Misc Muses

Little Known Facts About Your Fave Holiday Films

Little Known Facts About Your Fave Holiday Films 1001 667 Dani Lyman

If you’re a movie buff, you love your behind the scenes facts. When it comes to the top holiday films you probably already know: Jim Carrey was a total Grinch on the set of How the Grinch Stole Christmas; Christmas Vacation was one of Johnny Galecki’s first movies; and Elf was filled with in-camera tricks to make Will Ferrell look like a giant among Santa’s tiny helpers. However, here a few lesser-known stories from behind the scenes of your favorite holiday classics.

When Harry Met Sally

Containing one of the most memorable confessions of love and definitely the best New Year’s Eve scene ever, When Harry Met Sally is a classic film that proves relationships (and life) don’t always go as planned. Part of what made the film feel so authentic were the real-life love stories sewn through the narrative. Those cute little interviews with elderly couples that popped up throughout the film were actually inspired by real love stories.

It is said Director Rob Reiner and his good friend and Screenwriter Nora Ephron interviewed various couples about their experiences falling for their soulmate. They then cast lovely actors like Connie Sawyer and Charles Dugan to retell the stories on screen. Easily the most endearing part of the film, the stories made us laugh a little, cry a little, and most importantly, believe in true love.

Die Hard

Die Hard is arguably one of the best Christmas films of all time (literally, people argue about it all the time). Perhaps one of the reasons fans engage with the movie more than other action films is their deep connection to John McClane and the familiarity of his flaws. The extra layer of emotion Bruce Willis brings to the character was likely missing from the script before screenwriter, Jeb Stuart, had a close call with a refrigerator box.

During a recent interview on Jeff Goldsmith’s podcast, Stuart recalled the moment that changed the direction of the script and redefined McClane’s character. After a fight with his wife, Stuart “stormed out of the house” and started his drive back to Burbank on the 134 freeway. While changing lanes he was shocked by a large refrigerator box in front of him. With no time and nowhere to go, he was forced to drive straight into the box. Luckily, it was empty, but the brush with death led to an epiphany. This story wasn’t just an action movie, “It’s about a 30-year-old guy who should have said sorry to his wife.”

McClane’s reluctance to admit his wrongdoing follows him throughout the story and culminates in the film’s most human scene; his apology to his wife. This monologue reveals who McClane really is and why we love this movie so much.

It’s a Wonderful Life

Growing up, we all sat in front of the bright lights of the Christmas tree, watched as George Bailey found his purpose and we dreamt about a lovely little place called Bedford Falls. With all its charms and kindness, Bedford seemed like the perfect little Christmas town that was too quaint to exist in the real world. However, there is a small town in Upstate New York, Seneca Falls, that claims it is the real-life Bedford Falls and you can discover all its magic by visiting during the Christmas season.

Seneca Falls’ holiday website claims that this idyllic town is likely Frank Capra’s inspiration for the film’s set design. Similarities between the Victorian-style homes, the old bridge, and globe street lamps all add to the case that Seneca Falls is the original Bedford Falls.

Of course, what would a claim like this mean if the people didn’t take the opportunity to turn their town into a movie lover’s haven during the holiday season. Every December they host an “It’s a Wonderful Life” Festival where one can catch special guests, Christmas light replicas and a screening of the film. So, if you find yourself nostalgic for simpler times during the holiday season, you may want to head to Seneca Falls to experience some Christmas magic.

Bridget Jones’ Diary

For “tragic spinsters” everywhere Bridget Jones’ Diary is a New Year’s classic, packed with impossible resolutions, cringe-worthy awkwardness and clumsy attempts at love. While Jones is usually taking the brunt of the embarrassment, in one chaotic scene, her two love interests prove to be a bit clumsy themselves.

In a recent interview with GQ, Colin Firth explained that the dramatic fight between him and his co-star Hugh Grant was originally scripted to be a serious duel. However, when the actors recognized they hadn’t been in a fight since their youth and a scuffle between these two characters might be more slapstick and sloppy than tough and polished, they reworked the scene and left us with this comedic gem:

Now, get to binge-watching!

Happy New Year!!

