Well well well…

After 4 months of hard work, blood, sweat, tears, and more than a few trips to Memphis Blues BBQ to celebrate, I’m so very proud to announce that Project Space Squid — Now titled Compendium Vol. 1 — has officially come to a close.  It still shocks me to think that it’s all over and done with, and that it’s finally time for us to move on and start the next chapters of our time at VFS, and even more than that, taking the next steps in our careers as producers.

When we started this project at the end of term 2 (Wow, April, so long ago!), none of us knew what to expect.  We were told to write up briefs on our favorite HP Lovecraft tales, that this would end up on an iPad, and that we were to figure out how to get from point A to point B.  How could we say no? The opportunity to produce our first short film alongside an interactive property? It was like a dream come true, and all while in school, seriously… I could not have asked for more.

We’ve all grown so much in the last 4 months, and to see the transformation along the way has been a truly rewarding experience for me. and through this blog you’ve seen some of my process along the way.  So I guess, this is where I will take the time to thank everyone who was involved in C’Thulhu, from start to finish, so get ready people, this is a long one!

***As I was writing this post, I got a phone call from my classmate and super awesome friend, Nadeem Siddiqui, letting me know that…. THE CALL OF C’THULHU HAS BEEN ACCEPTED TO THE HP LOVECRAFT FILM FESTIVAL IN PORTLAND OREGON!!!!!! WE DID IT!!!!!!!! YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!… Now onto the post.

First and foremost, I’d like to thank our oh-so-fearless leader, Jessica Leigh Clark-Bojin.

If it wasn’t for her hard work and dedication, Project Space Squid never would have gotten off the ground, and we are all immensely thankful.  She was there for us to advise us when we didn’t know what to do to fix our problems, to calm us down when we were ripping our hair out, and to celebrate the many victories we had along the way.  She was so much more than the Executive Producer credit she got on this project, she was our mentor, our boss, set decorator, asset creator, motivator and our friend.  And most importantly, she believed in us.

When we started in this program in January, she told us it was a year-long job interview, and she could not have been more right.  We got the opportunity to be on set and work with students, alumni and industry professionals, all while getting an education in the class room, learning how to create all of the proper documentation to go with the project, how to get funding for and marketing our final pieces, how not-to-get-sued, and a laundry list of amazing skills that I don’t think I would have gotten anywhere else.

My top 3 Jessica Lessons :

1. How to be a classy producer. (don’t gossip, and always smile when you’re screaming on the inside.)

2. Not everything can be fixed in post. (and you should never, ever say that it can be.)

3. Don’t use buzzwords, you’ll date yourself. (especially not “exposure”)

So once again Jessica, thank you.

And now, onto my lovely co-producer, Sandra Rojas-Gonzalez.

Back in week 1 of term 1, Sandra and I decided to work together on our first episode of the Blast Light, and in term 2, through Ken’s pairing system, we were placed together yet again to work on “Encore – In Support of the Actors’ Fund of Canada”. When we got the opportunity in term 3 to pick our partners, it was an easy decision to work with Sandra who is the most supportive, dedicated and often sleepless teammate, and one of the most amazing friends I’ve ever had.  She’s always ready to take on a new challenge, and never shied away from dealing with the consequences of our decisions, and more importantly she was the voice of reason and maturity when I was losing my little head.

From making our team meeting itineraries, and personalized name tags, and even cut-out paper C’Thulhus, she was all about C’Thulhu through and through, and I think it helped in keeping our team on track to the final goal, and also made C’Thulhu lovers out of all of them!

On set for Call of C’Thulhu

We started this process as friends, and though we went through some pretty tumultuous times throughout this project, we never lost sight of what was really important, and were there to support each other every step of the way.  At the end of the day, if I needed someone to talk to, about anything and everything — I knew she was there, and I can’t thank her enough.

Us celebrating at the Space Squid Wrap Party.

So now as we enter terms 5 & 6, it’s time for me to say goodbye to my first co-producer, and welcome Myles Messinetti to my team.  Sandra moves onto “Julianne Mayweather : Tales of Fairies”, while Myles and I move into our travel-reality show, and although I’m sad to see her go, I’m so happy to say that we’re both pursuing something we are so very passionate about, and I know we will both be moving onto great things.  I love you Sandra!!!! ♥

Now onto the rest of our super AWESOME C’Thulhu Team!

