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Dani Lyman

3 Ways You Can (Safely) Experience The Magic of Summer Movies

3 Ways You Can (Safely) Experience The Magic of Summer Movies 2560 1707 Dani Lyman

There is nothing quite like a good summer movie. Taking the kids for an air-conditioned afternoon of superheroes saving the world or sharing a popcorn on a first date watching an indie arthouse film can feel magical. Movie theaters provide a great escape and hours of entertainment on long hot summer days and sticky evenings. They add a little magic and fantasy to our serious world and bring diverse groups of people together to laugh, cry and cheer in unison.

This summer, things are a little different. A worldwide pandemic has forced many theaters to remain closed (or close their doors permanently) for the summer months. As COVID-19 continues to change the way we go about our daily lives, it is also changing the way we view movies.

Luckily, movie fans and business owners are a resourceful and creative bunch who won’t let anything stand in their way of bringing movie magic to their community.

Here are 3 ways you can enjoy your favorite films with your loved ones and neighbors this summer

Time Travel to The Drive-In

The pandemic has forced many theaters to remain closed, but has revived a classic viewing experience. The Drive-In invokes feelings of nostalgia, of wholesome America, of “simpler” times when families, rambunctious teenagers and young couples flocked to a parking lot to enjoy a cinematic experience from the comfort of their very own vehicles. During these not-so-simple times drive-in’s across the country are reopening to provide much needed 2 – 4 hour blocks of entertainment and escape from the chaos. This is the perfect opportunity to revisit your childhood favorite films like The Goonies and Indiana Jones or introduce your children to a technology once of the verge of extinction while watching summer blockbusters like Jumanji and Sonic The Hedgehog. Plus, this is the safest way to catch a movie outside your home while practicing social distancing!

Reopening Local Theaters

While major theater chains like AMC and United have not opened all their houses across the country, many smaller or locally-owned theaters are reopening and adjusting the way they do business to keep audiences safe and employees working! Many theaters are opening at 50% capacity, reserving seats to allow for social distancing, playing old films as new films are not available, and going the extra mile to keep the house clean and sanitized for your safety. Catching a showing of the classic Casablanca is a great way to support local businesses and help to keep workers employed during an economic crisis. Plus, it’s the best way to get your fingers on that extra buttery theater style popcorn!

The Power of Projection

And finally… on to my favorite idea: projecting movies! I know, I know, it sounds like a hassle to set-up. You may need to purchase some equipment and spend a half-hour quietly cursing at the instructions, but nothing can bring families, neighbors or couples together like projecting your fan favorite films! It is an easy way to invite others to join you or have a small block party while enforcing safe social distancing.

I first heard about this awesome idea when I read an article about a Denver couple who met on a dating App who watched a movie he projected outside his home. What a creative date! Then I noticed my neighbors started inviting a small group of people over every week to have a mini movie party in their backyard! Pretty soon subdivisions and apartment communities got on board with this new trend having residents RSVP to screenings set up in the common areas. This is such a fun and simple way to allow people to come together safely during such difficult times.

The world may be massively different in 2020 than it was last summer, but movies continue to bring people together in unique and creative ways. Despite restraints, despite Safer-At-Home restrictions, despite a deadly pandemic, people who felt isolated, alone and afraid now have more ways to gather safely and experience their favorite films with their friends. This is the magic of movies.




Fight like a girl: Must see heroine flicks with spring releases

Fight like a girl: Must see heroine flicks with spring releases 2560 1440 Dani Lyman

Your seasonal movie update is here! Spring has arrived with its scattered storm showers and that means a slew of Blockbuster-sized flicks are about to hit theaters. This season studios continued to follow the franchise trend by expanding the James Bond, Fast and Furious, along with the Marvel and DC universes. However, there is a stark and exciting contrast this season to previous years. Numerous female-driven action and thriller films will be occupying screens across the country.

Fan favorite heroines (and a few new ones) are kicking butt and taking names from super villains, diabolic spirits and creepy dudes this spring. 

Strong female leads are making a comeback in these dark, twisty fun films–encouraging audiences to get out of the rain and fight like a girl!

