We worked with West End Comedy on this project. Learn more about their comedy shows and what improv comedy is all about.
Check out the nTelos Wireless site. Did you know they’re headquartered in Richmond?
This was one of those projects that seem to come out of nowhere, and turn into great experiences. nTelos Wireless was in need of some corporate training programs, and for part of these programs they wanted intro videos. You know, short videos that provide a jumping-off point for discussions. But nTelos didn’t want to create that same old boring 1980’s-style training video; they wanted something with a little more personality and punch. So, they contacted West End Comedy and had a brainstorming session.
Funny enough, I was brought on almost as an afterthought, sort of as a technical advisor. As the project built steam, a few people came on board and a few left and a few things shifted and ideas evolved and eventually I found myself in the position of producer and director. Which I am totally cool with.
WEC drove the creative and wrote the scripts, but it was up to me and my crew to create the environment, the shots, and the final product. Here are the results:
For shoot day, I hired a crew of freelance pros that I like to work with, and tried out some new faces, too. When projects like this happen and I have the chance to staff it myself, I like to provide opportunities wherever I can to those who might need a bit more experience in the industry, but are otherwise at the top of their game. I’ll try to bring on one or two new faces to join an otherwise expert crew, and I see how well they mesh. It’s a great system for everyone; I get qualified, excellent talent, and they get a paycheck and another credit on their resume (I believe you should always pay your people when you can, because no-pay projects usually don’t attract the level of talent you’re going to need: the ‘grab a few free PAs’ mentality is a sin, and it’s wrong). And how do those folks find me? Networking, of course!
For the sets, we had to build two of them in the same space. We had the opportunity to film inside of the HatTheater , but only had about an hour between shooting “It’s a Breach” and “Hotline”. We had to design light, easy-to-move walls that could change out quickly and look like an entirely different set. We ended up using, painting, and carving large styrofoam boards, and using those as the walls. Painting styrofoam is tricky to paint, but it’s an excellent set design piece if you need something light and malleable, or if you need someone to break through a wall and can’t afford plaster.
The nTelos project went off without a hitch, and we spent two very long days filming all three of the videos. I had a wonderful experience working with nTelos, West End Comedy (who later helped me out on my 48 Hour Film Project), Ceridwen Productions, and all of the excellent crew members I was able to meet. And mad props to my parents, who helped me carve a 3-foot-tall plastic “n” to the exact specifications of the nTelos logo, as well as their assistance with the art design.