On a Cold Dark Night

The trailer for my last short film dropped yesterday. On a Cold Dark Night is Alex Mercado’s adaption of Faun No Tane by Masaaki Nakayama. Faun No Tane translates to Seeds of Anxiety in English. 

When Alex approached me to shoot this when I was a bit adrift after a previous project. I was looking for something a lot more in line with my own tastes. Alex and I worked previously worked on Elans and have been friends for a number of years before that. 

This short has been a passion project since our first conversation. I could tell Alex was trying to get this out since he read the Manga as a kid.

The film is in the homestretch of post production and I cannot wait for the opportunity to show it to everyone. 


Please feel free free to comment below.  

Where have I been?

Honestly. I have been slacking off. After a few negative experiences on projects, I’ve been focusing on living my life a little and resetting on what I want to create.  Focusing on smaller projects that will allow me to work on content closer to my personal interests. 



I went on a trip to finally see California, something I have been looking forward to for 30 or so years. It was a short trip but a welcome break from a cold wet winter in New York. I got to visit a few places I have only dreamed I could see. Such as the Bradbury Building, a location made famous in Blade Runner, a seminal film in my life.  



Going there remindeded me of what I wanted to get into in the first place. So much of that town has been shot that I would run into places that fit into a million fictional stories that just fit because the angle was right.

It was a great time personally as well as for perspective on craft. I got to see friends that moved out there and are killing it. spending some time with my fiancée seeing sights and enjoying the rest.



The trip was a great reset and I can’t wait to get back to focusing on what I want to create. The fantastic. 



I went to see Phantom of the Opera for Valentines Day. It was first time seeing a show in the theater in over a decade. It was definitely the first I’ve seen since I started to pursue cinematography. I’m going to have to see many more professional shows just to see how much I can absorb from them.  

 I was Phantom once before and I loved the many, subtle changes to the play. The lighting design and style is more current and as well as a more traditional score, which was more synth heavy last time.

From the beginning the show applied specific color palates.  The design and in the opening scene was so specific that I thought to myself “it’s almost like they color graded it.”  The color palette was a lot more orange and teal now versus the bright blue 90s  nighttime look employed last time. 

The other take away I had was learning to enjoy theatrical lighting again. Many of the projects that I work on  are so low budget that you are  you are forced into a naturalistic approach.   Getting time to be in a world where the lighting is entirely dictated by the drama was a real treat. 

 Its also interesting that there is an equivalent to shot sizes in the staging of a scene. Sometimes they would use only a portion of the stage and others they would use the whole thing to elevate the scale.  Rooftop scenes overlooking the city or journeys into the phantoms layer in the underworld of the stage could take up the whole stage from side to side. Meanwhile small one room conversations can take up as little as a quarter of the stage, with use of spotlights guiding your attention.  Half rooms constructed with doors could create simultaneous opposing drama in multiple locations.

 I’m sure a lot of people reading this that go to theater regularly probably rolling their eyes at this post but it’s interesting to see the foundations of the rules film play out in front of you.

New Reel

I recently updated my show reel to a cut showcasing the cinematography of the first half of Mistake. There are more bold looks coming as the story gets deeper the second half of the season.  

Mistake Episodes 4&5

I have been negligent in my duties promoting my my most current work. The drama starts amping up in these last few episodes. 

Here are the links.  


The episode 5 concludes tonight on YouTube. I'll be posting it here soon.  

MIstake Series Episode 1 & 2

1ST & 2ND EPISODE PREMIERE OF#MISTAKESERIES SUBSCRIBE & SPREAD THE WORD OF #MistakeSeries ! Written by: Nicolette Ellis Produced by: OUI Productions Directors: Kendall Glaspie, Felisha George, Spencer Slishman, Tari Wariebi Director of Photography: Darrell Ayer MUSIC: EPISODE 1- "Where do we go from here" Jules and The Jinks "Sundays" by PhillmySoul "Real Like" by Ava Hovanka (feat Kapsure) EPISODE 2- "Shining" by Matt McGhee "14U" by Ava Hovanka "Late" by Brittany Campbell "Lost" by Joshua Howard FOLLOW US ON: https://www.instagram.com/mistakeseries/ LIKE US ON: https://www.facebook.com/MistakeSerie...

Monday Motivation

As with any journey, making headway in doing what you you love is fraught with doubts.  Along the way there are moments of even subtle despair. Moments when you don't know if you're good enough. I'm sure like anyone it come before the start of a project. A reflexive humbling, if you will. 

I found this great little snippet from an interview with Anthony Dod Mantle DFF ASC BSC about starting out in the industry.

It's just a small pick me up for people who worry that they're not moving fast enough or that time has passed them by. Here's a man who has shot some great films, who started at 35, and is still making great work. 

Just like the work week it is only just starting. Go, shoot, don't bit off more than you can chew. Forgive mistakes you've made. Keep on plugging.

Also if you are a shootwe and don't follow Cooke Optics TV, do that now. Their channel is a great source of inspiration and usually enough to get the wheels spinning. Never long winded and always fulfilling. 

Color Grading Tests

Recently I went out on a very cold day in January with my lovely fiancee to do a bit of test shooting in an effort to push around footage to create a series of Horror Film looks in DaVinci Resolve.  While none of these a groundbreakingly interesting they do show how far you can push around a the SLOG3 files out of the Sony A6300.

Witch LOG.jpg

The LOG file can be fairly jarring to look at untouched. I recently had a producer almost have a breakdown because I didn't adequately prepare them for the look of the raw footage.  When you load up two days of shooting and everything is dark, grey, and noisy,  it's a lot to take in.  Especially when you've been looking at the internally corrected gamma on set.

In an attempt I tried a number of different methods to create an over all horror movie vibe.  Each going with a different style, some inspired by great photographers others by moods.

Witch 4.jpg

The first look was inspired by some images I saw from Eduard Steichen,  while I backed off how extreme that look is, the essence of the look is still there.  His landscape work has an early dawn, loneliness which the cool greens definitely help inspire.

Witch 1.jpg

This second look was more of more of a faded photograph look.  Much like old home photographs  from the 70's or 80's after a few decades of fading.

This was much more of a contemporary Ring style look, cold and empty.  This style most closely represents the weather we were filming in.

This last shot is attempting more of a ENR process with the pitch blacks and the blown out highlights.  A slightly punchier Sepia look.

Each of these looks were just variations on a feeling I wanted to convey of foreboding or otherworldliness.  I will put more up as I create it.  This is my first real blog so I am going to try to be better that grotesquely sporadic about posting.