfie addict. It was nominated for Best Creative Direction and Best Narration. The actor, Brandon Bernath, got nominated for Best Actor in CinéFashion Film Awards put on by Cinémoi.

festival best creative direction la jolla international fashion film
Brandon Bernath, nominated for Best Actor in the CinéFashionFilm Awards

You can watch a clip of Roberto and I introducing the film at the festival on the Fashion Film Network‘s vimeo channel and read about it in our post here.

Related article: we won Best Comedy Film and Audience Choice Award.

The best moment of the festival

The best moment of the festival for me was when another filmmaker came up to me and said because of the film, no one was taking any selfies after the screening. Yes! The film had some kind of affect.

It felt good to get a strong reaction like that with the film. Not to mention, selfies are to photography what McDonald’s is to food so the stopping of selfie taking was a good thing and I feel I made the world a better place if only for a short time.

Needless to say, the self-imposed selfie ban didn’t last long and people were back to snapping selfies later on. But it was nice while it lasted.

Read more in our blog post about us at the La Jolla International Fashion Film Festival.

Need a break? Of course you do! Take 1.5 minutes and watch No Words, a video poem. A short film about nature and our neglect of it.

pretty blonde woman in sunglasses in comedic fashion film
Christine Wood in The Selfie That Changed The World

About Gate5, my Los Angeles video production company

Gate5 is a creative video agency and full service video production company in Los Angeles producing high quality video content for the web, your social media outlets, kiosks and broadcast television.

We conceptualize, write scripts, secure locations and permits, cast actors, direct, film and edit commercial videos, narrative films, branded content, product and promotional videos, TV commercials, episodic content and live video streaming production.

Click here for Gate5 video samples.

If you have a commercial or a narrative project where you need a director and/or a video production company, feel free to contact me to discuss it to see how if we can work together on it.

Check out my photography here.

Coronavirus Apocalypse

It’s very strange and eerie seeing empty streets in Hollywood when they’re normally busy at all hours. The economic shut down and ‘stay at home’ order by the City of Los Angeles and the state of California has created a Coronavirus apocalypse. It’s made for new opportunities for street photography – but with limitations.

empty Sunset Blvd in Hollywood during a colorful sunset during the shut down
Sunset on Sunset. An empty Sunset Blvd during the Coronavirus apocalypse

Follow ‘stay at home’ orders

Of course, when leaving your home one must follow the CDC guidelines on physical distancing and the guidelines set by your city. Here, the City of Los Angeles guidelines also apply to the whole of LA County.

And if you’re truly following the guidelines that means – DO NOT go out for the sole purpose of shooting street photography!

The guidelines call for leaving your house only for essential reasons such as grocery shopping, getting other needed supplies, going to the bank, picking up medications or seeing a healthcare provider, etc.

However, you can go out for exercise as long as you maintain a physical distance of at least six feet from anyone else.

So how do you go about shooting street photography when you’re not allowed to be out except for essential trips and exercise?

empty Sunset Blvd on sunny day during shut down in Los Angeles

Take your camera with you when making allowed trips

Should be obvious, yes? Just take your camera with you on your trip to the grocery store or other essential outing. If you don’t live within walking distance of anything, go take a hike. By the way, don’t take that personally. I’m telling everyone to go take a hike during the shut down.

Even easier, use your cell phone. I took the two pictures above with my cell on the way to getting take out. For wider captures and impromptu cityscapes, I’m generally happy with the results I get with my cell. I always prefer to use a mirrorless/DSLR for photos of any importance but that’s just not going to happen all the time. Especially during a pandemic when I’m on my way to pick up food for the week.

Not your typical street photography

Most street photographers either shoot people or buildings and architecture. If you’re a people person, your normal subject matter doesn’t exist at the moment. Even for architecturally focused street photography, people in frame are often used to provide scale, reference or to portray the utter meaningless and alienation of the individual in modern society (okay, I admit it, that’s how I interpret just about everything).

So use the barren streets as an opportunity you may not get again (hopefully another shut down isn’t in our future). Take advantage of the apocalyptic feel of the world right now – the empty streets void of cars and the few isolated people walking around.

It’s an excellent opportunity to juxtapose the one lone walker wearing a face mask against the boarded up businesses. Or to capture what are normally bustling streets with no little to no cars like the photos I took of Sunset Blvd. Or to capture the kafka-esque quality of life during the Coronavirus shut down.

Use these empty streets and the Coronavirus apocalypse to your advantage and create new and unique images that you wouldn’t be able to get otherwise before the world opens back up!

