the fatal place

I got the awesome opportunity to work on a project produced by Elevation church. “The Fatal Place” had a killer crew, led by our director, Jared Hogan, Steven Lester – first AD, Brent Christy – gaffer/key grip, Jeremiah Clever – audio and our wonderful producer, Ashley Hollingsworth. I got to be the first AC, working with the red epic and zeiss glass/super speeds generation one. Steven Lester taught me a lot about the ins and outs of being a first AC. He was basically my teacher for 3 days in the deserts of New Mexico. Class was good and I didn’t fail the class, thankfully.  I’m grateful for opportunities like these.

You can watch the film here: https://vimeo.com/62992476

A little behind the scenes fun: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10151334879372694&set=vb.660937693&type=3&theater

The director, Jared Hogan and yours truly.

shia labeouf

i went to new york for the first time on march 11th, 2013. i was working for my good friend, chris brank on a shoot in millburn, new jersey. before the shoot started, we had some down time to spend in new york. like thousands of others, we ventured through the city with nothing more than excited hearts. after a slice of greasy, new york “za”(pizza), we made our way around the city that never sleeps. we were about 100 feet from the entrance of central park and it was then, in the midst of a crowd in a crosswalk, i made eye contact with shia lebeouf. watch the rest of the story in this video by my friend michael gibbons. check out his site here: http://michaelgibbonsmedia.com

granted, shia labeouf is one of my favorite actors and, in my opinion, a very underrated one at that. the dude always delivers! that being said, i never want to treat people in the industry with a paparazzi type welcome. no one likes that, especially shia. paparazzi doesn’t even let him enjoy his coffee at starbucks without a photoshoot. when i saw him, he could tell i knew who he was. josh, michael, chris and i stopped in our tracks and they looked at me with curiosity, “what are you gonna do?”. like any good tourist, we all had our cameras in hand, like a cowboy with his gun. i handed josh the camera because i knew if i approached shia with a camera, it would attract attention and i’d look like a papa with a razzi. (most paparazzi dudes don’t look like your average, white, american. i look a little darker than your average cracker.)  there’s certain times where you shouldn’t approach someone ‘famous,’ but if you do, don’t fangirl them. they’re real people too, they pee just like we do. they have jobs, and in this case, shia’s really good at his. anybody can spot a person with an agenda, especially selfish agendas. now back to the issue at hand. he had his hood on and he was walking fast. i had no idea what i was gonna say but i just wanted to encourage him somehow.  i truly just wanted him to know that i care about him, apart from movies.

after catching up with him, i called his name, he turned and took off his hoodie and said, “what’s up man?” as he said that, he saw chris about 20 feet behind me with a (C100) camera over his shoulder. he quickly pointed at chris and went into defense mode with, “i don’t know who you are!”. i chimed in with, “he’s with me.” which cooled him down and chris pointed to his phone, reassuring shia that we weren’t the razzi. i told shia that his audition video for the orphans play was awesome. i felt like that got his attention because he had just uploaded it to vimeo about 3 weeks before. (thanks isaiah stratton. shia’s hour long auditon video for the play orphans: https://vimeo.com/58326220) he humbly responded with. “thanks man. i appreciate that.”. after that, he grabbed my hand in rocky balboa fashion and said let’s grab a photo real quick before this causes any attention. i never planned on getting a picture but the quick gunslinger that chris brank is, had his phone ready and took that moment in time and made it into one of those cool picture things. with a quick handshake and a request for him to scream, “OPTIMUS!” we parted ways. (i’m kidding, i didn’t ask that.)

it was really cool to meet shia but my heart is always heavy for people in the industry. they go through a lot of bull. at the end of the day, credits don’t matter, people do. they’re toyed with, stalked, and used to no end. granted, only my toes are wet in the industry that is film but what i’ve seen is, most of those types of people need solid, loving friends, not more fans. how many people ask for things from those guys, instead of truly asking how they are. your agenda will be known, they can see right through the crap. make your agenda honorable. give with your life, don’t take. i’m here on this earth to love Jesus and love people. i hope and pray that i’ll always go against the grain and love those guys instead of trying to use them for my own, selfish sake.

