Emily’s Picture Behind-the-Scenes Look

UTV has tackled a project that they have never attempted before this semester: producing two short films in one semester. With a large group of eager students and a large fundraising goal, one might think this is easily doable but UTV has proven that as possible as our goal may be, it is only accomplished when every crew member is available. Again, UTV thanks its Indiegogo backers for making this goal possible and given every crew member the boost it needs to make these short films successful.

This blog post is a look at what occurred behind the scenes of this second production and how a collaboration of professional film industry member helped UTV crew members gain more knowledge of what it takes to lead a production that had child stars.

Emily’s Picture was written by NAU student, Sara Gill. It follows a young girl whose family is emotionally preparing for the death of their beloved grandmother. The young girl finds a way to channel this emotional time through a memento that reminds the audience that everyone processes grief in different ways. The cast and crew were excited to tackle this emotional drama and send this message to the audience. Pre-production began with the task of casting the role of Emily and a child wrangler.

A child wrangler is a crew member who is responsible for watching the child on set and helping them accomplish their best performance. UTV has never had to enlist this position before and relied on contacts developed by their earlier production, Act Your Age, to revisit the best, Dawn Nelson, from Phoenix, AZ. Her earlier work, upcoming schedule and requirements worked with UTV and was an easy decision. According to Santos Barbosa, “Her insight and knowledge not only of her craft but her experience in the film industry was helpful and inspiring.”

Coming fresh off their previous roles for the film, In Due Time, the following people came together to begin pre-production for the film: Santos Barbosa (the executive producer), Hannah Wheeler (the producer), Ryan Boivin (the director), Megan Deschaine (the assistant director), Tara Devoti (the director of photography), Payton Stafford (the production designer), Sarah Weems (the production coordinator), Daniel Brown (the casting director), and Sarah Wiener (the art director). Their jobs are to ensure that the task of a second film during one semester is no problem and that every element of pre-production is accomplished.

Santos Barbosa recalls the chaos that it pre-production, when asked his favorite part of the planning process, he had this to say: “My favorite part of the planning process was meeting and executing a plan that allowed for a smooth production phase. Working with the DP and the Producer on making sure that the shots and the visuals were well done and aesthetic was fun to do because in that situation, there arose collaboration and team work.” Organization is key when you only have four days to ensure all necessary shots are captured. From Friday, March 3rd to Sunday, March 5th and Tuesday, March 7th, we devoted the whole days to shooting.

Being on set always always crew members a chance at growth. Jake Dybdahl, the lighting assistant on set, explained that it was his first chance using a Aari light kit and how the experience was fun and new. He faced new challenges head-on like having to work on getting specific lighting and the awkwardness of having to stand in weird positions to get the perfect shot. Showing for this heartwarming film gave the crew a chance to not only work with equipment they haven’t used before, but exposed them to practice of working with children on a film set. Brianna Shinn, the assistant sound director and 1st assistant camera, learned that working with child actors requires more patience.

For many seniors, this was their last UTV62 production and the last day of filming was sentimental. UTV62 is going to miss our seniors very much and wish them the best.


Featured: Payton Stafford, Sarah Weiner, Hannah Wheeler.

Overall, Emily’s Picture was an example of UTV62 working together to accomplish a project that represents how strong the NAU film program is.

Currently, Emily’s Picture is in post-production. This is being done by UTV’s Post Production Supervisor, Samuel Oshins. We are excited to move on towards its submission in the NAU Student Film Festival (along with In Due Time and Donor 160). (more about NAU student film festival + link)

Thank you to our Spring 2017 Indiegogo backers again, your generosity and support are never forgotten and always appreciated.