One of the best ways I started to get experience with filmmaking was by entering contests for low budget commercials. I knew the companies were getting a lot for a little, but so was I… a successful entry would get you a nice project for your reel, your resume, and a little bit of moolah!
AppSec Inc. (now Trustwave) put a request out asking for a humorous way to educate customers about database security. This was perfect for me, because before going into film and media, I was a software engineer. I had taken courses in database theory and implemented and maintained IT systems at numerous companies. The basic idea for what to do came immediately… highlight stakeholders doing the wrong thing, or giving terrible advice. A lot of comedy is based around that… the doctor who does horrible surgery, the pilot that can’t fly a plane, the policeman who doesn’t know the law. It’s a step away from tragedy, in fact, but it’s what we laugh at.
I got some friends together to help and it turned out to be a fine example of what happens when other voices add to an individual’s initial inspiration. I was trying to figure out the specifics of my general idea, and colleague Sebastian Heinrich suggested just “having people run around as they scream stuff”, and it was all we needed. Erica and Hisham played the straight men as other friend Perry and I played the dolts running through a park giving horrible advice about how to run an IT department. It was cheap, it was fast, and it won first place in the contest.