In the 21 years I have been on this earth, I have never once played on a Sports Team — outside of the obligatory gym classes, where in JR. High I always said I had my period…– and although I’ve been in drama clubs, singing groups, and other projects before, but it just doesn’t compare to what we built in the last 4 months.  I’ve seen these people more than I’ve seen my family, and I’m happy to call each and every one of them my friends.

Lead Motion Designer : Ehab Kamal :

Wildly talented motion designer, incredibly creative and highly dedicated to giving the best he possibly can all the time.  I’ve met very few people in my life who are as passionate about what they do, and I’m so lucky to have met Ehab.  He was so happy to show us his progress every step of the way, and though the keying, rotoscoping and lighting was a big challenge for us, he came through with flying colors, I know he’s destined for great things, and I can’t wait to see what he does next.  (Especially this new photography course he’s taking ;) )

Interaction Designer : Nick Lenko :

Like Ehab, Nick is incredibly passionate, and quite frankly, he’s a jack-of-all-trades.  He started out as our interaction designer, became our on-set photographer, our honey and tea runner, and moved onto our Impact Awards team, helped us with the website, print materials and overall concept of the CopaCabana, and now he’s helping on my final project.  At only 19, he’s already accomplished so much, and I know he’ll continue to do so for many years to come.  Although he’s moved back to Toronto now, I know our paths will cross again someday. (If anything, I’ll fly there so we can wait in line for our iPhone5s together because, let’s face it we are Apple junkies.)

Secondary Motion Designer / Title Sequence : Nida Khan :

(Forgive me for the picture Nida, i didn’t have any of you on our set, and this was the next best thing cause it had the staircase, and I also took this from your Facebook…)

As beautiful as she is talented, Nida was a huge asset to our team, always ready to take on whatever responsibilities she needed to.  She created our opening title sequence, setting the mood for the film and gave us an inside peak into the world and home of the great C’Thulhu… After seeing her final project, I was happy to recommend her to my classmate Nadeem, and I know that together they can produce the most incredible Bollywood title sequence out there!

Amanda Healey & Vincent Van Haaf :

Our super talented developer team who turned our initial concept into a reality.  At first the idea of an interactive video seemed a bit daunting, and as we delved further into it, it posed more than it’s fair share of coding nightmares, but these two worked fearlessly to pull it off, and I’m so proud of our finished product!

Celia Chung :

Though we didn’t get to work much with the artistically gifted Celia Chung, she created some beautiful backgrounds, assets and “buttons” for us for our interactive experience.  She worked on the Rats in the Wall as well, where her artwork can be found throughout the interactive experience.

Our Super Talented Actors : Brennan MacGregor & Ron Guwick :

What can I say about Brennan? I met this guy when I was 13, and here we are, 8 years later, in an entirely new city, both following our dreams.  He’s a wonderfully gifted actor, a hell of a screamer, and ran fearlessly on that treadmill for us.  Can’t wait to see what you do next buddy!  And Ron, he was the father of our very talented make-up artist Carla Guwick.  He came in the day of  the shoot, and sat there and played dead, he did a great job and had just the look we were going for (his C’Thulhu style beard was pretty sweet too).

Make Up Artist : Carla Guwick :

Carla was a huge help not only with casting, but in creating the perfect dead guy, and the cut in the professor’s arm, that starts the unravelling of Joseph’s life.  She was very hands on on set, and quick to jump in when needed.  She also fashioned us some very realistic looking puke (too bad it didn’t taste super great haha, poor Brennan) and was a great asset to our team!

3D Team : Steven Davies, Jagdeep Saggu & Raymond Corbett :

At the beginning of our post-production process, we were told we had to scout out some new team members to help us with keying and rotoscoping the footage.  We went over to the 3D department, and met the new compositing instructor Raymond Corbett who gleefully got us two super awesome VFX artists, Steven Davies and Jagdeep Saggu, who worked tirelessly into late nights, and gave us the fantastic footage we could not have done without.  They put so many long hours into this project, and without them we never would have finished on time, so to them, a million thank yous.

Film Crew : Hillary Hodges, Michael Chase, Randy Che, Josh Alkoff & Thahn Doan :

We got the opportunity to work with a combination of professionals and alumni on this project, and it was such a rewarding experience.  We brought in Randy Che and Josh Alkoff, and they brought with them a RedCam and an entire lighting truck! We also got the help of recent Film Production graduates Hilary Hodges and Thahn Doan.  Hilary has since moved to Los Angeles, California and is making her dreams come true step by step! And last but not least, our fabulous film’s director, Michael Chase.  Michael is one of our instructors at VFS, and the head of VFS Entertainment.
Sound Team : Ben Ozga, Maria Luz Orozco & Taavo Ruberg :

We worked with three very talented sound designers to put our piece together.  We started with Taavo Ruberg who worked as our Boom Op on set, then moved onto Ben Ozga who helped us with our ADR session, and rounding off with Maria Luz Orezco.  We had a great team that were able to work off each other’s pieces to come up with something great!  Thanks so much guys!

