People usually think of filmmaking as glamorous business. As a director or producer, you’re surrounded by famous actors who hang on your every word, you get to show up when you want and leave the dirty work to the rest of the crew, and there’s enough food provided by craft services to feed a school-full of ravenous teenagers. But when you and your friend alone are the writers, directors, producers, costumers, sound engineers, editors, and everything else, glamor quickly unravels into endless sweaty hours of toil and sporadic meals of semi-gelatinous Ramen noodles, brightened by spurts of creative energy. Still, when the film is finished, it’s soooo worth it.
This is the reality (okay, well, maybe slightly embellished) for Alex Kent and Wade Vanover, founders of Lurid Pictures. To back up a bit, Brandy and I first hatched this blog post at the Rocktown Beer and Music Festival back in April, because she wanted to use Lurid Pictures to create a promotional video for her upcoming Art Lotto project. Unfortunately, because of the nature of the beer festival, I didn’t remember the conversation with Alex and Wade… at that particular moment, I was busy squishing mud between my toes. At any rate, here it is a couple months later, the promo video is completed and it all worked out. :) She is perfectly pleased with the final cut and YOU get to see it here today!! ….keep reading, keeeeep reading…..
Alex and Wade first worked together on a short film for one of Alex’s classes–it’s called Mechanics, and, told by a character named “Isaac” after Isaac Newton, it’s an endearing film about life lessons against the backdrop of Newton’s laws of mechanics. From then Alex and Wade continued to collaborate here and there, both with the hopes of one day making full-length feature films (Wade’s even written a full-length screenplay). For now they are getting their feet wet with a diverse medley of shorter projects. For example, they’ve made a music video for the song “Wonder” by Eternal Summers (watch for a new music video for the song “You Kill,” coming soon!); last fall, they created this intermission film for the SuperGr8 Film Festival; they’ve dabbled in wedding videography. They produced this really cool commercial for Harrisonburg’s Wonder Records, and they’ve done a few promotional videos, too, like this one for Larkin Arts, a community art store, studio, exhibition space, and school.
More recently, and the reason we met with Wade and Alex Tuesday night at the Blue Nile, they completed this two-minute promotional video for Harrisonburg’s first ever Art Lotto–a portrait show of artists by artists, conceived by Brandy Somers and Denise Allen.
~ pictures of the filming of the Art Lotto promo, taken by Brandy…
… and here we are watching the finished film!
and HERE IT IS! Everyone, stop right now and watch it. I’ll wait. In fact, I need another beer anyway. Come to think of it, if you wanna give me a longer break, go ahead and check out all the links so far, plus Lurid’s Vimeo page here.
If you’re wondering about that music, it’s by Andrew Barnes, whom you might also know from Gifts from Enola and Equestrians. The Blue NIle graciously loaned their basement to Lurid for about three hours to shoot the Art Lotto film.
Which brings me to something Alex and Wade mentioned to us: the willingness of people in the Burg to help out with projects, to lend whatever talents, resources, space, time to contribute to something important to someone else. There’s a sense of community here that might be absent in larger cities. We all want art to succeed, and we do what’s necessary to make that happen. Another reason I, and Brandy, and Alex and Wade, love our Burg. Along those lines, what Alex and Wade produce, using the priceless help of others, serves to promote not just themselves as filmmakers, but the valuable endeavors of other Harrisonburg-ians, like Larkin Arts, and Art Lotto, and the SuperGr8 Film Festival, and Wonder Records. There’s this recursive effect.. where one person’s project promotes another and another in such a way that the effect on the community is much greater than the scope of the original project. Does that make sense? It’s late and I’m soooo rambling… Let me simplify: here, it’s not “you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours.” It’s “I’ll scratch your back for nothing, and voila! it’s repaid ten-fold.” And that’s how it should be.
In their day jobs, Alex and Wade actually produce videos for Health Bites, a health-related website from the Virginia Department of Health, funded by a grant through JMU. Unfortunately, the grant runs out in November, so they’re working hard to grow Lurid Pictures between now and then. These other projects I’ve mentioned are in addition to their full-time jobs at JMU. They’re clearly passionate about their art, and we talked a bit about that Tuesday night at the Nile. We talked about how selling one’s art is like jumping off a ledge. Alex and Wade love their craft, and they get deeply involved in every project, wanting to provide the best possible product, not just for the satisfaction of their clients, but for themselves, too, as artists. They have learned to navigate the middle ground between meeting the clients’ wishes and honoring their own artistic vision… applying their unique stamp while bringing to life the client’s idea. And so when they present the finished product to the client, they bare a bit of soul. So far, no client has been dissatisfied. And I think it’s because Alex and Wade care so much about their craft.
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