Geoffrey S. McNeil "Guerrilla Film Warrior" Interview

  Tell me how you came up with the idea for the movie? What inspired you to do it?

  Well, Iíve always been fascinated by anything out of the ordinary. When YouTube ballooned into a sort of collective consciousness video hub, I couldnít be happier. There are all kinds of wild ideas, personal expressions, and alternative content to explore. In recent years, there have been plenty of rumblings about 2012, the Apocalypse, the end of the Mayan Long Count Calendar, etc. There are so many theories out there about whatís supposed to happen: religious revelations, a UFO invasion, solar flares, an extinction level meteor strike, world war 3, the return of the Annunaki, the list goes on and on. So, in the ĎSpirit of the Ageí, I figured Iíd have a little fun with the topic.

  How do the words "Survival Guide" correlate with Creative Handbook?

  To put it simply, production is like war. You have a ticking clock, so much to do, and so much on the line, that it can almost feel like your life hangs in the balance. And for that reason, it is absolutely necessary that either in pre-production or in an emergency during filming, you have a database of contacts available to you for every possible contingency. The Creative Handbook is that resource and in this context a "Survival Guide". Having a resource like the Creative Handbook has been an essential part of the evolution of my company and my projects.

  What was the most memorable part of the process?

  Actually, there were quite a few on this project. Travelling to the Salton Sea to shoot the post-Apocalyptic footage was a trippy experience. For those who donít know, itís a shallow toxic soup twice the size of Lake Tahoe in Southern California. Stopping at Bombay Beach was like stepping onto the set of a "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" movie, complete with contemporary ruins, unusual locals, and strange macabre artifacts, including the burnt teddy bear we used in the movie. We also dodged security guards in downtown L.A., and ran around South Central with a hundred thousand dollars of gear just to get the right overpass shot.

  What was the most challenging project youíve worked on?

  There have been quite a few that were challenging in different ways, but I would have to say that this project was the most ambitious undertaking for me. The idea behind the "Guerrilla Film Warrior" was to make it guerrilla. No budget and as few people involved as possible. I wanted to see how close I could get to a Sci-Fi movie trailer with only ideas, will, experience, and a few key leaders in their respective fields. At the end of the day, I did come out of pocket for three days of meals and gas, and owe my three key crewmembers big time, but it got done and Iím happy with the finished product.

  Tell me a little about your team of four.

  I guess Iím the first of the four, and I come from an NYU Film School background, which had a real independent film, guerrilla, Ďget it doneí mindset. You were more or less given your gear, a small amount of film, and a shove onto the streets of New York City and told to bring back something good. My cinematographer Aaron Smith is a bit of a workhorse, and weíve worked together for several years. Lucky for me, heís obsessed with his gear, and I not only had his Red Epic to work with but a nice collection of Zeiss lenses. Eric Silva is an extremely talented graphic designer/animator, and has been my right hand for over seven years. No matter what insurmountable feat I present him with, he always figures it out and delivers. Brendan Hawkins, an old friend and co-founder of Everytone Music has years of experience working with Perry Farrell (Janeís Addiction), and an extensive electronic music and soundtrack background. What I love the best about his work is that it has a unique edgy sound that was perfect for the spot. I also had my invaluable assistant Josh Morrow P.A. on the shoots, and Brent Kim took the Ďbehind the scenesí photos.

  Whatís your favorite type of Camera and process?

  You know itís interesting, because I have shot on almost every format out there. Iíve shot three formats of film and everything from DV to 5K, using Arri, Red, Sony, Panasonic, and Canon cameras. But, for the Guerrilla Film Warrior, I was convinced that it must be shot on the Red Epic. Ted Schilowitz, co-founder of Red Digital Cinema, is a family friend and we had had several discussions about the Epic before it came out. I was very happy with the ease of use of the Epic, its latitude, and the overall filmic look it gave us.

  How did the music come to life, and why was it a perfect backdrop to this mini film?

  Music is very important to me both for my work and in general. I also have a profound respect for sound, and the subtleties that good sound design can convey. It was essential that the music and the sound fx establish the right tone and energy of the post-modern Apocalypse. Brendan really nailed it. His soundtrack and sound design really brought the spot to life.

  Tell me about your relationship with Mear, and how he came to paint the "Guerrilla Film Warrior" painting.

  Mear and I both grew up in the same circles in Los Angeles, and I always admired and was fascinated by his work. Known as the Michelangelo of Street Art, he has made an evolutionary progression from elaborate graffiti murals to being a sought after commodity in the Fine Art world. When I realized the far out concept for the "Guerrilla Film Warrior" painting, I knew he was the one who had to manifest the vision. When we first sat down to discuss it, he whipped out a mind-blowing sketch in what literally had to be no more than two minutes. Previously, we had worked together on a music video and an art show pilot, and we currently have a very special project in the works.

