Tag Archives: production

Marlee Maslove Plays Ruby’s Sister Hailey

21 Oct

Marlee umbrella laughingMarlee Maslove is no stranger to web series — or to playing Hailey.  Over the last two years, she’s shot ten episodes of Hailey Hacks, a web series that shows you cool things to do with your computer.

Marlee has spent a lot of time on stage. For the last four years, she has been a member of the Randolph Young Company.   Not only was she in musical theatre five productions with RYC, each show ran for more than a dozen performances, Hailey at mailboxwhich adds up to a lot of stage time.

She’s also been a featured extra in two TV series: Blue Murder and Metropia.

Marlee is 13 years old and is in grade 8 at an alternative school in downtown Toronto.

Lucky Number Three!!

19 Oct

Aidan CheeatowIt’s getting exciting.  Only six more sleeps until launch.  But around here, the fun never stops.  So we have something new for you to look at today: a brand new teaser entitled Life on the Set.

One of the things that makes this teaser especially awesome is that the director is Aidan Cheeatow.  Aidan is 14 and a film major at Claude Watson School for the Arts.  He is also the brother of Madison Cheeatow, who plays Ruby Skye.

When we heard that Madison’s brother was a young filmmaker, we invited him to set, gave him a camera and full access to cast and crew and forced him to make a little film.

Here it is.  We think it’s great.

Ruby at IN 10

13 Sep

On Tuesday September 14, I’ll be presenting a little case study on the project at IN10.  The presentation will be part of the Case Camp Mini in the Sky Room at 9 a.m.  Also on the Case Camp bill are Eli Singer of Entrinsic and Roger Garcia, Digital Marketing Manager at Scotiabank.  And of course, Interactive Exchange 2010 schedule is full of great speakers and topics.

This will be my first opportunity to talk about Ruby Skye P.I. in public so I’m very excited to get a little feedback from the community.  I’ll talk about building a transmedia franchise from the ground up and our social media strategy for building audience.

If you’re there, come say hello.  There might be a brand new hot off the presses Ruby Skye P.I. button in it for you.

Crazy Crazy Hectic Day

8 Sep

Who Wrote That?You’d think things would slow down a little now that production is done, but you’d be wrong.  I’m busier than ever.  Come to think of it, production was just an excuse for me to watch everyone else work, but let’s face it, I was goofing off.  Now, I need to put my shoulder into it.

I just finished an exhaustive list of the content that needs to be produced for the web site.  In point form it runs 6 pages.  A lot of writing lies ahead.  And not just writing, there are photos to sort and videos to cut.  Which is part of my busy-ness: meeting with people who are helping me create the content and edit the footage.

But — oh — that’s just one small part of what’s got me feeling overwhelmed today.  There are quite a few other things on my plate.  I have to organize the distribution and exploitation of The Spam Scam — the Ruby Skye P.I. mystery we just finished shooting — and start pumping out the next mysteries in the series.

The former means a meeting with Tanya Kelen of Kelen Content later today to discuss distribution plans.  Tanya is acting as a consultant to the IPF on their web series and also has a distribution company.  I know little about this so it will be good to see what a distribution plan looks like.

The latter is partly about stories, pitches and outlines for new Ruby Skye P.I. mysteries.  Fun stuff that I can’t wait to get to.  But it’s also about building a package for sponsors and putting together funding applications.  I love putting together the material for sponsors, but funding applications make me cross eyed.

Oh yeah, and I have to blog.  So check one thing off the to do list and moving on….

