In 2012, I worked with producer Jamie Hyams to create this piece for the Spokane 50 Hour Film Festival. Jamie and I had met before through our work at CMTV, channel 14. Jamie had great enthusiasm for this Etta James and Johnny Otis project, and I brought a level of production and editing expertise. Together we created ‘Tell Mama’, starring Tia Griffin and Abraham Luna. Jamie had cast some terrific musicians for the parts, including some back-up parts, and that made a tremendous boost to the production, and made the audio editing both easier (when we got the audio right), and more difficult (getting clean audio during production).
I had never done a film slam before, but enjoyed the experience a lot. It was helpful that Jamie and I were in sync for much of the shoot. One such moment was both of us immediately picking the Masonic Hall as one of our special locations.
We had come prepared for many possibilities during the shooting. One of my favorite parts of the shoot was the way we lit ‘Johnny Otis’ between the columns at the Masonic Lodge, playing the trumpet. We had Mo Noder, our equipment guy, hidden behind one column with an LED emergency light. We didn’t need to worry about the deep blue LED color because we knew we were going to edit in black and white. There were many great moments during the shoot, and we were considerably helped by a talented and willing cast.