Need a break? Of course you do! Take 1.5 minutes and watch No Words, a video poem. A short film about nature and our neglect of it.

About Gate5, my Los Angeles video production company

Gate5 is a creative video agency and full service video production company in Los Angeles producing high quality video content for the web, your social media outlets, kiosks and broadcast television.

We conceptualize, write scripts, secure locations and permits, cast actors, direct, film and edit commercial videos, narrative films, branded content, product and promotional videos, TV commercials, episodic content and live video streaming production.

Click here for Gate5 video samples.

If you have a commercial or a narrative project where you need a director and/or a video production company, feel free to contact me to discuss it to see how if we can work together on it.

Check out my photography here.

Keeping Busy During the Coronavirus Lockdown

With virtually all production – whether it’s film, television or commercials being canceled or postponed due to the coronavirus lockdown, what can you do to stay productive?

a man rows a canoe in a city street
It’s important to exercise during the coronavirus lockdown.

Write that screenplay

For me it’s easy, write! I’m currently finishing a feature screenplay I started in the fall of 2019. If you’re a writer, take advantage of this slow down, or shut down to be more accurate, and write as much as you can.

When I’m busy with client works, I sometimes find if very difficult to make the time for scriptwriting. Now there’s no excuse.

I find it helpful to write in time blocks. I set aside sometimes as little as thirty minutes on up to two hours and write during that time. Maxing it at two hours helps me to not overwhelm myself. Sometimes I think I have to write a feature screenplay in one eighteen hour day or stay up all night drinking trying to finish it. Set a block of time per day, sit down and do it. And when you’ve hit the end of the time block, stop. If you stick to it, you’ll be done in no time.

feature screenplay Killing Happy

The Graham Greene approach to writing

One of the most inspiring and practical things I’ve ever heard about writing comes from Graham Greene, who wrote a ton of stuff; novels, short stories, plays and is considered one of the great writers of the 20th century. Many of his novels were adapted into screenplays like, The Quiet American, The Third Man, The End of the Affair, A Gun for Sale which was titled, This Gun for Hire in the movie version and others.

Apparently, his secret was that he only wrote 500 words a day and that was it! That translates into about 2.5 pages of a screenplay. He’d reach that number and would stop for the day. When I heard this on TMC’s Noir Alley it was a revelation and a relief. With his lifelong output, you would think all he ever did was write! But no, 500 words a day. And when he got older, he cut it down to 300 words a day.

Since taking his approach I’ve alleviated my anxiety and thinking that unless I write a screenplay in one sitting and suffer horribly for it, then I’m not a real writer. It’s eliminated getting overwhelmed by the thought of writing and consequently blowing it off.

I use the 500 word a day technique until the first draft is completed. Then I set blocks of time rather than a word count since rewriting is about improving, filling holes and fixing things and not necessarily about writing a lot of words.

With the script I’m working on, I’ve been fairly disciplined with this approach and am in the fix up stage now. I’m guessing in about a week it’ll be ready for others to read. It’s a dark comedy about a competitive mother’s life long campaign to keep her talented son from becoming a success and showing her up. That’s all I’ll say now. I don’t like to talk about projects I’m currently working on so more to come later.

Work on your website

The coronavirus lockdown is another great time to work on your website and improve its SEO. I admit, I haven’t spent too much time working on this site, my writing-directing site but I have been working on my production company’s site for Gate5.

I can’t stress how important SEO is for any company, especially for video production companies and photographers and this is the perfect time to work on it. To see the results of your SEO work it usually takes several months. So do the work today, while no one is searching for video and film production during the shut down and when things get back to normal in a couple months, you’ll reap the rewards of the SEO work you do today.

I wrote a post on what types of video production you can still do during the “stay at home” order that doesn’t require new filming in my post on Gate5’s site here.

Stay in touch

Don’t let the physical isolation keep you isolated from others. Get on social media, call friends and associates, use facetime, zoom, skype or whatever app you prefer to talk to people and see their faces.

Use this time you’ve been given to keep and build your personal and business relationships. With so many people staying at home, working or not, it’s a great time to stay in touch. If you’ve been thinking, like me, that you need to make more of an effort to stay in touch with people, think of it as you’ve now got a captive audience. So make that call.

Exercise

And of course, you need to stay healthy so make sure to get your workouts in. Gyms may be closed but there are plenty of body weight exercises you can do that don’t require any equipment that you can do at home.

Get on YouTube and search for ‘body weight exercises’ or a related term and a whole bunch of videos will pop up that will train you exactly how to do them.