Top 3 Thanksgiving Commercials

Top 3 Thanksgiving Commercials 5409 3358 Dani Lyman

The holidays are officially upon us! When the temperatures drop and the days grow shorter, we know it’s time for America’s most gluttonous holiday; Thanksgiving! There is nothing quite like family and friends gathering over delicious food and football to remind us we have so much to be grateful for. Sure, pushy in-laws, awkward family tension, and holiday perfectionism can sometimes dampen the vibe, but a little bit of drama is part of the fun, isn’t it?

One of my favorite things about the holiday season is the commercials. Businesses tend to up their game and hit you in the feels a little harder this time of year. It is a great opportunity for companies to demonstrate their heart, personality, and the effectiveness of video marketing.

With DVR and streaming services, you might have missed some of the great holiday content released the last several years. So, here are 3 Thanksgiving themed commercials from around the web that made us laugh, tugged on our heartstrings, and reminded us to be thankful for the little moments.

Spooky Creatures Come To Life With Antonina

Spooky Creatures Come To Life With Antonina 640 414 Dani Lyman

Special Makeup Artist Antonina Henderson is making a name for herself in the industry by creating elaborate creatures and transforming talent for film, TV and live events. The one-time U.S. Army firefighter turned artist found her calling in college and has since turned her passion into a blossoming career.

While Antonina’s resume ranges from weddings to Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No, we really wanted to get in the Halloween spirit and showcase some of her creepier work. Be sure to check out the eerie time-lapse of her ghoulish creation, Fluffy the Demon, for Six Flags’ Frightfest at the end of this interview.

CC: Let’s dive right in to the good stuff. What’s your favorite horror movie?

AH: I have to say, the best horror movie that really gave me the shivers was The Exorcist (1973)!

How about your favorite makeup effect you’ve seen in a movie?

My favorite makeup effects that I have seen in a movie are the transformation scene from An American Werewolf in London (1983), hands down!

What was your first professional makeup project and how did it affect the course of your career?

My first professional makeup project was on the film Cotton in 2012. I was hired to assist the Makeup Department head. I told her that I was a makeup enthusiast who did a lot of theater makeup in high school; and moulage (injury simulation makeup) for the local fire department and EMTs. Under her mentorship, I learned set etiquette, sanitation, and HD makeup. In exchange, I taught her how to make camera-ready vomit and realistic bruises.

What are your career goals?

My career goals are to be a department head on a studio feature with lots of fantasy or alien creatures.

Can you tell us more about your process to create your characters?

A lot of planning and a lot of love goes into creating my characters. It starts with a design concept, finding a model who fits my vision, maybe even a costume designer. Next, I have to determine if I am going to create my pieces or buy them. This decision usually comes down to my time and cost-effectiveness. When it comes to a production, I am usually pressed for time and have to find the quickest and most cost-effective method to match the producer’s/director’s vision.

How is CGI currently changing or affecting the makeup effects world?

Overall, I think audiences are tired of straight CGI. We are witnessing a resurgence of practical effects in the film world. Directors are finding that sweet spot between CGI and practical makeup. Too much CGI tends to look fake; not enough CGI limits a director’s creativity. I think Special Makeup Effects Editor and Creature Designer Rick Baker made a good point about CGI when he said, “CGI is an amazing tool, and it’s only as good as the artist behind it… If you have a crappy director and give him good tools, he’ll still make a crappy movie.”

How you do you prepare differently when working on a project with CGI?

The preparation includes meeting with the visual effects artist and the director to collaborate one cohesive look, similar to any other creature design.

Can you speak a little about the projects you work on that don’t require effects makeup?

Other projects that I have worked on that don’t require effects makeup have been what we makeup artists call the “no-makeup” look. Which means I use makeup to blend away any perceived flaws, like uneven skin tone, acne, eye bags, tattoos, etc. to give the illusion of a fresh face or natural beauty.

How would you describe your signature look?

I don’t really think I have a signature look. I do like to see real skin instead of layers of foundation and contouring. I try to stay away from trends and be inspired by nature. I minored in biology, the study of life! I like to study the facial anatomy of the person in my chair. For example, do they have amazing cheekbones, juicy lips, or longer than average eyelashes? What’s unique and special about them that I can enhance?

What is it that sets you apart from other makeup artists?

