Here it is, the teaser for the Yale Visual Law Project Year 2 film, “The Worst of the Worst: Portrait of a Supermax Prison.” We worked on this teaser trailer last week and released it on Friday out into the world.

Enjoy, while I go back to editing this sucker.



Well, we probably actually finally finished shooting the Visual Law Project Year 2 Film. There was an event on Saturday where the Commissioner of Connecticut’s Department of Corrections spoke to a community group working for prison reform. We had a sit-down interview with him in January (January?) So we used this opportunity as a follow-up stand-up style interview and to see him in the world for some B-roll.

So now, we’re almost finished with the teaser trailer. I hope to finish it in the next few hours to use internally at Yale for promotion and to generate interest for people to join us next year. I’m headed there to finish it up now so I can get back to the film. We’re trying to finish a rough cut a week from tomorrow! I better get going…


Second Martini

Looks like we can’t get enough. My previous post was a little premature, because this Saturday we’re doing one final shoot most likely. It’s a meeting that will feature a few of our main “characters” in the Visual Law Project Year 2 documentary. We’re not supposed to film inside, but we’re hoping to catch some of them outside or milling around together. Essentially B-Roll but perhaps also a question if we can for each person.

Other than that, we’re still cutting away at this here film. And it looks like I’ll be staying another year in New Haven so right now scheming to make a film here while I’m a resident.

Taking a slight detour now and shifting to editing a teaser trailer for the film and to help recruit students for next year. Hopefully I can pull this off in the next couple of days – got some inspiration from seeing old trailers and some new ones too. Gotta get crackin’.


On Saturday, we were able to wrangle the final two interviews for the Visual Law Project Year 2 film. We followed one mother as she drove to see her son in prison, and then we drove over to Hartford and interviewed the previously mentioned recently released inmate with our cinematographer Joe Friedman and his Sony FS100. It was a good long day of shooting.

For the mother, we conducted her interviews “on the fly” in her car, with Valarie filming from the front seat and me in the back. It was nice and intimate and I think the interview was easier to do in some ways because of it. The former inmate was a more traditional sit-down interview with his large, extended family all around. We caught some slice of life with him and his family so it was nice. He also rapped and sang for us on camera. We bought pizza for the family to keep them appeased while we used their kitchen/dining room for our interview. A small price to pay for intruding on their lives for the evening.

At dinner after we wrapped, I explained to some of the team that the final shot of a production day is known as the “martini shot.” So, this, perhaps being our last shot of the documentary, was the martini shot of the entire production. In fact, the mother was actually among the first two or three interviews we ever did, starting way back in October. Nearly half a year later, she became one of our final interviews for the film. It seemed right.

And now we sprint to incorporate these interviews and action into the film. We return to the edit cave tomorrow!


Editing and Shooting

When we left off last week, we had two interviews fall through in the Visual Law Project Year 2 Film within a few hours of each other.  One of which was going to be possibly structurally important to our film, storywise.

Well the good news is that we’re going to be able to shoot that interview after all this Saturday. The bad news is – I guess there is none. We just have a lot of editing and shaping to do in not a lot of time. The end of the school year looms and we’re supposed to have a rough cut by then. We most likely will, but it’s a lot thinking and doing that needs to happen. Meeting about the film tonight with the team.

Meanwhile, I’m applying to this TV fellowship thing and it requires letters from people in the film industry. Which, hey, isn’t the worst thing but does require pestering people. Which I hate doing.

Back to the Editing Cave.

Still Shooting

So we thought we’d be totally wrapped up filming interviews and other stuff for the Visual Law Project Year 2 Film. But alas, no. Yesterday, we had a two final (?) interviews lined up within a three day period only to have both of them fall through within a two hour window.

The first of which happened two days early, which was okay but the interviewee has some life problems that need sorting out (he’s the one mentioned in the previous post). The other interview was a drive along I was filming from the backseat with one of our VLP team members. The interviewee became uncomfortable with having us around (not because of anything we were doing specifically) so she cut the trip short and promised to allow us to follow her in a few days.

So… back to the editing room with what we have. We hit a point in the film where we had to carefully strategize how best to shape it going forward. Which means I have about two days to cut together a little short film. I should be able to, we’ll see how it goes later today and the weekend.

Oh, and there’s this: Worker Drone was selected to be a U.S. representative to INPUT 2012 in Sydney – an international conference and film festivals of sorts for public television producers around the world. It’s a pretty cool event, I went there in 2007 with American Made. More on that to come – trip is in May.

Back to the machine!