Film CRAFT VI

The job #s came out today. I don’t know what to say… wait, yes I do.  Make your passion your job. Find your purpose if you can. As far as we know, you only have this one life to live. Why live it doing anything less than what you’re passionate about?

Go…make stuff. Just make it beautiful, make it right.

 

 

 

 

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Help MADE RIGHT HERE Get Made

I’m responding to an all points bulletin…and man, if I could “greenlight” anything, just one show this season, Joe Gannon and Max Wastler of menswear blog All PlaidOut would get my ducats for Made Right Here. In this hilarious travel show, messrs. Gannon and Wastler visit some of the best American apparel makers and get in on the Americana movement firsthand. Here is the teaser. You want to invest, know a producer? Reach out.

Now, Hollywood, give ’em a show. I mean seriously, if you can greenlight Redneck Rocket Scientists…then you can do this. You OWE us for that and Snooki.

Denim on the Coldfront

There’s a coldfront blowing through Brooklyn. I’ve got sweet potato fries in the oven, the fixins for a blue cheese salad, and a steak coming to room temperature. Autumn, bring it on. I love this time of year. Now, I don’t need any clothes or fall gear. I’m well supplied…but maybe a new pair of selvedge denim made right here in the USA?

 

Raleigh Denim (Raleigh, NC)

 

The Stronghold (Venice Beach, CA)

 

Strivers Row (Atlanta, GA, I love this country urban thing, love it)

 

Baldwin Denim (Kansas City, KA)

 

Roy Denim (Oakland, CA)

 

Imogene + Willie  (Nashville, TN, nice long backstory here…)

 

Film Craft V

I bumped into Brooklyn-based writer, Steven Rinella,  and host of The Wild Within the other day and had to tell him how much I enjoyed his show. I mean, not many TV hosts have the skills to break down an entire Moose that they have stalked and shot in ten minutes of onscreen footage…or climb a highway underpass to retrieve pigeon eggs and serve ’em up over a campfire for dinner. This man, is authentic, the real-deal–a hunter, trapper and writer who tells it as it is.

The Wild Within “Everybody eats bacon, but nobody wants to stab the pig.”

 

Lately, along with my fishing habits, I’ve been thinking about “authenticity” in television and advertising and while I’m happy the ad-guys are at-least “on-trend”, I can’t help but think that the underdog artisan, the hunter-gatherer, the farmer, the mechanic, their voices aren’t often heard from in mainstream media. So, I figured it was time for another installment of my Film CRAFT series, where I feature American artisans keeping the spirit of “handmade” alive and well.

Rancourt Shoes  “They are second, third generation hand-sewers.”

 

Sea Bags  “Sailed all over the world, recycled in Maine.”

 

Dry Fly Distilling  “Our objective…was to get out and enjoy life.”

 

Liberty Vintage  “Our can-do American spirit is being lost.”

 

Best Made Co. “You put an axe in someone’s hand and they feel empowered.”

 

This last video is actually a full half hour high production value, branded documentary by Bombay Sapphire, called The Culture of Quality: The Artisan’s Journey. I’ve written about the role of branded documentaries before, and on my marketing blog, but just a reminder–the goal here is to market the product using authentic, real stories–not fictional ones, like in most story-based advertising. Product claims aren’t shouted–rather, product benefits and brand equities are placed alongside the real stories of people who use the product, fit the brand image or have similar missions, are often the subject matter. The Culture of Quality features interviews with some of the people behind bespoke brands, Barking Irons, DS&Durga, and Vosges Chocolates, as well some excellent drink preparations and gin history. It ends with a mixology contest featuring the storied gin. Damn, I’m thirsty!

 

Fly Fishing Branded Documentary

Today, I moderated a panel on the film genre known as Branded Documentary at SilverDocs, the international documentary festival in Washington, DC. We discussed films made by companies to promote their values, be it in “cause” or social responsibility, or just to bring their brand to life in an entertaining way. The purpose of a branded doc is to tell the brand story using the authentic form of documentary, which is based on interviewing, investigation and story-telling. It occurred to me that the explosion of fly fishing films, some independent, and some sponsored by Simms, Scott and other well-regarded companies are taking full advantage of this exciting genre in a highly competitive environment. They blur the line between long-form commercial, branded content, and documentary. The films speak to the heritage of the brands, and of course the fishing. In some cases, the branded docs are environmental films sponsored by multiple brands invested in cold, clear, clean water and the preservation of our fisheries and waterways. Of course, we all grew up watching branded docs–remember Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom? That and Marty Stouffer’s Wild America (non-commercial) first filled my heart with the longing to become a naturalist. Thanks to Trout Unlimited, I came across a new short branded doc (long-form commissioned commercial, basically) today by the fly rod maker Scott, and the filmmakers at Felt Sole Media.

This should really be in the Film Craft section of the blog, but ‘meh, its my blog and I can put it where I want it…enjoy.

