Late last year, I got the opportunity to work with director/photographer, Lou Bopp, to produce the Brandywine Realty Trust Tenant Safety Series. Lou had been charged with the task of directing four informational modules/micro-PSAs intended to dispel common emergency situation misconceptions and inform Brandywine’s tenants of the appropriate course of action in the event of a fire, tornado/inclement weather, earthquake, and/or active shooter in a mid-rise or high-rise office building.
With a three-camera crew, we captured man-on-the-street tenant interviews, sit-down expert testimonials, and various b-roll of safety signage and equipment throughout three of Brandywine’s flagship Philadelphia properties. Our client, the lovely Kirsten Shawn, played the host & interviewer, and her colleagues Bill Criticos and John Clyde were our technical experts for the series. All three were naturals! (I’m still convinced that the lot of them are moonlighting as actors.)
Lou and his director of photography, John Michael Ryan, relied on Wonderful Machine to provide all logistical and production support from catering/craft to equipment to crew. We connected with the dudes at Expressway Cinema Rentals to source our camera and grip. We also hired a talented local crew of stylists, audio techs, gaffers and camera operators to help bring Kirsten and Lou’s vision to life.
As far as productions go, this was pretty straight-forward. We didn’t have to cast or coordinate with talent, scouting was constrained and the locations were very accommodating during production (it helps when the client literally owns the joint). However we did face some obstacles. Personally, I was most concerned about convincing a tenant who was rushing into the office or in a hurry to get lunch or catch a train, to stop and talk with Kirsten about what they would do if the building was on fire, etc. Sheer force took care of that. We put the entire available crew to work recruiting tenants and persuaded more than enough to participate, in spite of some of the mid-morning and mid-afternoon foot traffic lulls. The other wild card was the active shooter module. I worried that the topic would be too sensitive for most people to be comfortable discussing. Boy, was I wrong. Nobody batted an eye when the question was posed.
It was a great project with an awesome client and crew. Kirsten, Lou, and Jon’s infectious attitudes mixed with a gregarious crew, made for a fun shoot and entertaining after-party at one of my favorite dive bars, Oscar’s. And, now I know what you should do if faced with an active shooter situation: Run. If you can’t run, hide. And if you can’t hide and you’re in imminent danger, fight. Not only is it the Brandywine way, it’s the American way.
To see more of Lou’s work visit loubopp.com.
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