Here’s our guide to the must-see kickass flicks this spring:

Black Widow

Marvel fans rejoice! The highly-anticipated film dedicated solely to beloved character Nastasha Romanoff is finally here. Scarlett Johanson reprises her role as the ultimate operative, alongside a star studded cast including Robert Downey Jr., William Hurt, Rachel Weisz and Stranger Things breakout star David Harbour. According to, this movie will hit theaters May 1st.

Wonder Woman 1984

Gal Gadot returns as the wildly-intelligent, captivating and other-worldly Wonder Woman, but this time, in 1980’s glam. Following the popularity of Netflix’s Stranger Things and GLOW, 1984 brings bright makeup, jazzercise, and shoulder pads to the DC universe. In a brilliant casting choice, the always-entertaining Kristen Wigg plays the villain, Cheetah. Fans can line up for this film on June 5th.

The New Mutants

Anya Taylor-Joy leads this pack of familiar faces into unfamiliar territory in the final installment of the X-men series. This film is sure to drive in X-men fans and new recruits as favorites Maisie Williams (Game of Thrones) and Charlie Heaton (Stranger Things) join the epic franchise. The New Mutants is scheduled for release April 4th


Produced by creative horror genius Guillermo Del Toro and acclaimed director Scott Cooper, Antlers promises a terrifying nightmare of the supernatural kind. Keri Russell stars as a school teacher on a mission to uncover a dark secret that is plaguing a small Oregon town and targeting a young student. This film has all the horror movie essentials: jump scares, small towns and, of course–children. How much do you want to bet that the haughty sheriff gets on the wrong side of an antler? Antlers premieres on April 17th.

Promising Young Woman

This controversial thriller was produced by Margot Robbie and it has her badass, seductive tough-girl brand written all over it. Carrie Mulligan stars as a huntress on the prowl for sexual predators in order to inflict a painful and violent justice and she looks pretty good doing it. She is a new kind of anti-hero challenging current cultural hot topics like toxic masculinity, feminism, #MeToo and rape culture. Due to graphic images and extremely mature content, this flick is definitely not family friendly. Non-squeashim adults can get their tickets on April 17th.

It is fantastic to see so many female stars dominating the big screen this season and it looks like there is something for everyone. So, grab your rain boots and head to the nearest cinema to support your favorite heroine.  


Make more money with these video production toys

Make more money with these video production toys 2560 1707 Dani Lyman

If you’re like most video production crews, you have a hefty wishlist of toys that will make your job easier, more fun, or more profitable. If you’re ready to break your piggy bank and invest in your business, we have insider tips for this year’s most vital video production toys on the market.

I went directly to the source to get the rundown on all the current must-have products. My good frienda tech savvy video professional who works with some of the biggest clients around the worldgave me a few insider tips for getting the most bang for your buck.

Here are his recommendations for quality equipment that every pro should have in their cage in the New Year.


The Deity V- Mic D3 and D3 Pro don’t just sound cool and trendy, they are cool and trendy. Deity basically makes the iPhone of microphones. They’re smarter, sleeker, and more diverse than other mics and are sure to make you the envy of all your video pro friends.

Deity has been in the business of making badass mics for years. The D3s aren’t new to the market, but they are still fan favorites and the Pro was picked for 2018 Personal View’s Best Product Award. One thing I’ve learned through my professional experience is nothing kills a project faster than bad sound. On the flip side, a great microphone can take your production quality to the next level. And with a rep like Deity’s, I’d say the D3 is worth the investment.


You can’t have a great microphone without a great mixer. To accompany that nifty little microphone is the Sound Devices MixPre II Mixer. This durable and compact mixer is one of the more user-friendly mixers on the market and is versatile enough to work on film and video locations, in studios for music or podcasts and is perfect for post needs like voice-overs and SFX.

Check out Sound Devices website for all the geek knowledge that will have you nerding out over this tiny toy that packs a big punch.


Mac Pro. I know, I know, I’m back at it with the Apple Products. But I’ve been around the block in the video world for a hot minute and nothing offers the ease of use, the symbolic relationship between products, and the high caliber apps and accessories like Apple. So when my friend recommended the new Mac Pro as a must have to accomplish all business and creative goals for 2020, I was sold.

While it hasn’t been on the market long, customers are already posting rave reviews from its sleek new appearance to its functionality and powerful capabilities best suited for tech professionals.

For an extremely in-depth look at the new features and user experience check out this (slightly lengthy) video:


For more video product reviews, must-haves and insights check out this popular Youtube Series by DSLR Video Shooter.