As you can see from the photo, my favorite coronavirus lockdown workout is urban canoeing. It naturally creates social distancing, it’s great cardio and it’s cheaper than a Lyft!

Need a break? Of course you do! Take 1.5 minutes and watch No Words, a video poem. A short film about nature and our neglect of it.

About Gate5, my Los Angeles video production company

Gate5 is a creative video agency and full service video production company in Los Angeles producing high quality video content for the web, your social media outlets, kiosks and broadcast television.

We conceptualize, write scripts, secure locations and permits, cast actors, direct, film and edit commercial videos, narrative films, branded content, product and promotional videos, TV commercials, episodic content and live video streaming production.

Click here for Gate5 video samples.

If you have a commercial or a narrative project where you need a director and/or a video production company, feel free to contact me to discuss it to see how if we can work together on it.

Check out my photography here.

Sacrifices You Made

How do I repay you for the sacrifices you made for me?

Sacrifices You Made, a flash fiction story

You sacrificed for me, I know. You sacrificed affection for resentment. Compassion for contempt. Encouragement for humiliation. Love for your limitations.

I’m grateful for your sacrifices. It made me who I am.

You gave me a gift. A gift that allows me to see things differently, to have a unique view of the world. The gift of doubt.

Confident well-adjusted people don’t make art. They become doctors and lawyers and design furniture for Ikea. That’s what you said. You saved me from that misery.

I don’t know how to repay you, so I’ll do what I learned from you. I’ll sacrifice my worthlessness and destroy the thing that you love.

~ Sacrifices You Made – a flash fiction story by writer-director Greg McDonald based on the photograph.

Backstory to the story

I hate selfies – what McDonald’s is to food, is what selfies are to photography – but I’ve given in and I do take them at certain times just for the hell of it if I feel like it and to document an event or something. When I took this I was going over the story of a script in my head that I’m working on.

I snapped it while driving to the World Ag Expo in Tulare, California from Los Angeles. I was going there to see the hemp pavilion and talk to companies in the hemp world about the video series I’m launching on hemp. It was exciting to see some innovating new hemp products that are coming out.

I’ve never set out to write a flash fiction story, they just sort of happen. Usually I write one based on a picture I’ve taken like this one. They’re fun to write and are a good quick writing exercise that you can do about anything at anytime without making a big investment in time or commitment to a story. Write it. Like it? Then keep it. Expand upon it if you want and incorporate it into something else. Don’t like it? Then leave it in your notebook and forget about it.

Like the other times I’ve written a flash fiction story, such as A Sunny Desert Day, it didn’t occur to me until I got home and looked at the photo that it could tie into my script and could be used as an image that represents the main theme which is about the relationship between a mother and son. I’m currently writing, or rather rewriting it and plan to have it ready soon. I don’t like to talk about things until they’re done so that’ll have to be it for now!

About Gate5, my Los Angeles video production company

Gate5 is a creative video agency and full service video production company in Los Angeles producing high quality video content for the web, your social media outlets, kiosks and broadcast television.

We conceptualize, write scripts, secure locations and permits, cast actors, direct, film and edit commercial videos, narrative films, branded content, product and promotional videos, TV commercials, episodic content and live video streaming production.

Click here for Gate5 video samples.

If you have a commercial or a narrative project where you need a director and/or a video production company, feel free to contact me to discuss it to see how if we can work together on it.

Check out my photography here.

Video Marketing for Social Media

It’s no secret that video has exploded on social media recently. One study claims that in recent years branded video on YouTube has increased 99% in views and on Facebook 258% – and it continues to grow with no signs of video marketing for social media slowing down. 

On Twitter, a video is 6x more likely to be retweeted than a photo. The lesson is clear – if you’re not leveraging video marketing to grow your business, you’re leaving money on the table.

Video content is what is driving the Internet today to a large extent. And it will continue to do so. More brands are using video to connect to their target audience, build relationships and increase sales.

No matter what size your business is or what industry you’re in, if you haven’t taken social media video seriously, it’s about time to you do.

Social Media is a Monster

Social media has a voracious appetite. You need to keep feeding the beast to stay relevant and keep your customers engaged and keep the buzz going.

For many companies, producing one or two videos a year or even a handful won’t keep their customers engaged and drive sales.

But full service video production is expensive!

It can be. There’s a reason commercial videos cost what they do.

When you pay professionals for script development – meetings, research, brainstorming, then to write the script, create storyboards and shot lists, scout locations, cast actors, direct the shoot with a full crew and expensive equipment and finally edit, color grade, mix sound and create graphics, animation and visual effects – it all adds up to many hours of labor and equipment costs. Not to mention the cost of actor fees, costs to rent sound stages and locations, and if needed, additional insurance above and beyond what a company normally carries.

