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ReelChicago chats with SEED director Kristina Perreault

What’s up with SEED director Kristina Perrault ?

Chicago director Kristina Perreault is not afraid of things going wrong on the set, especially if they happen overseas.

“When traveling, sometimes stuff happens and you have to make it work,” she explains. “I like that challenge of constantly being on your toes.”

Besides being an accomplished travel documentarian, the latest addition to SEED’s roster also wields bona fide credentials as a show host and chef instructor. The experiences help her bring calm to non-actors dealing with on-camera jitters.

“I’m good at training people on location and getting them comfortable,” she explains. “A lot of time, it’s just their mental focus. We clear the room. We do breathing and we do voice exercises. Or I’ll just talk to them. I shift their focus to be more motivated and confident with the camera.”

Perreault says that her unique skillset began with an intense singular focus when she was in grade school.

Perreault (center) and crew in Dubai

Perreault (center) and crew in Dubai

“My parents were throwing away a video camera and I just started filming my friends and making films” she remembers. “I became obsessed with it.”

Although she grew up to become a world-savvy director, recently completed a project in Dubai and lists the Cyclades among her favorite locations, she says that SEED founder and executive producer Roy Skillicorn offers something that she has not found anywhere else.

“I feel that he genuinely has my back and my well being in my professional career,” she explains. “He’s a good guide. I’ve done business with other people. He goes that extra mile. That alone was kind of a big thing for me, to be able to have that kind of a relationship.”

Perreault also notes that she “gets along with Roy’s family well.” This hints at another driving force in her career. Born and raised in Minnesota, she chose to settle in Chicago partly because “it’s a little closer to home.”

So far, there’s at least one celebrity who’s happy she’s here.

“I was asked to come on to a set because a rapper was having a breakdown,” she explains. “Apparently he partied too hard the day before and didn’t want to be on camera.”

Bodega welcomes director Lindsay Daniels to the roster

Content creation/production studio BODEGA, with bases of operation in NY and San Francisco, has signed director Lindsay Daniels for U.S. commercial representation. She has helmed spots for such brands as Amazon, Pinterest, Nordstrom and Garnier. Upcoming work out of Bodega includes a Famous Footwear spot out of The Richards Group.

Daniels’ experience spans the branding, agency and motion design side of the creative industry. She began her career as a creative at Digital Kitchen. There, she organically followed her design and concepting expertise into motion work, designing the main titles to Dexter, The Path to 9/11 and several other commercial campaigns. Daniels won a primetime Emmy for Outstanding Main Title Design for her work on Dexter. She earlier was nominated for the same Emmy on the basis of the title design for The Path to 9/11.

At Publicis in Seattle, she served as a creative director for the T-Mobile and Chevrolet accounts, leading both brands through multiple print, broadcast and digital campaigns. With her robust background crafting creative concepts for campaigns across multiple mediums, Daniels saw the unique emotive quality of motion early on in her career. She brings a collaborative approach to distilling messaging and elevating ideas through a focus on concepts, narratives and characters.

Her work has been recognized by such industry organizations as Communication Arts Design Annual, The National Addys, The Art Directors Club and The Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

Bodega EP/partner Clint Goldman said, “We feel fortunate to have Lindsay join our roster as her design and creative skills truly complement where we’re heading.  She’s already wrapped her first job for us at The Richards Group and was just a dream project from beginning to end for us, our agency and client.”

Daniels added, “I have always been fascinated with the fusion of metaphorical storytelling and leveraging design, time and music to connect with people emotionally. The directors on the BODEGA roster are all amazing talents and I am inspired by the work that they have in their portfolio and look forward to expanding that slate of work.”

Welcome to the S/R family ! Bill Hewes & HU_SH join Bodega’s new animation division

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BODEGA Launches New Animation Division Led by EP Bill Hewes

Animators from London-based studio HU_SH + NY design shop Mr. Wonderful will comprise the new department

New York/San Francisco-based content creation/production company BODEGA has launched a director-driven animation division under the leadership of Executive Producer Bill Hewes. Hewes has over two decades of producing experience with expertise spanning animation, live action, VFX and design at th1ng/th2ng, FilmTecknarna and Digital Kitchen.

Bodega launches animation division

“BODEGA is a thriving, integrated content creation studio that produces compelling work across all platforms,” says Hewes. “I’m excited to lead their move into animation and introduce new talent to the roster. Our animation directors run the gamut from narrative storytelling, to design and illustration. From 2D to 3D, hand drawn, stop motion and mixed-media techniques, it’s a perfect fit.”

Initially, the roster will consist of London-based animation studio HU_SH, led by Lydia Russell and Ru Warner, and New York-based design shop Mr. Wonderful. Hewes previously collaborated with Russell and Warner at th1ng / th2ng and will offer HU_SH’s entire slate of diverse talent to the U.S. market, including Academy Award-nominated French filmmaker Sylvain Chomet, world-renowned animation director Will Barras and award-winning filmmaker Kirk Hendry, as well as Alon Ziv, Nerdo, Chris Weigandt, Light + Mathematics, Dave Anderson, Kirk Hendry, Julien Bisaro and Woodwork.