Teaser Credits

8 Sep

Ruby Skye P.I. and The Case of the Missing Brownies

Marlee teaserHailey Skye: Marlee Maslove

Written by: Jill Golick

Directed by: Kelly Harms

Director of Photography: Alex Decav

Sound: Sean Van Delft

Assistant Director: Kerry Young

Editor: Jennifer Essex-Chew

Assistant Editor: Ben Manthorpe
Alex and Kelly Shooting the Teaser
Music by: StudioCat

Production Assistant: Illia Svirsky

Produced by: Kerry Young

Executive Producers: Karen Walton, Steven Golick, Jill Golick

Read My Sister’s Report Card

Ruby's Report Card page 1Written by Scott Albert and Julie Strassman-Cohn & Jill Golick

Report Card provided by The Dragon Academy

Teaser Launch

7 Sep

Shooting the trailerI had really wanted to release the teaser before we got into production.  Then I wanted to release it on Day 1 of production.  Karen Walton kept encouraging me to cool my jets.  She didn’t see the point in rushing it out and she was right.

We probably could have taken even more time to lay the social media groundwork before releasing the trailer, which is not to say it wasn’t a great launch.  It really was.

By the time we were ready to roll out the teaser, we had one week of production under our belt and people were beginning to follow the production blog.  Dorice Tepley was tweeting regularly from @rubyskyepi as was I, albeit infrequently.  Karen and Kerry were also working Twitter from their own accounts and several members of the cast and crew were supplementing the script with their own ad hoc tweets.

We were close to launching a Facebook page as well.  The only thing stopping us was the lack of an image to represent the project.  We hadn’t settled on a logo and we didn’t have exactly the right photo to represent the production.  But nonetheless, our online presence was growing.

Karen’s plan was a clever one.  Raise awareness and excitement about the teaser by talking about it online and offering a small number of previews by invitation only.  That meant that in addition to the team, there would be about 20 people who had had an advance look at the trailer and could talk/blog/tweet about it along with us at the moment of release.

And release was scheduled to the minute: 12 noon Eastern on Friday August 27, 2010.

Crew and some cast of Ruby Skye P.I.The day before we released the trailer, we had a screening for the crew.  That’s when we took our crew picture.  We immediately put the picture up on the web and used it as the profile picture when we launched our Facebook page that day.  The crew got in the fun, joining the fan page, spreading it and tagging themselves in the picture.  That was a great boost for us on Facebook, because each crew member was helping by promoting the page to their communities.

That carried through into the launch of the teaser.  Many crew members mentioned it or liked it on Facebook helping spread the word as did the 20 or so people who had had a sneak preview.  Karen, Dorice, Kerry, production manager Peter Harvey and I were all active through out launch day on Facebook, Twitter and the show blog, talking about the teaser and the upcoming launch.

At precisely noon, we saw a very significant spike in our traffic.  We had our best numbers so far on that day.  And our traffic has not yet fallen back to pre-launch numbers.

Next Phase

7 Sep

Ruby Skye P.I. SlateIt’s wrap out day for just a few last members of the crew; things are getting returned and restored. But while one phase of the project is gearing down, the next is gearing up.
On the one hand, we have the moving pictures (video? film? what do you call it now?) part of the project to finish up; editing and post. On the other, there is a website to build and a launch to plan.
The technical and design aspects of the website are in the very competent hands of Lucia Mancuso, Jessica Law and the team at The Blog Studio. We have fantastic wire frames and now it’s time to put a little flesh on those bones.
Getting Ready to Shoot at The Big ChillWe are also building a ton of content for the site and that is in-house work. Lots of blog posts, character sketches, log lines and more have to be written. It’s a pretty huge job and we are starting right now.
Our teaser launch went extremely well. We learned a lot from the experience and will draw on those lessons in the lead up to the roll out of the episodes. Look for lots of activity on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and several other platforms. Your support in the form of posts, reTweets, links and forwards is very much appreciated and helps a Lot.
Relaxing outside The Big Chill between takesWe’re still riding the high of production, so expect to see lots more photos and discussions of the experience in this space and wherever else in the social web we can cram some content.
Don’t expect quiet from Ruby Skye P.I. any time soon.

Teaser Post Production

6 Sep

Marlee on setEditor Jennifer Essex-Chew was one of the earliest creatives to join the project.  I worked with Jennifer on the very first web project I did and loved her from the word go.  I was excited to get her involved in Ruby Skye P.I.

Luckily she had some time available and was able to cut the teaser.  Kelly and I brought the hard drive containing the video and audio files over to her lovely house.

