Spin

A wild night lands a young star and his entourage in jail, leading them to recount the fuzzy details of their interconnected antics.

The web series can be viewed in its entirety here: Official YouTube

Awards

Award of Merit - Best Shorts Competition June 2016

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Producer Zach Silverman approached me to help shoot his pilot episode of the series Spin. It was written by the hilarious Jeff Graham and Lauara Plamer, directed by Tyler Leisher.

The show is sit-com focused and dialogue heavy, yet Tyler and I wanted to add visual comedy to the story as well. We both embraced "oner" style shots. Basically, we focused on covering a scene with one shot; be it well choreographed camera movements or simply well acted moments.

Some scenes, of course, were covered traditionally, but others had their shots determined by maximizing the visual comedy. For instance, the radio station had essentially three angles: an exciting dolly left/right of the fun radio anchors, equally exciting dolly left/right of the hollywood actor, and a boring static of the actor's loser roommate.

Shot on a very tight budget, we incorporated cheating elements to imply more than what we had. For example, the jail set was on a soundstage with only one jail cell. To get a reverse of a character facing "other" cells, we simply use the same cell, but paid careful attention to the 180 line, light accordingly, and placed different background actors in the "different cell". Completely seamless.

Most TV sit coms come in two flavors: live audience style (a la FriendsBig Bang Theory, etc) or "single cam style (30 RockUnbreakable Kimmi SchmidtThe League). Of course, this show is a single cam adventure, but I wanted it to be lit like a naturalistic movie. I felt that natural lighting and minimalism would help draw the audience into the "real world" of these characters and focus more on the jokes. The natural lighting helped emphasize the jokes and add additionally kick to the punch line.

The "therapists" offce is a great moment where we applied this idea. Since the scene is about a reality TV show setting up for the day, the lighting would be set up mid-shot by the background. We trained our "gaffer" on how to walk through the frame with the china ball, set it up, and then walk away. In the take, a viewer would see the key light on the actor's face shift from one side to the other and then up. Tyler even had the "gaffer" wack one of the actors in the face with the china ball for added humor.

We used color in the club scene to define locations within the club. Amber for the bar, blue for the stage, and red for the booths. The Virgil, the bar we used, already had an amazing look to the place and we barely added anything major to the set dressing (ie: new wallpaper, new furniture, etc. There was no need!)

I shot the show on a Canon C300 with Nikon Cine-vised primes in CLog. I personally color graded it myself on DaVinci with Canon's REC709 as my base LUT.

This show was a blast to shoot. Tyler is a great director to work with who knows exactly what he wants and how to get it on screen. Kim Brunner did an excellent job with the production design, especially with the very important dressing we did ad to The Virgil.