Tag: writer-director

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!

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.

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.

Office Showdown

woman firing guns in office in behind the scenes film set photo
a man fires guns at his coworkers in behind the scenes film set photo

Office showdown in a west coast think tank. Tempers flare between co-workers when a disagreement erupts over trade economics and an angered employee who was losing the argument starts shooting up the place. Connie, the level-headed office manager grabs the hand guns in her desk and takes care of the disgruntled malcontent. It didn’t end well for the shooter. Behind the scenes of a film I made awhile ago.

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.

CineFashion Film Awards

Frame from the fashion comedy film, The Selfie That Changed the World
Best Actor nominee Brandon Bernath in The Selfie That Changed the World
Film director Greg McDonald, actor Brandon Bernath and Roberto Correa cinematographer on the red carpet
The Three Amigos on the red carpet at the CineFashion Film Awards at the El Capitan in Hollywood

CineFashion Film Awards by Cinémoi nominated Brandon Bernath for Best Actor for his appearance in the humorous short fashion film, The Selfie That Changed The World written and directed by Greg McDonald in Los Angeles. Congrats Brandon! The awards show was held at the El Capitan Theater in Hollywood and was broadcast on the Cinémoi channel on Verizon Fios and Frontier systems. The film is about the inner monologue of an instagram selfie addict.

Watch The Selfie That Changed The World on my narrative page. Or check out Photography.

To discuss working together on any projects, contact me.

La Jolla International Fashion Film Festival

director greg mcdonald on red carpet
Director Greg McDonald and cinematographer Roberto Correa at the red carpet at La Jolla Int’l Fashion Film Festival.

La Jolla International Fashion Film Festival was a blast! Fashion film director and photographer Greg McDonald along with cinematographer Roberto Correa on the red carpet, were the talk of the festival with their fashion film comedy, The Selfie That Changed The World. The film takes a look inside the mind of an instagram selfie addict. Comedies usually don’t screen at the festival which made it that much more special. The response we got from the audience was remarkable. It’s such a fun festival to go to and I’ve been to it several times in the past but having a film screening in it was really an honor. It was nominated for Best Creative Concept and Best Narration. Shot at 6k resolution and mastered in 4k and filming guerrillaa style on Melrose Avenue and in a back alley made to look like a coffee shop off of Sunset Blvd.

Watch The Selfie That Changed The World on my narrative page. Or check out Photography.

To discuss working together on any projects, contact me.

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