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In Conversation: Jeremy Summer of Little Moving Pictures

How to Use a Corporate Video Production Studio

I recently had the chance to sit down with Creative Producer and Partner, Jeremy Summer of San Francisco’s Little Moving Pictures.
– Marshall Spight, Owner, Meets The Eye Studios

Commercials to Movies to Music Videos

Marshall: I’m here with Jeremy Summer of Little Moving Pictures. He’s the executive producer. Jeremy, tell me a little bit about Little Moving Pictures.

Jeremy: So we’re a…we bill ourselves as a high-end, nimble production company. We’re a two-person company that scales up to suit projects. We’re a friend to advertising agencies and direct clients and we make commercials, short films, music videos, product demos, interview videos. We’re making things all the time, and we’re making them in San Francisco with a San Francisco crew.

Marshall: Tell me a little about the production you’re doing today.

Jeremy: So we’re shooting a music video today for a record called Polyvinyl Records. We’ve done a couple of videos for them before and with music videos they let us do kind of whatever we want. They give us a small budget, we put in our own money, and it’s a pure passion project. So today we’re shooting pro wrestlers. We’ve got a whole ring in there. I’ve got five wrestlers with names like Rick Luxury, Johnny Dynamo. We’ve got body slams, we’ve got body oil, we’ve got confetti, we’ve got laser lights. The whole deal. It’s pretty wild in there.

Making it Happen in One Place

Marshall: Now, you’ve been here before.

Jeremy: Yes, I’ve been here before, and I’ve never had this much fun here before. I’ve been here before shooting interviews. The thing about this space is that it’s flexible to do a lot of things. Today we’ve got a very large equipped truck full of stuff, a lot of people. A much larger scale production and I’ve been here shooting much smaller crews, interviews, simple things, sound stage, clean audio, black background, and it’s been really perfect and flexible for both of those things.

Marshall: How did you hear about Meets the Eye?

Jeremy: We work a lot with Luke Seerveld, who’s my friend from Meet the Gaffer on Vimeo. And he lives in San Carlos, he’s a huge proponent of the studio, and the first time we worked here was at his recommendation. And his thing was we can show up here, we don’t need to bring a truck. The lights are here, the grip stuff’s here, make it happen. Do an interview video a lot simpler to do it in San Francisco in most studios.

Marshall: Yeah, we actually had Luke in here a lot before we opened, helping to figure out how to configure the space so that people would have an easy time working here.

Jeremy: Yeah, it’s…Having the stage there, the closet full of stuff’s there, the stage manager here to help out… When we’re working in San Francisco, there’s not a lot of spaces with large load-in, convenient parking, and everything already on the stage. There aren’t any, actually. So that, and having clients in Silicon Valley, it’s nice to offer them a space that they don’t have to come all the way up to the city to work in.

Just Don’t Set The Studio on Fire

Marshall: Anything we could’ve done better for you today?

Jeremy: Honestly, today’s been amazing. The amount of people and flexibility we’ve had has been kind of unprecedented. I haven’t heard the word “no.” We’ve asked a lot of our friends here at Meets the Eye today. We’ve set off fog, we’ve set off a fire alarm. Nobody came in and yelled at me about that. It was just kind of like, “Hey, what’s going on with the fire alarm? Okay. Nothing’s on fire? Great. We’ll call the fire department.” When we needed new monitors, extra rooms, needed to move furniture around, whatever we needed to do, everyone’s been accommodating and been cool with it. I think the rule here is, “Leave it as you found it,” and we intend to do that. And it seems like the rule on the side of the studio is, “Let the client do what they need to do as long as they’re going to be respectful of the space.” So, no complaints.

Flexibility to Do What You Want

Marshall: Now, you guys shot not only in Studio A, but you also did some shoots in our green room.

Jeremy: Yeah, so that was the thing. We needed an efficient day today. We have a lot of people, a lot of stuff, you know, makeup, wardrobe, things I didn’t want to move between here and another space. So we needed to dress a room today like a support group meeting, and there’s a room upstairs where we cleared out the couches, we brought in our own art department stuff, and instead of moving a truck, we just moved a couple lights up the stairs, moved a couple couches. There are a lot of rooms in this space that I think could play as conference rooms. There’s stuff you can do with this space even outside the studios.

Marshall: That was one of the things about Meets the Eye that surprised me after we opened. I was really expecting people to shoot just exclusively on the stages, but shooting leaks out into the other areas as well on a regular basis.

Jeremy: Yeah, and clients now, they want to shoot their product thing, they want to see their product in real-world situations, and you can be on the stage shooting the phone in beautiful light, and then you can move that phone into like a conference room or a kitchen. There’s other rooms in here to play if you need to. And there’s just lots of space to have people sitting. I had five rooms to ourselves today to have people doing hair and makeup, hanging out waiting to be shot, taking phone calls. There’s no lack of space here, which is a rare thing. And in San Francisco, if you’re going to get that extra space, you’re paying for the extra green room, you’re paying for the makeup room. Everything is a la carte.

Making Dreams Come True

Jeremy: Like all studios, you can turn them into whatever you want, but this studio, with all of the power, all of the stuff in the closets, the grid. We were able to turn a blank green room into effectively a wrestling stadium today, which is pretty awesome.

Marshall: That’s the fun part of our business.

Jeremy: Yeah, you guys are dream-enablers.

Marshall: Thank you, I like that!

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