Set Builder : Michael Van Straaten

When we started this project on Day 1, we were told that we had to build a staircase, and we thought well… okay, how on earth are we going to go about doing this? Well luckily enough, my great friend Michael Van Straaten stepped in and helped us build our project!  He went to Windsor Plywood and HomeDepot on about 50 different occasions, and set up a plan, and followed through until the very end.  He did a great job and we were able to use the staircase in Nida’s final project! Mike is also the guy who helps me celebrate my many victories and consoles me on my defeats — and let me tell you, we can eat a whole memphis blues BBQ platter plate! You’ve become one of the best friends I could ever ask for, and I’m glad the TRU days are behind us!

Awesome Documentary Team : Ian Berg & Sam Green :

Ian, Ian, Ian, I don’t know what more I can say about this guy, and no matter what I say, it won’t do him justice.  He spent literally an entire weekend at school, and countless late nights working to make sure that Dagon was finished on time, and documented our process with Space Squid along the way.  He’s a highly dedicated, motivated individual and he’s turned into a great friend — and he’s from Alberta yo!

Sam Green, so fun to be around, and now I get to see her every day as she’s joined our EBM VFS family!  She’s a gifted designer and an excellent photographer, and I can’t wait to see her work here at VFS, and whatever she does for SamGreen Photography.  (And I’m so very proud to say that I’ve made myself another friend, who is a girl! A rarity for me!)

And finally all of our wonderful instructors, advisors, mentors, PMs, TAs and anyone else who helped us or our team members along the way :

Myron Campbell, Amber Bezahler, Ryan Atimoyoo, Stephen Webster, Brett Forsyth, Orrin Stroll, Robyn Wiener, Christine Baudry, Sencer Yacin, Bob Woolsey & Sara Sutherland :

Thank each and every one of you for all of your hours, your dedication and for your belief in us.  We really appreciate it and could not have done it without you.  Can’t wait to see the next edition of Compendium, and I hope you all get the chance to work on it again! (If I forgot anyone, please let me know and I’ll happily add you to my list)

And last, but certainly not least, the rest of my classmates.

We actually did it.  I’m so proud of the 10EBM10s! We’ve evolved so much this year (and I don’t just mean from All the Single Ladies to Baby, Baby, Baby Ohhhh, to Tunuk Tunuk! to whatever 80s Music Myles is playing) and I’m so happy to be a part of such a great group of people :) …even with all of the nicknames…(po.tat)

We definitely had our ups and downs, and times where we thought we were going to scream at each other (and sometimes we did) but we all learned from each other, and some of our qualities, mannerisms and expressions rubbed off on each other as well.

So a big shout-out to : Sandra Rojas, Nadeem Siddiqui, Sichao Chen, Myles Messinetti, Justin Norton, Benjamin Morales, Janelle Miguel, Ivan Maltsev and Justin “Jayo Staxx” Olson! You guys rock! ♥

Check us out, we’re like a mini UN.

Final Words

Quite possibly one of my favorite parts about this project, was starting to blog.  I had always kind of wanted to start, but never really had any reason to, and getting the opportunity to talk about my process throughout C’Thulhu was simply amazing.  It’s started as an assignment that turned into a photo journal that I can look back on for years to come and share with my friends and family when I’m *hopefully* traveling the world.   It also inspired me to start a personal blog detailing everything from my favorite foods, trips and adventures, to my time at VFS.  Check it out @ http://mhbobsledder.com/

Well I guess this is where I should wrap it up, so a final thank you to one “person” this project couldn’t've been done without :

ph’nglui mglw’nafh C’Thulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn.  Oooohhhh Great one, I am your servant great C’Thulhu.  Thank you for letting us embark on this incredible, life-changing journey, now you can go back to sleep…

Thanks for reading ya’ll.


PS. Some of the photos taken for this blog post are from various Facebook pages, and some were taken by the following people : Sam Green, Sandra Rojas-Gonzalez and Nick Lenko. Thanks guys!