The Story of Two Frame Films
a DBA of Magelight LLC
Between 2012 and 2014 I tried to prove a point:
It is possible to make money as a photographer.
The way you do it is through video.
The Odd Couple
I met these gentlemen when taking a few cinematography courses at the local college.
Sean McGrath and Kollin O’Dannel
Years spent doing corporate engineering, motivated to help “build the org”, I’d been taught to recognize genius when I met them. I dropped out of school but kept in touch.
I was their lighting expert. They brought me in on all their big projects.
Heck, they once even paid me $20 for my work!
(That’s the same day I got to play with gasoline and a campfire!)
When they graduated with their media arts degrees, I was ready.
A few conversations, a little negotiation, and we had a biz.
• I was “producer”, I negotiated contracts, signed the paychecks, and bought all our gear.
• Sean was “director”, knew how to make movies.
• Kollin was “cinematography”, ran a camera better than any other legally blind person I’d ever met.
• I also ran lights, as “gaffer”.
I was both top and bottom of the crew rank list. I’m sure the other guys enjoyed that less than I did. Regardless, together we made some amazing things.
Kickstarter videos became our specialty, with product videos in between.
In 2013 we were offered a lucrative contract to help produce a feature-length film.
This bike dude had written a script about biking culture. It was pure masturbatory art: it was by him, starring him, to feel good about his own life choices. He very much wanted to blow his whole life-savings on making a movie from it.
Needed a film crew.
Only problem was, he wanted to be “producer” and that was usually my role.
There’s this conversation I remember, in our tiny corner office. The team was discussing what the contract looked like and what it meant. It was a lucrative deal, but he was hiring them, without me. I’d be just a bean-counter in the sky. Did we, as a company, want to take this contract?
Yes, we agreed, we did.
It broke our working dynamic, we agreed later.
We finished the production, but then we were done. They’d been struggling their struggles, I’d gotten sidetracked on a project in a whole ‘nother universe, and we never got back together. One of the guys finished post-production on the film a good couple years later.
To life, and the lessons we learn.