Category Archives: News

Kaboom Launches Music Video Division Boom

Los Angeles & San Francisco, CA – With director brandon dickerson as its central directorial talent, kaboom productions has launched music video division BOOM. For dickerson, who is known for his clips for Sixpence None The Richer, Thousand Foot Krutch, Dishwalla, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Vince Gill and Switchfoot, the move was sparked by the desire to have complete representation under one roof. For kaboom founder/executive producer lauren schwartz, establishing BOOM further solidifies the company as a complete content provider.

“This is an exciting time for music videos. With PDAs and the internet requiring more creative content, I truly believe that we will see a resurgence in the demand for quality music videos,” says Executive Producer lauren schwartz. “Being someone who has always had a passion for music (and is a singer/songwriter on the side) the idea of opening BOOM to blend my love for music, our knowledge of great production, and a desire to have all these assets under one roof, made the BOOM move a natural next step.”

Initially, the music video division will focus on the talent of brandon dickerson, with possible future signings. dickerson was most recently represented by Merge@Crossroads in the music video arena, was the owner/director of his own successful music video company Spiral Films and enjoyed a brief stint at Propaganda before they closed.

dickerson is known for pushing technical boundaries presenting a combination of subtle humor, authentic performance, and beautiful images in both his commercial and music video projects. A rare talent, he works in a wide range of styles both in commercials and music videos.

“I’ve always enjoyed directing Music Videos,” comments dickerson. “From no-budget one-man indie rock shoots to high gloss VH1 fare, I continue to enjoy the creative process. My main goal is to craft inspired visuals that naturally fuse with original songwriting. If the two become one you end up with everyone happy – from the video commissioner to the lead singer’s girlfriend.”

In the commercial realm, one of his most acclaimed spots (garnering numerous awards including the Cannes Gold Lion, D&AD, and an AICP award) for the SF Jazz Fest shows off his subtle visual comedy talents. He also has a vast portfolio of “real people” work for PDFA, and Autodesk, among others; and is known for his music video-inspired fashion work with such clients as JC Penny, Converse, Mervyn’s and Dockers.

In the music video arena, his talents are just as diverse, working in several different genres — from edgy with such artists as Switchfoot &, Thousand Foot Crutch; to classic pop like Jump 5 and Play; to beauty and glamour including Sixpence None the Richer and the top-selling, internationally-recognized Lebanese Diva Elissa filmed in Prague and Beirut.

dickerson drives his passion for storytelling by pursuing a variety of creative talents beyond commercials and music videos, to include documentaries, screenwriting and photography. In the vein of a true “creative content” master- dickerson has served as both director and photographer for commercial campaigns, putting his imprint in both the film and print world for such clients as Famous Footwear and Converse. And in the music video world, he is often called on to shoot album covers and has done so for such artists such as Jeremy Camp, Matt Redman, and the band Everyone.

Drawing on true-life inspiration, dickerson’s short film satirizing the work of “professional music video actors” was showcased at Resfest in 33 countries around the globe, as well as the MVPA’s Directors Cuts Festival and the Coachella Film Festival.

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Instant Karma: DP Jim Matlosz Animates “My Name is Earl”

With a career that reflects good karma, good luck, or perhaps a little of both, Director of Photography Jim Matlosz has worked with some of the top names in advertising and feature films, including Tim Burton on “The Nightmare Before Christmas.” For the past 16 years this cameraman-turned-cinematographer has worked on numerous commercials, music videos, features, and documentaries in a variety of film and video formats.

About a year ago, Matlosz’ visual effects skills attracted the attention of the producers of the hit NBC sitcom, “My Name is Earl.” Now in its second season, the series depicts how the title character, Earl, tries to improve his karma by undoing all the wrongs he had committed earlier in life. Matlosz’ team was tasked with creating some stop motion animation for some scenes in which Earl’s brother Ricky hallucinates that everyone around him is animated.

MVWire recently interviewed Matlosz about how he initially landed the project and put together the stop motion animation segments for the “Rob a Stoner Blind” episode of “My Name is Earl.”

MVWire: Talk about starting the project.