Finally, one FREE way for video production crews to take their business to a new level

It’s expensive to do what you do. We get it. But you don’t have to break the bank for this one. Simply apply to become a crew on Crew Connection’s vetted database for high-quality bookings that always, always pay within 30 days.

7 Sundance films that defined a generation (plus one that might)

7 Sundance films that defined a generation (plus one that might) 2560 1707 Dani Lyman

The Sundance Film Festival is the mecca of indie films. Filmmakers across the globe craft their visual masterpieces in the hopes of getting recognized and being awarded the prestigious label of “Official Selection.”

The films chosen to be screened at Sundance have a unique voice, a definitive style and a message that both speak to and defines a generation. Their titles become imprinted in our brains, their provocative and controversial content keeps us talking (or arguing) for decades, and their messages leave such an impression that they can change the way we view the world, our food and even ourselves.

7 films Sundance introduced to my generation that shaped us, spoke to us and changed us

Reservoir Dogs (1992)

Bloody, rough around the edges, violent and brutally funny, Reservoir Dogs was the 90’s Mean Streets. In 1992, Todd McCarthy for Variety Magazine called it “A show-off piece of filmmaking that will put writer-director Quentin Tarantino on the map.” He could not have been more accurate: Tarantino has since become a permanent and celebrated fixture in Hollywood and pop culture.

Hoop Dreams (1994)

This moving documentary (with a rare 98% rating on Rotten Tomatoes) follows two inner-city teenagers enrolled in an elite basketball program at a predominately white school. Hoop Dreams honestly explores the many contrasts between the two worlds along with the dreams and challenges that pulled those worlds together. The film stands out as a piece of history that chronicles racial tension, economic status, and social issues that were specific to the early ’90s but still endure in American culture.

The Usual Suspects (1994)

Keyser Söze. The name speaks for itself. If it doesn’t ring a bell, then I don’t want to ruin it for you. But I can promise you this cool, fresh and twisty thriller will not disappoint. It is a must-see film, although we’ll never be able to see any of our one-time favorites with Kevin Spacey in quite the same way again.

Saw (2004)

Horror movies have never been the same after the release of this visual nightmare. Saw was the birth of the new Villian—Jigsaw—of a new franchise and a new genre of films boldly labeled “torture porn.” Although the Saw franchise has many of us rolling our eyes these days, the original film was incredibly daring and original. It stuck with you, got under your skin and haunted your thoughts. More than 15 years later you can still hear the cringe as people groan, “Ah, the part with foot.” For better or for worse, Saw definitely left its mark.

Napoleon Dynamite (2004)

Napoleon Dynamite is the epitome of a film that was made for a specific time and a specific generation. Its quirkiness, its theme and its glorification of “the nerd” illuminates the changing landscape of comedy in the early 2000s. Much like Cheech and Chong, Freaks and Geeks and American Pie, it was a defining moment in comedy. If you didn’t get it, you weren’t ever going to get it. You were likely a minute too old, too young or just not cool enough, gosh!

Supersize Me (2004)

Millennials were a generation raised on McDonald’s, so when filmmaker Morgan Spurlock chose to expose the toxicity of the fast-food giant, it was devastating to us chicken-nugget-addicted young-ins. However, the nasty truth inspired viewers to consider the food they were consuming and its effects on the body and the planet. Supersize Me paved the way for a slew of food-conscious websites, books and groundbreaking documentaries like Food Inc., Fed Up, Forks Over Knives and That Sugar Film.

Little Miss Sunshine (2006)

By the time Little Miss Sunshine arrived on the screen, Millenials were inundated with violence, competitive reality TV shows and endless images of wealth and beauty we would likely never attain. We needed a break. And that break came in the form of Olive Hoover—a chubby and awkward seven-year-old with big dreams. The trailer offers a taste of her journey to win the coveted title of Little Miss Sunshine. She and her family warm our hearts (and then break them), make us laugh, make us cry and remind us what truly matters in life. Hint: it’s not looks, success or fame.

Bonus: This year’s standouts

This year’s Sundance Film Festival continued its tradition of debuting many challenging and artistic films. Notably, On the Record is timely, controversial and poignant. The documentary addresses allegations of sexual assault in the music industry attempt to uncover the truth of the hip hop world and explores accusations against music mogul Russell Simmons. In the generation of the #MeToo movement, the controversy surrounding the film is just as critical to discuss as the film itself. Oprah Winfrey was set to be the Executive Producer, but withdrew her support citing “creative differences” and was concerned about “inconsistencies” in stories from accusers.