  What advice would you give to a student who is interested in pursuing your line of work?

  I would encourage anyone with a real passion for filmmaking to go for it. The path can be very challenging, but also very rewarding. Thereís nothing like at the end of the day being able to share with your friends and family what you do with your life in such a tangible way. Just be prepared to give all of yourself to your work, and make sure to find some good and reliable people you enjoy being around to work with along the way.

  Do you plan on doing any more content like this, possibly a full feature film in the works?

  As far as client projects go, entertainment is key when battling for the same eyeballs in a global digital ecosystem flooded with media. I will be steering more of our ĎBranded Contentí projects in this direction, as itís truly essential that brands come up with something fun and different to attract potential customers that blends the worlds of advertising and entertainment. And as far as feature films go, I do actually have a thriller in development with plenty of action and bizarre otherworldly happenings...
Guerrilla Film Warrior
Creative Handbook Cover Art:
"Guerrilla Film Warrior"
Artist: Mear One - Director: Geoffrey S. McNeil
"The important battles of today are not fought on battlefields, but in the media and the entertainment business over people's minds & souls."

Geoffrey S. McNeil & Mear One grew up in the streets of Los Angeles and Hollywood amidst the various peoples, subcultures, and progressive music & art movements. They followed their respective career paths to meet again years later and began collaborating on several creative projects, including a Music Video, Art Show TV Pilot, & various Film Concepts. Geoffrey's company G5M Entertainment has worked with Creative Handbook for several years, and developed the concept for the 2012 edition cover art. Geoffrey enlisted Mear to bring to life a vision about the commitment to the craft of filmmaking in the face of adversity and even at the moment of Apocalypse.

  Geoffrey S. McNeil, Founder of GSM Entertainment, is a product of NYU's Tisch School of the Arts Film School. Over the past 12 years as Executive Producer of GSM Entertainment, Geoffrey has traveled the world directing and producing over eighty professional projects, including: Commercials, Television Segments & Pilots, Music Videos, Documentaries, Prom os, Motion Graphics Animations, and Concert DVD's. His work has been seen on NBC, MTV, Horror Channel (UK), Much Music, Music Video Heaven, and New Zealand on Air. He has won numerous Aegis and Telly Awards, and several of his DVD productions have been distributed internationally. With a focus on artistry, innovation, and evolving technologies, Geoffrey produces projects with world famous musicians, record labels, film & TV production companies, advertising agencies, international organizations, as well as major corporate brands like Playboy Energy Drink, Guitar Center, DW Drums, and Pioneer Electronics. In 2011, Geoffrey was selected by Sony Professional Video to be a 'Featured Director' on their website Videon.

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Mear One (aka Kalen Ockerman) began his career in 1986 as a graffiti artist in Los Angeles. He has been labeled "The Michelangelo of Graffiti" and "The Salvador Dali of Hip-Hop." By the early 1990's, he had estabiished a large fan base through his notorious work on the streets, underground hip-hop album covers, and his involvement in pioneering street wear clothing. In 1993, he began his transition from street graffiti to canvas paintings, and began his first body of acrylic and airbrushed paintings. Mear One performed live art painting at the L.A. Art Show, Volta 6 Art Fair in Basel, Switzerland, and the Coachella Valley Music Festival, where he was voted one of the "Most Interesting People To See at Coachella" by L.A. Weekly. He has been featured in Urb Magazine, acknowledged by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and selected for Guernseys Graffiti Art: The Auction. In 2011, Mear One was showcased in two critically acclaimed museum exhibitions, Art in the Streets at the Los Angeles MOCA, and Street Cred at the Pasadena Museum of California Art. His work has been described as "urban psychedelic surreal," inspired by ancient technology, science, philosophy, mythology and mysticism, along with political and cultural revolution, and notions of the apocalypse.

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Creative Handbook Presents

A GSM Entertainment Production

"Guerrilla Film Warrior"

Producer/Director: Geoffrey S. McNeil

Cinematographer: Aaron Smith

Visual FX: Eric Silva

Music & Sound: Brendan Hawkins

Production Assistant: Josh Morrow

Behind the Scenes Location / Set Photos: Brent Kim

Entertainment Marketing: Alex Moreno

Creative Handbook GSM Entertainment

Guerrilla Film Warrior
Guerrilla Film Warrior
Guerrilla Film Warrior