Sometimes things come together. Several months back I wrote about re discovering the Masonic Center in Salina Kansas and a classic gem of an auditorium in the heart of the building. I had also been in communication with the Lawrence-based band, Olassa and we were kicking around ideas for a music video for them. They are, at the core, a three piece band with an accordion, tuba, guitar, and fantastic harmonies. For me, it reminds me of classic folk/americana music from the 1930’s.
The auditorium was built in the 1920’s for the use of the Masons and their various clubs. For their initiations and programs, they had elaborate costumes and backdrops made to tell the stories and history of the group. Over 90 backdrops, hand painted, and they still hang in that room.
It was a match made in Heaven as far as I was concerned. We made arrangements to get the room and off we went. The morning was spent loading in gear, which was not an easy process. We snaked through the cavernous building and made our way to the third floor with a jib arm, steadicam package, doorway dolly, and a bunch of other stuff. Next was figuring out the 90 backdrops and how each set worked. We were saved when Don Hamilton, our building contact, brought us the “backdrop bible”. It had photos and numbers for all the scene sets.
The stage itself had these big square flood boxes in the wings with old style pin plugs. They all worked. We added a little additional front light and called it good.
We spent the next few hours calling out numbers and picking which scene sets we wanted. The next step was critical. I ordered 100 Cozy Innhamburgers for lunch. We would need their life giving sustenance for the grueling shoot that awaited us. If you are not familiar with The Cozy Inn, it is the best slider hamburger in the world. That is not my opinion, it is fact. I also believe it is written in the old testament. “and the Lord God did create the Cozy, and it was good.”
Cain, Allison, and Tyler arrived and we packed them full of tiny hamburgers. Then it was show time. To raise and lower the backdrops, we had 4 sturdy individuals who had rehearsed all morning. Ryan would call the timing cues and Whitney, who has the strength of 10 oxen, would call out the color code for the next scene set. As the band performed, I could hear her calling out “next is blue, stand by blue, go blue!” It reminded me of basic training in Full Metal Jacket.
Our first run through almost brought tears to my eyes. I could barely keep my thoughts together and concentrait on running the jib (which is important, it is a big heavy stick that I am swinging through the air). The movement of the backdrops was breathtaking, more that I even had imagined. We ran three takes with the jib and then switched to steadicam and ran 6 more takes.
Because we had scheduled to shoot two videos that day, and I wanted the natural daylight from the windows for the next video, we called the shoot and moved on. About 6 hours later, we were at my parent’s house in Salina. I had all the footage on my laptop and decided to drop it all in a timeline and tinker with it a bit. As we began to cut, I realized that it was going to simply fall in place. The total edit, not including color correction and some tweaking was about an hour and a half. It was effortless and wonderful.
All of this happened because of a group of friends who love what we do. I can not think of a more enjoyable way to spend a day. Input came from all directions, it was as joyful an experience as I have ever had. Thank you to Olassa, The Masonic Center of Salina, Kansas, and to The Flying Circus crew. I am in constant awe of the film making community in Kansas City and am thrilled to be a part of it.
And now, please enjoy Pretty Flowers by Olassa.
Director of Photography/ Scott Jolley
Olassa, The Band/ Cain Robberson, Tyler Bachert, Allison Olassa
1st AC/Chad Chamberlain
Backdrop Riggers/ Max Jolley, Johnny Stump, Whitney Spangler, Ryan Chamberlain
Location Manager/Donald F. Hamilton
Executive Producer/Doug Jolley
Assistant to the Executive Producer/Marne Jolley