Six interviews for We Make Seattle complete

Hi everyone. Welcome to spring. Here’s some good news for you.

On the road to getting the rough audio track completed, the WMS team interviewed six local creatives and entrepreneurs. I wanted to announce them here and thank them for lending their voices (quite literally) to the project.

They each let us interview them for an hour about Seattle, entrepreneurship, creativity and why they chose to pursue their work here in our city. And a 5 minute audio track, edited down from hours of recording, is the basis for the actual film.

As a general update, now that spring is here our pace is finally picking up. We’re working on locations and a shooting schedule this week. More soon.


Update: Rough Cut Audio Complete

Hi folks. Apologies for the long silence (I’m hanging my head in shame as I write this). Without the audio track narrative put together, not much other work could be done, and I didn’t see the point in empty, fluffy updates.

I’m posting with good news and a nice sized update. The major task at hand had been working the 6 hours of audio interviews down into a 4 minute track. That sounds like a magic trick and it is. It takes much time to reduce time, especially if the audio is going to be the spine of the film. I’ve been splicing, editing, revising, listening, reviewing, note taking and then revising again like mad.

I worked all weekend to finally get this step complete and I was successful. Yay.

I’ll be meeting with the rest of the crew to get feedback on it, and if all goes well, draft preliminary plans for a shot list, shooting schedule and any any audio pick ups we’ll need to do.

The general plan is still to film late spring and early summer, and have the final project released to the world before the summer is out.

I’ll have more frequent updates and invitations for how you can participate soon. As the pace of production will be ramping up soon.



36 Reasons Seattle Wins At Life

Interesting how many of these fall into our non-goals for the film. Lots of cliches and common references (Space Needle, Fremont Troll) show up in here.

I’d like to put together a similar list, but comprised of places, elements and aspects that aren’t commonly talked about. The real Seattle that locals love, not what earns attention from the tourist.

Portland Ad during Superbowl?

Did any of you catch the “Portland Happening Now” ad during the Superbowl?

It’s part of a series of advertisements. The spot I saw was 30 seconds, but here’s a 60 second version.

Production update (audio interviews complete – round one)

Hi supporters, fans and other folks. This is Berkun here with the latest update.

Things have been rolling along here at WMS HQ (we don’t have a HQ of course, but it’s fun to say) and I have some news on the production of the film to share.

As mentioned in the past, I’m building the audio for the film first, using interviews local creatives and entrepreneurs. DP Dan McComb and I have completed 5 interviews to date (officially known as: round one). Here’s a photo of interview #4, of me interviewing Jesse Smith, star of the local Deep Prep cooking show.


Some people have asked me how we chose who to interview and the process was simple. We built a huge list based on all of your suggestions (more than 70 people) and I worked it down to 15 by listening to audio of those candidates speaking on youtube or elsewhere. Being amazing and having a great Seattle story is one thing, but for a film this is casting. And since I’m focusing heavily on audio I framed my list on people who have a voice for radio and energy that comes through their voice alone.

Step two was to build a short list of diverse people, by gender, background, and profession. Step three was to ask who was interested and try to schedule something. The first 5 that worked out are the first 5 interviews we have. 

Step four is now, where I review all of the interviews and start building a cut list to put together a single narrative that can be the spine of the film. With 5 completed interviews I have enough audio to work on a rough audio track.

Here’s me in Final Cut getting busy:


Once that rough version is complete we’ll have a creative team meeting and work out next steps, including a shooting plan and possibly more interviews if there are gaps in structure or tone that would best be filled by other voices. We might even need to reinterview some folks to fish for specific quotes I’m looking for. 

We’ll be posting profiles of all the people we’ve interviewed, so stay tuned for that. Cheers and thanks for your support.

Schwag is in the mail

Last week the production team had a marathon schwag party at producer Adam Baggett’s Belltown abode. With beers and pizza (carefully) in hand we folded, packed, labeled and stamped every single package for each of you wonderful supporters. We put extra TLC and good vibes in each and every package.

KU0A9329 KU0A9331 KU0A9337 KU0A9362


(Photos by DP Dan McComb)

Imagine the look on the poor post office dude’s face when Baggett showed up with several enormous piles of packages. Here’s the receipt.


Happy holidays and Happy New Year. Thanks again for your support so far and we look forward to working hard on the film in 2014.

