Posts tagged #Video

Journey of the Marmoset Dollar


If growing up in the era of strip malls, one may recall those plastic funnel donation “wells” where someone tosses in a coin, watching as it gracefully spins multiple laps until spiraling to the bottom. But what exactly was the coin’s final destination, the overarching impact of these donations?

To know where one’s money is going — where it actually ends up — is the ultimate consumer superpower. Digging deeper into what a business stands for, a purchase could mean casting a vote, exercising a voice to advocate for change, positivity — or the opposite in a lot of cases. For example, buying an outfit at Wildfang not only supports their day to day operation costs, it contributes to their $400K giving to organizations like Planned Parenthood, ACLU, RAICES (and many others).

This is the type of transparency Marmoset is all about, because licensing a song for your video or hiring us to compose original music doesn’t mean just paying for the music itself, it’s a contribution to the community. It means supporting real working musicians, filmmakers and artists while advocating for the nonprofits we partner with, admire and support.

And so, we’d like to share with you the journey of a dollar at Marmoset. It’s a journey we’re proud to be living — it means staying connected through art, music, compassion and creativity. It’s the kind of journey we’re proud to keep going.

Working With Available Light: Follow Marmoset artist, The Earth and Arrow in a beautiful short documentary

Friend and filmmaker, Matt Mahoney, just released a beautiful snapshot of an artist's path in this new vignette about Marmoset artist, Rob Casmay (aka The Earth and Arrow). Follow along his thought process of why and who he creates music for.

"If you like something, you should try to learn as much as you can about it." — This is a guiding philosophy of Rob's and he's carried it with him throughout his musical career, from high school bands to his home studio. It's all about exploration for Casmay as he found little inspiration from music classes -- he just jumped in and figured it out along the way.

Now successfully reaching a point of being a full-time composer, Casmay reflects on how he got to this point and how he continues to explore in his soundtrack work, taking each project as a unique opportunity and challenge. Witness Rob's story below. Enjoy.

Filmmaker, Matt Mahoney, had some words when he shared his work. "His [Rob Casmay's] story is probably common in musician circles, yet it is so uniquely his in the way he approaches it and talks about it, I felt it was a story worth telling. We shot this quickly, with no money, and available light." Be on the lookout for more Marmoset artist profiles to come from this amazing storyteller. Listen to the music of The Earth and Arrow here.


The Art of Creative Questioning: An interview with Filmmaker, Mike Gaston

Field Notes Interview #13: Mike Gaston, Filmmaker

Unless you've been living in a remote barn on the outskirts of civilization without internet, you've probably seen two videos that are blowing up right now: "100 Years of Beauty in 1 Minute" and "Grandmas Smoking Weed For The First Time." These videos are spreading like wildfire. 

What are the common threads within these two films? Both are created by and each film presents simple ideas that expand into deeper, cultural questions that resonate with a large audience.

We caught up with Mike Gaston—director of both films— of Super Frog Saves Tokyo & about the process of creating engaging and "sneaky" content that demands your attention. 

M: When did you know you wanted to be a filmmaker?

MG: I came late to video.

My wife and I were both accepted to grad school. I was planning on studying Shakespeare. She was set to study History. We talked and decided one of us should probably have a job. Since she got into the much better school (Cambridge), I elected to find a gig. Somehow I stumbled into a job at Boeing doing things like contract negotiation and supply chain management. One day, for no reason, I decided to make a music video for my friend's band. The label bought it. It was featured on MTV. Six months later I quit my job to pursue making videos full time. Mind you. I had no idea what I was doing. I spent a lot of time working on things for free to develop some chops. That was 8 years ago.

M: What's your favorite moment of the filmmaking process?

MG: I love every part of it. From creative ideation through editing. In the beginning, ideas are perfect and clear. During production the idea takes shape in a way you couldn't have expected, more often than not better than you expected. In post there's an awesome sense of accomplishment. It's hard to pick one favorite moment.

M: What do you think defines a filmmakers' "voice"?