This controversial decision brings to light the issues we are currently facing in America. We are asking how we support victims while also ensuring we uphold our nation’s tradition of proving guilt. How do we safeguard victims when they come forward while also ensuring we do not let false allegations ruin an innocent man’s reputation? The answers aren’t simple. As our nation stands divided on so many issues, this film is sure to spark discussion and debate on the Twittersphere and will be remembered as another historical moment in the film.
On a more upbeat side note, this list would not be complete without mentioning Andy Samberg’s massive success this year. Samberg’s comedy Palm Springs broke records becoming the biggest sale in Sundance history and outsold 2016’s The Birth of a Nation by 69 cents! Only a comedian can make a joke out a 17 million dollar deal. Check out his negotiating antics here.

Ready to try your hand at breaking into Sundance? Find a video crew to make your dreams come true

One of the benefits of film festivals is that they bring at least some level of democracy to the process of getting movies in front of eyeballs. Anyone can make something and, in theory, the strongest films get air time and a chance to be seen. Ready to make yours? Find a video crew to make your dreams come true.

6 binge-able series to make your hibernation bearable

6 binge-able series to make your hibernation bearable 2560 1707 Dani Lyman

Dangerous snowstorms and record cold snaps are sweeping the nation—forcing people off the road, into their homes, and often to the comforting glow of their devices. If you’re not sure how you’re going to survive the long, boring winter nights that will eventually give way to Spring, these 6 streaming series filled with cold-hearted villains and heart-warming lovers are here to make your hibernation at least an entertaining one.

So grab a blanket and cuddle up with your favorite human (or animal) and stay warm bingeing these winter-worthy series.


People cannot get enough of YOU. Women cannot get enough of YOU. The show itself, especially season two, is intriguing, murdery and sexy, but perhaps the real mystery here is the audience’s fascination with a serial killer who internally justifies his actions while stalking and slaying his prey. Outside of being a truly well-crafted and well-acted series, the show’s appeal lies in its complicated nature and the effect it has on its viewers. It is a fiery subject on social media—sparking dialogue on abusive relationships, boundaries and violence. The lead actor, Penn Badgley, often interacts with his fans on Twitter and has been open about his discomfort portraying such a dangerous character. This show has created an oppurtunity to discuss truly important issues while also entertaining the heck out of us.


If you’re a fan of Tolkien or are still suffering Game of Thrones withdrawals, The Witcher is the fix you need. It stars the always entertaining Henry Cavill as Geralt of Rivia—a monster hunter who journeys through a dark and dangerous world of devious beasts and villains. It reminds me of that one time I tried to play Dungeons and Dragons and didn’t quite get it, but it is perfectly suited for fantasy fans. According to contributor, Paul Tassi, truly devoted viewers may want to watch it twice and with this helpful timeline.


This BBC America international spy thriller starring the very talented Sandra Oh and the intoxicating Jodie Comer is one of the smartest, most intriguing and fun shows on TV right now. With the second season recently released on Hulu, Killing Eve offers nearly 16 hours of edge of your seat suspense, twists, creative murders, dark witty humor and a fabulous female-driven soundtrack. The love/hate relationship between the attention-seeking and dynamic assassin Villanelle (Jodie Comer) and the career-obsessed MI-6 agent Eve (Sandra Oh) turns into a complicated, sexy and dangerous game of cat and mouse. This is a must watch.


If murder and mayhem isn’t your style, then the classic sitcom Modern Family is a solid go-to this winter. On its final season (spoiler alert), the Dunphy/Pritchett clan is up to their old shenanigans while learning how to navigate the complicated and hilarious waters of blended families. This season they are exploring their futures as they prepare to bid viewers farewell.


From comedy legend Eugene Levy (American Pie, Best in Show) and his son, Dan Levy, comes this quirky, offbeat and surprisingly heart-warming comedy about a filthy rich family who loses everything and must restart their lives together. Schitt’s Creek is as subtle as it is outlandish and sure to hit you with the laughs as well as the feels. The endearing characters and awkward antics make this show addictive and easy to binge. You can catch-up on all five seasons on Netflix and then, when you’re thirsty for more, follow EW ON Set Podcast for more insider info.


