Thursday, February 25, 2010

New Hampshire team takes top prize at 7DayPSA Competition in Rhode Island

[Exciting news from Smoky Quartz Productions!]

Smoky Quartz Productions of New Hampshire Takes First Place in Premiere Providence, Rhode Island, 7DayPSA Competition with a Public Service Announcement for Big Sisters of Rhode Island


HENNIKER, NH (Feb. 25, 2010) – Smoky Quartz Productions, the collective name for a group of professional filmmakers from New Hampshire who entered the Premiere 7DayPSA Competition in Providence, Rhode Island, returned to the Granite State with five trophies after Tuesday’s Awards Ceremony held in Providence.

In addition to landing the top overall award, the team was recognized with three individual awards: Best Director to Adam Jones of Henniker, Best Cinematographer to Gary Anderson of Deerfield, and Best Editor to Marc Dole of Portsmouth. Smoky Quartz also received an Official Client Selection trophy, which indicates that Big Sisters of Rhode Island has endorsed the team’s PSA message; that award will be held by Production Coordinator Adam Donovan, a New Hampshire native.

The PSA, “To the Power of You,” features more than 40 actresses from New England in a fun and upbeat handclap routine to the classic children’s sing-song chant “Say Say, Oh Playmate.” It begins running on television stations in the Rhode Island market next week where it will be aired for a year. The team’s top honor will be further recognized when it receives an Emmy nomination by the 7DayPSA organizers: OCD Associates and Flickers Arts Collaborative.

Dana Biscotti Myskowski of Henniker, producer and writer for Smoky Quartz, first learned of the competition in early January. “I knew Adam Jones, a director who lives in Henniker but works out of a production company in New York City, was itching to direct in his home state, and Gary Anderson and I had long talked about one day working together,” she said of her colleagues, both of whom she originally met through Roundtable Discussion Forums hosted by the New Hampshire Film & Television Office. “So I e-mailed them and asked if they’d be interested.”

When they responded affirmatively, Myskowski mailed the entry fee and forms to Providence, registering under the team name Smoky Quartz Productions, which she chose because Smoky Quartz is New Hampshire’s state gem. “I figured as the only likely entry from New Hampshire, people wouldn’t mind if we considered ourselves the state gem in this particular competition,” she said. Myskowski rounded out the core team by inviting Marc Dole, CEO of Hatchling Studios, to help. “Marc is such an accomplished filmmaker, I knew he would be an invaluable asset if he could squeeze the project into his already full production schedule.”

Finally, Myskowski e-mailed Donovan on a whim. “Knowing he was working in LA, I e-mailed him anyway and said IF you find yourself in New Hampshire during the production week, we would love to have you onboard.”

Donovan, who graduated from UNH three years earlier and who had studied screenwriting with Myskowski at UNH-Manchester, e-mailed from Chicago that he was already driving back to the Granite State and would arrive a couple days before the seven days officially kicked-off. “I’m all in,” he e-mailed.

The team received their client assignment Thursday evening, January 28, and met Friday at Red River Theatres for a four-hour brainstorming session. By Saturday morning, after writing five scripts to three different concepts, they chose their project.

While Myskowski sent out a call for actors, Jones scrambled to secure an ideal location. Having recently agreed to help the Boys and Girls Club of Concord with a video they need later this year, Jones was able to land the club’s gymnasium. The Tuesday shoot meant that the club’s staff not only had to keep afterschool students entertained elsewhere in the building, but that any basketball practices would need to be rescheduled.

On the day of the shoot, the core production crew of five swelled to sixteen as staff showed up from New Hampshire, Maine, and Rhode Island to volunteer with behind the scenes tasks such as set-up and break down, hair and make-up, sound, registration of actors, holding cue cards, working an extra camera, feeding everyone, coordinating parking at nearby lots courtesy of Sovereign Bank and the New Hampshire Association of the Blind, and more. Many crew members were there the entire time, from 10:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.

Editing, animation, and sound design followed, with the team moving to Hatchling Studio’s Portsmouth offices for an all-night editing session. Through the connectivity of the internet, Dole and Jones worked directly with Composer Judson Crane of Savannah, Georgia as he designed the sound, which included background vocals by his wife, Laura Crane.

Once the required three PSA lengths were cut – to 60-, 30- and 20-seconds – Myskowski and Donovan drove them and all the release forms and paperwork to Providence, delivering it at about 9 p.m., a full hour before the official deadline.

While the demo reel of the PSA has not yet been uploaded to a New Hampshire website, it will soon reside on the Big Sisters of Rhode Island website, which is accessible via the 7DayPSA site: www.7daypsa.org. More information is also available at Smoky Quartz Productions’ blog: smokyquartzproductions.blogspot.com. Questions may be e-mailed to Myskowski at: danabiscotti@gmail.com.