From the Intern's Corner: Alise Caught the Cutthroat Promo Hook, Line & Sinker
11 Jan 2022
At the beginning of my internship season, BW Productions acquired Cutthroat Grip, Lighting & Stage. The new studio provides us with a lot of opportunities, like renting out space, and providing grip and electric rentals. A cool feature is a 45'x39’ cyclorama wall with full RGB lights and wireless DMX control. It’s also one of the few stages in SLC that supports the filmmaking community - we hosted a lot of our intern training workshops there. We practiced lighting setups and learned common terminology to prepare us for going on set. We were quizzed at the end of each session before taking a final proficiency check that covered everything we learned.
After we passed the check and were on set a handful of times, Brent asked us to produce a promotional video for Cutthroat socials and website.
This felt like a huge accomplishment, as we proved ourselves to be trusted with a project of this magnitude. I come from a photography background, so video and producing were still quite new to me. I was both excited and nervous to produce this because it was my first time really producing a video on my own in a corporate setting.
Anna was our director of photography, Ethan was in charge of photos, Ben was our camera operator and editor, while I produced and directed. As the producer, I was responsible for creating the call sheet, creative treatment/concept, schedule, and shot list.
Working with Aaron on Cinema Forte shoots as an assistant producer and director helped prepare me with the skills necessary to produce this shoot. It was nerve racking having to take on the leadership responsibility of a director as I value the other interns' opinions. I didn’t want to make it seem like all decisions were entirely up to me, therefore, keeping things collaborative was really important to me.
With that being said, a set can get a little chaotic when there are too many cooks in the kitchen, so assigning specific roles made the shoot run smoothly and efficiently.
In the past, I worked on a set without assigned roles and things got easily unorganized when we tried too hard to accommodate everyone's opinions. That wasted a lot of time, and by the time we had the lights and camera set up, it was already time for us to wrap. We tried our best to avoid that for this project while still respecting each other's ideas.
On shoot day, we followed the timeline as best as possible and were able to wrap on time. I worried that keeping on schedule would be the toughest aspect of the day, but because we had a detailed shot list, we were able to reference it and move quickly through the shots we needed. We even had time to experiment with lighting techniques and different shooting styles.
Stewart, the intern coordinator, was on set with us to provide help when needed, as well as being our talent. It was comforting having him there, as he helped guide us throughout the internship. Sometimes it can be intimidating working on BW Productions or Cinema Forte sets and I would get nervous about asking questions. Since this shoot was just us interns, that pressure was alleviated and I felt comfortable asking my cohort for advice.
After we wrapped, Ben worked quickly and threw an excellent rough cut together, but there were a few things we wanted to change or cut out. We took a different perspective and wanted to order things by importance, like showing our pre-rigged lights, stage size, and multipurpose spaces. Together, we culled through the shots and picked which ones we liked best. That whole process was fun and collaborative.
Taking what we learned on set and applying it to our own shoot was a fun and creative learning experience. I felt like we were able to get the necessary shots while also having a space to be flexible and experimental.
Being on set with them didn't feel like work, it was more like friends coming together and having a good time! One of my favorite aspects of the internship has been working in a team atmosphere, and being on set gives you that.
I feel like this exercise was beneficial in combining the team aspect with the individual roles that are necessary to produce a successful shoot. Overall, I think the shoot was successful and we were able to meet the deliverables that we set out to accomplish.
What I like about working with BW Productions is that even as an intern, I feel as though the team members trust us and count on us in ways they would a full time employee. That responsibility is important to me because I know they can count on me to deliver. It doesn’t feel like our job is to just observe or run errands, it’s been a very hands-on experience, which I feel is one of the best ways to learn.
Utah Women in Production and Photography was founded by women for women. Their mission is to advocate for women in their respective industries. Women provide unique perspectives, skills and insight, making impactful decisions on set. BW Productions is proud to represent a dedicated group that advocates for and collaborates with women.