Assignment: Produce a super-cool promotional video to get the word out about FLYTE—LifeWay’s new curriculum just for preteens.
Solution: Call Filmmaker Steve Bussell of Seventh Story Productions.
When charged with the assignment of producing a promo video for FLYTE I knew there was only one man for the job. Steve Bussell. Steve is just a big kid himself, and the creative genius behind the FLYTE curriculum videos. He’s also a regular leader of preteens in his church—so I knew he would have some great ideas of how to communicate with other leaders. This particular project was so much fun! Afterwards, I sat down with Steve to reflect on it all, but first in case you haven\’t seen it, here’s the FLYTE video.
Was this your first stop-motion video production?
“Yes. I started watching stop-motion videos to get a feel for them and what is involved. I really wanted to do something that would show off the new product and that was highly creative. Not your average Sunday School video. Shooting this video was very different. Normally, we shoot fluid and dynamic shots. We knew we wanted to use skateboards, so I had some concerns. Skateboards are smooth and fluid. I didn’t know if it would really mesh well with stop-motion, but I knew it would create a unique look.”
Tell me about the creative process.
“The concept originated with the message we wanted to communicate. A loose script was formed and then we figured out how to visually depict the messages. We used signs and other visuals that would emphasize the message to make it a strong piece.”
A vital element to pulling off this video was locating a great skateboarder. How did that come together? “Sixth Avenue Skatepark in Nashville helped us find Levi, a phenomenal skater kid who can do anything on a skateboard and has broken half the bones in his body doing it.”
The question I’m asked the most: “How did you do the scene with Levi floating above the skateboard?”
“We used a harness, wires, and men in green suits.”
The equipment list for the shoot was simple: a couple of DSLR cameras, lights, tripod and . . . sparklers? “Sparklers are fascinating, so I try to find ways to use them since I can’t blow up a car! I taped them to the back of Levi’s skateboard. They left a mark on his skateboard and I was thinking I was going to have to replace it, but Levi thought it was really cool—like a battle scar.”
Let’s try this again. How did you do the scene with Levi floating above the skateboard?
“We put balloons under his shirt that allowed him to float.”
What was the biggest challenge of creating this stop-motion video?
“Getting a bunch of preteens to stand still and then move just slightly and then stand still again.”
Were you nervous about what the end result would look like?
“Yes! Especially the tears on the boys face. I just couldn’t tell when I was shooting it if it would work. If you would be able to see the size of the tears and if people would get it.”
Seriously. How did you do the scene with Levi floating above the skateboard?
“He wore anti-gravitational pants.”
I suppose there are some things every video producer likes to keep secret. FLYTE is certainly no secret! Check it out on www.lifeway.com/flyte and give it a try with your preteens this week.