MG: It's a combination of subject (gangsters), tone (whimsy), technique (symmetry), and aesthetic style (lens flares) that results in an internal meta-narrative embedded in the filmmakers content. Joking. I have no clue. When you find out will you tell me?

M: How did come into fruition?

MG: Luck. We were the video department for an Internet marketing company. But video didn't really have a place in their model. That company became an incubator for startups. So instead of letting us go they decided to invest in us as our own brand. Cut, is a domain they owned I convinced them to let me run with as our first original project. Now they are investing in us again as

M: How did the Smoking Grannies and 100 Years of Beauty projects come up? How did you arrive to those ideas?

MG: I realized I wanted to make sneaky content. I wanted to make videos that at a superficial level brought a lot of delight but hopefully also invited the audience to reflect on their relationship to the subjects they'd be presented with. With the marijuana video I wanted to make something families could laugh about over dinner not realizing that they were talking about subjects they might typically avoid confronting each other with. With 100 Years of Beauty, I wanted to make a pilot that would suck in an audience with a fun technique and attractive model so with subsequent episodes I could get them to question how our concept of beauty has evolved or failed to evolve by engaging models of different ethnicities, cultural backgrounds, gender, body types, sexual orientation, etc.

But in the beginning, it's an image or a title or a technique. And then we ask those bigger questions to make sure the video fits within our rubric. Grandmas smoking weed for the first time, was one of those ideas that made sense as soon as we said the title.

M: Favorite moment off the screen during projects?

MG: In between takes, music is going people are talking and laughing. Shoot days are my favorite days. Nothing stands out but I always go home feeling really energized.

M: Were there any happy accidents during any sessions?

MG: We try to create conditions for happy accidents to occur. Especially when working with non-actors. My favorite: everything during the cards against humanity section of the Grandmas Smoking Weed video.

M: What role do you feel music has in film?

MG: Sound is critical to film. Cheap sound will make your video look like shit. If you've got great sound and shitty video, you can trick people into thinking the crappy video was an aesthetic decision. Great music not only complements but elevates video. The worse disservice you can do to your video is to treat music like an after thought. We don't even begin to edit without pulling together reference music.

M: When did you know that you have something ready to show the world?

MG: We've done a few videos where no matter who we show it to they laugh and want to watch the whole thing. The grandmas video was one of those times. But honestly, you don't ever know. You just kind of accept that you can't do anymore. What's the joke? No piece of art is ever finished, just abandoned? That feels true.

M: How do you feel music is misused in projects?

MG: I think the only way you can misuse music in a project is to not treat it like an equal element to the video. It's just as important as the color, the lighting, the acting, everything. Don't take it for granted.

M: What's coming up?

MG: We have a few videos I'm really excited about. But I can't tell you what they are yet.

Just finished a project? Have work to share? We want to see it — Share it with us at:

We'll select our favorite film and feature it next Wednesday on the blog. The featured filmmaker will also receive a copy of the new Parson Red Head's album Murmurations and a bar of Moonstruck Chocolate.

The Importance of Pre-Production In Your Projects

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Field Notes Interview #29: Preston Kanak, Filmmaker

Spontaneity doesn't always mean not having a plan. Sometimes planning ahead can give more room for unintended and adventitious moments in any project you're working on. Filmmaker, Preston Kanak drives this point home in his recent film Embargo.

While filming in Cuba and telling the story of "home," Preston and his filmmaking partner Brent Foster captured the unique landscape through visual storytelling. He used the track "Anchor" by Glass Wands as a driving force in conveying the mood of such a complex and beautiful setting of Havana and its rural outskirts. This is a strong and powerful piece, and a lot of it has to do with approaching the project with pre-planning. 

We chatted with Preston Kanak about his process of filming and how music plays a role in his projects. Read on.

M: When did you know you wanted to be a filmmaker?

