BOSS OF ME – A WEB SERIES by SABI
Boss of Me tells the story of a new Creative Director and Producer of Marketing and Distribution that is sent down from “corporate” to manage the newly acquired independent feature film production company Sabi Pictures. What ensues is a systematic restructuring (“Side-Shifting” as the star calls it) by Bret Donovan to the chagrin of the employees. But Bret is also an idea-man, and he alone believes his ideas are the one thing that can keep morale up and save the company.
A WEB SERIES FOR OUR FANS
It was created to be distributed on the web for free for our fans, with a healthy amount of humor and poking at both ourselves and this business we’re in. With all the talk about how Independent Film is dead (which it is not by the way) we felt a show like this couldn’t come at a better time — and setting a show in a production company was ripe for funny material.
CREATING THE SERIES: Co-Creating the Boss of Me web series with John T. Woods was a convergence of several factors. First and foremost, we (at Sabi Pictures) were looking for a fun way to connect with fans, and specifically our films and our company and who we are — with those that watch and enjoy our content. Reach out to fans and learn who they are — and at the same time (hopefully) entertaining them. Thus, the series extends out into Facebook, where the star of the show (Bret Donovan) has a very active Facebook profile. Often ideas offered by fans are certainly food for thought for future seasons…
We are excited to get some recent press from PopCultureMonster — where the :90 spot is featured exclusively for it’s first week of release. Exclusive interviews, pictures of the Cobb-Boom Helmet in action (see below) — as well as a write-up about the series is featured in the article on their site.
Our hope with Boss of Me is simply to stimulate discussion, interaction and as Bret says ‘smiles.” The entire notion of our having intentionally crafted ‘branded content’ was just a bonus — not the intention or the goal. We certainly do want more attention on the work of Sabi, but practically speaking, we just wanted to create something that wasn’t expensive so that we could offer it for free to our amazing fans without having to justify a return.
THE PROCESS: We shot everything on a Canon 7D, and used the prototype for a Cobb-Boom Helmet (which is an audio booming aid that you wear on your head invented by Jamie Cobb) to record sound. We used Pluraleyes to sync sound & Final Cut Pro to do the rest. Of course, these minimal resources isn’t ideal but it well suited our needs for keeping this small and on its feet. Often the shooter was wearing the Cobb-Boom Helmet to get the sound while also getting the picture — which aside from getting the job done, was a funny sight to see.
Much of the dialogue is improvised, and was guided by myself and John T. Woods through several phone calls, text messages with jokes, emails and a rough outline before going in. But it’s all really Bret Donovan. Bret was a find for us like no other, and of course there would be no show without him. His sincerity on and off camera is what keeps me as a co-creator interested in exploring new ideas and avenues while the camera is already rolling. The real investment with this series was our time and energy — so it was important to keep it a fun (and very fast) working atmosphere. We hope this translated into the series.
Boss of Me is certainly not for everyone — and it’s not something we were intending on getting on something like HBO for wide release — but at the very most we hope that fans subscribe & interact and want to see more (and at the very least — we hope they find it funny. In parts, anyway.) We look forward to your feedback!
White Knuckles was born out of a deep desire to explore a story with a group of artists through the collaborative medium of film – and to explore it as much as possible while the story is happening – while it’s on its feet in production – while the characters fully inhabit the actors.
The means of accomplishing this would be a team of artists that could invest themselves personally in the shared vision of the project, and could work as a unified whole that could shift, adapt and adjust whenever the story changed based on the flexible nature of capturing dramatic improvisation. This could only be accomplished by maintaining a collective atmosphere of safety and trust with the crew, filmmakers and the cast. An atmosphere where the actors could feel like they can fully explore their characters without any judgments or self-direction. A creative space where the actors can go deeper in the improvisational present moment, and the filmmakers and the crew can support and guide them along. A truly interdependent process where there are no idle hands on set – a place where everyone is involved, and each member on the production is truly critical.
With White Knuckles, we wanted to see what would happen if we wrote a script and then took it away at some point during production – when the film begins to breathe on its own. We wanted to see “what happens with the characters” and we wanted to see “where will the story go?” It was in a large part about curiousity. Though we had a screenplay that would be great to shoot – we thought that perhaps guiding the improvisation initially, we could fully let go later and produce real surprises and true-to-life dialogue and moments that could not have otherwise been planned.
To do this in a drama that goes to the places White Knuckles does – it took the safety net of the rest of the cast and crew to make this work. Really, it took each other – and every individual working together as a unified whole to make this real “Interdependent” film happen.
There is a point in every soulful, artful film production where the actors seem to fully inhabit the characters, sooner or later. On set, sometimes this happens early – other times certain key aspects of the character emerge later depending on the circumstance. But ultimately – there is a collaborative search for truth that makes ‘a film by Sabi Pictures’ – and if the film is honest (as I believe White Knuckles is) than perhaps it will be blessed to find its audience.
It is a rare group of talented filmmakers that converged to create White Knuckles. And what we have in this film, is in my humble opinion, a true example of interdependent filmmaking. As filmmakers – we all simply wanted to be able to let go of pages and pre-conceived notions and rather listen very closely to what comes out of (and what comes from within the soul) of the character. We wanted to hear an authentic voice, and wanted to see the story that was the deeper, more meaningful, more real version (than the duplication of the intentions on the page). We want to see the sum that is greater than it’s parts – a piece of real art emerging from our collective creative contributions together.
This is ultimately the collective desire of a collaborative group of artists working on an Interdependent Film. Interdependent Filmmaking is the kind of filmmaking where one uses “us” and “we” and “our” more often than they use “I” when describing the process of making that film. We think that White Knuckles is unique because of the interdependent nature of the shoot. The WK website’s “Creative” section details examples of how many of us together collaborated on this film, and there will also be some behind the scenes posted to get a look at the faces that made it happen.
As with every interdependent film, there are so many hands on the work that it is hard to summarize or describe the process of each member that took part – but each person’s contribution made the film possible. And though the credits on the film will generally reveal every person’s name that contributed – there are so many more roles that were filled by each member than can possibly be listed.
Calling White Knuckles and interdependent film is a way to say Thank You – to acknowledge that the film could not be possible without the entire interwoven web of creative contributions, a network of interdependent people, that all get behind one idea. It’s a beautiful thing when it works, and it is the most fulfilling kind of filmmaking. And Interdependent Filmmaking is the evolution of the art form, in my humble opinion.
I’m honored to have been a part of this process at Sabi Pictures. Sure it is an ever-changing and an ever-evolving process with each new story – but the unique way of making each film bears one thing in common between everything we’ve made: there is simply no room and no time for inflated egos when a group of artists want to venture into the great unknown of making a film together. There is only room to learn from one another, for true collaboration, for support of each other under any circumstance, and for the collective desire to see the story through to the end no matter what.
We had a very talented group of individuals that came together to bring you the interdependent film White Knuckles – as well as Heart of Now. We guided the stories to the end rather than pushed them, and what resulted from the process thus far may move you, and perhaps even surprise you.
Kevin K. Shah Interdependent Filmmaker from White Knuckles