Sunday, April 12, 2015

Collaboration: Shoulder the Lion

Erinnesse, Patrick and Katie
Erinnisse & Patryk Rebisz film Katie Dallam in SHOULDER THE LION

I study collaboration like a hungry student devouring a loved subject. My favorites are the mom & pop's who manage to keep a business and a loving relationship alive and thriving. They collaborate at home and at work which requires respect, mission and creativity. As crew members, we can feel that. It has a positive impact on our work.
Kevin McKinney dances the light/shadow around set of SHOULDER THE LION.

The movie SHOULDER THE LION, in part, follows Katie Dallam who inspired the movie MILLION DOLLAR BABY. She lost half her brain in her first (and last) professional boxing match. Errinnesse Rebisz (pictured top) built a mood on set with her regard for the crew, her direction (along with Patryk) and music choices. The crew ran with that to create styling and lighting that helped propel Katie's story or mood. This was one of the rare occurrences where I could incorporate movement (dance?) from the light source (a Kenoflo). I imagined Katie's struggle to hold on to or let go of consciousness as her mind/soul somersaulted from light to dark and back again. There is an element of exploration in creativity. One challenge of creative collaboration is knowing how to explore while still keeping on schedule. We may plan to explore the shot, even though we already have a rough shot storyboarded. The preparation is still important to get us on the same page.  But the subject matter of a character on the precipice of death demanded our extra consideration.

Erinnessee told me later that the my lighting had inspired her husband to "up his game". This shocked me because I thought I was trying to make my lighting more creative to match his creative cinematography. This reveals another tenant of collaboration. Aspiration + Listening = Something greater than any one of us would have done alone. Collective creativity, like a loving relationship also thrives on respect and mission.  I was admiring (listening to) Patryk's method and doing my best to augment it. He was doing the same for me. 

I got to see the finished film this week at the Middle of the Map Film Festival. Evidently,  Erinnesse & Patryk have collaborated with the post sound people in the same way. Shoulder the Lion is a strong film.

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