Filming update: 520 bridge and end of summer

Bridge filming: Last week Dan and I got up at 6:30am to get some magic hour footage of the 520 bridge construction. The idea for this particular shot was to capture being on a bridge which watching a bridge grow, which is an unusual site to see in any city. And as bridges are mega-scale making efforts, it seemed a worthwhile shot to go after.

Dan set up a mounted rig on my Civic, with a display monitor viewable on the dash. It only took a few minutes to set up, and then…. I got to rack up my GoodToGo Pass charges, with 10 consecutive trips across the bridge :)

The light didn’t co-operate – we only only had a few good moments of light. But I’ll pick up the footage from Dan tonight and see what we have. If it’s worthwhile we may give it another go.

Summer is ending: This weekend I’ll have all of the footage from the first 4 locations we’ve filmed (Folklife, Substantial HQ, Sculpture park) and I’ll be working on a rough cut, based on the audio narration track we finished weeks ago. Most of the locations we’ve filmed so far are outdoors and that’s been on purpose. After I have a rough cut I’ll know if we need to try to get anything else before the grey takes over again.

It’s a good time to organize a happy hour for you backers. If you’d like to meet up for a beer and chat about the project, send me a message and you can help pick when it will be.

Cheers and thanks for your support.

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Recap from last night’s filming at Substantial

Last night we filmed at UXHH, a happy hour for designers, hosted at Substantial’s beautiful office on Capitol Hill.  It was a fun, chaotic, shoot, but it was all part of the plan. The hope was that filming during a happy hour of designers would make it easy to find people willing to draw and design things at the whiteboard and I was right. Give in to a little chaos, you get a different kind of energy on film in return.

The fancy Minority Report looking screen is a Bluescape, and we filmed Donte Parks, a friend and one of the founders of Substantial, demoing it on film.

This was our first interior shoot, and the first footage of people actually making things (as the film is titled, We Make Seattle, such footage shouldn’t be a surprise). We also got some footage of the hardcourt bike polo game being played at Cal Anderson park (a variant of sport invented here in Seattle).



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Next shoot Tuesday: Substantial HQ

Things continue to roll along here at WMS HQ. Our next shoot is on Tuesday, filming at Substantial on Capitol Hill. They’ll be hosting a designer happy hour (UXHH), providing us with a beautiful office filled with creative folks. We’re also hoping to get some b-roll footage of bike polo, which is played right outside on Tuesday nights.

This interior location is the first from our location list, a target of opportunity given the event they’re hosting. The folks at Bootstrapper studios are also working on getting some of the b-roll footage we need while the weather is still glorious here in the northwest.

If you submitted a video as part of our recent contest, do not fret. I haven’t had time yet to review them all, but I promise a follow-up post soon.

Filming Continues

As you might have noticed we’ve already completed shoots at Seattle’s Folklife Festival and Myrtle Edwards & Sculpture Park.

We’re currently working on the logistics of shooting the Fremont bridge along with the Port of Seattle. Sorting out the feasibility of these shoots, permits, and time frames for getting the shots we want.

Scott is also working on a master b-roll list (you can read about filming locations and b-roll here) for the film. This list will be very specific scenes we want to use to help tell the story of our city. They’ll be different from our 2 completed shoots in that they’ll be very short shoots that we go out and grab when we have an extra 30 minutes in our schedules. So if you see us with a camera in your neck of the woods come over and say “hi”.

Location Contest:

Thank you for all your submissions. We’re taking them all into consideration as we line-up the last few primary shoot locations. Stay tuned for the locations we select.

– Adam


Contest: Get Your Office In The Film

(If you’re new to this project – here’s the background on the film)

Weeks ago we put out a call for locations and many of you filled our inbox with suggestions. Thanks!

Many of you also said “Film us!” which was sweet and charming. Since you folks made the film possible we’ve come up with a way to make your request possible – at least for one of you.

The WE MAKE SEATTLE location contest

We’re inviting you to take your cellphone camera out and film where you work and the cool people in it. Tell us a brief story of where you work, and share on camera how fun and awesome you are.

Answer the question: Why should your workplace represent creativity in Seattle to the world? Show us.

Rules and instructions:

  • Get a camera (your phone will do)
  • Make a 60-120 second video showing us why where you work should be in the film
  • Show us how fun and creative your coworkers are
  • Show us cool interiors, funky workplace setups or unusual but inspiring places of work
  • Post the video on YouTube and send us a link
  • We’ll review all the submissions and the winner will be an (interior) location that we’ll film for use in the We Make Seattle project

There are no other restrictions: any kind of work or workplace qualifies, including home offices, building rooftops, coworking spaces or wherever you do your thing.

Submissions will be judged on two criteria: location + fun/creativity of people shown.

Deadline is Friday July 25th 5pm. Have Fun. Any questions? Leave a comment.

Extras wanted for tomorrow: Myrtle Edwards Park

Dan and I will be shooting at the Sculpture garden and Myrtle Edwards Park tomorrow (map). At noon/lunchtime we can use a few extras – want to be in the film? Here’s your first chance.

You can bring a lunch and hang out on what should be a gorgeous day – now and then we may ask you to do certain extra like things (like walk on the trail, or sit in certain places). Please feel free to bring your friends or coworkers.

Leave a comment or contact me by email so we can work out details. Cheers.


Scouting report: Myrtle Edwards & Sculpture Park

Last week Dan I met to scout at Myrtle Edwards Park and the SAM Sculpture garden. We spent about an hour walking through, talking about the ideas I had for what to capture and why. There’s a great combination of landscapes and objects that most people won’t even realize were filmed just a few yards from each other.

