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FTF’S Favorite “Game of Thrones” Characters.

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Anyone else disappointed there isn’t a new episode of everyone’s favorite “Game Show” tonight? Well in order to fill that empty arrow hole in my heart I’ve compiled a short list of FTF’s favorite characters from the HBO fantasy epic.

– Up first is Co-owner and Editor, Chaddix Malchow, whose favorite character is Arya Stark . “I think she has the most interesting story and character build up, and she’s on the coolest path,” says Chad of the young Northerner.

– Next is Co-owner and Director of Photograhy, Pat Shelton, whose favorite character is Jaqen H’ghar. “Why? because he keeps his word and has a great head of hair.” Can’t disagree with that.

– Audio Engineer and Composer, Devon Johnson, says his favorite character by far is Tyrion Lannister. “I love how he is arguably the most intelligent character of the show. He’s small in stature but plays one of the largest roles.” Certainly a very popular choice.

– Our Production Assistant and Photographer, Anthony Gilbert chose Lord Voldemort for his favorite, saying “I just can’t get enough of the lightsaber battles, vroom, vroom!” Yeah… I don’t think Ant watches the show.

– As for my favorite character I have to go with Sandor “The Hound” Clegane. “I just really like the duality of his character, he’s an anti-hero but also really one of the good guys.”

So who is your favorite player in Westeros, Jamie Lannister the “Kingslayer” or maybe Daenerys Targaryen “Mother of Dragons?” Don’t tell me its Joffrey Baratheon “First of His Name.” Whoever it is let us know on Facebook or Twitter, and don’t forget to click that subscribe button.

(Oh yeah, Gordon wants you all to know his favorite character is Ghost, but he knows nothing.)

Guardians of the Galaxy 17 Minute IMAX Sneak Peek. (SPOILERS)

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So just this last week I had the opportunity to see a limited screening of 17 minutes of footage from Marvel Studios’ newest film Guardians of the Galaxy, in IMAX, and it blew my freaking mind. Marvel Studios has done this in the past with international audiences; showcasing footage from Shane Black’s Iron Man 3 and Alan Taylor’s Thor: The Dark World, and Just recently the studio has begun to offer these first looks to American audiences. The first real sneak peek came in the form of 11 minutes of footage from Captain America: The Winter Soldier (Directed by brothers Joe and Anthony Russo) shown in select IMAX theaters. The preview not only showcased the change in tone of the movie but also hyped up audiences to actually shell out the cash for tickets. It worked on me, as I saw the film at least three times in theaters, and it looks like I’ve fallen under Marvel Studios’ Executive Producer Kevin Feige’s spell once again.

So without any further ado (and be warned here there be spoilers) I give you the Guardians of the Galaxy 17 minute first look.

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From left, Kraglin played by Sean Gunn and Yondu Undonta played by Michael Rooker. Via USA Today

The sneak peek began with an introduction from the Director of the film James Gunn (Check out his other films Super and Slither) informing the audience the footage being shown had been fully converted to IMAX and 3D for the showing.

The scene in question began with the familiar line-up shots we’re used to from the first trailers with some added footage, mainly focusing on Gamora (Played by the beautiful Zoe Saldana). John C. Reilly’s Rhomann Dey informs us that Gamora is the last of her species from a destroyed world, and that she is the adopted daughter of the “Mad Titan Thanos” (played by Josh Brolin) who has loaned her and his biological daughter Nebula (played by the equally stunning Karen Gillan) to Ronan The Accuser (played by Lee Pace) for use of their unique skills in acquiring “The Orb” before anyone else can get their green or blue hands on it. The Orb is Marvel Studios’ latest “Infinity Stone” and the film’s galactic macguffin introduced in the mid-credit scene in Thor: The Dark World (The Dark World also introduced “The Aether” another Infinty Stone).

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Chris Pratt’s Peter Quill and the Infamous Orb. Via: Marvel

After some more of Chris Pratt’s Peter Quill aka Star-Lord flipping off the camera we are brought to “The Kyln” and intergalactic prison were our would be heroes first start to work together. The team, sans Drax (played by Dave Bautista) are being herded down a hallway of cells. Rocket (Voiced by Bradley Cooper) is shown to be a very loud-mouthed vocal character, boasting about his exploits with his partner Groot (Voiced by Vin Diesel). This part has some pretty funny back and forth between Quill, Rocket and Groot. Peter calls Rocket a raccoon to which Rocket responds “what’s a raccoon?” so its not an insult to him quite yet claiming “there ain’t no thing like me, except me” while Groot attempts to communicate with Quill but only succeeds in annoying the human with his repetition of “I am Groot.” Rocket seems to have a lot of knowledge about the galaxy, he knows about Gamora’s family history and tells us that Groot’s species can only articulate the words I am Groot, in that exclusive order.

Following the characters down the hall Peter spots what looks to be a Kree prison guard examining his walkman. Peter slips into the cage and demands that the guard “take those headphones off, RIGHT NOW!” The guard grabs a shock stick but Peter is not deterred saying the walkman doesn’t belong to the alien and that Blue Swede’s Hooked on a Feeling is “his” song. At this point the guard tazzes him into the ground while Hooked on a Feeling starts playing over a short montage of Quill and the team being processed with some kind of orange cleaning fluid and put into their cells. In this scene we see that Rocket has some sort of implants on his back as we were informed earlier that he is the result of genetic experimentation on a lower life-form. It seems that Rocket is going to have a lot more to him than just a machine gun and fur.

We next see the characters attempting to enter the mess hall but they are quickly recognized by the inmates, particularly Gamora who has helped kill a lot of the inmates families in her work for Thanos. Peter is stopped by a large blue alien which is not a Kree, it resembles something from the Star Wars Prequels. Blue Alien starts to get in Peter’s face intimidating the smaller human until Groot shoves two fingers into the alien’s nose growing them up into his brain leaving him a blue sobbing mess on the floor. Rocket informs the rest of the inmates that “this one here [Peter] is our booty!” Still not sure if he means a bounty or prison sex, this is some of the dark humor that (Director) James Gunn is known for and is prevalent through his films.

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After their small show of force Groot, Rocket, Quill, and Gamora begin discussing how they are going to escape the prison and we get a glimpse of Drax staring down Gamora. Rocket informs the three others that they will need a cybernetic arm remote from one of the guards, an inmate’s prosthetic leg, and the battery from an alarm on the guard tower. In one of Gunn’s long camera takes that he is utilizing for the film, Groot takes its upon himself to get the battery while Peter, Rocket and Gamora argue over the best course of action. They need the battery last because its very high up and once it is disconnected the alarms and security system will activate. Behind the three, Groot grows himself tall and yanks the battery from the wall, the alarms sound and chaos ensues. Gamora goes for the guard remote and Peter gets the leg, while Groot is attacked by floating gun turrets. In an epic scene Groot lets out a loud “I AM GROOT” and grows himself a shield, his strength and wooden body seems to be very resilient, he basically just takes the shots fired at him. Rocket runs up his friend’s shoulder jabbing at him for ruining the plan. Drax uses the chaos to join the others in their escape, this is when Drax’s character starts shine. In fight choreography reminiscent of The Winter Soldier Drax takes out three guards, using mostly his head, its all very “Terminatory.” Drax grabs a gun from the floor and tosses it up to Rocket calling him “creepy and little”, Drax is very literal and funny. Rocket takes the weapon and this is the scene from the trailers where Rocket cocks the rifle saying “oh yeah.” There is no other way to describe the carnage of Rocket and Groot other than bad ass. Gamora displays a fighting style similar to Black Widow in Iron Man 2, making use of her legs to take down some of the guards. Meanwhile Peter tries to convince the inmate from earlier to give up his fake leg. The team commandeers the guard tower and Rocket begins work on his plan.

In one of the funniest scenes in any Marvel movie Rocket starts to make fun of Peter for actually getting the leg, Rocket was kidding with Peter and in more of that Gunn humor Rocket begins to laugh asking Peter what the guy looked like hobbling around, Peter says he had to wire 30 units for the leg! There is more comedy from Drax too, Peter calls him a walking thesaurus to which Drax gets deeply offended warning Peter never to call him that again. This is when Rocket informs the gang about Drax’s unique species and their aversion to metaphors, Drax is confident that “nothing goes over [his] head” and that “[his] reflexes are too fast, [he] would catch it.” Gamora laments that she is going to “die surrounded by the biggest idiots in the galaxy.” Before Rocket can finish what he is working on a team of Nova Corp officers surround the guard tower and shoot the glass with well placed rockets to weaken the structure. However, just before the final volley from the Nova Corp hits, Rocket shuts off the artificial gravity everywhere but inside the tower, he then re-programs the automated turrets to latch on and fly them up towards the exit. The Guardians (who aren’t quite Guardians of the Galaxy just yet) crash through one of the walls of the prison ship and the scene ends. The preview was then followed by an exclusive extended trailer that shows more of the camaraderie between the guardians but most intriguing was a short glimpse of Ronan the Accuser bowing to a familiar purple chin in a floating gold throne, the one and only Thanos of Titan.

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Guardians of the Galaxy. (From left, Gamora, Rocket, Star-Lord, Groot, and Drax). Via: Marvel

I’ve been following Marvel Studios’ evolution from independent film studio to multi-million dollar brand since the release of Jon Favreau’s Iron Man in 2008 and I can honestly say I have not been more excited for a marvel movie since Joss Whedon’s The Avengers in 2012. I predict that this film is going to be a game changer for summer blockbusters. In all the interviews I’ve seen Director James Gunn has shown he has a strong passion not only for science-fiction and Marvel comics but the art of film itself. He really is an auteur and this film will be his gift to audiences come August.

To help tide you over until then here is the edited down extended trailer shown. Don’t forget to click that subscribe button and share with your friends on Facebook and Twitter and remember to get your tickets for Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy coming out August 1st in Cinemas and IMAX near you.

 

First State Bank and Trust | “Action Trailer”

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Recently we got to work with one of the local community banks in our area – First State Bank and Trust (FSB&T), out of Bayport, MN. Man did we have fun on this shoot. From jet skis to car chases this little 30 second spot packed a wallop.

FSB&T had recently just opened up a new location in Hudson WI and wanted to shed a little light on the fact that they are still the same old bank that has been around for nearly 100 years (they were established in 1914). So naturally what better way to get the word out than a cool commercial. FSB&T first contacted us in the spring of 2013, with the idea that they wanted a commercial, although I don’t think they had any idea where we were going to take them. Rather than going with the cliche bank commercial of a man/woman walking into a bank, smiling and proceeding  to “open an account”, we decided to take a chance and  pitch the idea of creating a mock movie trailer, in the same vein as James Bond. Well – turns out they loved the idea, needless to say we were stoked.

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Our concept was fairly straight forward – We had this guy that was in a hurry to get some where, and the whole time he has this accomplice in his ear harping on him that he is always late. We wanted to get as much diversity with the “chase” scenes as possible, which is why in only 30 seconds we go from car, to foot, to jet ski, all while keeping the pacing quick and moving forward.

It’s always a little nerve racking when a company puts all their trust in you to do something a little “different”, so when we heard that they loved the final product we nearly broke down in tears from relief. Over all we had a blast shooting this spot and First State Bank and Trust was a true pleasure to work for.

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Son On A Mission

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Not all project pitches have the level of passion and love in them quite like Jon Sadeh’s did when he came to us earlier this summer.

Sohrab Sadeh embodies the American dream, through and through. Arriving to this country almost half a decade ago, with virtually no money to his name and no foundation to step on here in a foreign land to him, Sohrab hit the ground running to survive. Taking any and all employment he could, he was able to start laying the ground work for his success here. Spending all of his time and earnings, he slowly started to build an All-American family. After raising 4 wonderful kids, he was able to both send all of them to college and provide them with a home to live in that they still can call home to this day. Unfortunately, Sohrab’s selflessness and desire to provide for his family came at a price. This is where his son, Jon, comes into the picture.

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It’s difficult to hear Jon speak about his project, Send Dad Home, and not be struck with emotion for the love and passion he has for his father. With an extensive background in film and photography, Jon is just the kind of guy to support for such a challenging project. Traveling to Iran in this modern day is no easy feat in and of itself, but to film there at the same time is a whole other element of difficulty. After looking at every angle and any possibly road block, Jon has came up with a game plan to successfully bring his father back to his homeland and capture it to create what would undoubtedly be a breath-taking documentary.

