I was blessed with the opportunity to work on The LXD season 3 this May and June as the personal assistant to Director Charles Oliver, as well as editing the season finale.
301: The Extraordinary 7
For those who have been following the series, the first three episodes of season 3 were a fun story arc that explore the origins of the LXD and their dance-related powers.
I worked a lot on the casting for episode 301. I worked with Charles to audition young actors for the lead “Young Narrator” role and spent a lot of time tracking down specialty extras who were the circus performers in this episode.
I filmed some b-roll for this episode using a Canon 5Dmk2 and a Zeiss 50mm 1.4 CP lens (it wasn’t used – the rest of the footage was shot on a pre-production model RED Epic), re-choreographed and rehearsed the partner dancing/tango section of the dance between the Countess and Joe Drift, wrote and re-worked various bits of dialogue, and generally assisted with most of the director’s work (guiding the art department, costumes, hair, make-up looks for the ringmaster, etc…).
My main contribution to 302 was persuading Charles to use the piece of music that ended up in the final piece. We had several tracks to choose from and we listened to them repeatedly while driving between locations and meetings in Southern CA. The final piece (called “Dirty Little Secrets”) was my strong preference.
I must say that the dancers in this episode were some of the most hard-working, tough, energetic and talented that I’ve worked with. The filming conditions were ridiculously hot and humid, and the thick fog in the air was choking their breath. The heavy white makeup blocked their pores and made their bodies heat up very quickly and we didn’t have a cool place for them to go between takes, aside from outdoors in the 100+ degree (F) heat of Riverside, CA. Take after take (and there were dozens), these dancers delivered 100% and the crew was blown away.
I loved working on this Flamenco episode! The dancers were very talented and friendly and I was asked by the director to interpret for them on set (I lived in Spain for a number of years as a volunteer missionary), as well as to rehearse them in the hours leading up to filming. They were full of passion and energy that mystified everyone on set.
As a point of interest, the music used in the final version of this episode is a far cry from the music it was choreographed, rehearsed and performed to. The original track was a very authentic Flamenco song composed just for this episode (with lyrics to interplay with the themes and plot elements). It was probably too esoteric for mainstream urban dance fans in the USA, however, so it was replaced with something more contemporary and pop-sounding. Here’s the original version that didn’t make it.
310: Rise of the Drifts
One of my favorite episodes in the LXD series, I feel very blessed and privileged to have been the editor. This epic battle between the various groups is a beautiful summary of the conflicts and themes and ideas behind the rest of the LXD story. I loved working on set for this episode, but poring carefully over each take of the footage was my favorite part of the process. The music is so gorgeous that I had no problem listening to it over and over again while refining the edit.
During the process of defining the shot list for this episode I drew some very rough little storyboards to show how the reverse action would play (and should be filmed) in the outdoor/snow narrative. Charles looked at them and said “yes!”, took my cat scratches to the scanner, and quickly emailed them to Alice Brooks (the Director of Photography), Kyle Sonia (Producer) and several others. The next day I was horrified to see my hasty little drawings included on everyone’s clipboards, along with the shot list and production schedule. I was happy to help but if I had known that everyone would be studying my little drawings I would have at least made straight frame borders.
The LXD family is a wonderful group of people to deal with. The dancers were humble, talented and hard-working. The crew was unified and focused. The creative direction was very inspired. If you haven’t seen this series yet, start at the beginning of season 1, get comfortable, turn up your speakers, and get ready to have your world changed!