Staff members and volunteers from a dozen different nonprofit organizations in Camden put their dancing shoes on today to try to spread some “happy” news about the city. The hot lights were on, the camera crews were getting into position, the producer was in the building, and the dancers were going over their routines.
It is not the typical setup work at Cathedral Kitchen, on Federal Street in Camden, which prepares and serves meals for the needy, six days a week.
But on this day, there was a little bit of show biz mixed into what they do to spread the message of The Goodness Project.
“It’s to promote goodness that happens every day in Camden,” explained Lauren White, development director for the Ronald McDonald House of Southern New Jersey, and a lead organizer with The Goodness Project. “There’s a lot of negativity that comes out, but there’s another side of Camden we would like to show.”
So, White and her team reached out to 12 nonprofits within the city about putting together a music video inspired by the hit song “Happy,” by Pharrell Williams. Video parodies from colleges and organizations of the Oscar-nominated song have gone viral through Youtube and social media.
April 1, 2014 —
Steve Acito, Film & Video Adjunct Professor, was joined by Film & Video Professor David Schwartz and a crew of nine Film & Video students to direct and produce pro bono an upbeat music video for “The Goodness Project,” organized by the Ronald McDonald House of Southern New Jersey to celebrate Camden, NJ. Featuring 12 Camden nonprofits and those served by them, the video is set to musician Pharrell’s song “Happy,” and was produced by Acito with his company Bluewire Media.
Bet you didn’t know that David Uosikkinen from the 80’s band The Hooters has a killer music project that was started to raise awareness for music education for kids in his hometown of Philadelphia, PA. All of his superstar musician friends play and sing on the cover songs…each song has a history with Philadelphia. Each song has a “making-of” short by award winning director Steve Acito.
Four years ago, on September 15, 2010, we shot the documentary short for the first song in this series, “All My Mondays” (which you can watch here), but In The Pocket: The Essential Songs of Philadelphia started about six months before that recording session.
David Uosikkinen of The Hooters, Dallyn Pavey of Dish Public Relations and I discussed some ways to allow fans to experience the happenings of a recording session, and we came up with the idea of these ‘making-of’ shorts. On that first track, the crew was nonexistent. Since this is a charity project for not only Bluewire Media but also all of the musicians involved, there was no money for a crew. R. Alex Lewis-O’Rourke, an amazing photographer, editor and lifelong friend, donated his skills on those first few songs and we just shot. To be honest, it was a blast.
Over the years since the project started, other amazingly talented production people gave their time in sessions as extra camera people, grips, photographers, etc, all for the “greater good” of helping to raise awareness for music education.
Fast forward four years, four months and twenty-seven days to song twelve, and the production has changed a bit. First off, Brent King, who has been an unbelievable asset in post and on location for many of the other songs, shot interviews, co-directed the promotional music video, and helped to oversee the crew during the recording session. That crew was an interesting piece of the puzzle, and Punk Rock Girl was the first session where the video crew was expanded to more than just a camera or two. You see, besides owning and overseeing Bluewire Media, I teach one documentary production course per semester at Drexel University and decided that I’d invite some of my best students from previous semesters to work on the project. It was a great opportunity for them to get “real world” experience on an Emmy® Nominated project, and I was able to use the session as another opportunity to educate outside of the classroom. Jeff Cintric, Max Matez and Ryan Williams all donated their time to shoot for the day at Phil Nicolo’s Studio 4 in Conshohocken, PA. This session had a band of five performers, including David Uosikkinen on drums, Tommy Conwell (The Young Rumblers) on guitar, Pete Donnelly (Figgs, NRBQ, Shelby Lynne) on bass, Will Wittman (Cyndi Lauper) on guitar and Richard Bush (The A’s) on lead vocals. The session also had a film crew of four camera people operating five cameras, plus two GoPros, and me. I shot most of the interviews and in-session with a Tilt-Shift lens, which distorts portions of the shot and makes up most of the footage in the music video. All of the other footage was shot by this amazing crew of professionals donating their time. We also had two extremely talented photographers (Howard Pitkow and Dallyn Pavey) to capture images, some of which are featured in the ‘making-of’ video. Many others can be seen here http://songsinthepocket.org/songs/punk-rock-girl/
The videos were edited in our brand new 4k Avid Suite at Bluewire Media with me posting the ‘making-of’ short and Brent assisting on the promotional music video.
The project has come a long way and I feel extremely lucky to have Bluewire Media be the source for video content as we explore more of The Essential Songs of Philadelphia, and I look forward to seeing what happens next. To date, my company, Bluewire Media, has logged fourteen in-studio sessions and just over three hundred hours in editing, all donated to the project. Our long term goal is to create a feature length documentary for film festivals and to support the importance of music education. All of the short ‘making-of’ pieces will fit together with the addition of some new interviews and some never-before-seen pieces to tell even more of the story.
Keep and eye out and follow us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/bluewiremediallc for updates and for a Kickstarter.com funding effort to make that dream become a reality.
About the project:
With IN THE POCKET: ESSENTIAL SONGS OF PHILADELPHIA, The Hooters’ David Uosikkinen revisits songs that were either recorded in Philadelphia or written and performed by Philadelphians. These essential songs feature a rotating line up of Philly’s most celebrated musicians. Songs are available for download at songsinthepocket.org. A video documentary by award winning producer/director Steve Acito of Bluewire Media is produced to accompany each song. Acito’s In The Pocket long-form documentary was recently nominated for an Emmy award.
DO YOUR PART TO HELP! DOWNLOAD THE TRACKS AND SUPPORT THIS PROJECT: