Words fail me every time I listen to Stephane Grappelli:-)
Listen to this stunning live rendition of How High the Moon!
I was blessed to have become great friends with the inspirational and
influential personal development giant, Charlie “Tremendous” Jones…
Watch Willie cheat at cards:-)
You can’t help but bust a gut watching this maestro of music and comedy
at work… play really:-)
My good friend, Rick Beneteau, has it right in this two videos!
The Making of “Melissa’s Lunch Money”
In the fall of 2006, a professional photographer and a large group of actors from Hollywood gathered to give the world, and in particular, the humanitarian organization, 10 Million Clicks For Peace, a helping hand. They went on a photo shoot to bring to life the story of a young girl who desperately wanted to also give the world a helping hand. The storyboard was written by 10MC co-founders, Julian Kalmar and Rick Beneteau, and the next day the principles gathered and recorded the voices in an Oscar/Grammy award winning studio on Los Angeles studio. If the narrator’s voice sounds familiar it is Mike Dunahee, the “King of Beers” voice in Budweiser commercials, and the voice of Melissa, Shawnna Youngquist, is the one you hear in Mazda commercials saying, “Zoom Zoom.”
Here, in the words of 10 Million Clicks For Peace co-founder, Julian Kalmar, is how everything went down…
When the core team at 10 Million Clicks For Peace decided to go “all out” to make the most inspiring movie possible, the task seemed daunting. We’d never seen a Flash movie incorporating a custom story, professional photos of the characters, professional voice-over recordings, and a custom written and produced music score.
To our surprise, Melissa’s story came together much more easily than we imagined, because so many giving and talented people united in the name of making this a more peaceful world.
When we posted the project on a commercial casting website we were astounded that over 1,000 kind-hearted photographers, actors, and voice talents jumped at the chance to help this project become reality. As you can imagine, choosing characters and voices from a thousand talented people is no easy task.
We spent weeks coordinating schedules between photographers, actors, and our location. However the day before the photo shoot, we lost our filming location. After much scrambling and no luck, the property manager at our original location took pity on us and let us shoot as originally planned. Then at 5:30 pm the night before the shoot, our main character (Melissa) had a family emergency…all that effort and planning of the previous weeks was about to go out the window until one new “Melissa” heroically stepped forward to save us [Shawnna Youngquist]. As it turned out, our new Melissa was phenomenal. The moment we started shooting and recording, she instantly transformed herself into Melissa. She got the facial expressions and voice intonations perfect, and we’ve lovingly dubbed her, “Little Miss One-Take.” What a professional!
On location, with less than an hour to go before the shoot, we lost another character, but there was no turning back. We wrote him out of the script on the spot, and kept right on going. All the other actors turned up exactly when needed, as if directed by the Grand Director, Himself. There was so much good will, patience, and love on the set that day, I think everyone knew they were participating in a history-making event. I was impressed by every actor.
But the good will didn’t stop there. When we needed to film “Melissa” at home, one of our actors volunteered her parent’s home, and we were off to a second location with actors in tow. Together with her lighting man Fred, Michelle Gold, our photographer, took over 1200 photographs that day. There was plenty of material to choose from, so much so that we had a hard time selecting the final images…trust me…this is a good problem to have.
When it came time for the characters to speak, we needed a professional sound studio, but we didn’t have the budget for such an elaborate setup. Thankfully, Bob Wayne at Sunburst Recording took us in…the same Sunburst that has recorded for numerous Grammy and Oscar winners and finalists.
The voice-over recordings called for two new characters, a narrator and our “Nayah” character (who wasn’t one of our actors). We knew the narrator was particularly important and could make or break the movie. Thankfully, Mike Dunahee, stepped forwards to help. You’ve heard his voice all over the place in commercials, you just don’t know it…remember the echoey god-like voice at sporting events, “Budweiser…king of beers,” for one?
Our biggest challenge throughout the movie, however, was to make Nayah’s country of origin and any associated religions unidentifiable. We solved this problem in photography by choosing images from Ethiopia, Madagascar, and Gaza. [Nayah’s photo itself leaves you wondering whether she’s Middle Eastern or African.]
What on earth were we going to do for Nayah’s accent, though? The moment she opened her mouth, her accent would be a tip-off to Nayah’s country. Thankfully, of the 700 people who came forward to do voice-overs, we found Lily Michael. Lily successfully combined an East African, West African, and South African accent all together to produce what you heard, and managed to sound like a kid at the same time. Phenomenal!
I cannot say enough about the professionalism and dedication of the actors and voice-over artists, many of whom were the same people. They bent over backwards to make this movie happen, and made themselves available as we needed them, including for a few extra photographs that we forgot to get on filming day.
Of course, there’s a lot more to making a movie than simply taking photo’s and recording voices. While many of the simple photo edits were done by us, the crews at LightWerx Media (Trevor Thomas, Jason Engel), and at Spiritual Video (Ed Keller) provided the real movie-making talent.
But, what’s a movie without music? While we could have taken some stock music and added in the background of the movie, the really emotional points called for the music to match the scenes. This couldn’t be done without writing music specifically for the movie. It’s something we joked about early on, but it would cost thousands of dollars that we just didn’t have. Then again, a humanitarian project touches people in a certain kind of way, and professional composer and arranger, Larry Thompson was one of those people touched. We would have our custom music after all. Larry not only wrote and recorded the music, he did all the things necessary to turn our raw audio recordings into the result you heard.
The final movie production was completed in December, 2006.
Watch the movie then see the cast below the video:
It must be said that such a production would normally cost tens of thousands of dollars to produce, but these weren’t normal conditions. In the spirit of creating more peace in the world and helping innocent victims of war and violence, every person below contributed their time and services.
So it is with our deepest gratitude, that we are most pleased to unveil the cast and crew…
TEACHERS IN THE LOUNGE
Mary Grace Cancassi, Joe Darosa, Rebecca Jane Both, Nsa Nsa, Nancy Cronig, Lenore Cutler and
CREW & ADVISORS
Director & Storyboard
Photography & Lighting
Music Score Composition and Production
& Audio Post-production
Recording Engineer/Studio Owner
Light Werx Media
Light Werx Media