Playful, upbeat and relevant, this Prime Original series follows Midge Maisel on her journey to become a successful stand-up comic in…wait for it… the 1950’s. The ambitious and likable lead, portrayed by Rachel Brosnahan, is adored by critics and viewers alike. From the creator of Gilmore Girls, Amy Sherman-Palladino, this series is creative, witty and a positive reflection of women and their tenacity to reach outside the box and create the life of their dreams.


If all this awesome programming has you just itching to create something yourself, look no further. Click here to book a video production crew for everything from a one-day to shoot to an ongoing series.

Insider Tips to Choose the Best DP for Your Project

Insider Tips to Choose the Best DP for Your Project 2048 1536 Dani Lyman

There is no relationship more significant than that between the Director and the Cinematographer. The setup can bring a synergy to the project, ignite passion on set and bring a vision to life. Or it can completely demolish a production with egos, tension and conflicting vision.

These Director-Cinematographer duos have learned how to work together and create award-winning masterpieces by relying on a few simple principles that apply as well on a small production as they do in Hollywood.

Martin Scorsese and Rodrigo Prieto

After working on three consecutive films together, Martin Scorsese and Rodrigo Prieto have formed a special bond. Their work in Wolf of Wall Street, Silence and The Irishman has led to multiple Golden Globe and Academy Award nominations, proving these two men have figured out the key to a successful working relationship.

When reading through endless positive quotes from both Scorsese and Prieto, one major theme stands out: respect. Mutual respect for each other’s talent, vision and roles on set has helped to create an ongoing and rewarding professional dynamic.

Prieto has said, “I really love interpreting his ideas and bringing his designs onto the screen.” This brief statement represents the heart of a true DP. Prieto understands that it is his job to bring the Director’s vision to life and feels no need to overstep his bounds and force his own vision onto the project. And he’s excited to do it because he believes in his director and his director believes in him.

Quentin Tarantino and Robert Richardson

Quentin Tarantino is the household name, but he’s just one of the Hollywood giants in this duo. Richardson has an Oscar of his own for his work on JFK and he’s collaborated with other industry heavyweights like Martin Scorsese and Oliver Stone. As a seasoned veteran, he could easily let his ego be front and center. Instead, Richardson has been quoted as saying “Quentin knows what he wants. He has the idea and then we accomplish that.”

Tarantino, in turn, has had to check his ego at the door and trust the experienced and technical eye to “one of the greatest cinematographers in the world.” In an interview with Indie Wire, Tarantino admitted that he had to surrender his extremely specific ideas and allow for alterations from Richardson. “It’s taken me a few movies with him to not fight him about, ‘Ok, it’s better for us to go this way, as opposed to that way,’” said Tarantino. “I get it now. I fought with him before about that s#%t.”

The talented pair have now collaborated on five films together, including 2019’s celebrated Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. Their ability to communicate, trust and respect each other while bringing complicated and dynamic visual films to life has led to great success, including several Golden Globe and Oscar nominations, as well as the Cinematographer-Director Duo Award presented by Cameraimage.

What do these dynamic duos have in common?

These masters of cinema have been able to push their egos aside and find filmmaking partners who can bring out the very best in their work.

Choosing the best DP for your next music video, indie film, or marketing video comes down to these simple principles:

  • Choose a DP who is excited by your vision and believes in your talent. Be sure your next DP is someone who trusts you and wants to elaborate on your creative vision, not mold the project into their own.
  • Choose a DP you trust based on their previous work. Your DP should have the technical skills needed to achieve the look you have in your mind.
  • Choose a DP who you can communicate with in an open and precise manner. Be sure it’s someone who will ask questions if they don’t understand and will speak to you with respect, especially on-set in front of talent and crew.
  • And, perhaps most importantly, choose to work with a DP that you respect.

One tool makes choosing everything from a DP to a full video production crew a whole lot easier

If you are want to find a DP you can build an ongoing relationship with, Crew Connection is an excellent source. Every video production crew member on Crew Connection’s vetted database has been personally vetted by our crew coordinators and you can rest assured they have chops. From there, you can browse reels to find just the right match for your project.




Working on your video marketing plan? Don’t fall for this common myth!

