The Birth of Cut Bridge Productions
In what has been over a 10,000 hour journey, tackling this project has forced me to learn every aspect of a film production from start to finish.
In this phase I earned sponsorships, acquired gear, got insurances and liability coverage, dealt with crew and locations contracts, talent releases, and focused on identifying storylines while balancing how to fund a film.
In the first year of filming I spent all of my social and financial capital to build a film crew. Overall I had a great local crew of Co-Directors, Directors of Photography, Drone Ops and Camera Ops join my production. Then for the weeklong festival in June of 2018, industry friends flew in to help out, including the very talented Media Producer / Multi-Camera Director Francine Loretero, Cinematographer Bill Schreck, and Drone Ops Josh Hall and Mike Utzig.
As a Director I juggled the complexities of capturing story elements when live events don't allow for a second take. It was important to roll with the punches and adapt to evolving situations, because a plan never survives contact with reality. However, just as important, was creating an atmosphere where my crew members felt valued and respected, no matter their position.
Covid-19 threw the film industry on its head, and it struck just as we were ready to work with our editor in his studio. So I learned to edit in earnest. My right-hand man, Co-Producer Martin Christensen, spent thousands of hours with me as we transcribed interviews and figured out the jigsaw puzzle of what storylines worked best. We identified what we needed to go film in order to tie pieces together, and we courted and hired on the required professionals for moving the project forward.
After more than half a decade of working in the film industry, I founded Cut Bridge Productions in 2018 with the purpose of bringing good people together to tackle meaningful projects and to prove our ability to do a lot with a little.
Our first production was a feature length documentary which follows five Seine Boat rowing teams who competed in the 2018 races during the St. Peter's festival. While interspersing stories from rowers of generations past, we take the audience on a journey into the lives of the featured characters, the teams in training, their motivations, the rituals partaken of beyond the public eye, both comical and serious, the elation of winning and the frustrations and resolve in the face of defeat. From the start of the film to the boats touching sand in the championship race, this is an adventure from perspectives never before seen.
However exciting, the races alone are a skeleton; the tissue which binds the community together is a blend of their shared heritage, their religion, their patriotic fervor, and the rivalries which have formed over years of competition.
Music Composer Trevor Wayne Howard
We'd built most of the film with pre-made licensed music, which meant cutting the film to match the tempo. However, for the championship race I wanted the music to fit the action on screen. Composer Trevor Wayne Howard made manifest this desire. In a six-minute scene such as the the final race, we needed the music to continue to engage the audience and not feel repetitive. Trevor worked with us to craft an evolving musical landscape which beautifully matched the emotional shifts on screen and gave the scene a life of its own.
Audio ReMixer Greg McCleary
It's a funny experience to put a film together and feel like it's done, and then bring it to an audio god and let him work his magic... afterwards, you can't even watch the old version. There are so many scenes that would have been lost if not for the talents of Greg McCleary. We brought him GoPro action footage polluted with wind, waves, oars, crowds and boat horns ... and he saved us from our ignorance. Then there's the little recognized - but crucial- elements such as bells in a clocktower chiming, instead of just music playing over the visual, or seagull calls which move from one side of the screen to the other in keeping with the bird's flight... Greg is a world builder.
Motion Graphics Designer Barry Thompson
Barry Thompson is an Emmy-Award-Winning Motion Graphics Designer. Martin and I loved his work in the documentary The Dawn Wall, and we knew we had to convince him to be a part of our film. We didn't have the budget to have moving character animations in our shots, but Barry utilized his extraordinary abilities as both a painter and an animator to create beautiful multi-layered digital paintings which shift in orientation as the camera moves, giving the feel of character movement and perspective shift.
Narrator Dave Marciano
We were torn between getting a well-known actor to do the narration or going with a fisherman and really keeping the project genuine. Dave provided the best of both worlds; he is a local fisherman and a star on the Wicked Tuna TV show, which films in Gloucester. In every interaction I've had with Dave, he was a down to earth, salt of the sea kind of man. He is both humble and talented.
Working with Trevor, Greg, Barry and Dave was an incredible experience. On top of being very talented professionals, they are good people and I look forward to working with them on future productions.