BEST SHORT FILM: SCULPTING WITH TIME / DUBAI TRAILER

TELL US SOMETHING ABOUT SCULPTING WITH TIME.
We're a small company - it’s just my wife Whitney and myself. I graduated from film school in San Francisco in 2006 and have been making films ever since. Whitney and I joined forces around 2012, and we’ve been filming weddings for just about 6 years now. We try to limit the amount of weddings we take on each year to around 10-12, with about 3/4 of those being destination work. We really get a lot of joy + inspiration out of traveling so it benefits our work and has created a good balance for us. In the past we did 20-25 weddings in a year (mainly local) but now we really try and split our time doing both wedding and commercial work.

WHY DID YOU ENTER THESE AWARDS?
We’ve got so much mad respect and admiration for all of the different speakers at FLS, and felt like we would be in good company. Whitney and I really put so much time and love into our films and we wanted to share our work with a community that inspires us.

WHAT DOES THIS AWARD FOR BEST SHORT FILM MEAN TO YOU?
We’re super stoked about this! The Dubai film was a little bit of a challenge to make... we were in a city we had never been before and culturally there were a lot of restrictions as to what we were allowed to film. So we had to storyboard quite a lot ahead of time and get permission + authorization to shoot the locations we wanted to film. Also, we were actually contractually obligated to finish the teaser within 4 days of the wedding. That was all fine when we signed the contract 8 months before the wedding, but once we were there I realized we needed those days after the wedding to film b-roll. So I challenged myself to create the entire edit on our 24 hour flight home from Dubai. I didn’t sleep and barely moved from my seat on that plane ride... I just edited the whole flight. I think having creative challenges or restraints can really force you to get out of your comfort zone and get you to really use your brain. We are really proud of what we had to work through for this edit, so it’s very cool to be recognized for this film.

DID YOU ALREADY KNEW THIS WOULD BECOME A SPECIAL FILM WHILST SHOOTING IT?
We knew it had the potential to be special. The idea of Dubai and all of it's contrasting landscapes, from super surreal and hyper modern skyscrapers to the barren and endless deserts, was visually really intriguing to us before starting the project. In all honesty, we were a little nervous that we wouldn't make the most out of the opportunity. So I knew that we needed to plan + scout everything pretty extensively in order for this project to feel and look the way we imagined it in our minds.

WHAT PART OF THIS FILM IS YOUR FAVORITE AND WHY?
I knew that in order for a teaser to be successful, the film really needed to grab your full attention really quickly. And I love how this film starts and just sucks you in... the brides voice over, the striking imagery and the music all come together in a really powerful and surreal way.

COULD YOU DESCRIBE THE EDITING PROCESS?
As I said above, we edited this entire film on the 24 hr plane ride back to the states. If you want to make your in-flight entertainment a little more entertaining, give it a try. Certainly helped cure my jet lag when I got home. I think I slept for like 2 days, lol.

WHAT WAS THE BIGGEST STRUGGLE YOU HAD TO OVERCOME DURING THE WHOLE PROCESS?
This film was a little tricky because this wasn't your typical wedding day - there was no ceremony, no vows and no speeches to capture audio grabs. The entire event was really just preps in the morning and a four hour reception that night. We planned ahead and scheduled a private shoot with the couple outside of the wedding day, but we still struggled with feeling confident that we had enough content. We also had some different cultural challenges but in the end we feel great about it.

OKAY, THE QUESTION EVERYBODY ALWAYS ASKS….. LET’S GET THAT OUT OF THE WAY. WHAT WAS IN THE KIT-BAG DURING THIS WEDDING?
- Canon 1DX II
- Sony A7S2
- MōVI M 10
- DJI Mavic
- Canon 50 f1.2
- Canon 24-70 f2.8
- Canon 70-200 f2.8
- vintage 50 Nikon
- petzval 55
- dog schidt 55
- zoom h4
- rode lavs
- video pro x mic

WAS THERE SOMETHING YOU LEARNED DURING MAKING THIS FILM?
Aside from the wedding day coverage, we planned a cinematic shoot with the couple and had geo-tagged + mapped 3 locations in the desert that we really wanted to take them - but we only had a few hours. I find that things always take a bit longer than expected, and by the time we got to our last location we had planned for (which was the largest sand dune in the Dubai desert) we only had a few minutes to get what we needed before sunset. It was unfortunate as these were probably some of our most important shots, but our time was super limited... a hard lesson to learn but sometimes it's true - less is more and simplifying things is the easiest path to success.

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE THIS STRUCTURE OF STORYTELLING/EDITING?
We conducted an interview with the bride and groom the day after the wedding as we knew we didn’t have a strong audio narrative yet. At this point we had already collected most of the footage we would be using in the film, so we knew what ideas and concepts would be strongly emphasized. I also wrote a poem that morning for the bride to read, intentionally choosing words that would compliment our footage. This helped create a nice sync between the audio narrative in the poem and the corresponding footage. So in essence, the images we captured helped create the script that I wrote, and then the script helped direct the edit.

WHY THIS MUSIC AND HOW DID YOU IMPLEMENT SOUND DESIGN?
We are always aware that the soundscape we create (whether through music or sound design) will have a very strong influence on our viewer. I think music choice is a very subjective thing, but for us we always tend to be drawn to songs that are more ethereal, cerebral, and sci-fi/classical. We want our films to be elegant and sophisticated, with a dose of wtf is happening.

WHAT OR WHO IS YOUR INSPIRATION, IN GENERAL?
I find a lot of inspiration from my wife, my dog and taking long bike rides. Outside of that I try and follow and interact with a lot of creative photographers in our wedding world, as well as people in our wedding filmmaker community. I also really enjoy behind the scenes docs from my favorite films, and lastly all things Andre Tarkovsky... he has been a huge influence on all of my understanding of cinema and my learned affection for it.

IS THERE SOMETHING MORE YOU WOULD LIKE TO SHARE ABOUT THIS FILM?
be careful bringing a drone to Dubai. The police don’t mess around there. Make sure you learn about the locations you travel to before getting there. It could be very easy to find yourself in jail in Dubai.


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