Working on your video marketing plan? Don’t fall for this common myth! 2560 1709 Dani Lyman

We’re all about tackling obstacles that get in the way of your success. Turns out there’s a persistent, pernicious myth out there that might be hindering you without you even knowing it. But before we get to that, a story:

I recently visited the website of a product I had heard great things about it and was really excited to try. It was a 6-month commitment and I wanted to make sure I was making a sound financial investment. I clicked on their videos to learn more about their services. I am so glad I did.

They. were. terrible.

Scary terrible. Scary like: Is this a scam? How could a company with a good reputation not be able to afford a decent 3-minute video? I passed on the purchase and I had to wonder how many other potential customers were lost over that no good, very bad video.

Video technology is quickly advancing and it plays a major role in acquiring and maintaining a client base, but it has to be done well.

Here are three strategies to incorporate into your video marketing plan to stay on trend and attract new clients in 2020

Personalized Videos

Personalized videos (PVs) aren’t new, but they are predicted to really take off in 2020. Customers are looking for engagement. They want to know who the company is they are doing business with and they want to feel known in return. Personalized videos are an excellent and creative way to help your customers feel seen, understood and important to your business. There is something special about seeing your name, photos or interests reflected in a video. Barclays, a Crew Connection client, produced a PV that manages to take something as complicated and impersonal as lending services and create a feeling of trust, engagement and true connection. How can you share the same feeling and personalize your next video?

Instagram Stories

Social Media is THE WAY to attract / interact with clients and maintain their loyalty. And now it’s easier than ever to engage users through do-it-yourself, simple Instagram stories. This doesn’t require hiring a crew, complicated post-production or rehearsed performances. With a phone and a message they care about, you can entertain, inform and captivate users in seconds. Stories also provide that personalized connection this generation of consumers is craving. They get to learn more about you while also being offered the immediate opportunity to contribute feedback through emojis and comments.

For a more detailed look at expanding your brand through Instagram Stories check out this great marketing article by Neil Patel.

Long-Form Videos (ready to bust that myth?)

For years, we have been hearing that the attention span of the human race has dwindled down to mere seconds. We’ve been told our videos need to be thirty seconds or three minutes… tops. I’ve always found this to be a little insulting, but it was the (very persistent) word on the street and I went with it. However, study after study is busting that myth. Turns out human beings are not only capable of watching longer videos, but that they can actually be really interested in that video… if the video is interesting. That, of course, is the key.

Long-form videos are an opportunity to tell a story and take potential customers on a journey where they sense the purpose of your brand and feel something. Feel connected to people, a greater cause, nature, themselves… you.

This is where you really need a professional crew. This is when you need the DP who can execute powerful and cinematic shots, the soundtrack that inspires, the editor who understands the emotional impact of a perfect cut and the producer who can put it all together. This is where you want to put your money, so budget appropriately.

Senior Digital PR Executive at Click Consult, Daniel Sarath, said, “The rise of long-form video content is one of the key changes we expect to see in 2020” and he believes this beautifully shot and well-executed video by Patagonia is the long-form video to aspire to.

Want to incorporate one or more of these video trends into your marketing strategy for 2020? Crew Connection can help you hire a video crew to get the job done.

Good luck and welcome to 2020!

About Crew Connection

Crew Connection can help you hire a video crew and put a suite of marketing tools at your fingertips. Get your demo reels, stills, gear, awards, and more in front of the biggest clients all over the world—for free. At Crew Connection, we pay video and post-production providers within 30 days of receiving your invoice so your work and your life are never interrupted. Need live assistance or want to add quality jobs to your pipeline? Our crew coordinators are on call around the clock. Sign in to Crew Connection, call 303-526-4900, or email

Celebrating 30 Years of Christmas Vacation and the Vain Pursuit of Perfection

Celebrating 30 Years of Christmas Vacation and the Vain Pursuit of Perfection 6000 4000 Dani Lyman

This holiday season marks the 30th anniversary of John Hughes’ legendary Christmas Vacation. Despite numerous straight to DVD and streaming holiday comedies, The Griswold’s and their outrageous adventures still reign supreme among Christmas movies.