Jim Matlosz: A friend of mine works for a company that does 24-frame playback for several TV Shows called Jargon Entertainment. I shot some smaller budget stuff for them like internet interstitials and lower budget broadcast commercials. The owner does all the 24-frame playback for the TV shows; he overheard a conversation that they wanted someone to shoot some stop motion for My Name is Earl. He was very interested in it but (had) limited experience with the format. Shortly afterwards I met the guy and he found out that not only had I worked on “Nightmare Before Christmas” but had shot a short indie film called “Oedipus” that played at Sundance in 2003.

He talked to the producers about me and that was about November of last year. So there was talk about us shooting in February/March of last year. The truth is they didn’t have a script; all the scripts were approved and finished, (so) they’d get back to us the following season.

In July of 2006 Jargon Entertainment called and said they have a script and want us to read it. They are probably going to green light it, (so) let’s put a budget together. By the end of July 2006 the script was approved and budget was approved after some severe cuts.

We started building puppets and sets in August, and started shooting October 1st.

MVWire: Was it a long process?

JM: We already had our crew put together for budgeting purposes as far as animators, people to build sets, people to build puppets, people to break down dialogue… myself to shoot it, lighting, grip—all that kind of stuff.

The puppet makers started about mid-August building the puppets, which gave them six weeks. You have to do sketches … How do you want them to look? Do you want them to look exactly human or characters? We went with more of a caricature design. Chris Rybolt was actually one of our puppet makers (who) is also a sketch artist (and) also did the final sketches. They started building the puppets once all the sketches were approved. My friend John Millhouser designed and had the sets built by some mutual friends of his that are miniature and stop motion set builders. They had to be exact replicas of the live action set, scale to scale, everything had to be exact. I mean, down to a bottle of beer on the counter or something on the shelf; flowers and curtains and the exact same materials on the floor and everything. The minute detail is pretty amazing.

MVWire: How many people did it actually take to make the episode happen?

JM: As far as puppet makers there were at least four or five. The lead puppet maker was a guy named Rob Ronning, a good friend of mine who also did “Nightmare Before Christmas,” “James the Giant Peach,” “Monkey Bones” as well countless commercials.

We had three or four set builders, a total of four animators but only two working full time. (With) myself as camera, grip and electric, (and) data wrangler…Once the show was done I would transfer to a Zip drive, make backups and hand that over to the editor who would then convert the file, remove all the flicker convert to a 1920 x 1080 QuickTime and then ship it over to production.

MVWire: How were the puppets made?

JM: They are foam armature puppets that have dated back since stop motion began back to the original King Kong in 1933 and even before that. They are cast heads made of a hard resin, and then what they do is replace the eyelids to get blinks and mouths to get dialogue.

MVWire: You guys kind of did your own thing, right?

JM: We were invited to the live action set and were there most of the day. I was there for most of the live action shooting to get an idea of the reference and interact with the director, basically just feel it out. This way when I got into the animation world I would know … have a better feel for what I was trying to portray. I took a bunch of reference stills but never looked at them. We had a QuickTime of the shot and would use that as a reference and add my own personal touch.

MVWire: What were the cameras and lights you used on this project?

JM: We used Canon digital still cameras – 20Ds—my preference for shooting stop motion. The drawback is that it does not give you a live video signal out.

MVWire: How did you pick up working in stop motion?

JM: I worked in visual effects and then I was out of work for almost a year. Then I was lucky enough to get picked up as a camera assistant on “The Nightmare Before Christmas” and was on that show for nine months. The DP was brilliant, inspirational; I learned a ton off of him. I didn’t touch stop motion for another ten years.


Animated Segment produced by Jargon entertainment:

Producers: Lucas Soloman / Sean Buck
DP: Jim Matlosz
Animation Consultant: Chris Calvi
Animators: Joe Mello / Chris Finnegan /
Tennesee Reed Norton
Sketch Artist: Chris Rabel
Puppet Fabrication: Rob Ronning and Company

Cut + Run’s David Checel Edits Bryan Barber-Directed Feature Film ‘Idlewild’

Los Angeles, CA – For the upcoming feature film “Idlewild,” in theaters August 25th, director Bryan Barber tapped Cut + Run Editor David Checel to bring his music video editing experience to the dance and music sequences in the film (the dialogue sections were cut by veteran film editor Anne Gousard). The movie is the feature-directing debut for Barber, the award-winning director and longtime OutKast music video collaborator for whom Checel has edited numerous music videos including OutKast’s “Roses” and Christina Aguilera’s “Ain’t No Other Man.”