Film CRAFT IV

Today, in Film CRAFT, I bring you a mini-film festival of sorts of the work of Colin M Day, artist and cinematographer, and his talented editors, audio mixers, and crew. Somewhat fresh out of art school, Colin’s recent work focuses on profiling artists putting up shows in the San Francisco area. Is it commissioned, commercial or art? I don’t think it matters. Day’s films are evocative, personal, intimate, and like short stories, have a beginning, a middle and an end that leaves you wanting more. And that’s the point–to watch the film, and seek out the artist’s work to develop your own connection with it.

Featured in this selection are the works of Kevin Cyr, Paul Chatem, ROA, and Ben Eine. Each artist talks about their art, but in Day’s films, there appears a meticulous editing to keep the perspective honest and authentic. Yet, each artists personalities shine through. The pacing is particularly strong, and really evident when attached to music selections which range from Johnny Cash to BassNectar. Though each film profiles a different artist for a different gallery, watching all of the films together begins to reveal Colin’s perspective and his craft–the soundscapes, slow pans, willingness to let the art stand on its own, rich colors and penchant for offbeat subjects. You get the impression he is not so much as “documenting” or advertising a show, but rather furiously nodding behind the camera in agreement–yeah, the world deserves a second look, the urban landscape IS beautiful, art is even more relevant than EVER…

I can only hope that NY gallerists and artists are taking note. I don’t know where Colin got the idea to make short films about artists for these galleries, but I hope it catches on. Being a former ad-man, and with friends in the art world, I know its nearly impossible to get the word out in the clutter–and social media doesn’t seem to have helped all that much. And telling stories about art–well its an art unto itself.

ROA “I’m always interested in the little scavengers and rodents and crazy animals that live with the people in cities, animals that are survivors.”

Ben Eine “It was important that what I painted on the street was not graffiti.”

Kevin Cyr “My work is kind of a response…somewhat pessimistic, somewhat optimistic.”

Paul Chatem “I figured I would just put it all out there…by the way I’m colorblind.”

And if you’re in San Francisco, check out the galleries supporting Day’s work: 941 Gallery, Shooting Gallery, and White Walls.

All rights belong to the artists, musicians and filmmakers presented (and maybe their agents!). Thanks to Wooster Collective for putting me on to Day.

Film CRAFT III

So if you don’t know, I work in Brands. I’ve made countless advertising campaigns for brands across the world in every medium, TV, print, radio, digital. I’m currently using influencer marketing and social media (read PR) to develop strategies for Brands that will give them a competitive edge in the marketplace of ideas. I touch hearts and minds and occasionally wallets and pocketbooks, but along the way, I try to always remember that a brand is just a story. Its only a perception. The logos are meaningless unless we imbue them with meaning. The products are just squares of silicon or tufts of wool.

Its the stories and craft behind products and ideas that bring them to life. I think that’s why I enjoy the Film CRAFT series on my blog so much. I’m fascinated by the stories behind great things in the world, like a handmade bamboo fly rod or a righteous piece of ink.   There are plenty of stories told about Art and Politics. I think this series is more about people striving to live life to the fullest while building lasting things that fulfill a deep human need to create. Film CRAFT spotlights the passionate pursuits, people and the things they make. And because these little films tend to go unnoticed, hopefully my unearthing them shines a light on the filmmakers too.

Scribe Winery X Dockers “Its going to take a lifetime to understand this place fully.”

3sixteen X Invisible NYC “Our real business cards are the tatoos that we do…”

The Sartorialist X Intel “Its letting yourself fall in love a little bit every day.”

Mast Brothers “There is nobody you are going to fight harder with than your family, there is nobody you are going to fight harder for than your family.”

Film CRAFT II

I’m several thousand miles above the Earth as I compose this, on my way into Chicago. What’s currently possessing me to head into what Chicago is calling the “worst storm in 50 years?” …Moxie son, moxie!

Ok, its a work-thing. But lets pretend its moxie and that I couldn’t pass it up. I lived in Chicago for six years and frankly I don’t ever want to go back to standing on the L platform in 10-below horizontal snow with my eyelids freezing shut.

Meanwhile, my exploration of films on great brands, their history and manufacturing process continues…

All the rough weather we’ve been getting has me thinking about the nature of quality. This Film CRAFT is heavy on shoemakers because I’m very hard on my shoes and its time I start investing in quality shoes that will last or that I can get resoled year after year.  Perhaps I should have included Florsheim, a venerable Chicago brand, but they’ve outsourced for years now.

Speaking of Chicago…great things: Horween, deep-dish, Goose Island Brewery, Vienna Beef.

Redwing “It’s almost like you’re building a house…”

Duluth Pack “They become like a family member…”

Schott “It was about building function…they took a life on their own.”

Allen Edmonds “It’s really truly an art-form.” I just bought a pair of Black Calf Bayfields…I intend to swap out all my dress boots with Allen Edmonds over the course of the next year or so…

J. W. Hulme Company

Leatherman – I own two Leatherman’s, so that means I can probably repair a space shuttle if I had a manual.

Pendelton Woolen Mills “They had the desperation, or the ambition, or the guts to do what they had to do…”