While Clark Griswold is a lovable family man and fan-favorite character, Chevy Chase himself has a reputation for being… difficult. John Hughes had to let go of Director Chris Columbus because Chevy Chase refused to take his direction. Don’t worry about Columbus though, he went on to direct Hughes’ other holiday film–that small little movie called Home Alone. Despite the behind the scenes drama, Christmas Vacation struck comedy gold with its timeless humor and relatability by capturing four themes many of us can relate to around the holidays.

The Pursuit of Perfection

The pressure of providing the perfect holiday experience plagues parents every year. From the perfect wrapping paper surrounding the perfect gift sitting under the perfectly decorated Christmas tree, the pressure to have a holiday that resembles a Lexus commercial can be overwhelming. Clark Griswold’s obsession with getting things just right is an excellent demonstration of the stress Americans endure around the holidays. More often than not, we wind up forgetting the true meaning of Christmas, celebrating with the people we love.


Speaking of the ones we love, our family often tops the list of those we love but don’t always like. Spending the holidays with the people you avoid the rest of the year, clashing personalities, and absurd in-laws… It’s all part of the package. Randy Quaid, William Hickey, and Mae Questel give genius performances as the wacky family that tug on your heartstrings. They are crazy, but you love them anyway.

The Scrooge

We’ve all that one boss. The narcissistic cheapskate who happily ruins the holidays for the poor bums who work for him. While most families aren’t planning on buying a pool, they are often relying on their Christmas bonuses to help pay down their mortgage, pay for college tuition, or just keep up with life’s essentials. Griswold’s complete breakdown after being let down and overlooked…again… is hilariously relatable.

Timeless humor

From slapstick humor and angry rants to accidental cat murder and senile elderly, comedy legends came together with exquisite timing to create some of the funniest moments in comedy history. Here is one of my favorite scenes of all time…


Happy Holidays from Crew Connection!

About Crew Connection

Crew Connection can help you hire a video crew and put a suite of marketing tools at your fingertips. Get your demo reels, stills, gear, awards, and more in front of the biggest clients all over the world—for free. At Crew Connection, we pay video and post-production providers within 30 days of receiving your invoice so your work and your life are never interrupted. Need live assistance or want to add quality jobs to your pipeline? Our crew coordinators are on call around the clock. Sign in to Crew Connection, call 303-526-4900, or email

documentary camera - Crew Connection

3 Tips to a Standout Documentary

3 Tips to a Standout Documentary 2560 1707 Dani Lyman

I recently binged watched Andrew Jarecki’s six part documentary, The Jinx, on HBO and I was enthralled. Most of us had heard of Robert Durst before.  We’d seen headlines and heard rumors, maybe even watched Jarecki’s first film about Durst, All Good Things, but we had never seen him like this.  Here, the monster, the murderer, is now a small, awkward old man shifting in his seat uncomfortably while Jarecki tries to pry the truth out of his decades of silence… and we’re never quite sure we get it.

Documentaries are about truth. They are visual essays intended to share knowledge, perspective and enlighten an audience. They are created by people who have a story that HAS to be told. The passion runs so deep they bury themselves in paperwork and evidence half a century old and surrender their own time, money and resources to share the story with the world.

In some cases, these stories are revolutionary and groundbreaking, in others, they are eye-opening and thought-provoking. In any case, great documentaries contain 3 key elements to keep your viewer hooked.


Who cares? Before you delve into the depths of creating your own documentary you have to ask yourself, “Who cares about this topic?” Followed by “How can I make people care?” Much like writing a screenplay or marketing a business, you must be sure you’re telling the story in a way that makes the viewer care. When they are mindlessly flipping through the endless possibilities on Netflix, Hulu, Vudu, Sling, etc., what is it about your documentary that stands out among the crowd?

The intrigue element speaks to our intellect. It says we will gain new knowledge about how to drop weight quickly and revolutionize our health. It promises we can learn new tools for success in the business world. It says we are going to learn the answer to a question we didn’t even know we had.

Intrigue makes the viewer press select on YOUR documentary.



Now that you’ve posed the question, you must reveal an answer. You need to reveal a new truth by providing new evidence on a cold case, new findings for a study or a new perspective on an old topic.

The way and order you reveal the truth of your story, the way you personalize it and the way you present new information is how you hook the viewer. Building up the tension, hinting at what comes next, foreshadowing the breakthrough or demise of your characters and finding that pivotal piece makes a human connection.