By supporting his Kickstarter, supporters will not only get to help a hard working man return to where he came and be reunited with his family before it is too late, they will also get a wonderful piece of art in return. We want to help Jon reach his dream just as badly as he does for his father, so take a moment to read his story and help him reach his goal to Send Dad Home.

Help fund the project here @ https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1922604475/send-dad-home

 

12 Revealing Questions Successful Executives Must Ask Themselves

This is some great advice to make sure that if you are an executive – you’re doing things right.

1.Are You Still Relevant? Is your company’s primary product riding a growth trend or is it declining? Are you Hostess still trying to sell Twinkies or has the market long ago moved on? Do you still matter? Where is the next big wave to catch if you aren’t on one?
2.What is Your Why? Is your primary purpose for doing what you are doing still clear and compelling? Have you defined your Why? (Mission or purpose.) Is your What clear? (Vision) Do you have your When written out? (Goals) Are your Hows set and prioritized? (Values, strategies and tactics) Is it still the right Who? Target audience and your executive team.
3.Are You Leading or Managing? You lead people, you manage things. You need both. Leadership is the greatest variable with the most leverage. Leadership decides the path to follow, how fast is the speed of the march, and how to deal with each bend in the trail. Management executes to the variables of the journey. A leader is a shepherd who walks in front with a clear voice, a manager is a sheep herder with a well-trained horse, while a poor manager needs a sheep dog.
4.Are You Great, or just Good? Excellence is first a decision before it is action. Do you have passion for what you do? Are the best in your world at it? Can you make enough money to keep the water over the rocks? Jim Collins in his awesome book Good to Great says you need passion, potential to be the best in the world, and a clear ability to make money to be great in our world of business. Be honest… are you great? Or just good.

Read the rest of the article at:
http://www.forbes.com/sites/kenkrogue/2013/03/19/12-revealing-questions-successful-executives-must-ask-themselves/

Engineering America | Brand Video

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In 2013 we set out to encapsulate Engineering America, one of the countries top liquid storage tank manufacturers.

We started shooting in January 2013, and wrapped last December. A total of 18 hours of footage was captured over the span of 12+ shoots. In the end it was all worth it. We came into 2014 with a wonderful project t, that gives the viewer an inside glimpse into the passion, drive and  professionalism Engineering America and its employees bring to the table on a daily basis.

6 Ways to Enhance Your Credibility

Great little article discussing what some of us might think is obvious, but a refresher can never hurt.

Originally written by Geoffrey James

You won’t succeed in business if nobody believes in you. Here’s how to make certain they do.

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Your success in business is directly proportional to how quickly (and how well) you can establish credibility with your customers, investors, and colleagues. A while back, I had a conversation about credibility with Randall Murphy, president of the professional development firm Acclivus. Here’s my interpretation of his ideas:
1. Be genuine about who you really are.

The days are long gone when customers were impressed by an illustrious corporate name or a fancy job title. Customers are more likely to respect you if you present yourself as an individual rather than a plug-and-play “representative.” The moment you pretend to be more (or other) than you really are, your credibility flies out the window. Be authentic, even if all you bring to the table is your enthusiasm.
2. Know the legitimate value of what you provide.

When you know–truly know–what you’re products and services are worth, you’re unafraid to communicate both the strengths and the limitations of your offering. You’ll refuse to cave to unreasonable customer demands. You’ll stick to your firm’s policies and procedures, and explain to the customer why they make sense. You’ll be strong and confident about what you can contribute, thereby creating credibility.
3. Have insights based on research and analysis.

Adding insights to a conversation automatically creates credibility. Insight comes from learning about a firm, the role it plays in the industry, and the customers that it serves. Insight is strengthened when you develop multiple contacts (and thus different perspectives) within the customer’s firm. Remember: even the smartest CEO doesn’t know everything, and as an outsider, you can bring a fresh perspective to old problems.

If you would like to read the rest of this article click here

How to Do What You Don’t Want to Do, Lessons in Discipline

I recently stumbled upon this wonderful little blog while roaming the interwebs one day called Self Stairway , written by a man named Vincent Nguyen. Honestly people, to anyone looking for that little extra push this is a great place to start. Not only does Vincent write wonderfully insightful articles himself, he recently has been bringing in guest writers to contribute to the growing blog as well. Whether youre looking for a little motivation or even a “support group” of sorts this blog is simply inspiring and wonderful. Enjoy.

