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in cinematography
hypothecast 0.1 (featured page)
A discussion of the featured page from the first episode of The Laroquod Experiment's Hypothesis, a media-crossing, genre-corrupted, comic book intrigue about a filmmaker from another planet, based on a true story.


One of the influences which led to the idea of taking first shot submissions from the public is my participation in the Toronto Film Challenge. The challenge being: to shoot and deliver an entire short film in 48 hours, starting without even so much as a script. At the start of the countdown the organisers assigned each crew some required seed material at random, like props that must appear or mandatory locations — a method not so different from starting with somebody else's first shot. And it reminded me that there is a paradoxical freedom in giving up a measure of control.

I would tell you that our approach to the Challenge was unusual. But that would be an understatement.
an actor's demo reel
They say that your life is what happens to you while you're expecting it to arrive. And you can observe this principle in action without necessarily "living it out". You'll find it anywhere you look, because it's mirrored microscopically in every contact.

The final figure of a telephone number, for example, is not a number but a person. And when you dial it you had better count off 3-2-1-HUMAN in your head, because that's exactly what you're going to get. A person is a labyrinth of talent and desire, a root system that feeds a tree of skills diverged and intertwined to meet a unique series of opportunities. Wander it if you will. But don't expect to come out facing the same way you came in.

This is something that I've learned from Wendi Smallwood.
the illuminating failure of an untitled interaction
I'm not ashamed to admit that "illuminating failure" has been a recurrent theme in my life. I find that if you aim yourself directly at the thing that you desire, then you will make the right mistakes. And the difference between a "right" mistake and a "wrong" one, is that the right mistake is never of omission. The right mistake represents the results of a test of everything you believe. The right mistake provides you with enough observational material that you can decide whether to modify your approach to the next five minutes or your approach to your entire life.

I have modified my approach to my entire life in response to a particularly illuminating mistake I made called An Untitled Interaction.
on 16mm colour
I most recently worked in 16mm colour as the Director of Photography for a 30-minute film that played in the Toronto Short Film Festival, called The Devil & Ms. Jones, and excerpted here...

Clip One

Clip Two

Clip Three

Shooting on film is a great experience, and I do miss it, but not really because of its visual properties (and I'll explain why not in an upcoming post, above). Mostly I miss the challenge of it. Working on film is like flying without a net. Film cameras don't normally come with LCD screens attached, and even when they do, no video monitor can show you how the light will fall on that emulsion. You have to know it in advance, because you've tested on your film stock and you understand the language of light with a fluency that you can get away without on video.

Now there's no doubt that being well-versed in film photography is a big advantage when lighting for DV (much more so than vice versa), but strictly-speaking, it isn't completely necessary to get the job done. So there's a whole range of skills that only gets a vital workout on film. And when you haven't done it in a while ... yeah. You miss it.

Other projects I have shot on 16mm colour include the following two student films from my time at Ryerson in the film certificate program: Filmmaking in Two Easy Steps (as the writer, director, cinematographer, and editor); and The Payoff (as the cinematographer).


The Payoff

Incidentally, the script for Filmmaking in Two Easy Steps is a 16-beat quad, the first one I ever wrote for the screen. And coming full circle in a way I never would have predicted ten years ago, I've been writing a lot more of them lately.

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