Ray Roman and the Very Different Promo Concept Film

Yesterday guest blogger Ray Roman shared with his thoughts on the wedding filmmaking business. Today he continues by sharing the thoughts on the making of the promo film for his current workshop. Enjoy.

So to launch our International workshop tour, I wanted to incorporate a concept film, and of course, it had to be “different”; something unlike anyone else had done (whereas all the wedding concepts and spoofs had already been played out). So, first was coming up with a concept, which I thought up in about an hour. I threw some ideas back and forth with a friend and it was done. But just like everything else I do, I tend to “wing it” alot. No script. No storyboard. And no “real” plan. I knew I needed a taxi, a driver, a reporter and some kid to play a workshop attendee (with a case of sticky fingers). When I was thinking up the concept, I was imagining Charlie from Willy Wonka (when he found the lucky golden ticket). I remembered the chaos from that movie when people realized he was running home with one of the lucky golden tickets. I didn’t want to create something that was too long and creating the scenario where this workshop attendee won the golden ticket would have taken too long to produce. So I kept it simple.

A news person reporting the theft (after the fact) and the kid running away with the ticket and hopping a cab to the airport. I wanted to create chaos, but only this time, it was on the grungy, corrupt and crime-riddled streets of South America. it was the perfect look for some Bourne Identity type chaos (all of which was done in After Effects By manipulating/animating layers/masks and solids. (If you’re not familiar with After Effects, I highly recommend finding someone talented that can help save you loads of time creating effects, which might only take them a couple of hours, whereas it might take you a few days.)

Ray Roman in action - Lima, Peru.

I had initially only planned on creating a 2-minute promo, but once I started inserting all of this jaw-dropping eye-candy from my previous films onto the timeline, I soon realized that it was ALOT longer and was already filling up the entire duration of a song. Then I began to ask myself if six minutes was just too long. The more and more I watched it, I thought “heck no”. It didn’t really feel like 6 minutes because of the pace, entertaining concept, effects and the quality of shots from the weddings. So i went with it, especially since i knew the ending was going to be amazing. The idea was that the cab driver couldn’t really believe that you needed to go to a workshop to learn how to film weddings (his perception was just like most of the public’s. He didn’t value it). That all changes by the time he finishes watching all the amazing shots. But then he still can’t understand what’s so special about this “Ray Roman” guy. That sets up my favorite part, when we cut to…[Ron’s comment: I cut out Ray’s description. You have to watch it below to see what happens.]

I had lots of fun with this one, but like anything else, it could have been made to look even better. I thought up the idea of incorporating a concept film with the promo while I was in Lima, Peru (where we visit my wife’s family, and funny enough, where we actually met 17 years ago while I was working as a US Marine at the American embassy… (geez, i’ve been around lol. [Ron’s comment: there’s that “LOL” again. 😉 ]. Problem was, I had limited gear and limited time. I only had a few hours with the kid (an aspiring actor), the cab driver, the taxi, the news reporter and no budget. I shot everything with my trusty 5D Mark II and a monopod (shouldermount rig would have made things much easier in the cab. I wouldn’t have used the monopod). In hindsight, I probably could have gotten away with some handheld shots, but with the moving car on a bumpy road, I didn’t know how that would have looked with the DSLR jello effect. When you’re working with no budget and lots of people are doing favors for beer and good food, you might only have one opportunity to get everything you need. For the most part, i think we did GREAT and everything really came together nicely. The good news is that I learned alot and whatever mistakes I made will be corrected for the next film (which might not be wedding related).

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To get more information about Ray’s upcoming workshops, email him.

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