Recent HU_SH work includes commercials and large format displays for Prudential Global Investment Management, and a Ben & Jerry’s spot out of Mekanism. Mr. Wonderful just wrapped a series of co-branded assignments for Nickelodeon and motion design work for The Kardashians on E!

BODEGA Executive Producer Clint Goldman notes, “I have known Bill for many years and to have the opportunity to work side-by-side with this well-respected EP and bring these amazing animation directors to BODEGA really expands the artistic potential of what we offer. We are making a long-term commitment to animation and these additions complement our growing family.”

Welcome to BODEGA Jon Dennis & Randy Hackett !

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Directors Jon Dennis Randy Hackett Join Bodega SHOOTonline.com

Our own punk rocker Robin Hall inspires Jagger + Scorsese for VINYL on HBO

Robin Hall - Jack Ruby - Vinyl

Turns out that our very own Northern Lights EP Robin Hall was a punk rocker back in the day! And a very influential one at that with his proto-punk band JACK RUBY. Their raw experimental sound influenced a number of the big punk and alternative bands to come out of the 70’s NYC music scene – though they never released any music commercially themselves. A recent re-discovery by Thurston Moore and others led to a release of their music and in turn led to their songs being used in HBO’s new show VINYL, which premiered Sunday Feb 14th. Interesting story below from Pitchfork about how it all transpired.

 

Pitchfork

How “Vinyl” and Lee Ranaldo Turned a Lost ’70s Act Into TV’s Next Great Fictional Band

by Marc Masters

In the premiere episode of “Vinyl,” the new HBO series created by Martin Scorsese and Mick Jagger, record label owner Richie Fenestra (played by Bobby Cannavale) sits on his couch, wired on coke and cigarettes, shaking his head to a song blasting from his stereo. The tune is “Bored Stiff” by a band called the Nasty Bits, whom Fenestra decides his company, American Century Records, absolutely must sign.

The Nasty Bits didn’t actually exist in the 1970s New York music scene that “Vinyl” depicts, but “Bored Stiff” did. It was originally written by one of those great bands that almost got lost to history, the proto-punk outfit Jack Ruby. The quartet existed sporadically for only a few years in the mid-’70s and never released any music commercially. But in 2011, Weasel Walter’s ugEXPLODE label released a CD of their 1974 demos; three years later, the small labels Saint Cecilia and Feeding Tube followed suit, releasing the same material from higher-quality tapes, along with more recently-discovered music.

Those releases caught the ear of “Vinyl” music supervisor Randall Poster, who heard the show’s fictional band in them. “There’s a punk rock foundation embedded in Jack Ruby’s music, before punk existed,” says Poster, whose lengthy resume includes The Royal Tenenbaums, Boyhood, and Carol. “Their music is stripped of all classic rock artifice, and it puts forward the root of something that would evolve from there. It works for Kip Stevens [the singer of Nasty Bits], who is having a moment of crisis trying to connect to what brought him to rock and roll in the first place.”

Jack Ruby’s music is indeed a fascinating hybrid of underground sounds, made at a time when mainstream rock was becoming a cartoon and punk was just around the corner. Their songs were clearly influenced by the Velvet Underground and the Stooges, with singer Robin Hall’s snarl echoing Iggy Pop, as well as Richard Hell. But their tunes also include layers of noise generated by atonal guitars and electronics. Hall recalls bandmate Randy Cohen, who went on to write for “Late Night With David Letterman” and the New York Times, filtering stock sound effects through his Serge synthesizer, which was “the size of a coffin.” The results foreshadow the unruly strain of post-punk known as No Wave. (One incarnation of Jack Ruby even included bassist George Scott, who later played in No Wave mainstays Contortions and 8-Eyed Spy.)

According to Hall, being both catchy and chaotic wasn’t seen as a paradox in the downtown New York scene in 1973. “Everybody was doing something different, and it was very generous in the boundaries,” he recalls. “There was nothing that wasn’t allowed.” So as much as the Nasty Bits scoff at their label’s attempts to smooth their sound in “Vinyl,” Jack Ruby could dream of success while also refusing to bend. “We wanted to be popular, not underground,” Hall says. “But we were also committed to noise, and there was no thought of compromising. We assumed no one was going to get us, even as at the same time as we thought we would have hit singles.”

Judging by the music that survived, Jack Ruby’s Top 40 fantasies were not such a stretch. All four tunes that show up over the course of the show’s initial 10-episode run—”Bored Stiff,” “Hit and Run,” and “Bad Teeth,” plus Jack Ruby’s take on the Four Seasons’ “Beggar’s Parade”—are swinging and infectious, like punk before punk existed. It’s easy to hear why these songs could have impressed a label seeking fresh sounds; even 40 years later, Jack Ruby have a bracing immediacy.

