Nothing makes storytelling harder than walking into a location that you have never been to. Basically we had to do this on all our trips this past year while filming the video campaign series for the Boy Scouts of America. Location scouting was not in the budget! On top of walking into unfamiliar territory, we forgot or actually I forgot our boom pole…therefore adapting and shooting from the hip became a big test to hide my anxiety and work with what we had to make something work.
All filmmakers do this, and I have done it more than once. I was once in London and forgot a card reader and had shoot tons of footage, and the client was wanting to review dailies. What did I do?! I ran out and went into any store that I could find that would sell video/camera equipment. I got the card reader, and to this day, he never knew. Luckily I was in a big city, and not some remote place.
Anyway, so we were in Queens, New York filming a story of a boy who in the midst of hurricane Sandy, swam in cold,rough waters through his neighborhood to find shelter for his family because their house was quickly filling with water. He was only about 14, and yes he was a scout. Talk about courage, this kid was something else.
Whenever we find ourselves in a bind, or without our basic tools, we have found a our dependence falling back on a Nasty Clamp. It sounds like a creepy torture device or some typo of sex toy, but its not. The Nasty Clamp is one of those things that make you head yourself on the head and ask “why didn’t I think of that!?” We are not being paid in anyway to pimp this tool, but it has become a staple in our gear bag. We have about 5 or 6 Nasty Clamps and they have been all over the world with us, helping us get great shots, holding lights, or holding a mic. We often find ourselves leading with the Nasty Clamp, and if it isn’t a good solution then we fall back onto our other gear.
Another benefit of the art of shooting from the hip is finding B-roll. Now being in New York, there is great B-roll everywhere. But finding B-roll relevant to your story can sometimes be a task. In our pre-pro stages, we do phone interviews with our talent, but every time we actually get face to face with them we learn of their whole story. Its not like we aren’t asking all the right question on the phone calls, its a matter of them not realizing that their story is more about who they are in their world. And most of the time someone is not going to brag about themselves in a phone call, nor do they do it in person. In comes out when you see them interacting with others, and in the small details of casual conversations.
Meet Joe. A father who is making a world of difference in a group of kids in Queens, New York…
Meet Ryan. Joe’s son. He is brave, cool, and just a normal kid that is wired to be a hero.