Starring multi-platinum and multi-Grammy winning OutKast members André Benjamin (André 3000) and Antwan A. Patton (Big Boi), “Idlewild” tells the story of the loves and ambitions of two struggling performers is told through intricate musical numbers and vibrantly choreographed dance sequences. Set against the backdrop of a 1930s southern speakeasy, “Idlewild” explores the lives of Percival (Benjamin), the club’s shy piano player, and Rooster (Patton), the club’s showy lead performer and manager. The all-star cast is a roster of some of the most notable performers in film and music today and includes new songs from OutKast’s forthcoming album, also titled “Idlewild.”

In addition to the film’s music sequences, Checel cut the film’s title sequence –working hand-in-hand with both Barber and DJ Swiff from Outkast — as well as various transitions throughout the film.

“It was exciting to have the opportunity to work with Bryan on the feature and bring our unique collaboration and process, one forged in music videos, to the long-form realm,” says Checel. “We really see film as very elastic, and did some crazy manipulation of the images, along with high-energy edits, which set the tone for the project overall.”

Adding to his contribution to the feature, Checel edited the accompanying Barber-helmed OutKast music video “Morris Brown,” an effects-driven piece that places the band in fantastic and fanciful locations. For this project, Checel edited much of the video via his laptop at the effects company Moneyshots.

“The music video offered a radically different creative challenge,” he continues, “because each element – all the cars on the roller coaster, for example – were shot separately on green screen and necessitated a constant dialogue between Bryan, me and the Elad Offer of Moneyshots. I worked there so we could all be together and benefit from the continuous exchange of ideas.”

Lightborne Ups The Ante In New Music Video For Atmosphere

Cincinnati, OH – Another day, another seedy, strange motel room. “Say Hey There” is the latest music video from Atmosphere, the popular Midwest underground hip-hop duo of Slug and Ant, and their new album “You Can’t Imagine How Much Fun We’re Having.” The video premiered on MTV and will also be shown on mtvU, the network’s 24-hour college channel.

Watch: Atmosphere “Say Hey There”

Directed by motion design and production collective Lightborne, “Say Hey There” is a voyeuristic view of an evening in a seedy roadside motel. Within the low-lit rooms, you see a variety of different “slice of life” experiences that range from an orgiastic suicide girls’ sleepover to gospel singers singing on the road to who-knows-where.

Atmosphere is a group built on hip-hop principles influenced from the pioneering years of rap music, but with their own personal, honest and original mid-western contribution. The “Say Hey There” video was inspired by Atmosphere’s non-stop and grueling tour schedule and all the shenanigans that come with life on the road.

Slug (aka Sean Daley) is the lyricist of Atmosphere and part owner of Rhymesayers, an indie hip-hop label, which represents many other artists. Ant (aka Anthony Davis) is the producer of the group. The label has had a longstanding relationship with Lightborne Creative Director Chris Gliebe who was responsible for designing Atmosphere’s logo, the Rhymesayers logo, and several album cover designs for other artists on the label. Lightborne was later commissioned by the group to create the video for their 2003 song, “Trying To Find A Balance.”

Upon seeing the promotional materials and cover of the group’s new album, Gliebe was enthused by the candid look of the photography and chosen subject matter.

“The struggle of life as a touring musician is what much of this album is about as evidenced by sarcastic title,” explains Gliebe. “That’s where the motel theme came into play, as well as casting some of their friends to play parts. I decided to take the sleazy motel, road/life concept one step further in my treatment and push it into the realm of retro motel fetish with stylized pin-up girls, colorful locals, and weary travelers all mixed together to create a colorful visual feast.”

The wardrobe, casting, lighting and set design were created to have a dark cinema noir type of feel, but with a few modern twists. Besides Slug’s interactions with the various girls in the video, the other characters help to create odd back-stories and additional meaning to Slug’s heavy lyrics.

