You’re Invited to “Save 2 Lives” Premiere on August 16th!

Happy Summer to you all!  I hope you are staying cool and dry (or trying to, anyway).
The production of Save 2 Lives has received most of my attention this past month.  When so many talented professionals offered their services, I knew this could not be treated as a hobby video any more.  The day of the shoot, I was blessed with actors who were prompt and patient, as many scenes required only one or two at a time.  The dogs were quite cooperative, considering there were over a dozen strangers on their property, and the weather could not be more pleasant (for a Florida July, that is).
We started with the interior shots so that our David Doerr could capture the required audio all at once and head to another gig.  Most of the exterior shots would eventually be used with voiceover and music, so the sound for that video was not as vital.  We interviewed Mike Vermette and Goldie Barrett, the sole operators of Mike’s Dog House, about their unique mission to care for pit bulls that are turned out by other shelters, constantly advocating for the breed and responsible adopting practices.
We also shot two faux adoption interviews with Johnny Mac, Savannah LeNoble, Lauren Evans, and John Jewell and his family Vadie, Noah and Josh.  Vadie and their other son Shawn recorded the soundtrack for Save 2 Lives at Motes Art Recording Studio.  All the performers also handled the dogs at various locations on or near Mike’s Dog House property for the needed footage used in this twelve-minute documentary.  Some of these actors also provided voice-over recordings for the short film, in addition to Layla D. Smith, Rita Manyette, Rahman Johnson, Dave Anthony, Aaron Tucker, and Linda Bevilacqua, our narrator for the story.
Since then, Champ Kaufmann of Atlantic Video Productions and I have been piecing the work together on the editing station at his studio.  As each element was added, trimmed and adjusted, the movie slowly started to take shape.  Late in the process, I noticed two items that needed re-recording:  a voiceover where I made a grammatical error in the script, and two music segments that needed to be longer.  In both instances, the artists were very gracious to offer the additional time to make the short film the best it could possibly be.
As of right now, the video is nearly complete.  Some transitions between scenes need to be smoothed, the 3-D animation is rendering as I type this, and Oscar Rabeiro of cre8ive pixel : design should have the title logo to me tomorrow.  As the film is getting very close to completion, I began searching for venues to present this work.  The conversations I had during my search reaffirmed my faith in humanity — I received several positive responses from contacts who were very willing to help with the project in any way possible.
Blakely Ainsworth at the Jacksonville Landing worked to incorporate the showing of our film into the other entertainment options she already have planned for their “Yappy Hour” pet-friendly social event on Sunday, August 16th.  From 4:00 to 7:00 PM, guests can visit the retail, restaurant and entertainment complex with their dogs for a pet expo, games, prizes, drink specials, and at 5:00 PM, the premiere of Save 2 Lives !  The progress of all the work related to the documentary has been regularly updated on the movie’s Facebook and Twitter streams.  Feel free to “Fan” and “Follow” them, and we’ll see you at the Landing in a couple weeks!
I met with the new director of the Murder Mystery Players in Jacksonville, David Patton, and shared with him information about talent familiar with MMP’s shows and products.  We discussed directing styles, the acting community in Northeast Florida in general, and marketing opportunities and strategies.  We loaded the costumes, scripts and other materials into his truck, and he has scheduled an open audition for new talent for this coming weekend, so I would say the transition is fully complete.  I did offer to return as a performer after he’s had a chance to direct a couple shows on his own, so we shall see.
Also during this time, I have been actively seeking employment, like the 970,079 others in the State of Florida.  I fortunately have some savings “set aside for a rainy day,” and the summer of 2009 qualifies figuratively and literally.  This has allowed me to develop and market my “product” (myself) to talent agents throughout Florida and Georgia.  I have since signed with The Diamond Agency and Azureé Talent Agency and have had my first audition as a result of these relationships.  It was just this past week, so you’ll have to wait a month, or “Follow” me on Twitterto find out if I got the job.  I did feel very positive about my performance…a good first impression!I did work on the set of Criss Cross, a re-make of the 1949 film starring Burt Lancaster and Yvonne De Carlo.  There, I met Marc Macaulay, Keith Hudson, Miranda Kahn, director Andy Hurst, and John Schneider of Smallville and The Dukes of Hazzard (the original, y’all) fame.  My scene was one day, but what a day, working in a garage with several Ferraris and Maseratis as a backdrop!  Although the paycheck after taxes covered not much more than the fuel to get me there and back, it did give me an opportunity to network with local talent…oh yeah, and I got to act, too!

Recently, Microsoft Windows Live, the resource that hosts, added an “Embed Video” module to their website maintenance console.  While most video hosting sites provide the HTML code to insert on any web page, this was a feature to enhance their offerings, and make embedding video somewhat easier.  The module also promoted “SoapBox,” the video sharing site on MSN Video.  After uploading my content to that site (it used to be on…remember them?) and updating my Video Demo page, I get a notice from Microsoft stating they’re discontinuing the SoapBox service.
I had three options at this point:  Go with the commercially successful (and Google-backed) YouTube, try the new Microsoft Silverlight (which requires a plug-in to be downloaded before viewing the video), or OpenVideo (which is supposed to be the next-generation embeddable video format, but is currently only supported by Firefox 3.5).
Although Silverlight and OpenVideo appear to be more customizable and (at the moment) ad-free, the requirement to use proprietary software (plug-ins and browsers) might prevent part of my target audience from viewing the content.  Although I am not crazy about YouTube integrating “related videos” that take the focus away from the content on my website, it is the most widely-used service, there is little chance of them shutting down any time soon, and…well…the price is right!
The videos have been uploaded to the website.  Take a gander, and tell me what you think!
Scott J. Smith
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