If you can, please post on your blog, Facebook or Twitter with a photo and help spread the word for the project. Cheers.

Production & schwag update: work underway

Hi folks. Apologies for taking so long since the last update on the production of the short film We Make Seattle. It’s entirely my fault so if you have been giving dirty looks to the website or any of the crew, please re-aim those looks right here at yours truly.

I’m pleased to report significant progress. Over the last month I’ve done audio interviews with three local entrepreneurs and creatives. These have gone well and I’ll continue doing them over the next few weeks. Soon we’ll post here on the blog with profiles of the people we’ve interviewed to share the stories we’re capturing and invite you to into the process.

As films go, this approach is certainly unconventional, as we’ve chosen to start with voices first. One of our goals in the vision is to avoid talking heads as a narrative crutch.  The goal then is, after the first round of interviews, to weave together an audio track for the film and let that be the spine of the experience. The audio will be the narrative that drives everything else, including choices for what footage we will choose to capture and how it will fit together.

While it is odd to work this way, the ambition is it will let the voices and stories drive the film organically. The burden will of course be on us (and primarily me) to weave together different voices and tell a coherent and compelling story about our city, but there are many ways we can craft the audio and soundtrack to achieve this.

On Schwag: the crew is meeting tonight for a schwag “party”, where we won’t go home until everything is packed up and ready to send out to all of you wonderful supporters.

Best wishes and happy holidays.

Ticket Schwag Update

Hola backers!

Wanted to touch base with the party-goers. You may have read about the other schwags nearing completion in our last update. You may have also noticed an absence of ticket schwag mentions.

Not to worry – we didn’t forget about you. We’ve decided that the “ticket” is admission to the amazing launch party – meaning we won’t be sending you a physical ticket. Instead, we’ll have your name on our VIP list, which gives you access to the party, food and beverages, along with the first screening of the film.


- WMS team

Audio interviews and schwag production

Greetings from the ‘We Make Seattle’ pre-production zone. We’ve been busy at work and have two updates for you.

Casting audio interviews

Scott Berkun's audio interview kit for We Make Seattle (med)

Since our last update, we’ve equipped Scott, our fearless writer/director, with his portable audio interview kit (see photo) and he’s been coordinating interview schedules with 10 candidates we’re considering for the film. From these initial interviews, the plan is to pick three specific people whose stories capture what is so special about Seattle as a great city for entrepreneurs, creatives, and makers.

We call this the ‘glamorous’ part of pre-production – which comes entirely down to coordinating schedules with a lot of interesting busy people via email and phone.

Adding to the scheduling tetris, Scott just released his latest book, The Year without Pants, and is currently on the east coast promoting it until early next week (see his schedule here if you’d like to catch him).

While it would be awesome to be able to move faster, we’re also seasoned enough to know that making great things takes time. Scheduling like this is a natural part of coordinating We Make Seattle among the other projects that pay the rent / feed the kids.

Schwag production

In parallel, we’ve been working on producing the schwag rewards and have updated photos of posters, coasters, and stickers.

Sara and team at Constellation & Co have been hard at work handcrafting our letterpress coasters and posters (see photos), which should be done by the end of the month.

Poster production by Constellation & Co. (cropped)

Coaster production by Constellation & Co.

We also have die cut stickers in hand that we got from the fine folks at Sticker Mule (see image).

We Make Seattle sticker on laptop

Shirts are at the printers’ studio and are scheduled to be complete early next week (after our initial, highly recommended shirt printer went incommunicado – hey, it happens).

Once all the reward items are done, we’ll schedule a schwag party so we can get everything mailed out fast.

Stayed tuned for more updates soon.

Cast and pre-production updates

Since the backer meeting a few weeks ago we’ve been meeting regularly and working to cull down our list of over 60 possible candidates as subjects to the film to a workable number. I (Berkun) have been leading the process and have finally made some headway. I have about 10 candidates and will be reaching out to some of them over the next few days.

As the vision describes, we’re looking primarily for voices that can tell first person stories of why Seattle is a great place for creatives. In terms of production, the first material we’re after is audio.

I’ll be recording interviews with some of the candidates from the list and weaving together a very rough audio track for the film. We’ll discuss this in our production meeting and only then plan for what visuals will match the story we’re telling. This process makes tremendous sense, but it does mean a slower process for putting the film together.

I’ll keep you posted as these interviews roll along.