If intrigue speaks to our intellect, then reveal speaks to our emotions. Fear. Empathy. Outrage.  That’s how you get viewers to binge Making a Murderer and then spread the word on social media, to friends, and around the water cooler.


A solid documentary inspires the audience to ask more questions long after it’s over.

Did he really do it? Was that UFO only a military experiment? If I become a Keto Vegan can I take over the world?

As a truth-seeking storyteller, your job is to present the most accurate information in a meaningful and visually interesting way to your viewer and then trust them to take it from there. Is there a call to action? Should the viewer donate to a charity? Should they vote on an upcoming bill? Or are you simply hoping to satisfy a curiosity or inspire a thought-provoking discussion over a bottle of wine?

If your documentary doesn’t inspire the viewer to ask more questions, you may be doing it wrong.

The foundation of documentaries is truth. What truth do you need to tell?

Crew Connection – A Film Crewing Company

Crew Connection is a film crew company that helps you find and hire a video crew team for your event. The crew connection team is on call to help you 24/7. We offer many options: sign in today at Crew Connection, fill out our contact form, call 303-526-4900, or email us at

cabin and foggy night | Crew Connection

Last-minute tips to turn your house into a horror set

Last-minute tips to turn your house into a horror set 4608 3072 Dani Lyman

That time of the year has finally arrived! Crisp fall leaves, foggy nights, a deranged serial killer hiding behind every corner. It’s Halloween! This is the perfect time of year to bring your love for theatrics to life by adding some spooky accessories to your front porch or using the natural ambiance to shoot that horror film you’ve been dying to finish!

Whether you want to film your masterpiece or just scare your neighbors or, here are a few last-minute tips to turn your Halloween into a horror movie!


When it comes to Halloween, fall leaves tossed by a slight breeze give the eerie impression that perfectly merges innocence and creepiness. However, if you live in a state with unpredictable weather like I do in Colorado (I currently have a foot of snow stacked in my backyard) and there’s no depending on the weather, then there’s one easy and fantastic solution: a fog machine!

Available at any Halloween store and even grocery stores this time of year, this easy-to-use product will quickly set the ambiance for a perfect fall evening ready for some haunted fun.

No time to run to the store before the little devils and princesses come prancing to your doorstep? Here’s a quick and easy dry ice recipe that can be added to caldrons or hidden in the background for a spooky witch effect.

Sounds Effects

Squeaky doors, shattering glass, and wood creaking under footsteps. Nothing makes us crawl out of our skin like creepy sound effects. So, whether you’re working on your next indie horror or just want to frighten the bejeezus out of the neighborhood kids, sound effects are a MUST! You can purchase all the decrepit or haunting screams you want (some even downloaded for free online) and make your own playlist. Remember: Using license-free sounds makes it easy to throw your video masterpiece on YouTube without any restrictions.

Another last-minute fun Halloween toy to creep out the neighbors is this motion sensor you can find on Amazon or most Spirit Halloween stores.

Visual Effects Makeup

Back in the day, I was an Assistant Director and an actor/zombie extra on a low-budget horror film filmed in Bisbee, AZ. It has all the mediocre acting and confusing plotlines you’d expect from a C horror Western/ Zombie movie, but man, did our Visual Effects Makeup Artist KILL IT! Every zombie, bite mark, and moment of flesh tearing looked nearly realistic. It was ridiculously fun and gory to watch. Whether you’re making a mini horror flick for your Insta or you want to truly impress you’re friends with your costume, do not slack on effects makeups! It truly wows and disgusts your audience.

To get that great deep, dark red that looks more realistic try this fake blood recipe posted by If you’re looking for something a little tastier, you can even throw some chocolate syrup in the mix!

If you’re not too squeamish, check out this amazing video by make-up artist Chloe Morello who reveals the secrets behind ripped and torn skin. Ouch!

This is how I will be answering the door this Halloween. Poor little kids.

About Crew Connection

Here at Crew Connection, we put many awesome marketing tools right at your fingertips. Feel free to get your demo reels, stills, gear, awards, and more in front of the biggest clients all over the world—all for free. At Crew Connection, we always pay video and post-production service providers within 30 days of getting your invoice so your work & your life aren’t interrupted. Need live assistance or want to add great jobs to your pipeline? Our Crew Connection film crew coordinators are on call around the clock. Sign in today at Crew Connection, call 303-526-4900, or email