Cast & Crew Profile: Sonia Lowe

Todays cast and crew profile is a pretty exciting one! But before we dive in, I have to say that when I first met Sonia I was a little nervous. She had way more experience then I did, she had been working on commercial sets and big budget productions. So when she agreed to work as a script supervisor for a zero budget short film I was shooting, I jumped at the chance to have her on board!

She's the definition of what you would want from a producer or really anyone on your set for that matter. You'll see what I mean when you read some of her answers. Needless to say working with Sonia really helped me step up my game as a Director and Producer. It's because of people like her, people who already have some success under their belt and are willing to work with someone who is still getting their feet wet that I was able to grow from that short film experience. So without delay, here are Sonia's answers followed by a word of advice for those looking to break into the media world. Thank you Sonia for taking the time to share with us!

Name: Sonia Lowe
Country: Canada
Position: Producer
What got you into the film world? It evolved from my background as a magazine editor for print media. In short, I was approached to write a tribute book about Michael Jackson shortly after he passed away. 

Media exposure from the book led to broadcast content creation for television segments on Good Morning America, Oprah, Dateline NBC. etc This opened the door to subsequent opportunities freelancing as a Field Producer, interviewing celebrities and creating content for major brands like SyFy Channel, entertainment Tonight, USA Network, Dreamworks Ent. Which eventually led to my working as a Distribution Executive and Executive Producer for Independent feature Films, where I continue to hone my skills today. 

Who is your film icon? Quentin Tarantino - he's a genius. 

What makes a good film? High concept, believable performances, punchy dialogue, killer soundtrack....and  a director who understands the art of subtext & visual story telling. 


Who is your favourite character of all time? I have many so I'll name one from a film I saw recently: Jackie Brown

As far as powerful female characters go, she has a rare balance of intelligence, strength and  sensual energy which transcended atypical female roles in cinema. 

Not only is Tarantino a master of designing memorable and complex characters but he is also skillful at casting. Choosing Pam Grier as Jackie Brown because she exudes the essence of the character Tarantino aimed to capture, is why her performance felt authentic. 

Favourite animated movie and why? The little Mermaid because it reminds me of my childhood and ongoing fixation with the ocean. Not to mention....mermaids. Enough said. 

Also a big fan of Finding Nemo - it's an exceptional film with incredible dialogue. And again, takes place in the ocean...where mermaids live. 

And honorable mention for a foreign animated  film called Illusionist - because it's an absolute masterpiece. 


A tip for the next generation? Filmmaking is one of the biggest challenges and toughest industries to succeed in, but if you love this art form then stay strong, roll with the punches, stay flexible and don't ever quit --- few careers are as rewarding, in my opinion. Don't just learn your craft, master it. And if you're not prepared to have your heart broken, at least once, then the entertainment business is not for you. 

 

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Cast & Crew Profile: Nathan Hibbert

It takes an army to make a film into a reality. It could be a small team of 2 or a massive horde of hundreds.

So we thought it would be great to start a piece on the blog that showcases the awesome talent we've been fortunate enough to work with! Some of them are actors, some are crew that have freelanced with us while others call SevenSeas Productions home.

To start us off we thought it would be great to share with you Nathan Hibbert. Where to start? The man is a multi-talented artist who creates wherever he goes! We had the chance to have him out for a promo shoot last spring and needless to say he was a character! We're always a bit skeptical when someone says their a triple threat of any kind but man did he deliver and was so much fun to have on set! 

We've asked all out Cast and Crew Profiler's the same questions and asked them to share some personal moments along with a bit of advice - so here are Nathan's Answers. Be sure to check him out on twitter & Instagram @renovalay

 

  • Name: Nathan Hibbert (Reno Valay)
  • Country: Canada
  • Position: Music Artist/Actor/Model 
  • What got you into the film world? To be honest when I was a kid I just loved creating my own world. I would imagine things and i'd be the star of everything. I would picture everything like a movie, and I was the main actor. It got to a point to where I'd watch a movie and the character I felt I connect with the most, I'd leave acting pretty similar to them in the movie. I guess in short, I like becoming someone since I get to enjoy being myself majority of the time.
  • Funniest moment on a set? I think one of the funniest moments for me, would be when filming one of my own videos. I had to dress up like a girl and dance in front of my friends and get their reaction. It was kinda embarrassing but well worth the laugh. 
  • Who is your film icon? My film icon would be... hmm good question. I don't think I really have one but the first person who comes to mind is Denzel Washington and Will Smith. They always deliver great performances!
  • What makes a good film? Many things can make a movie good in my opinion. Though when it comes down to it I'd have to go with a good story and a good cast to bring it to life. 
  • Who is your favourite character of all time? Haha! this one is simple for me. Devon Miles from Drumline!
  • Favourite animated movie and why? Spirited Away because it had such a dope story and was well animated. I could go in more details but why spoil it for someone who hasn't watched it?
  • A tip for the next generation? If you have a dream, Go for it. What others think or say doesn't matter. This is your life so live it the way you want to.
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Oscars 2017

The Oscars wrapped up the other night- and if you didn't watch it till the end...well, you missed out my friend!