PK: The desire to be a filmmaker came late for me. I started my education wanting to be an optometrist but never felt passionate with the schooling. I switched gears and enrolled in a media production and studies degree program. It was here where I started to learn more about filmmaking. In my third year with the program, I started a film a day project and it was during this project that I became hooked.

M: What's your favorite moment of the filmmaking process?

PK: My favorite part of the process is in meeting all the people along the way. Each person has such a unique story to tell and it excites me to see others passionate about what they do.

M: How did this Embargo come into form? What's the story behind this project?

PK: Last January, Brent Foster and I headed to Cuba to tell the story of home. We wanted to try showcase that unique feeling that comes with this idea. For ‘Embargo', I wanted to reinvestigate this story but through visual storytelling rather than rely on a voice-over to drive the story.

M: What do you think defines a filmmakers' "voice"?

PK: That is a tough question. For me, that voice is what wakes you up every morning and keeps driving you forward. It is the passion that drives and connects to the world around you. This voice may or may not be attached to a specific style of storytelling. Everyone has a unique story to tell based on their life experiences and this voice is what shares it with the world.

M: Do you always have a clear vision in mind when filming?

PK: Through my film a day project, I have definitely developed systems and processes with the work I produce. Regarding the clear vision, this is visible through the pre-production I do with every project. For me, a clear vision up front is critical to ensure the success of a project. I know that projects evolve through each step of the creative process but by having a plan up front, it is much easier to gauge whether or not I want to work on a project as well as how I want to approach it if it is a project I indeed want to work on.

M: Were there any happy accidents when filming?

PK: Happy accidents happen all the time when you are prepared from the start. If you are not scrambling to make things happen, happy accidents are inevitable.

M: What role do you feel music has in film?

PK: Music plays an integral role in any project. Much like the other audio elements, it can affect the way in which people interpret your message. 

M: When do you know that you have something ready to show the world?

PK: My work is never 100% complete. I use deadlines for releasing content to the world. Because I am a perfectionist, I have to do this or nothing would ever get released. I think that by producing the film a day project, I was able to let go of the fact that nothing will ever be perfect. I focus more on the idea of ensuring that my last project is always my best and I am able to do this as I am always pushing myself to learn something new.

M: How do you feel music is misused in projects?

PK: Music is misused when it is used as a crutch. If the film changes the intended purpose of your film, it shouldn’t be used.

M: What's coming up?

PK: My next 6 months is pretty crazy. With my business, Cinescapes Collective, we have just opened up an office locally and have some commercial work taking us across Canada. Beyond this, we are committed to shooting a personal short a month spanning many genres to continue to push our creative side. The next of the series is slated to fire up the end of March in NYC with others being filmed in such places as Canyonlands and Peru.


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Have your story to tell? Share your recent film with us at We'll feature our favorite on the journal and the winner will receive a Marmoset shirt and Field Notes notebook. C'mon, Share the love!

"Champion" shows what it's like to start boxing at 55

There's never a bad time to try something new, it'll only take you to interesting places.

Filmmaker, Ian Servin's debut documentary Champion portrays the boxing career of Mark Colbert, a man who started getting in the ring at 55. This film dispels the idea that aging means growing old. 

Wesley Jensen's track "Building Houses" perfectly pairs and elevates the inspiring vibes in this piece. When Ian shared his documentary with us, he stated that "A lot of people don't understand the importance of the right soundtrack, or even good production audio, but when I show clients the difference between Marmoset's offerings and lower quality music, more often than not they get it right away."

As both Ian Servin and Mark Colbert have shown us is that following inspiration is always the best route to go. And the the strength of this debut only means more amazing work coming down the road from this talented filmmaker.

Download Our "Playful Pop" Mixtape

Guest DJ: Jillian Ezra, Storyteller

There's no time like the present -- and the present should be filled with joy. Our new Playful Pop mixtape presents 10 youthful tracks to clap along to.

Inspired by the work of filmmaker, Jillian Ezra, each song has a familiar quality that is comforting and hopeful. Perfect for capturing spirited adventures shared with good company. Enjoy.