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From Start to Finish: Summer Solstice

August 29, 2013 | Short film | by Jenn

Even in the creative industry, we have process. We have to be flexible and think on the spot. To be able to do this, though, we take careful steps in advance to ensure the production goes as smoothly as possible for live events.

What makes a good story? As Adrienne, our studio writer/producer wisely claims, it is in the way the story is told. And how do you make sure the story is told effectively and creatively? This is where pre-production and careful pre-visualization play an important role in our company. Without
planning, script development, and story boarding, it is more difficult to pull off a successful film.

We got the chance to work alongside one of our partners, Dragonfly Meeting Solutions, this summer to develop a story about their first annual event: Summer Solstice. This event allowed a variety of Toronto (GTA) based event planning industry partners to come together in one space and celebrate the evening in style.

Tourism Toronto: Sweets Temptation 99 Sudbury, Toronto

Tourism Toronto: Sweets Temptation
99 Sudbury, Toronto

The event then donated its profits to Canadian Feed the Children, a charity that institutes nutrition, education, and lifestyle learning programs worldwide to poverty-stricken communities.

Debra Kirby, Executive Director Summer Solstice Market: art pieces from around the world to support women artists in communities

Debra Kirby, Executive Director
Summer Solstice Market: art pieces from around the world to support women artists in communities

Canadian Feed the Children

Canadian Feed the Children

Kari Lynn, Founder & President of Dragonfly, invited us to be a sponsor at the event. We decided that it was a great initiative and jumped on board.

Kary Lynn Kary Lynn and Parkside Drive (live band)

Kary Lynn
Kary Lynn and Parkside Drive (live band)

Here are our steps for shooting a great live event:

1. Focus

We sat down internally, first, and addressed several key areas that we wanted our film to focus on. Because this was going to be a live event, we had to take into account the following details below…

2. Script

I developed a concept-script that allowed us to stay on track at the event to make sure we told the entire story. We devised a group of questions for the interviewees we wanted to focus on and drafted up a pre-order of how the film might turn out. This required research into what the event was about, who was going to attend, and some of the evenings events we might expect.

3. Meeting with Partner

Before the event took place, the entire film crew met Kari Lynn and her team at 99 Sudbury, Toronto, to scout the location and go over the script. We discussed various checkpoints throughout the evening and planned our shot list accordingly.

Dragonfly Meeting Solutions Inc.

Dragonfly Meeting Solutions Inc.

Becky Wells, Dragonfly Sarah Muray, Dragonfly

Becky Wells, Dragonfly
Sarah Muray, Dragonfly

4. Shot List

Stan and Josh were the key developers in this area. While I prompted them with scripting and storytelling, they were the ones that made the creative decisions on how to best visually represent each shot. These decisions were made both before the shoot and during the day/evening of the shoot.

5. Pre-planning a Film Shoot

We created a comprehensive checklist that included setting up for the event, guest arrival, and evening entertainment/speeches/activities. Film shoots are rarely shot in the order that they appear in the final film (through editing), and it is important to make sure all items in a checklist are accounted for. Unlike controlling an environment on set, our film crew was on the Dragonfly-event timeline.

6. Packing and final notes

When all was set and organized, Josh and I packed our camera gear into the cars. Packing for a live event means one thing in particular:

7. Always be prepared

How do we accomplish this? By leaving lots of room for spontaneity. This is something that you can never take for granted. Be prepared for anything! Pack extra batteries, memory cards, snacks, water, and if you are Josh, an extra outfit just in case.

Raffle Draw winner announcement Summer Solstice Attendees

Raffle Draw winner announcement
Summer Solstice Attendees

8. A Chameleon by Nature

Having a schedule is always important, but if things change in the moment it is important to be adaptable. Like a Chameleon. Interviews are a good example of where a story can really take a turn. You have to listen to the interviewees’ responses and be prepared to ask questions on the spot. You may have to reword your questions to get the interviewees to answer in a different way. While you may think this is more cunning like a fox, it is all about creating continuity in a story.

9. Editing

The editor has to pull all the elements together: from song selection to b-roll selects and piecing together the interview sound bites into a cohesive story. Because our filmographers also edit, they are constantly conscious of how to capture footage that will go together nicely in a timeline. Working backwards! Our in house musician also created a custom acoustic music track that really brought out the emotions of
the film.

Even in the creative industry, we have process. We have to be flexible and think on the spot. To be able to do this, though, we take careful steps in advance to ensure the production goes as smoothly as possible for live events.

Collage 7

* Check out all of Keith’s photography in the Stills portfolio section on our website

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Jenn

Jenn

Jennifer fell in love with storytelling from an early age and pursued an undergraduate joint degree in English and Film studies. Cinema studies led her into the production industry and to Silverpoint Media. She also loves music, yoga, and nineteenth century English culture (Sherlock anyone?).

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