Gliebe cites Atmosphere’s busy tour commitments as the main challenge to picking a location and shooting the video, which was rescheduled several times. Finding the right motel and cast also proved to be much harder than initially thought.

“Rhymesayers and Atmosphere has always put a lot of trust in Lightborne and me to come through with a quality product,” concludes Gliebe. “They are very involved in the creative decision-making process, which is why they are so successful as an indie label. It’s easy to get good results when the client and you share common interests, viewpoints, and aesthetics. There is also a certain level of comfort when you’re working with a return client that puts everybody at ease and allows you to create something really great.”


Adam Bizanski Directs Wolf Parade ‘Modern World’ Music Video

“I connected with the music and felt the band had potential to be hugely successful so I was determined to do the project,” said Joyrider Films (Joyrider Films) director Adam Bizanski of his new music video for Wolf Parade’s single, “Modern World.” Not only was the director on the mark about the Montreal group, whose international popularity is spreading like wildfire, the “Modern World” vid is an internet smash, quickly rising to #1on’s Top 100, way ahead of top acts like Beyonce and Red Hot Chili Peppers, who’ve also issued new releases.

Like the track that inspired it, Bizanski’s video is haunting and beautiful. The director used stop motion animation to re-imagine 1968 as a turning point for industry and creativity. In the clip, the Wolf Parade band members are a “factory house band” made obsolete by machines that play music. “I was completely blown away when Adam sent me his work in progress,” said Joyrider Executive Producer Spencer Friend. “He shows an amazing eye for detail in the set and character creation and brought beautiful nuances to his camera work. It’s extremely difficult and unusual to accomplish what Adam has within a micro environment. He’s imbued the video with such believability and soul.”

Bizanski explained that the concept evolved in stages, building the plot around the song, which called to mind an image of workers on an assembly line. Filmed mostly at 24 fps, the clip features puppets and a set built by Bizanski. “It’s a complicated process for stop motion because the sculptures need to be graceful to a degree.” The video took five months to complete, with half the time spent on set and puppet construction, followed by filming and editorial. “Modern World” was shot on Nikon D70s, with help from AfterFX, Premiere & Stop Motion Pro, and “lots of cogs and pistons,” Bizanski mused.

The director had worked with Wolf Parade’s label, Sub Pop, on an award-winning video for The Shins’ “Pink Bullets,” and sent his contacts there a random sketch idea for a video. “They had just signed Wolf Parade, who loved the sketch,” Bizanski recalled. To speed up the process, he initiated work on a video for “Modern World,” from the band’s self-titled album. Bizanski shared his very early work in progress with the band and the label, who in turn commissioned the project.

Bizanski’s association with Joyrider Films stems from Resfest, in which the director had entered his “Pink Bullets” video. “We were in Israel visiting my girlfriend’s family,” Friend recalled. “Having seen Adam’s work, I tracked him down and we hit it off immediately.” Bizanski’s previous projects include music videos for Yoni Bloch (“Naim Bachutz”/NMC Music), and Zegunder (“Neo Ouija”/UK). He is currently at work on a music video for Zero 7; the clip involves a combination of stop motion and live action and is set to break later this month. Describing his stylistic preferences, Bizanski offers the following: “I like theaters, cabarets, circuses, helpless men, beautiful women, odd dancing, dark rooms, power lines, slow motion, textured lighting, extremely saturated colors, extremely unsaturated colors, miniatures, puddles, cinematic camera moves, vast fields, gray mornings, back alleys, clumsy four legged creatures, many small light sources, suits, and bus stops. There are probably a couple more.”

“Modern World” is getting rave reviews, and Bizanski – also interested in helming spot projects – has been favorably compared by some ad execs to Michel Gondry. “That’s appreciated but extreme,” the director said. “For me, it’s about making good music videos and commercials: refined, concise, even resembling poetry at times.” Though he acknowledges that stop motion is a comfortable and effective tool, he relishes his current opportunity to shoot more live action and to combine techniques. “In the end, I think videos and spots must have a permanent look and concept throughout, regardless of the techniques used to create them.”