 the crew – josh weir, chris brank, yours truly and the very scottish michael gibbons

photos by michael gibbons

small little things – short film

here’s the trailer to a new film by my friend, jared hogan. i got to help produce this short in january of this year. the adventure of shooting this brought us from charlotte to kentucky, indiana, chicago, all the way to wisconsin. shot on the C300.

https://vimeo.com/62049305

writer/director – jared hogan: http://hoganjared.tumblr.com/smalllittlethings

director of photography - ben joyner: https://vimeo.com/benjoyner

 

life lessons in filmmaking

I’ve jotted these words down with hopes of encouraging aspiring filmmakers. I’m no seasoned veteran in the industry but I have gotten my toes wet. This subject is vast and my words can only touch the surface. As random and jumbled as these words may be, I hope a streak of light shines from them. Thank you for reading.

ACT I – INSECURITY FEST.

Hi. My name is Justin Robinson and ever since 2006, I have passionately pursued the arena of filmmaking. In my little experience, I’ve been able to cross paths with many talented filmmakers of all shapes and sizes. One thing I’ve noticed with a lot of them is a thing called insecurity. Insecurity is a lifelong, terminal disease that we all suffer from, some don’t fight it as well as others. Insecurity breeds jealousy and jealously breeds a person no one wants to be around. Bitterness is jealously on steroids or crack and that’s a combo no one wants to order. Let me break it down for you. *begins break dancing* After the initial assault of this combo, it leaves one battered and jaded. I understand why, that’s why I’m writing this.

Let me tell you a secret. A girl who constantly swims in a pool of insecurity is a whirlpool of pain for everyone.  A girl who is secure with herself is a very attractive thing. A healthy level of confidence in one’s self is a beautiful thing, especially in women. Granted, the difference between confidence and pride are as drastic as Twilight and a good movie. This topic of insecure filmmakers can be translated into artists in general but stay with me. If you’re an aspiring filmmaker, like me, there is one thing you should know: know that you’re not good. If you think the opposite, you’ve already lost. I’m not saying that you should constantly doubt your work but what I’m saying is don’t treat your project(s) like it was your newborn baby. Everyone thinks their baby is the most beautiful thing ever. If people are honest, some babies look like aliens from a bad syfy movie.

ACT II – THE HEART.

The hidden philosophy of insecurity is hating any movie that doesn’t have your name on it. I’ve seen some guys verbally trash a video and then months later, they’re stealing the very techniques from the video they trashed. Plagiarism is rampant with insecure filmmakers. The posture of a jealous filmmaker folds his arms, rather than opening them to lend a hand. “Credits are everything, praise is everything, I am everything.” This is the “me-monster” syndrome. I’m sure you’ve seen or smelled this syndrome at some point. See Brian Regan’s genius bit about me-monsters: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NiUsfEkVRDY

“Pride gets no pleasure out of having something, only out of having more of it than the next man.” – C.S. Lewis (Mere Christianity, p. 163). Filmmakers are so quick to find the fault in others (myself included) instead of finding the good, like our mothers taught us. Obviously, filmmaking isn’t a place for people who don’t like getting their feelings hurt, those need to be left at the door. Grow some thick skin and wear a cup. There’s not a problem with criticism on someone’s project but there is a problem if the heart’s intent is to destroy. It’s a lot easier to hate than help.  Be harder on yourself than other people. Don’t just take shots at people just because you have ammo. Side note; credibility is everything. If you try and give non-constructive criticism on anything, make sure your resume’ isn’t naked. Before telling someone their movie sucks, make sure your work doesn’t amount to a pile of cinematic dog crap.