I’m working on a plan now for when we’re going to shoot here and this will most likely be the next location we film. Offices and interior places will come later as I’m trying to prioritize outdoor shoots first while the weather is co-operating with us.  More details soon – we may have need of some extras for this one.

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Notes & Photos from shooting at Folklife

We had our first day of shooting at Seattle’s Folklife Festival. I’m glad we choose to film here as it was, as suspected, filled with interesting Seattle-ites doing interesting and creative things. Despite the weather forecast we had surprisingly good weather. Tony Bocci joined us as AD for the shoot.

I’m working on planning our next shoots. If you want to help, take a look at our locations list and leave suggestions or ideas.



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(Photo Credits: #1 Dan McComb, #2 Paoli Tosolini, #3-#6 Tony Bocci, #7-8 Berkun)

Wanted: Filming Locations

As we’re moving into production, it’s time to nail down primary filming locations.  The audio track we’ve spent weeks putting together is the spine for the film, and will lead the way on deciding what locations to shoot in.

Here’s my list of 5 primary locations with notes.

Primary Locations

  • Seattle folklife festival (May 24-26) –  I’ve met with the organizers and this will be a great opportunity for us to get footage of artists and musicians (not office workers) doing their thing. We can also do two for one here: tighter shots of individuals working/performing, as well as wide shots of the huge number of creative people and Seattleites at the festival. (An alternative could be the next Maker Faire or a busy day at Makerhaus).
  • Myrtle Edwards Park / Sculpture park – Facing to the north, we can shoot the running trail through the park, and the small beach (“find a starfish on every run” – Karen at 1:30 in the audio). Facing to the South, we can get a shot of the Seattle skyline. It’s a two for one. We can also get some B-roll in the sculpture park particularly the (Richard Sera Wake sculpture, and the view from the bridge down to Elliot ave).
  • Startup Office TBD: We will need footage from a working tech company office. We’d need to do some scouting to find suitable locations. UpGlobal might work if they’d have us. What we want is a grungy, low-fi place, preferably in an old building or loft, with high energy happy people working and collaborating. Makerhaus on a busy day could also work, as handcrafts are more cinematic than people typing at laptops.
  • Fancy impressive Office TBD. A high end, beautifully architected modern workplace, as counterpoint to the startup office. Ideally the vibe juxtaposes the architecture, with a lively light-funky atmosphere fitting for Seattle. Something that says modern and technical but not hospital sterile.
  • Restaurant / Kitchen / Bar TBD. At the 3 minute mark is a riff on the audio track about neighborhoods and restaurants. We’ll need at least one interior location of a busy, friendly bar, and an open kitchen with people working, and happy people eating/drinking.

B-Roll / Secondary Footage

I have specific thoughts for secondary footage we’re going to need. We’ll likely need some hand picked extras to participate in the shots. In will be harder to co-ordinate, but I can imagine having the same “cast” of 4 or 5 people who show up in many of these short scenes (e.g. dancing with the dance steps on Broadway, and running through the Wake sculpture at the sculpture park).

  • Seattle public library, yellow escalators & red floor
  • Street Murals / Street Art (pickups of some of our best: the dance steps, Hendrix on Broadway, the murals on 4th ave? others?)
  • An art studio where work is being made / Makerhaus? / Seattle Art Walk?
  • 15th avenue, bars & street scene (mentioned by Jesse at ~3:30 in the audio track)
  • WA State Ferries in the sound from the waterfront (mentioned by Karen at ~2:30)
  • I-90 facing east from Seattle, with the lake in view, and boats on the lake

How you can help

Read the above list again, carefully please.

If you have a suggestion for a location that might fit what we’re looking for, please let us know. If you know someone who owns / runs a location that might work that’s great too.

Please leave a comment or email me directly. Provide a photo or two if it’s a private location so we can see for ourselves which will answer most of our basic questions quickly without dozens of emails.

Volunteer wanted: Anyone interested in being our locations scout, and lead the process of finding, securing locations? We’d love to hear from you.

How Folklife Festival Is Made (Location for WMS)

We’re hard at work scouting locations for We Make Seattle. One possible location for some filming is the Northwest Folklife Festival, which takes place later this month at the Seattle Center (May 23-26).

I reached out to the organizers to talk about the project and soon discovered they had their own story of helping make Seattle a great place for creative people. I met with Michael Chandler (Festival Production Director) and Kelli Faryar (Programs Manager) at Cherry Street coffee on Denny and 5th yesterday.

I knew it was a big event, but was surprised to consider the true scale of Northwest Folklife Festival: 100s of acts perform each day over the 4 days of the event (full schedule here). Seen below is the scheduling board they use to build and track the entire event – if you complain about your weekly schedule, you should stop now (Photo by Kelli Faryar).

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Folklife is one of the few all-ages, free events that anyone in the Seattle area can enjoy. Part of why the event is of interest for our film is it’s one of the few venues that has large crowds of people of all ages and lifestyles participating in the creativity of music, dance, crafts and more. All of the musicians and artists perform for free: no one is paid, which is stunning when you think of how many professional and world class performers fill out the schedule.


Both Chandler and Faryar moved to Seattle years ago. While they came for different reasons, both soon found themselves volunteering with the Folklife Festival.  Eventually they took on full time roles with Northwest Folklife, as part of a small staff that works year round. For the festival they take on ~800  volunteers who play roles from helping with mailings and posters, to collecting donations and helping people find their way at the event. You can sign up to be a volunteer here.


We may need some PA help for shooting at Folklife Festival, so if you’re interested in lending a hand let me know.