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rkgnystrom 07-01-2016 09:51 AM

Nicolife: Episode 5 | Nicolai reconnects with his sister Nikita
Check out another episode of the independent comedy web series Nicolife!

Runtime: 18 min 31 sec

In Episode 5, Nicolai reconnects with his eccentric sister Nikita. He also has a run-in with a group of thugs who come to collect an outstanding debt.

During the making of Episode 5, we had the opportunity to work with a Phantom 3 drone, which was a blast! We also inflicted various scrapes and bruises on our actors during the fight scene at the end of the episode (sorry, no stunt doubles on a zero-budget production!)

The web series Nicolife tells the story of Nicolai and Phil, two attention-starved nobodies who desire fame and fortune above anything else. Unfortunately, their social ineptitude lead them down a path of immense tragedy and untimely death. The show is a satirical look at the egocentrism of our YouTube generation.

Iíll update this post with behind the scenes videos and pics in the coming weeks. Let us know what you think!

Nicolife: Episode 1 - Dark comedy web series
Nicolife: Episode 2 | Youíll never think of oatmeal the same way again!
Nicolife: Episode 3 | Epic dance routine & chase scene!
Nicolife: Episode 4 | A dark comedy about a man with communication problems

rkgnystrom 07-02-2016 10:47 AM

Behind the Scenes Pics
Episode 5 was a fun and exciting shoot. We always try to stretch and challenge ourselves in new ways to continue to grow as filmmakers, and I think we succeeded in doing that!

For this shot, we climbed a hilltop at break of dawn to capture a kung fu routine against a beautiful sunrise. There were only three people present for this shoot: the main actor as well as our DP and the director.

On this episode, we had our first experience working with a drone. A friend of the production team had just bought a Phantom 3 and offered it up for us to use. I thought long and hard on whether we actually needed a drone shot and came up with the two shots featured at the beginning of the episode:

1) one overhead shot of a jogger, and
2) one sweeping shot that tracks the jogger from behind and then swoops past her and pushes into a close-up of Nicolai and Phil who are hiding on a hilltop.

It was important to me that the drone shots supported the storytelling and didn't come across as too gimmicky. In the end, I think the final drone shot became an exciting way to re-introduce the audience to Nicolai and Phil in Episode 5.

Unlikely as it is here in California, we were hit by some rain (!) during our shoot on Madonna Mountain, where Nicolai and Phil are hiding out. But with an umbrella to protect our equipment and the will to withstand the weathers, we made it through!

Most of this episode was shot at a friend's house, which became Nicolai's Dad's apartment. We rearranged all the furniture in the house to create spacious areas for lighting rigs and camera movements. We typically had 3 actors and a 6-person crew behind the camera.

For the dining room scene, when Nicolai and Nikita and Dad sit down for a cup of coffee, we studied a lot of similarly shot sequences, such as the dinner scene from Close Encounters of the Third Kind and the dinner scene from Fargo.

Our location for all exterior shots at the end of the episode when the thugs show up was outside our DP's apartment. The thugs consisted of friends, who volunteered to help us out in exchange for food and good company. It was fun to capture the arrival of the thugs in a single shot, although that required us to practice the blocking for quite some time. We got the final shot on the second take. Because of the wide angle of this shot, we weren't able to capture good sound during this sequence, and therefore had to create all the audible tumbling and groaning and moaning and screaming after the fact, which provided us with a lot of post-audio work!

Let me know if you have any other questions about the shoot.

rkgnystrom 07-07-2016 11:00 AM

Here's a behind the scenes clip from the making of Episode 5. It'll give you a glimpse of what it was like for the cast and crew during production.

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