If you’ve ever watched a leech, you know that they suck.. I don’t know anyone who claims a leech as their favorite animal but we can all take life lessons from leeches. Don’t try to suck the life out of people, straws are for milkshakes, not for careers. “Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life. Put away from you a deceitful mouth, And put perverse lips far from you.” – Proverbs 4:23-24.

ACT II.V – YOUR TIME WILL COME.

If you make quality films, people will attack you. They will talk about you. They will bash you. They will try to destroy your character. There will be ‘friends’ of yours who hear this rhetoric and do nothing to protect you. To be frank, not a lot of guys have any balls. Having said that, a loyal friend goes a long way. You need a person that you can stand next to and honestly say, “_______ will not screw me over”.  If your face is on Youtube or in a theater, you’re now on the pedestal of society. That’s just how it is. Even if it was a crappy video, people will subconsciously put you on the list of famous people. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with people giving someone praise, it’s up to you in how you handle that praise. Uncle Ben couldn’t have said it better, “With great power comes great responsibility”. The best thing you can is to receive it and deflect it. Don’t search for it, don’t let it be your appetite. God created the world, just because you made a movie doesn’t mean you’re a hotshot. Some may hate you for your ‘fame’ and some may even hate you because you get more Facebook likes than they do. That’s how insecure our society is. Some dudes are so insecure that they actually delete people they follow on Twitter so the ratio of following to followers is impressive. Most filmmakers have more jealously than they do originality. Credits, oh, credits. I’ve seen people get red in the face from just seeing my name in the credits… of my own movie. I’m sure some guy got mad at Picasso for putting his name on his paintings. Don’t be that guy. Many people won’t remember credits anyway but I do believe that people will remember a meaningful conversation they had in the hallway of school or over a cup of joe. Our culture breeds consumers, go against the grain and produce something. I don’t mean in the film sense, contribute a helping hand, share some love and service to others. People should be priority, not ourselves.

When the slander happens, you should lovingly confront the person and share an honest conversation together as best you can but sometimes they can be so high on jealously that it’s impossible to talk. Love them as best you can but don’t let them walk over you, especially if the issue at hand is their jealously. Jealousy/bitterness runs rampant like a tornado leaving destruction behind. “Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother.” – Matthew 18:15. Not all endings are happy but thankfully, some friendships can be restored. That should be the goal but there should be a line. If someone hurts my family, I could forgive them but I will never let them near my family again. I believe that a line that needs to be drawn because people can be very smart to obtain their selfish goals. Too many friendships are damaged or even broken because of someone’s bitter heart. “Pride is competitive by its very nature: that is why it does on and on. If I am a proud man, then, as long as there is one man in the whole world more powerful, or richer, or cleverer than I, he is my rival and my enemy.” – C.S. Lewis (Mere Christianity, p. 164). You can’t prevent the actions of other people. Just keep yours in check. Treat everyone the same.

ACT III – LEGACY.

Fast forward to the end of your life. What do you want to be known for? What do you want your legacy to be? How do you want to be remembered? This summer, I had the opportunity to work on a shoot in Orlando, FL for Steven Lester (video producer at Elevation Church in Charlotte, NC). We had a team of 9 cinematographers, all top notch guys to work with. One of them was a gaffer/lighting technician/cinematographer who graduated from Full Sail University. This guy knows his stuff! I have a deep hunger for learning anything in the film world so I just asked if I could shadow him. One thing that set apart him from many was not only his knowledge but it was his character. I’m not a gaffer by any means and he’s years ahead of me in all technical realms but he didn’t treat me like it, that’s the catch. He graciously taught me and let me tag along like a young kid with his father at work. He shared his knowledge without restraint and he wasn’t the mom who won’t share the family recipe. He easily could’ve treated me like a typical PA-type role, but he didn’t. That’s just a small glimpse into his character and apart from his tight resume, that’s what I’ll remember about him. That’s how I want to be remembered. How will you be remembered?