To replicate that immediacy, Poster turned to one of his rock’n’roll heroes: Sonic Youth’s Lee Ranaldo. He tasked Ranaldo with recording the songs of Jack Ruby and other bands depicted in “Vinyl” for its soundtrack, and in turn, Ranaldo called on an array of current musicians to help. “Randy likes the idea of bringing a lot of people into the game,” says Ranaldo, who previously worked with Poster on Todd Haynes’ Bob Dylan bio-fantasy I’m Not Here. “All the different people we’ve had—tons of musicians coming in and out—have made it exciting.”

Ranaldo, whose ex-bandmate has also notably praised Jack Ruby, put together a band with bassist James McNew (of Yo La Tengo), drummer Steve Shelley (also of Sonic Youth), and guitarists Alan Licht and Don Fleming. When you watch the Nasty Bits raging away in a scene, you’re actually hearing Ranaldo’s band backing up singer James Jagger (yes, Mick’s son), who portrays Bits frontman Kip Stevens. Of course, Ranaldo and company are out of the age range of the show’s fictional group of disheveled twenty-somethings, so Poster and his colleague Meghan Currier hired some actual musicians to play Jagger’s backing band: Brooklyn’s Beach Fossils.

“We’re basically accessories to the [Kip Stevens] story,” says Beach Fossils founder Dustin Payseur. “He’s the singer in this proto-punk band, and we’re his weirdo, fucked-up bandmates.” None of the members of Beach Fossils had ever acted before, but at the beginning their tasks were pretty simple. “For the most part, [the directors] just said, ‘Play like you’re losing your mind,'” says Payseur. “And I said, ‘I know how to do that.’” “One of the assistant directors told me, ‘I don’t even care if you’re playing the part—just run around stage, fall down and act insane,” adds guitarist Tommy Davidson.

James Jagger as Kip Stevens in “Vinyl”. (Niko Tavernise/HBO)

As episodes progressed, Beach Fossils were given lines to perform, which all members say went surprisingly smoothly. But they really got into the whole experience when they were simply pretending to perform in front of crowds decked out in ’70s garb. “The scenes where we’re playing onstage with the crowd reacting to us—it’s easy to feed off that energy, because it feels real when you have a hundred people screaming at you,” says Payseur. “It makes you feel like you’re totally immersed in [that time] when you’re shooting [one scene] for 12 hours,” adds guitarist Jack Doyle Smith.

In other “Vinyl” scenes, real bands from the time period are played by actors, with Ranaldo’s supergroup of sorts also providing the music. For one flashback scene—set in 1968 at legendary St. Mark’s nightclub the Dom—Julian Casablancas joined Ranaldo’s group to sing the Velvet Underground’s “Venus in Furs” and “Run Run Run.” For another, they reworked Alice Cooper’s “I Love the Dead” with Andrew W.K. on vocals.

Scenes featuring more obscure artists required mixing and matching. “We needed to record something for a scene with Joey Ramone’s first band, Sniper,” recalls Ranaldo. “But there’s not one bit of music you can hear by them—there’s not even one picture of the band you can find.” So Ranaldo chose songs from a similar group of the same era, the Magic Tramps (led by Eric Emerson, best known for his acting in Andy Warhol’s films). He recorded those tunes with Yo La Tengo, alongside Jesse Malin singing as Joey Ramone.

Ranaldo’s stable of collaborators widened even further when creating music for the end credits of individual episodes. Guests included Iggy Pop, X’s John Doe, the Kills’ Alison Mosshart, and Charli XCX, who Ranaldo says “did a Stooges song and totally fucking killed it.” “That’s the fun part,” says Poster of all this partnering. “There are a lot of people involved who we’ve all worked with before and know. Somebody like Ira Kaplan, he’s an incredible musical resource. I’ve always cited Yo La Tengo’s [partial covers album] Fakebook as a great inspiration for me in finding material.”

Ranaldo and Fleming also served as on-set consultants, making sure the concert scenes looked and felt accurate. “It was pretty amazing to watch,” says Ranaldo. “They would do a club show with 150 extras wearing what people coveted from vintage stores 25 years ago. The Velvet Underground scene was supposed to be the Warhol crowd, so there were people in bouffant hairdos and gold lamé mini-dresses.”

But Ranaldo seems particularly thrilled to have helped rekindle the music of Jack Ruby. “I think they were straddling this period musically,” he says. “All of their recorded stuff was super raw, and you can feel this nascent energy rising up, which makes it valuable as a historical document. Jack Ruby led to some great stuff that happened even if they didn’t get there themselves.”

This recent interest in Jack Ruby, after decades in obscurity, must feel redemptive to the band’s only surviving members, Robin Hall and Randy Cohen. For his part, Hall admits that “Vinyl” has provided a thrill that his teenage self couldn’t have imagined. “I was a 15-year-old kid in New Hampshire when some girl said to me, ‘You look like Mick Jagger,’ and that made me want to be a rock’n’roll star,” he says with a chuckle. “It’s amazing that 40 years later, Mick Jagger’s son is singing my band’s songs.”