I believe what sets me apart from other makeup artists is that I am forever a student of the arts, always looking for new opportunities to grow my craft or learn a new skill. I love collaborating with other artists because I get to see what’s in their kits, see how they may use products differently than I do. Or see what out of the box application techniques they are using.

Demon Makeup from Antonina Henderson on Vimeo.

Check out more about Antonina here www.makeupbyantonina.com
fourth of july movies

Light up your holiday with our fave 4th of July Movies

Light up your holiday with our fave 4th of July Movies 5616 3744 Dani Lyman

With July 4th quickly approaching, we wanted to take a moment to reminisce about our favorite Fourth of July movies that capture the essence of Independence Day in America. With characters fighting for a cause, uniting humanity and celebrating wholesome values these films remind us what it means to be an American… but mostly that we are really really awesome.



The stakes have never been higher than on Amity Island where a lurking predator seeks to threaten our lives… and our right to party. This scene from Jaws demonstrates true American priorities: banding together as a community to swim, drink and throw a memorable bash. The threat of bloodshed and sharks on a murderous mission will not keep us from having good times!



There is nothing more American than baseball, best friends and good-hearted neighbors gathering to celebrate our Nation’s birth. The Sandlot draws on the nostalgia of a simpler America; a feeling we try endlessly to recapture in our adult lives. It’s a time where adventure lies just beyond our backyard, friendships are formed over summer games and fireworks are so mesmerizing we can’t help but stop and stare. No film captures the childlike joy of the 4th quite like this one does.


Independence Day

In a world where superbly-intelligent evil beings with weapons of mass destruction are invading our planet, one voice echoes through the chaos to give us the best presidential speech of all time (…in a movie, at least). If Bill Pullman as President Whitmore rallying a rag tag team of American stereotypes doesn’t move you to tears and make you fist pump “Murica!”, then I question your patriotism and your cold dead heart.


May your 4th be filled with fun, adventure and fireworks!


A great demo reel wins the job every time

A great demo reel wins the job every time 150 150 Dani Lyman

As filmmakers and video professionals we are designed to tell stories. We are driven to capture images that convey a message, a philosophy or an emotion and sway the viewer into sharing our perspective.

A demo reel is a chance to tell your story and persuade clients to believe your perspective is the best fit for their project. Consider your demo reel your 1-minute visual sales pitch. Make it bold. Make it creative. Make it you.

Here are a few tips to make an eye-catching reel to help you close the deal with new clients.


Don’t Be Humble

Mohammad Ali famously said, “It’s not bragging if you can back it up.” Are you the BEST drone operator? A sick animator? The next Scorsese? Prove it by opening your reel with clips that really pack a punch. Get the viewer intrigued by showcasing your most stellar work immediately. Then keep them hooked by choosing music that compliments your vision, editing to the beat and intercutting various styles of work that display your diversity as a video expert.

Be sure to make yourself the star of your reel. Boldly announce yourself. Your introduction says a lot about who you are, so be proud to advertise your name creatively on your work. Choose animated fonts or motion graphics that represent your brand and vibe. And, don’t use clips where someone else’s talents can outshine your own work. Be so bold that a client can’t help but remember your name.



Kill Your Darlings

Does it serve the story or is it self-indulgent? Filmmakers need to ask this question all the time, but especially when “pitching” to new prospects. Clients need to be able to trust you to edit wisely and put the project first – not your own ego or agenda. If you’re attached to a shot you think is impressive, but it disrupts the flow of the piece or generally feels out of place – cut it, kill it, let it go.




Focus on ONE skill per reel. No one wants to see a Motion Graphics/ drone/ broadcast reel smashed into one. A client needs to be confident that you can be creative and capable, but also skilled and focused on the one job they are hiring you to do.

Focus on your audience. Not all clients are going to want  you to be the Picasso of the video world. Sometimes they just need you to point and shoot. Consider having a cinematography reel that highlights your brilliant, artistic masterpieces and then another reel for straight-laced, clean cut corporate videos.

Artistic but also practical = hirable.



Most importantly, don’t try to be anyone other than yourself. Slice your best work together in a way that tells the story you want your work to tell. An artful, thoughtful piece that demonstrates who you are as a professional will always have the most impact on the viewer.



What we’re thankful for (with GIFs)!

