When I started working at Suncoast in 2011, we had one camera (Canon 7D) and BIG dreams. I quickly learned that my work was unique: Pastor Larry just wanted us to make creative videos and he trusted us so much that he would often watch the video for the first time onstage Saturday night. Risky? Probably (haha). We were a house full of young people trying and learning new things every week. Sometimes we had a great end product, sometimes we didn’t, but usually PL found a way to tie it in to his teaching.
When it came time to make videos for our 3 Values, we had the freedom we’ve always been graciously given, but we wanted to go a little crazy. Why? It had been a few weeks since we went “all hands on deck” with a video project. We had ideas to try. Side note: usually, when any professional crew gets together to make a film, they work for months (or years) to get it just right. We have four days. Monday through Thursday. But, hey, we love a good challenge – it keeps things exciting!
Our first Value is “We are a hospital, not a courtroom” and we chose to stick with our bread and butter on this one: comedy (Ryan Parker is the king). We thought: wouldn’t it be funny (terrible) if hospitals were run like a courtroom? You come in expecting to be treated with intrinsic value, but you are cross examined before even receiving your sentence (treatment)? We wrote a ridiculous scenario and let Parker shine as COP NURSE. One of my favorite scenes is probably the shortest (it’s when everyone is yelling “fight! fight! fight!”) but Chase’s enthusiasm to see Evan and Parker (who also played PARTY GUY) push each other around makes me laugh every time. Of the three videos, this one takes the bronze, simply because we didn’t branch out into the unknown as much as the following two videos.
You can watch it here:
The second Value is “We take responsibility” and we wanted to try drama. Here’s the thing about drama: it wins awards for a reason. In order to really get a great end product, you need a story, time, practice, good directing, and actors willing to bare their soul. It’s scary and beautiful all at once, and it’s something we want to get better at. Ryan Baucom told us a compelling true story about a man who worked for IBM and I got to work turning it into a screenplay. Originally, I wrote the part for a male lead, and we were hoping to use a real actor friend but our four day time frame couldn’t work for him. Out of everyone in the creative house, I have slightly more experience with dramatic acting but I froze up as soon as it fell in my lap to embody this character. I didn’t want to do it because I didn’t think I could. The morning of the shoot day I was still hoping for someone else to become available to save me from the “soul baring” I mentioned earlier. We filmed it semi-guerilla style (meaning we just got what we got and hoped to “get it in editing”). We planned on scrapping the audio we captured on set in order to re-record it in the studio. This is a process that happens with virtually every movie or TV show you watch. It’s called ADR (automated dialogue replacement) or looping, and this is how it works: after the filming takes place, the actors go into the studio and re-do parts to either make their inflections different, or the quality of the initial audio was bad (outdoors, rain, etc.) and they need usable audio to keep it consistent. We do sound design and some ADR here and there, but never for an entire video. Usually professional ADR sessions include the video aspect so the actors can watch and match up their new audio. We weren’t set up for that, so I just listened to the audio and tried as hard as I could to keep the timing… we were so excited to find that it actually worked! Even after the edit, sound design, and scoring was finished, I was still nervous it would fall flat. With such a small window of preparation, I was sure people would see through our attempt at drama and say “nice try, but it wasn’t good”. When we showed this video on the weekend, I was extremely surprised to hear positive feedback from a variety of people. The best part? I now have Ryan Parker and Chase asking for more dramatic roles, so stay tuned!
You can watch it here:
The third and final video was for “We bring something to the table” and I really wanted to write a musical style song (that value just sounds theatrical, doesn’t it?). For some reason, I could write musicals all day long, even though I actually don’t like watching them. Our entire creative team is musical in some form or fashion, so I wanted to have some fun with it. It took a few hours to write and scratch out the song, the next day we recorded the vocals for each character, and the day after that, we filmed it. I should say that again: we filmed it outside in the horrible humid heat of a Florida summer day (what were we thinking?!). I have to say, we were slated to film indoors, but I sold them on the idea that an “eccentric” picnic party would look better outside. Cue the sweat. We raided our costume closet and assembled some strange enough outfits to get an Alice in Wonderland vibe going, then we made up some dance moves and tried to memorize our parts in about thirty minutes. We filmed in cycles (half the cast would film, then switch off to bask in the AC, then all run out for our scenes together) and just hoped we captured enough footage with correct lip-synching to make this thing work. In typical Suncoast fashion, we nailed it (haha), but for real, it made us all laugh and the experience was worth it. It’s a cute kid-friendly number, and you can watch it here:
I hope you enjoyed these videos as much as we enjoyed making them! Thanks for reading 🙂