Commercials & Shorts

A sometimes-updated list of commercials, commissioned short films, and other things I’ve done on the Internet lately.

Therese Oneill: Ungovernable Book Preview (2019)

This started out as a book trailer and grew into basically a short horror film promoting my friend’s book? Something like that, anyway. Reminder to filmmakers: when working with children and animals, allow extra time.

What I did: First draft of script, shot list (this one was very complex and sometimes had three cameras rolling), directing, camera, sound, edit, closed captioning, music search, music mix, SFX mix, title card design, legal related to kids.

What others did: Ro Higgins (my wife) acted as script supervisor, color checker op, and kid-wrangler. Sean O’Neill (Therese’s husband) did the voiceover for the title cards. Therese Oneill did a bunch of writing on the script, the bulk of the performance, and provided the locations. Her kids, and other kids (who I will not name here for obvious reasons) also did a bunch of performance, often on the fly. I’m proud nobody got hurt and nothing was broken, even with all the pillow-fighting.

Lucy Bellwood: Patreon Video (2018)

I had the honor of working with Lucy Bellwood again on video! This one is an update of her four-year-old Patreon video, with an eye toward making something fresh that should last another few years without major updates. Because of that, I wanted to output this one in actual 4K—I often shoot in 4K but deliver in 1080p—because if this is still her main video in 2022 or whatever, it would seem weird if it’s not in 4K. Anyway, the only major effect of this technical requirement was making sure we used multiple lenses for zoom/punch-in effects, rather than doing punch-ins during post-production. Even with a bunch of lens changes, it was a short shoot (about an hour once gear was in position) and a quick edit. This video is a great example of what you can get done in a half-day if you show up prepared, with your props and script all ready to go.

What I did: Camera, editing, sound, color correction, stock music search.

What others did: Script, performance, and a much more effective stock music search.

The Nib: Kickstarter Video (2018)

The Nib, a previously online-only comics publication, is using Kickstarter to launch its quarterly magazine as well as The Inkwell, a sort of member perks system. Matt Bors and Eleri Harris actually share an office space with me in Portland, and hired me to make their Kickstarter video. This project was somewhat complex because one-third of the on-camera talent (Matt Lubchansky) was in New York City, and was filmed separately by a different crew 3,000 miles away. It worked out brilliantly, though, and the campaign funded 100% within 24 hours, and more than 300% over the course of its run.

What I did: Portland-based camera, editing, sound, color correction/match, stock music search (two cues), integration of still comics images, minor script revisions. The trickiest part of this was performing an audio match in post for the NYC/Portland locations.

What others did: Script, performance, and New York shoot (Matt L).

Lucy Bellwood: Kickstarter Video (2017)

Lucy Bellwood, adventure cartoonist, launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund printing her 100 Demon Dialogues book. She hired me to make the video! (!) Lucy wrote the script and performed in the video, along with an animated demon created by Pmurphy (who also provided the set, and operated the animation stand-in “sock puppet” for Lucy to interact with). This one was done on a very low budget and helped contribute to a campaign that brought in $55k.

What I did: Camera, editing, sound (including minor foley!), demon voice FX, minor script feedback.

What others did: Script, performance, animation (Lucy provided those titles and stuff), music.

Ami Baio: Kickstarter Video (2017)

Ami Baio invented an awesome conversational card game and used Kickstarter to fund the first print run. I met with Ami on the night of Lucy Bellwood’s wrap party for her Kickstarter, and we shot Ami’s video about two weeks later. Ami provided the script and delivered parts of it direct to camera. She also brought together a group of real humans to play the game, providing b-roll to bring life to the video. (And a friend of hers provided some pro product photos, which we used in the video.) The campaign brought in $28k.

What I did: Camera, editing, sound.

What others did: Script, performance, intro animation (by Andy Baio—synced to Ami’s narration), still product shots, music.

Matthew Bogart: Patreon Video (2017)

Matthew Bogart needed a new Patreon video to accompany the launch of his beautifully dark comic series, Incredible Doom, written with Jesse Holden. We shot this video in a day, edited it over the course of roughly a week, and lined everything up for launch. Matthew doubled his Patreon monthly funding goal within a few weeks of launch.

What I did: Camera, editing, lighting, sound, set dressing, script edits.

What others did: Script, performance, b-roll of printing process, title card, music (Podington).

Matthew Bogart: Incredible Doom Documentary (The First Time I Got Online) (2017)

Inspired by Incredible Doom, I worked with Matthew Bogart and Jesse Holden to create a short documentary featuring Portland friends talking about their early experiences online. More is coming from this, as we shot a bunch of hours of material!

What I did: Camera, sound, lighting, poor color work (sorry), final edit.

What others did: Wrangle talent, construct giant white backdrop, assistant edit (review the footage), music (Podington), and rough cut.

Katie Lane: Contract Checklist for Design and Drawing (2017)

Lawyer-slash-brilliant human being Katie Lane created a tool called the Contract Checklist for Design and Drawing. The idea is for independent artists to use this tool for contract review, without having to hire a lawyer every time a new contract comes in.

Katie came in with a script, a variety of costumes (awesome), and even provided the location—a photo studio in east Portland. She made props! This was a TON of fun, and the whole thing was done (from script to live) within about five days. One of the fun challenges on this one was having Katie play two “characters” within the same video.

What I did: Camera, editing, sound, lighting, set dressing, script edits, VFX you probably won’t notice, music (licensed).

What others did: Script, performance, titles (by Dylan Meconis!), costuming, props, bowtie tying.

He Took a Polaroid Every Day, Until the Day He Died (2016)

This is a commissioned short for Mental Floss, basically a video re-telling of my most-read blog post all time (many millions of readers). This video was posted on Thanksgiving Day of 2016, and has reached 50 million+ people since then, along with hundreds of thousands of shares on Facebook. If you’re interested in this story, stay tuned.

What I did: Everything. Well, the music is from a stock music site, but I altered it slightly for timing.

What others did: Give me license to use Jamie Livingston’s Polaroids in the video. (Thank you especially to Linda Schaffer!)

Unmentionable Book Trailer (2016)

This was a quickie book trailer for my friend Therese Oneill, author of Unmentionable: The Victorian Lady’s Guide to Sex, Marriage, and Manners. In this trailer (planned as the first of many videos, but ended up being just the only one), she shows off her collection of vintage, ahem, naughty things. Safe for work.

What I did: Camera, editing, sound, lighting, music (licensed).

What others did: Script and performance—this was entirely ad-libbed by Therese!