What we’re thankful for (with GIFs)! 150 150 Heidi McLean
  1. YOU, of course!


2. Stretchy pants!


3. Friendship


4. Family


5. Pie!

About Crew Connection

Crew Connection logo

Crew Connection puts 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 info@crewconnection.com.

This post originally appeared on ProductionHub. You can find it here.

crewing service you can trust

Crewing services from a trusted source? Yes, please!

Crewing services from a trusted source? Yes, please! 4000 3750 Heidi McLean

From dating websites to Yelp reviews, online profiles aren’t exactly known for being trustworthy. Anonymity makes it easy to game the system, and some businesses even pay for glowing reviews of their products or services. What if there were a third party service to confirm that a potential date’s hair is real or a company’s reviews are from actual customers?

Whether booking crewing services or finding a date, it’s just nice to have some reassurance you’ve found a good match. That’s why we are so proud to be among ProductionHub’s Top 100 most popular and trusted profiles. Our film and video crewing services stand out because we are true to our values of optimism, integrity, entrepreneurship and customer service. And besides a shoulder to cry on after a bad date, our commitment to our values means that you benefit from our expertise, quick payment and always-on service.



We’ve been in the freelance video production business nearly 30 years and know the best video production crews in every corner of the globe. Our crew coordinators are video veterans who always match you with the best crew for your unique project.  


Quick Payment:

We pay crews within 30 days because we know happy crews are productive crews. Can your overworked media department, harried HR professionals or current crewing service say the same?


Always-On Film and Video Crewing Services:

Transparency is a major part of our integrity as a company. That’s why you can view our database of vetted international film crews anytime at Crew Connection‘s online database. And if you need to talk to a dedicated crew coordinator immediately, you can always get ahold of us on our emergency lines  24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days a year.


About Crew Connection

Crew Connection puts a world of video and post production service providers at your fingertips. In just a few clicks you can search, chat with, and book vetted crews local to your shoot—all on your own schedule. Rely on Crew Connection’s team of media experts to organize the crews and gear you need for multi-day and multi-location video projects anywhere in the world. Our professional crew coordinators are on call around the clock if you ever need live assistance. Sign up on CrewConnection.com, call us at 303-526-4900, or shoot us an email at info@crewconnection.com.

post production

How to make it in the entertainment capitol of the world

How to make it in the entertainment capitol of the world 960 306 Crew Connection

What better place to go for advice on how to build a successful production house than where competition is stiffest? Mike Levy started Levy Production Group in 1987 and succeeded where many others failed—Las Vegas. We figure if you can make it in the entertainment capitol of the world, you can probably make it anywhere. Here are our top four takeaways from Mike on building a successful studio:


1. Get experience

The best thing young, aspiring editors, camera people, and future business owners can do is get experience. If you want to become the go-to person in your field, take online courses, college courses, and even unpaid gigs as opportunities to learn the ins and outs of video production. Learn the industry overall, not just your position. Understanding everything from production through post makes you a well-rounded teammate or team lead. Not all jobs offer glamour, but all jobs offer experience.  


2. Be nice

Being talented isn’t enough. Don’t just learn to be good at what you do, but also at how you do it. This is not your typical desk job. Our industry is famous for long hours, late nights, and many consecutive days on set. Tough conditions can bring out the worst in people. Those who can communicate clearly, listen well, and stay level-headed are invaluable. You’ll be remembered as much for the way you conduct yourself as for the work you produce.

Be humble. Look to learn from people rather than to be right.


3. A warehouse is just a warehouse

You can’t just call a large, open building a studio. Having enough room to shoot properly is just the beginning. If you really want to do it right, you have to be ready to invest in heating and cooling, overhead and floor lighting, and soundproofing, for starters. If clients have to redo a take because they hear an ambulance in the background, they’ll be taking their business elsewhere next time. You also need creature comforts so you can accommodate not just the shoots, but the people, too. Clients want to go to a facility that feels good—with nice dressing rooms, kitchen areas, restrooms, etc. Fresh-baked cookies (a Levy Production Group signature), goodie baskets, meals, snacks, candies, sodas, and gourmet coffees and teas go a long way toward making people comfortable and earning repeat business.


