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Crowd Funding? Why not?

An indie producer meets Indiegogo.

By Cullie Poseria

Skyler Reed (Left) and Cullie Poseria go over a scene.

Skyler Reed (Left) and Cullie Poseria go over a scene.

Skyler Reed first approached me to help her create her first professional level music video after a collaboration I did with singer/songwriter Rahkua Ishakarah on her video shoot for INSANE. Skyler Reed is an R&B, soul, and opera singer/songwriter who recently moved to Los Angeles, and she was recording her first full album at the time of our meeting. In order to launch her new album, gain exposure, and create media/marketing buzz, she was interested in doing a music video she could have on her website .

In our initial discussions of the project, Skyler shared an inspirational piece titled “I’m Doin’ It,” about her journey to LA, her struggles, and her triumphs. Her enthusiasm over the piece and genuine interest in doing the project as a collaborative effort inspired me to get further involved in helping her supervise the direction and production of the project beyond my typical cinematography role.

Together, we came up with ideas for the scenes, including showing a mother singing to her daughter, a group of hustlers following a unique voice in the park where they are hustling, and her struggles to make financial ends meet, including trying to buy a dress for a big performance. The scenes with the mother and daughter flashbacks mainly came from an idea to dedicate the project to Skyler’s mom, Stephanie Lynn Boardley, who was Skyler’s source for musical inspiration as a child.

After all the fun and creativity, we looked at our concept document and realized this wouldn’t be a simple shoot, and we would need to enlist some talent, crew, and locations, as well as get extra gear. That’s when I approached Skyler and said, “How do you feel about crowd funding?” This idea led to an Indiegogo fundraising campaign video to help publicize Skyler, market her new album, and raise money for upcoming music videos.

Because this was Skyler’s first foray into producing video content, she took and understood much of my production advice, and she connected well with many of my fellow New York University film alumni friends who came aboard the project to help. These folks included our assistant director Matthew Roscoe and line producer Evan Haigh. I was impressed by her ability to keep up with things she had never done—creating casting calls, holding auditions, fundraising, social media, etc. So I wanted to step in and help her with the crowd funding campaign using the limited resources we had.

She had a recording session at the studio coming up, so I said, “Well let me get ahold of my friend Roland Lazarte’s Canon 5D, some lenses—thanks to Ankur Poseria—and shoot at ES Audio Recording Studios in Glendale.” The studio was gracious enough to let us film there. After consulting with Evan Haigh, who helped put together the Indiegogo campaign with Skyler, we knew we needed to launch the campaign within the week. I would need to shoot and edit the video to completion within two days!

Our video shoot went smoothly. I shot with the 5D and an on board mic, and we immediately went to our next location to shoot her interview footage. This part of the shoot was entertaining, and I think Skyler learned a lot about talking in front of the camera. Following the filming, I took the material and downloaded the footage onto my Other World Computing Envoy Pro EX USB 3.0 240GB external hard drive. We had shot 1920 x 1080 HD 23.97FPS, with our sound recorded internally, and did our color correction set up through a picture profile. I was editing on my MacBook Pro laptop on Apple’s Final Cut Pro 7.0. I thought these options would be the best for a fast delivery and quick output to the Web.

I spent that evening editing on my laptop, and the Envoy Pro worked magnificently. I received some additional files and grabbed images/video from Skyler and her online website to use as B-roll to cut to throughout her interview footage. With each render, transcode, and transfer that I did, the drive never flinched, and its SSD spec made me feel reassured after a recent drive failure I had with a portable hard drive that was barely a year old. Not only was the external hard drive slim and easily transportable, but it was quiet, fast, and reliable—exactly what I needed for the time crunch I was in.

The next day, I delivered the final video, and Matthew Roscoe took a gander at improving a bit of the sound track, which was not the greatest since the location we shot in was next to the freeway and we only had an onboard mic available. That was probably the hardest part of the video, dealing with cleaning up the sound. Besides that, we got some wonderful responses, and the video helped Skyler’s campaign to release her new music video and album.

We were very happy that the campaign ended successfully, and everyone’s hard work went straight into making her music video. The music video just premiered and we have a nice behind-the-scenes look at the video posted as well.

September 4, 2015