Importing the files into Final Cut Pro wasn’t straight forward.  The first few attempts seemed to drop frames.  We called Alex Dacev as he was packing up to go to the cottage and he told us that we had to pull in the video taken on the Canon 5D Mark II through Mpeg Streamclip.  Phew.  For a moment there we worried.

Once we got the video and sound imported and sunk, Jennifer proclaimed the sound clean and that we had everything we needed.  She had a rough cut for us in a couple of days and she and Kelly did a little bit of tweaking to perfect it.

To give us an idea of how a music would work with the teaser, Jennifer added a temp track.  It was a piece of music from another production she’d work on and it was perfect for our teaser.  Jennifer told us that the composer – who she’d never met – was one of her favourites; David Wall.

Hello, internet.  We found David’s contact info and Kerry gave him a call.  Could we use his track?  Unfortunately, David didn’t own the rights to the piece, but he sent us another comedy-mystery cue that he did own and that he was willing to let us use instead.  It was even more perfect than the first.

Our on-set editor Ben Manthorpe and Alex collaborated on the final colour correct.  Then all that was left was to plan a release date.

Shooting the Teaser

5 Sep

Marlee in the closetWe shot the teaser with a small crew.  Kelly Harms directing, Marlee Maslove playing Hailey Skye, Alex Dacev as DoP, Sean Van Delft doing sound, Kerry Young playing first AD, Illia Svirsky was swing and I watched and took stills.

We shot it at night.  Call time was 7:30 p.m.

Marlee had been at ExITE Camp at IBM that day and wasn’t available until after 5:30.  Alex and Sean both had been working day time shoots I think.  Plus Kelly wanted to get all the mysterious mood that night would bring.

I had no idea what he was up to when Kelly asked me if I had a closet with a pull string light.  But I soon found out when Marlee was sitting on a chair in a storage closet for our first shot of the night.  I think that opening moment looks great when we go for darkness and Hailey pulls the string to turn on the light and begins to tell the story of how she got grounded.

We shot on the Canon 5D Mark II and in part, the teaser was a camera test.  It turned out to be a wonderful camera for our purposes and the images coming out of it are gorgeous.

We had a lot of setups: the basement storage closet, the hallway outside the bedroom, looking into the bedroom from the balcony, the kitchen, the computer room.

DoP and director conferIllia did the work of 10 men that night, lifting, carrying and running to and fro.

We wrapped around 12:30 a.m.  Despite having gotten up at dawn and having had a full day of camp before shooting, Marlee was the freshest and least exhausted of all of us.

We downloaded the cards from camera and the sound into my computer and called it a night.

Comparing Video

3 Sep

I’ve been agonizing over which video host to use for this project.

I may just have settled on Vimeo.  I invested in a pro account which is about $60 a year and will allow unlimited HD uploads and supposedly some customization of the video player.  However, I’ve uploaded one video so far — the teaser — and the video player does not seem to be responding to my customization.  I’ve unchecked the “later” box a dozen times, but it keeps appearing anyway.  I can go in and alter the embed code, but it bugs me that it remains there after I spend my 60 bucks.

We’ll keep a YouTube channel and post all the video there, but I am not inclined to host on YouTube, mostly because the options for setting a the thumbnail image (sometimes called a poster frame) are so limited.  And poster frames are VERY important.  So while we plan to be very active on YouTube, we won’t be hosting there.

One of the options we eliminated is Blip, which offers great video quality and a good player.  But you can’t set up a private video there and it is oriented particularly toward video producers who are monetizing with ads.  I like Blip a lot, even though every single time I access my Hailey Hacks account there I have to– for unfathomable reasons — reset my password.  Weirdest glitch ever!

I also like TubeMogul, but there professional pricing is way way way out of our league.

I’m offering up a side by each taste test — well, one above, one below.  One video, two hosts.  Our teaser on Vimeo at the top and on YouTube below.  Can you see a difference?  Is there a player you prefer.  The lines are open.  Let me know what you think!

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