Saturday, December 24, 2016

Don Circles the Drain - Full Movie

Don Circles the Drain: Surviving Access TV in 10 Easy Steps is a co-production between C Side Films and Tarazod Films.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

"Giant Chicken" sequence from Mad City Chickens

Mad City Chickens is our documentary from 2008. It's about backyard know...they're pretty humorous animals if you spend anytime around 'em. So during pre-production, we decided that we wanted to keep the movie lighthearted, to break things up...with a giant chicken (which was inspired by the work of artist S.V. Medaris). And if we're doing that, we might as well throw in a "mad scientist" as well.

It been almost ten years since we shot these fantasy sequences. The professor was played by our good friend Colin Cameron, who recently passed away. The original clip is about 2:30 minutes and appears about three-quarters of the way into the movie. Then the story was concluded with another sequence that ran during the end credits. Both segments are now shown below in a contiguous manner.

The documentary originally premiered at the Wisconsin Film Fest on April 3, 2008 and then in DVD form on March 23, 2009.

The other players included:
  • Patrick Aspinwall...Lab Assistant #1
  • Justin Riley...Lab Assistant #2
  • Nancy Rost...Piano Player
  • Stephanie Wisniewski...Sidewalk Onlooker
  • Craig Johnson...Narrator

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

In Memoriam Colin Cameron

Our colleague and dear friend, Colin Cameron, passed away suddenly and unexpectedly on November 6, 2016 (obit). Since the 1950s, Colin was an integral part of the Madison art, theater, and filmmaking community. He acted in and was involved with over 100 films.

  • We first met Colin just before the premiere of Geoff Lafayette's horror-comedy Buckystein. Colin played the starring role of a wacky Dr. Frankenstein.

  • It was because of Colin's zany performance in Buckstein that we asked him to be in our documentary Mad City Chickens. Although it was a non-fiction film, we wanted to add a fantasy sequence to maintain a lighthearted feel to the movie. It involved a Giant Chicken and a mad professor. We filmed his scenes in July '07 and it premiered the following March.

  • Colin landed the lead role of Rusty in the short, Hits. This was a Wisconsin Film School project and Tarazod was part of the instructor team. It was during this shoot that Colin would be introduced to fellow filmmakers and future friends Nicholas Wootton and Michael Holly. Hits premiered the next year.

  • We began two new film projects in 2011, and Colin was on board with both from the very start. He became the executive producer on our documentary, Benjamin's Ride: An Autistic Boy & Snow White, as well as on our short narrative, Strindberg's Assistant. Whenever time allowed from other gigs, we would work on these films. For the next five years, he was a steadfast source of creative support. Both movies are still in the post-production stage, and each will be dedicated to his memory when finally completed.

  • In addition to being the executive producer, Colin also plays the role of August Strindberg in Strindberg's Assistant.


  • Along with Windmiller Media and Exchange Productions, Tarazod co-produced Nicholas Wootton's film, Just God. Colin co-starred as Satan, and his scenes were shot in January of 2013.

  • He also narrated the trailer.

  • Michael Holly and Nicholas Wootton with Colin in March of 2013. We attended the premiere of our short, Beast. Bike. Beauty, at the Wildwood Film Festival.

  • Production begins on Don Circles the Drain, a joint project between Tarazod and Rick Richard's C Side Films. Colin was an associate producer, set photographer, and an extra in several different scenes. And he would also become the narrator and an assistant editor on the movie the following year.

  • No Sleep for Ronni is another narrative film we have in post-production. Principle photography was shot in 2014. The movie stars Veronica Narang with Colin in the supporting role of her doctor. He was also the executive producer.

  • Colin continued with his tireless efforts to move Don Circles the Drain towards completion. Numerous pick-up shots were needed to fill out the storyline. He was there to assist on almost every one of them.

  • We recorded his narration for Don Circles the Drain over several different sessions. And for months, Colin worked side-by-side with us on the edit of the film until it was finally completed in July of 2015.

  • Tarazod was hired to shoot and edit a series of educational videos for the National Science Teachers Association. Colin was asked to do the narration and everyone fell in love with his warm gentle voice.

  • Attending the 2016 Wildwood Film Festival in February for the screenings of both Don Circles the Drain and Just God (left to right: Colin, Rick, Robert, Nicholas).

  • Colin continued to edit with us on our three remaining films, particularly Benjamin's Ride. Throughout the summer, he sat with Robert at the editing station--three to five days a week. Real progress was being made. Our hope was to get a cut completed by year's end. As it turns out, however, more paid video work came in, which meant the film projects would need to be delayed until 2017.

  • The final gig we worked on with Colin was another project for the National Science Teachers Association. He resumed his narrator role, and we finished recording the last lines of the script just one day before he would leave on a two-week trip to Ottawa and then New York City. Upon his return, he had an accident in his apartment and was taken to the hospital. He passed not long after.

It's difficult here, sitting at the editing computer. The loss of his creative spirit and youthful energy is so keenly felt. Colin touched the lives of so many people. Ours will forever be changed for the better because of his close friendship. He will be missed.

Colin pictured in Madison with his sister, Mary (2008).

A Celebration of Colin's life will be held at the Brink Lounge, 701 E. Washington Ave. in Madison, from 2-5 pm on December 18, 2016.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

High Desert of Oregon

The video shoot at the Nature Conservancy conference wrapped up late last night. Before his flight home, Robert had a little time to explore the Cline Butte Recreation Area in the juniper forests on the edge of the high desert near Redmond, OR.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Nature Conservancy Burn Boss Interviews

In natural areas that contain plant and animal species dependent upon fire for their survival, controlled burns are utilized to maintain a healthy ecosystem. Prairies are one example of the many diverse ecological landscapes which benefit from fire. A burn boss is the person in charge of the fire management team performing the controlled burn.

