Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Teamsters Local 399 to go on strike Feb 1

An agency creative just asked me what all this means... Here's my take...

There has been a trend over the last 10 years to not produce commercials in the US anymore, fleeing the States to cheaper pastures overseas. This exodus has mainly been to avoid residuals fees for SAG Actors, not to save money on the production itself. While sometimes that is the case, the savings is generally marginal after travel, etc. With the pending possible strike from the Teamsters in the West, this will put production companies in an even more difficult position of encouraging clients to stay in the US. 

There's a reason that LA is the hub of production for the world-- best crews, best locations, best accessibility to equipment. Is it great to travel to other places sometimes? Absolutely. But it's hard to not think about all the jobs that are affected when you do. It's not just the Teamsters that would be affected by this strike. It's the entire crew. And while all of production should stand united, they are striking for a reason that will not go away. The AICP is asking to change the threshold for what's considered "low-budget" from $75,000 a day to $125,000. On a low-budget contract, day rates can be negotiated with crew members below scale rates. 

Let's be clear: no one wants to pay anyone below scale. No one is really “excited” about low-budget work, but with more and more web work this is the reality of production. The days of getting $250,000 a day for production are gone. The words “nimble” are used on a  daily basis— who can make a scene look like a million bucks for $500 shot on an iPhone? This is our reality, and we need to embrace it or risk becoming extinct. 

Production crews are the ultimate team and no one is diminishing the value of Teamsters— from drivers to location managers, they can clearly be argued as the backbone of the crew. No one is looking for a way to short change their value. We fight everyday to make union crews work for the budget at hand. This provision will create jobs. It will ensure that union crews aren’t a thing of the past. It’s in the best interest of everyone. Let's keep jobs in the US. Let’s look out for each other. Let’s be union supporters by supporting the greater good. 

Monday, September 22, 2014

Chrysler Born Makers

When the Chrysler "Born Makers" boards came to Klaus Obermeyer, there were hundreds of scenes that needed to be shot, and not enough days to shoot them. But Klaus isn't a "we can't do it" kind of guy.  He called in Ken Arlidge and Sam O'Hare, and between the 3 of them, Klaus divided and conquered to get everything and then some. This is why its good have great partners on your roster.

All of the diverse locations would never have been possible with one crew. And those locations that couldn't be found, were created in CG with Sam O'Hare at Parachute.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Funny man Peter Lydon

It’s time for my favorite segment of the Aero Blog: Get to know that director!  Today’s lucky winner is Peter Lydon
Peter Lydon's passport photo.

Peter Lydon shoots funny commercials!! But you knew that, and while on your 4 minute lunch break, in between checking Facebook, making doctor appointments and taking the latest Buzzfeed quiz, you don’t want to watch commercials. No matter how FREAKING GREAT they are. (And they are…)

Peter, clearly directing, with Joanna Lumley.

Peter with Al Pacino on the set for Sky in LA. 

Of all of Peter's work—from his start in documentaries to his TV shows (Secret Diary of a Call Girl, Teachers, Shameless….) his short film work is my favorite. They are incredibly clever and pack a tricky little story into less than 10 minutes. These also really tell you the most about him and his sensibilities as a director. Not that a commercial touting high speed internet doesn’t, but… well, you’ll see.

Peter with two call girls. Thankfully they are actresses on "Secret Diary of a Call Girl."

Dumping Elaine is his first short, funded by the BBC for their film series, “Ways to Leave Your Lover.” It was shot over a weekend on 35mm film. (Film!!!) It was well received on the festival circuit, being chosen at Aspen, Edinburgh, LA and Dresden. It won Best Short at the York Film Festival (I’m sure Lady Grantham voted for it…), and a Soho Shorts finalist.

BBC loved that one so much that they came back for more. This time with the theme, “Getting Even.”  For this, Peter created The Silent Treatment. I don’t even know where to start. This is just brilliant. The dialogue… the lack of dialogue… the expressions… the way the actors and the camera move through the space… It won Manhattan Short Film Festival Best Screenplay… And… Just watch it, please.

… did you watch? Amiright or amiright?

Clever nuanced real performances are what makes Peter a great director and writer, and intimidating to interview without sounding like a dope. So, I looked to my interviewing muse, James Lipton, and let the interview ensue…

What is your favorite word?


What is your least favorite word?


What turns you on?

Where to start!

What turns you off?

Where to stop!

What sound or noise do you love?


What sound or noise do you hate?

Neighbours (the “u” because, English. Adorable.)

What is your favorite curse word?


What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?


What profession would you not like to do?

Trapeze Artist

If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive
at the pearly gates?

What can I get you Pete?


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