the chris burch

 

TheChrisBurch. Who is that? I’m glad you asked, I’d love to tell you. Chris Burch is a man of many talents, one of those being his knack for comedy. In short, he’s funny, that’s what I’m trying to say. If you’ll let me finish, I’ll tell you how I was able to convince him to be in some of my videos. The first time I knew of his existence was through a video that my friend Chris Brank made, “What Are You Doing?” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8vEcmNNEBIU) Before the video played, Brank told me that this kid was funny and boy was he right. After watching the video, I knew I had to meet this dude. With mutual friends such as Chris Brank and Ryan Hendrick, our divine introduction followed and it was love at first laugh. If I made a graph to show you how much laughter was had by us 4 during any given hang out session, the graph would be off the charts. (Pun intended.)

Our friendship blossomed like a butterfly going through puberty. I expressed my desire to cast him in some of my videos and he welcomed it with open arms. My heart for filmmaking is definitely on the dramatic side but I do love writing comedy sketches in between serious projects. I’ve heard it said that directing is 80% casting and if that’s so I’ll keep casting Chris. One of my favorite things about writing and directing is that I get the opportunity to share people’s talents through film. Jamie Costa was one of the first, key ingredients to the recipe of sharing. To see Mr. Costa in action: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GdpvqAkt048. With Chris, I’m like the dad with a super athletic son who dominates in sports and I just watch and cheer. I wrote a very random sketch in one of my classes during my spring 2012 semester and after I gave the script a bath, I brought it before him and and my friend Addi Musen (Addi is the funniest girl I know.) I write scripts a lot but I trash more of them than I use but once I heard them read the lines, I was ready to rock. That sketch came to life in the form of “Date Night” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DynRq-NsMlw

Apart from being in videos and just all around comedy, Chris has an awesome heart for God and for people. One of the ways he shows love for people is lightening their load with laughter. He has a huge heart to serve, leaving his bias and agenda behind. THAT’S VERY RARE ON A FILM SET. Some people have things happen in their lives to where it makes them grow up in a drastic amount of time, Burch is one of those people. I know God has blessed Chris with the gift of a Will Ferrell like feel for comedy. I mean he could literally walk around a funeral home and make people die of laughter. I’m not a comedy sketch writing genius by any means and I know I have a million things to learn but I sometimes have the ability to spot bad ideas. I’ve been apart of a few unplanned pitch sessions in my day BUT Chris has actually cooked up some above average ideas. :) One of those being the last sketch we did “halftime” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m2Wn6hN7T_s

We made a few sketches over the summer and after he finished his 2-year degree from Spartanburg Methodist College, he then wanted to pursue a degree from North Greenville University. Since his commute to work and school would be so drastic, he needed a place to stay. I always try to be very intentional with my friends in how I can be the best friend I can be and I vividly remember God telling me, “This is how you can be the Gospel to him”. Apart from my brother Jordan, I’ve never had a roommate because I’ve always commuted to school. Living with the Chris Burch has been one of the funniest things ever. I’m sure you can imagine.

I write all of this because I wanted to share The Chris Burch with the world. He’s been a huge encouragement to me, not only with filmmaking, but in my pursuit trying to be the man God has called me to be. Here’s some videos of where you can watch him in action. Be sure to stalk him on Twitter, Instagram, and Halo – thechrisburch

“date night”

“bloodthirsty66″

“halftime”

“violent friendships”

“education system”

“Chalk Warfare 2″ by Sokrispymedia

new sketch “halftime”

Here’s my latest comedy sketch featuring Chris Burch, Torry Martin and Gunner Willis. 3 hilarious dudes in one video. My roommate Chris Burch brought this idea to me and after sitting in class, I started writing. After some sessions with Chris, this is what came to be. Hope you enjoy it.