This years awards were probably one of my personal favourites. Everything seemed to flow well (minus the major M. Night Shyamalan ending): The talent was funny, the Matt Damon jokes were hilarious and everyone seemed to be in a great mood!

One thing that really stuck with me was seeing the Director from La La Land take best Director at age 32. Spoiler alert in case you PVR'd it and haven't watched it yet! I've always found it remarkable to see these people nominated in this specific category work for decades to be recognized and here comes baby face Damien Chazelle to swoop up the prize! 

But why did it stick with me, why this moment? I think the moment really put into perspective the entire events one the night - the way that films are being made, distributed and watched which were all touched upon by winners of different categories. Companies like Amazon are getting into the game, Netflix films are on the rise (and being recognized) and a film made for under 5 million dollars taking the best picture prize. 

We've seen little bits of all the above over the last few Oscars. A film with a low budget winning here or there or some unique technique or method used to grab best picture but this year really seemed to be a collective of the last few years and- to me- showing where we're headed.

I'm excited to see where next years Oscars takes us and to focus on the films of 2017 and for me personally working on co-producing my first feature film! So keep your eyes peeled because one day we'll have a film up there on the big screen, fighting to win an Academy Award. 

 

James

 

Happy February!

Where to begin? I've been a bad friend and haven't posted in a while! There's no excuse really, I apologize.  

 

Now that we've taken care of that let's get back to it! With the Academy Awards (AKA The Oscars) fast approaching I always find myself wondering how I've never heard of a good chunk of these films. Does this make me a bad film maker? I hope not... I think it has more to do with the media and marketing for most of those films.

I guess I'll answer my own question in a way and talk it out. I wouldn't say people are bad or not film savvy for not seeing these great films. To be honest, unless you know where to look most of them aren't plastered all over the city like the next 50 shades movie. They're the films that are shown in art houses and at festivals- and that's the key right there. Festivals. tiff, Canes, Sundance, etc. This is where the buzz for these unseen films begins. It could start slow with an award or two however it could also cause a huge splash getting critics raving and the chat rooms flowing with praise.

Winning various awards at some of the most prestigious festivals will get you noticed by the big dogs. But let's get back to the main point- why haven't I heard of these films? Well some of them may not have the Transformers or Lord of the Rings budgets to pay for Super Bowl air time. Instead they've taken their limited budget and put it into festival entries (There not free ya know!) in hopes of following the above pattern which may get them some more cinema space and hopefully their name out in the world to shoot a new film with a bigger budget and more freedom. (That's my goal anyways)

There we have it. Want to see interesting films before they hit The Oscar nomination list? Take a trip down to your local film festival and give some a watch! You won't know exactly which ones will make it big but part of the fun of movies and festivals is the journey, the art and experiencing new things.

From here I promise to be a better friend and write more and would love to hear your ideas on what to talk about next!

 

James

 

How Do You Do It?

For real! How do you do it? What do you do after you've shot your promo video?

Great question! I may or may not have been asked this a few times this week so let's talk about that.

You've shot your video- hey that's awesome! Great job! Now comes the next part, editing. For some it's where all the magic happens, for others it's something that have to do because they can't afford an editor to do it. Either way if you want to take on the process yourself it may be a daunting task.

1st - first I upload all my favourite clips into my editing software. I know what ones are my favourite because I log them as we shoot to make this segment easier and less painful. Check mark.

2nd - I match my clips to the storyboard I out together for the client during the pre-production stage (see how it's all coming together?)

3rd - If it's going to have a custom audio track (which I love to have made for all my clients to make their work unique!) and a voiceover I remove all the audio tracks attached to the video and lay down a filler track of something I like. (note: do NOT edit your track to the beat of this tune or you'll have to redo it later. For me it's more to keep things fun and interesting during the process) 

4th - I start cutting down my clips to the appropriate length and add in my B-roll. Keeping the finished length in mind until the custom audio is complete.

5th - I lay down my custom track, make some adjustments to the cuts to match or not match the audio depending on what the client has specified. Add in some filters and let the final piece buffer away!

6th - Share with the client, make some changes based on criticisms, bask in the compliments, and take some time to see what you did right and what you could improve on later.

7th - Now you rock, relax and go enjoy the rest of your day!

I hope this has helped someone and gives you a bit more insight into how we're doing things here at SevenSeas Productions. 

Cheers!

James