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The Drug Dealer Job

When is the right time to talk to your kids about drugs? That’s what this little PSA sets out to help parents deal with. I was brought in as Director of Photography and Editor but I’ll get into that after you watch the video:

The video was written by Rick Kaulbars, doing double duty as the actor playing the father character. Also a former instructor of mine in the Algonquin College scriptwriting program (he’s still there, I’m not). We talked way back in September about the project and he brought me on board to shoot and edit for him. Really, it was a great gig. I didn’t have to do any of the casting or logistics, the script was organized in a way that I knew the edit would be straightforward and, much more importantly, I wasn’t responsible for the  “what happens when it’s done” stuff. My job ended with the delivery to client.

The Drug Dealer JobThe shoot date was set for October 21st and it really couldn’t have gone much better than it did. We spent an hour before the cast showed up going over shots and plans of attack. Rick had a pretty clear vision, which helped a lot. Notably, this was my first ACTRA shoot with an entire union cast. They, and the small crew of one PA Rick brought in, and one PA I brought along were all a dream really and the shoot went really smooth. I would say this was the second smoothest shoot I was a part of. It was a ton of fun (at a time when fun was quite needed). And there was pizza.

The edit was pretty peachy, too. No major problems to speak of. We were economical about both shots and takes.  The footage all looked wonderful. I’ll tell ya though, it was the score that won the day.

See, I’d liked the script and concept when I first read it but it hadn’t blown me away. I smiled but I didn’t LOL, in other words. What I did do was trust the vision.  I trusted in the writer and I knew Rick knew his niche way better than I did. For his part, he trusted in me to do what I do, which is embrace the job at hand and apply myself to it fully — like I do everything I agree to put my time to.

That trust paid off. When I first dropped that score in place, my goodness was I laughing. I’d actually tried a number of tracks, but the one we used in the final had been the first one I dropped in. I was still laughing even after a dozen re-watches for fine tuning.

The Drug Dealer JobMost importantly, Rick loved it from pretty much the first draft he saw. It’s a thing with micro-budget movies, that there’s usually a lot of concessions and admissions that “that’s as good as it’s gonna be.” Maybe it’s equipment, or lighting, or sound, or time. Always time. I don’t think that was the outcome this time. This time I think that, thanks to the work of everybody involved, the final product met or exceeded the highest expectations set for it. Regardless of your opinion of the humour, the video turned out amazingly well. And the 35,000 views in the first week it launched speaks to that.

So to Rick, Jennilee, Jonathon, Kathleen, and Jeremiah. Kudos! It was a pleasure working with you all. Write more, Rick. Thanks for bringing me on board.

In the end, I both loathed and loved this production. Loved because it was a great time working with great people and couldn’t have gone better. Loathed because it reminded me just how much I love (and miss) being in production and being on set. Reminders like that make me start thinking about starting more production projects and… no. Just no, Mackey.

For now at least.