Even just needing several items listed above will drive up the cost. You certainly don’t need all of those things to push the cost over your budget.

So What’s The Option?

Faced with high production costs, many companies produce videos in-house. And I say – whatever works. If a cell phone video gets the results you’re looking for, that’s all that matters.

But there are times when a homemade video won’t cut it and a $25,000 video is out of the question. 

Design and Plan for Social Media

Not every video needs to be a big production. It starts with planning and designing a video shoot around filming a lot of content in one day that can be edited into multiple videos.

To accomplish this, you’ll have to set aside your big ideas that require a group of actors, expensive locations and equipment for the time being – you can make those videos later when you’re looking to accomplish specific marketing goals such as making a big splash for a product launch or promoting a new service at a trade show.

Simple. Effective. Engaging

The key is to create videos that can be shot simply with a small crew without a lot of third party costs. I’m talking about making practical videos here that show who you are as a company, give easy to follow product demos and customer testimonials. These kind of videos will create a lot of value for your customers yet won’t cost an arm and a leg.

To solve the problem of creating multiple videos while keeping costs down, we’ve streamlined the production process to keep the bloat out and the quality in. We’ll work with you to create a creative solution that can be filmed in one location, with only one or no models or actors and that can be shot with a small crew, often times with a 1-person crew. The idea is to film enough content in one day to edit multiple videos that you can post over time.

We offer monthly production plans with fixed per month pricing for these types of productions when you need to release content weekly.

Case Study

As an example, TanMeBox, a company that offers several sunless tanning products, came to us needing several videos for social media. We worked with them to create a series of 5 videos that we shot in one day with a one person crew that provided high quality video, good lighting and sound. The package included 3 videos that were product related, 1 video was a testimonial and 1 video was the company founder introducing a new service. 

We provided the production of the five videos for a very cost effective per video rate. 

Simple. Effective. Engaging.

The two videos above are from the series. 

Check out this article for more information and infographics on video marketing statistics for 2020.

About my company, Gate5

Gate5 is a creative video agency and full service video production company producing high quality sharable content for your social media outlets. We conceptualize, write scripts, direct, cast, film and edit viral videos, branded films, product and promotional videos, web and TV commercials, episodic content and live video streaming production.

Need a video? Contact us to discuss your project and for a free consultation.

Check out our commercial video samples.

Best Beauty Videographer

The best beauty videographer in Los Angeles! Well, I suppose I should be more modest but that’s not good for SEO 🙂

I have a vast experience producing and directing beauty videos for makeup and cosmetics, hair and skin care clients. From big companies to small businesses, I can work with just about every budget level from simple social media productions that can be completed by a one-person crew on up to full productions for commercials.

Hire an Expert

My team at my production company, Gate5, are expert at creating video ads for Facebook and Instagram in addition to videos that will live on your website or youtube. If you’re looking to make videos to run on as ads on social media sites, it’s best to optimize the video and shoot and edit it with a square 1:1 aspect ratio on mind. Square videos on Facebook and Instagram have proven to get more views, likes and engagement than horizontal 16×9 videos do. The key is to film in 4k in the 16×9 mode, while maintaining safe framing for the 1:1 aspect ratio. Filming in 4k gives you a little more opportunity to reframe in editing for the square aspect. Then for your website and on youtube, we can then edit a 16×9 (or wider) version of the videos.

Need monthly social media content?

Need beauty videos on a monthly basis? We can provide cost effective monthly production plans for clients who need to post original and new content on a weekly and monthly basis. We can tailor a plan that fits your monthly budget while keeping quality high and communication with you easy breezy. Our aim as a top makeup videographer service is to have us feel like we are your in-house video production department!

Despite the cookie-cutter approach others may take, if you need monthly video content, there is no one-size-fits all. We’ll customize a solution specifically for you. As a starting point, check out the monthly plans I have on the Gate5 site.

For more tips and advice, this article from Falcon.IO contains some useful information to keep in mind when creating your video ads for social media. It has some common logic things, like ‘grab their attention early’ – really? Never heard that before when it comes to internet video but it’s a quick and worthwhile read.

About my production company Gate5

My video production company, Gate5 is a creative video agency in LA and full service video production company producing high quality sharable content for your social media outlets. We conceptualize, write scripts, direct, cast, film and edit viral videos, branded films, product and promotional videos, web and TV commercials, episodic content and live video streaming production.

Need a beauty video? Or other video? Contact me to discuss your project and for a quote.