For the last two days, Robert has been in Oregon--along with science curriculum author Emily Miller--conducting interviews with Nature Conservancy burn bosses from around the US. The footage will be edited for use in a fourth grade test program sponsored by the George Lucas Foundation and headed up through a joint collaboration between Michigan State University and the University of Michigan.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

STEM Video Shoot outside of Redmond, OR

Robert is heading to Redmond, OR today for a multi-day video shoot. He'll be filming interviews with burn bosses from the Nature Conservancy who are all attending a fire management conference this week. It is being held at the Eagle Crest Lodge, situated in the high desert region of central Oregon.

The project is being run through the CREATE for STEM Institute as a joint collaboration between Michigan State University and the University of Michigan. STEM is a curriculum based on educating students in four disciplines: science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Funding for the project is being provided by the George Lucas Foundation. Tarazod was hired to film and edit multiple videos that will be used with new technology teaching methods.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

"Don Circles the Drain" to Screen in Madison!

Don Circles the Drain was chosen by the Critical Edge Film Festival as one of the top three films in their Madison shorts category. It will play in a special pre-festival screening of films this Saturday, December 3rd, noon to 3:00 pm. Venue: Marquee Cinema, Union South, University of Wisconsin campus. Don will play during the first half of the program between 12:00 and 1:30 pm.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Pelican Case

We recently purchased a Pelican Air 1615 case to haul gear. Tarazod has an out-of-state video job coming up in early December and this is the largest size you can check on an airplane.

Special thanks to Nicholas Wootton for his suggestion and support.

Friday, November 18, 2016

NGSS Narration Continues

Tarazod is currently working on two separate projects featuring a total of 10 different videos for the National Science Teachers Association in Arlington VA. The subject matter involves the implementation of the Next Generation Science Standards in the classroom. We had Nicholas Wootton of Windmiller Media in today to read narration on two of the scripts.

Monday, October 31, 2016

New Shotgun Mic for Field Work

We added a new Audio-Technica AT875R short shotgun mic to our equipment selection. The recent classroom shoots that we've been filming for the National Science Teachers Association have taken us out-of-doors to capture the students doing field studies. The new mic adds another backup source for recording audio on the fly.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Bat Project for National Science Teachers Association

Today we completed the first of two weeks of video shoots at a middle school in Madison. It's a project for the National Science Teachers Association, sponsored by the Disney Company. We're documenting the use of Next Generation Science Standards in an eighth grade classroom. The curriculum focus for this unit is on bats, their ecology, and the environmental issues that certain species are now facing.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

New CFL Kit for Upcoming Shoot

Over the next two weeks, Tarazod will be involved with a new video gig which will take place inside a junior high science classroom. In the past, we would have rented a couple of lightweight compact florescent light (CFL) soft boxes to bounce off the ceiling. However, we seem to be picking up a few more of these types of projects. So we decided it'd be more cost-effective to simply purchase our own two-piece kit. We're not huge fans of CFLs--and this kit is nothing fancy--but for these specific gigs, it'll accomplish what we'll need it to.

Special thanks to Colin Cameron for his suggestion.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Public Screening of MCC in North Dakota

On October 2nd, Mad City Chickens will be making its North Dakota premiere. A group of citizens in Minot are looking to get their ordinance changed to allow for backyard chickens. To help raise awareness in their city, they'll be holding a public screening of our film.

  • All Saint's Episcopal Church, downtown at 301 Main Street South, Minot, ND
  • 6:00 pm on October 2, 2016
  • Free admission

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Story Meeting for "One Door Closes"

Robert met with Nicholas Wootton today at the Weary Traveler in Madison. We had a preliminary story meeting for a potential joint film project--a short comedy with the working title of One Door Closes--based on an original script by Nicholas.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

"Don Circles the Drain" Accepted into Driftless Film Fest

Our short, Don Circles the Drain--co-produced with Rick Richards of C Side Films-- has been accepted into the 2016 Driftless Film Festival in Mineral Point, Wisconsin. It will screen in the Shorts Showcase at 5:30 pm on Saturday, November 5.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Farmer's Market B-Roll for Documentary

We filmed additional b-roll yesterday for Benjamin's Ride. In looking for a few generic crowd shots, we let our camera roll at the Wednesday farmer's market in downtown Madison.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Reenactment Scenes for "Benjamin's Ride"

Ben Miles is the autistic boy who is the subject of our latest documentary, Benjamin's Ride. We've been following him and his unique story for over five years and have shot hours upon hours of video. Ben is now 22 years old. However, there are still sections of the film that require clips of him as a younger child--footage that doesn't exist. So we're recreating it with actors.

Today we met with a local child actor named Aiden, who will be playing an eight-year old version of Ben. We chatted with Aiden, ran through some brief character rehearsal, and went to it--shooting three different scenes. Because we weren't recording any audio, the production sped along.

Robert directed and ran camera, Nicholas Wootton was production manager on set, and executive producer Colin Camera did grip work and filled in wherever necessary.

Aiden only needed very brief direction before executing his part beautifully.

We took advantage of the overcast day by setting up the green screen to shoot another scene. Playing the role of Ben's mother was Aiden's sister, Megan. The footage was shot in such a way that it'll be composited in the edit with other clips to represent the time when Ben first set foot inside Walt Disney World.

Occasional wind gusts proved a little too much for our sandbags. So Nicholas, Colin, and Aiden's brother, Sean, took turns as human ballasts. 

Photos courtesy of Colin Cameron and Nicholas Wootton