“halftime”

Behind the scenes:

One thing that you may not know about this video is that the audio was recorded entirely on a rode mic. If you know anything about a rode mic, you know that you wouldn’t use it for your main source of audio. Well, long story short, the boom mic I was supposed to use was completely busted. We found out the morning of the shoot. We tried everything we could; a new ZoomH4N, SD cards, XLRs, and I even sweet-talked it… but it was broken. I had to make a decision. We had to shoot and the rode mic was all I had left. So my boom op, Ryan Hendrick did what he could in a really noisy environment. After putting on my doctor gloves, I went to surgery on the audio… it was bloody but there was a heartbeat. I also had Caleb Furrow help clean as well. After an open heart transplant, the audio was passable. Hopefully you didn’t know but I know some of you (film peeps) knew. Obviously, I know it’s not amazing but sometimes, you just gotta go with what you got.

Here’s some behind the scenes photos by Ashley Marquiss.

http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.433968163337782.102112.266283086772958&type=1

Here’s some behind the scenes photos by Ashley Campbell

http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10151297154253352.528154.598073351&type=3

create.

Here’s the video I’ve been working on this month. It’s a unique piece I’ve wanted to do for sometime now. Without further a due, here it is. :)

The idea behind the creation:

If you’re given a piece of paper and told to create something… what would you make? A paper airplane? A crumbled up paper ball? A picture of you and your family or would you just let it sit there doing nothing? All of us would most likely create something totally different, which is the beauty of it. Whatever tool you use, use it to create.

Thanks for watching.

“The Pod” – behind the scenes

In early July, I had the opportunity to connect and work with a fellow filmmaker Adam Drake in Nashville, TN on his upcoming short film “The Pod” – my role on set was just to shoot behind the scenes footage for the DVD. Adam Drake directed this film side by side his friend and fellow filmmaker, director/DP Mike White. It’s a fun, sci-fi film  shot on the Red Scarlet.

Here’s the BTS video.

“The Pod” – trailer

Look up “The Pod” on Facebook:

http://www.facebook.com/thepodmovie?fref=ts

“create.” video project

Here are some screenshots of a little piece I’m working on this month. This project “create.” features artists of all kinds creating in their own way… hopefully inspiring creativity. The purpose of this video is to encourage you to create with whatever tool(s) may be in front of you. If you’re given a piece of paper and told to create something in 10 minutes…. what would you make? A paper airplane? A crumbled up paper ball? A picture of you and your family or would you just let it sit there doing nothing? All of us would most likely create something totally different than one another, which is awesome. That’s the idea – create.

The way I create and express is through film… what about you?

http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10151072956912694.431536.660937693&type=1

PS: This song helps my creative juices flow like Niagra falls. I hope it helps you.

favorites.

Incase you ever wanted to know some of my favorite films, directors and actors.

Favorite movies of all time: 

The Count of Monte Cristo (2002)

The Pianist (2002)

3-10 to Yuma (2007)

Rear Window (1954)

Warrior (2011)

Terminator Salvation (2009)

The Village (2004)

Rope (1948)

Shawshank Redemption (1994)

Saving Private Ryan (1998)

Band of Brothers – miniseries

Braveheart (1995)

Reservoir Dogs (1992)

Edge of Darkness (2010)

The Grey (2012)

The Avengers (2012)

Signs (2002)

Wrecked (2010)

No Country for Old Men (2007)

Ratatouille (2007)

Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole (2010)

The Bourne trilogy

Lord of the Rings trilogy

The Dark Knight trilogy

Favorite directors:

Alfred Hitchcock

Quentin Tarantino

Steven Speilberg

Christopher Nolan

Mel Gibson

M. Night (2 movies haha)

Wes Anderson

Brandon McCormick

Favorite actors:

Adrian Brody

Mel Gibson

Shia Lebeouf

Ben Foster

Christian Bale

Jessica Chastain

Bryce Dallas Howard

Michael Cain

Favorite TV shows:

LOST

24

The Walking Dead

- What are your favorites?