Until Next Time,

Pat Shelton

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Originally written by Vincent Nguyen from Self Stairway

Taking the first step in anything is the hardest part of it all, usually. Unless you’re attempting to land a quadruple jump on ice using absolutely excellent form, chances are that just taking the first step and beginning is holding you back. The reason the first step is the hardest is because you need to discipline yourself.

I know a lot of people who lack self-discipline. They say, “Don’t worry, I’ll start working on my (insert task) at 7pm. 8pm rolls by, 9pm, and eventually it is midnight. Soon they realize they’ve failed themselves once again. In fact, one of my closest friends is exactly like this and it cracks me up every time because it is like watching a cartoon rerun.

Chances are that you lack discipline in yourself as well and you constantly lack the self-discipline to begin a less than pleasant task. You know you should start something, you tell yourself you will by a certain point in time, and then you put it off for later.

I’m not going to say I’ve always been self-disciplined, but much like all the skills I’ve acquired over the years, it’s been a work-in-progress and I can now say with confidence that I’m far more disciplined than I was four, five years ago.

Here are some of the things I’ve practiced over recent years to be able to simply tell myself to do something and jump to it right away.

1. Acknowledge your lack of self-discipline

Hold yourself accountable for your own lack of discipline. Sure, maybe you do try your best to keep your own promises right now. You tell yourself you’re going to start going to the gym, you tell yourself you’ll take out the trash without having to wait for someone to scream at you, but you still don’t do either.

Accept the fact that you need to work on self-discipline and only then you can begin to improve. There’s no use in denying it.
2. Set a deadline

This may seem obvious and from my examples above it seems that it’s something that doesn’t work. However obvious it seems, the key to discipline is by starting somewhere and that is through using a deadline.

Back in my high school days, I had tons of busy work that seem to be rather needless. The way I got through all of this is by making my official “Homework Deadline” 8pm. If it was a school night and I had not done all my work by 8pm, I have failed my mission.

You can get as creative as you want with this. Perhaps no more Nutella or video games if you miss the deadline. Then again, this sort of self-inflicted torment takes discipline as well.

Simply set the deadline and try your best to follow it. If you fail, that’s okay. Don’t give up on the deadline technique yet, but combine it with the rest of the list.

To read the rest of this article click here

The Magic of Natural Light

Any time I am given a job to light something whether it be a commercial, a narrative, or anything in between, I first ask myself what the project/story is asking for (in terms of light). More often than not I will need a variety of lights for a variety of different situations, but that’s not always the case. Recently I worked on a project for a little film festival in the boonies of Wisconsin with a few friends. In an ideal world we would have been given days and days to plan our lighting layouts and shot lists, but we weren’t, we were given two days. In order to keep on schedule while staying true to our story we opted to shoot bare-bones, natural light.

The name of our project was Won’t, a story about Tanner Lofgren the NHL’s best hockey player as he abandons his team during the middle of their playoff push. There were a few things I loved while working on this project. For one, I got to get together with some friends and make a movie, which seems to never happen these days, that was amazing by itself. Another thing that was a real breathe of fresh air was being able to utilize natural light, there is something so beautiful about how it wraps the face, it can be so incredibly gentle and also so aggressive.

I really enjoyed our indoor scenes during this shoot, they were elegant and strong, but with that said; our outdoor scenes did not hold the same emotion as the indoor ones. There are a few reasons for that I feel, one we were stuck shooting in the dead of the afternoon for a few of our scenes. This led to our image turning a bit flat and faces to loose a bit of that “grit”. Ideally we would have shot the sidewalk scene with the sun coming from the side, and a bit later in the day, but the location was a bit to good to pass and we needed to get rolling, the trails and tribulations of 48hr film festivals.

In the end I was very happy with our final edit. I felt we used our resources effectively and told a beautiful story. Sometimes you don’t need all the bells and whistles to get a wonderful image, you simply need a window and some talented friends.

Until Next Time.

Pat Shelton

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