Commercials and Fashion Films

Photography

Beauty And The Beach

woman in a pretty dress stands on the beach in the eco fashion film, Beauty And The Beach

Beauty And The Beach will be screening in the F3: Frankly Film Festival in Ohio and in the Berlin Flash Film Festival!

What is an eco-fashion film?

The film is an eco-fashion film. Say what? That’s right, I said it. It’s an eco-fashion film. The subject matter is about the environment and its degradation and what is happening in our oceans and on our beaches and it features fashion too.

It’s about a woman who takes a walk on the beach and discovers the new normal. It was pretty much improvised between the actress, Hayley Pendergrass, the makeup artist Thirati K and myself. We had a general idea of what we wanted to do and when we got to the beach, we shaped the story around what we found on the beach and what was available to us.

Did you have a script or was it improvised?

The key for me is to do as much planning as I can before a shoot but then to stay open to what’s in front of me on the day of the shoot. The film you wind up with is what you shoot on the day, not what you have in your head beforehand.

If you’re open to ideas while shooting then you can incorporate changes based on what you have available on the day of the shoot to tell the story better. But you must do your work beforehand. Having a firm grasp on the theme and what you’re trying to say gives you the spine to hang everything off of so you’re not blowing in the wind not knowing where you’re going.

If you hold on to your preconceived ideas and are not open to what’s in front of your face while shooting, you’re missing opportunities to make the story better.

We wanted to keep Beauty and the Beach very short and we did – it’s one minute long. It’s a bit of a challenge telling a story in such a short amount of time but I’m happy with the result. Although, I’m not happy about the subject matter. It was quite disgusting seeing the amount of trash on the beach. I would’ve much preferred to not have it there and being forced to come up with a story about something else.

Check out a behind the scenes of director Greg McDonald shooting Hayley on his instagram post.

About Gate5, a video production company in Los Angeles

Gate5 is a full service video production company in Los Angeles. We’re a one-stop shop video agency that provides everything from concept development to delivery or any part in between. We produce branded films, promotional videos, product demo tutorials, explainer videos, episodic content, docu style corporate profiles, TV commercials for broadcast and live video streaming production. We work nationwide and primarily service the Southern California area.

If you have a project that you’d like to collaborate on, that needs a director and or producer, give me a hollar! Contact me.

Check out my other pages – Photography, Narrative, Commercials and Fashion Films.

Construction Documentary Video

Construction documentary video that I had the honor to work on and produce for the Los Angeles Dept of Water and Power L3 Maripro, the contractor. It’s something different than what I usually do when it comes to commercial work.

We filmed the 4 month offshore installation in the Santa Monica Bay that now allows the City of LA to get 50% of its electricity from renewable sources. The installation of 36 concrete vaults that weigh 50,000 pounds each and contain 4 electrodes now sit on the ocean floor, and connect to power cables that come down from Washington and Oregon that send wind, solar and hydro generated power to us in LA. The city’s goal is to get to where 100% of our electricity is from renewable sources.

The production included aerial drone footage, timelapse footage and footage shot from the barge as well as dockside work in Long Beach. This is a 7.5 minute highlight reel of the installation.

Got a narrative project? Contact me to discuss. I’d love to hear about it.

Check out Narrative stuff. Or Photography and Commercial and Fashion films.

Corporate Profile Videos

woman working in office smiling at camera with an ipad for promotional video
man smiling at camera in an office for a promotional video

Corporate profile videos we shot for a prominent law firm in downtown Los Angeles. Shot at 6k resolution, the employee recruitment videos are being used on the Client’s website and youtube channel to give prospective employees a window into their company culture.  The shoot included interviews of partners and new associates and b-roll footage highlighting the work culture, downtown offices and employment opportunities at the law firm. The challenge was to get natural looking b-roll footage as the client didn’t want anything to look too staged and to do so in a fairly tight time window. The client was extremely pleased with out it turned out.

Got a project? Contact me.

Check out Narrative stuff. Or Photography. Commercial and Fashion films.

Beauty Photographer

red lips on blonde model
female makeup model for beauty tutorial training video against dark background
female beauty model for makeup tutorial video

Beauty photographer and director Greg McDonald shot these frames for a cosmetics client in Los Angeles. The makeup video tutorials covered tips for makeup as well as for skin. Shooting the material in 5k and 6k resolution allows for the accurate representation of colors and detail of the applications and allows for still frames to be pulled from the footage for use in other marketing materials.

More in Photography. Commercials and Fashion films.

Want to talk about a project? Contact me.

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