4) Find your niche and do it well

It seems simple, but most of the important things are. When you have the best resources and do the best work, you’ll get return clients. Word of mouth and reputation are irreplaceable.

After starting as an ad agency and outsourcing to local TV stations, Mike Levy decided to invest in a small stage to facilitate smaller projects like ChromaKey insert shoots and single-car shoots. Realizing that they were good at something and that they could get paid for, Levy Production Group bought their first camera and editing package and have grown along with Vegas ever since. In their current 14,000 square-foot facility, they do everything from everyday interviews to shoots with big-name celebrities, athletes, and musicians.

Building any business can feel like a gamble, but with these key practices it’s a sure bet.

About Crew Connection

Crew Connection logo

Crew Connection puts 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 info@crewconnection.com.

This article was originally posted to productionhub.com. Read the original article here.

Lessons from Moore, Oklahoma

Lessons from Moore, Oklahoma 150 150 Crew Connection


As a native of Oklahoma City, I’ve been profoundly moved by the tragic events my hometown has endured over the past two decades. The 1995 bombing of the Murrah Federal Building and the devastation caused by the three Moore tornadoes have surely tested Oklahoma’s mettle. And I’m proud to say the people of the Sooner state are still standing. Standing tall and straight at that.

Adversity calls on each of us from time to time. In that regard, I believe there are some valuable lessons coming out of Moore. Too many to try mentioning them all here, but as I watched the coverage on CNN it became obvious to me that:

  • We’re all heroes-in-waiting. No capes, no super powers, just people refusing to allow someone else to suffer. Funny how mundane differences of gender, race, and politics faded under the dust and debris of a natural disaster.
  • There may come a day when I’ll have to depend on the kindness of strangers. When that day comes, I won’t let pride stand in the way. And, therefore, I’m going to do a better job of paying it forward. I’m going to stop assuming someone else will be the Good Samaritan.
  • I didn’t see anybody frantically searching for their flat screen televisions or their jet skis. Our lives, ultimately, are defined by the people with whom we share them. The panic and tears I saw were for missing loved ones, not for missing things.

Dear reader, I sincerely hope the worst thing life brings you is the occasional bad blog. Otherwise, I hope you find inspiration in the courage and perseverance being displayed right now by the people of Oklahoma.


The Affordable Care Act: Will it put your business in the penalty box?

The Affordable Care Act: Will it put your business in the penalty box? 150 150 Crew Connection

If you haven’t heard about the Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision to uphold the individual mandate provision of “ObamaCare”, you’ll likely be pleased to know that “Gone with the Wind” won the Oscar for best picture.

Volumes are being written about how this law will affect individuals; yet those of us who depend on the flexibility of contract workers may not have a clear picture of how the PPACA (Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act) might affect our businesses. The degree to which we’ll get pulled into the “Play or Pay” decision hinges on whether our contract workers, if they’re classified as W-2 employees, are deemed full or part-time.

You see, beginning in 2014, employers having more than 50 full-time employees must offer them health coverage or pay a $2,000/employee penalty. Play or Pay. So what constitutes a full-time employee? That’s a key question. The language used in the PPACA states that an employee who works 30 hours or more per week is considered full-time. But what if this employee is part of your variable workforce and doesn’t work for your company every week? Does it still make sense to consider them full-time? In its current form, PPACA’s answer to that question would be “yes.” Those of us running businesses on ever thinning margins might wish to disagree. But there is a proposed solution out there …

Here’s Looking Back At You, Kid:

The American Staffing Association has been lobbying the Feds to add a 12-month “look back” regulation to the law. This would exempt (at least temporarily) employers from paying the penalty until they are able to calculate a 12-month average of hours worked per week for the employee. If it’s under 30, the employee is deemed part-time and no penalty is assessed. (This is a hugely simplified explanation, but I’m sure I’d lose you if I went into any more detail.)  

How about we forget all this complicated look-back averaging, et cetera, et cetera? Let’s just repeal the law! Well, don’t hold your breath on that happening. To repeal PPACA you’d need a Republican president and 60% GOP control of both houses of Congress. You never know, but I think that’s a long shot in the short term.

Instead, let’s focus our attention on regulating this law to ensure it works for the burgeoning contingent workforce upon which our economy now depends.