#ProjectAdventure Week 16: Get baking (otherwise known as “Martha Stewart I ain’t”)

April 23, 2014 by Melissa 1 comment »

Something I’ve love about being in my 30s is that sense of really knowing myself, and having a strong sense of what I like and dislike.

But that can be bad, too. It’s the road to getting stuck in your ways, especially for someone like me who tends to love things with an intensely burning passion or hate them with equal vehemence. For that reason, I sprinkled my list of possible adventures for this year with a liberal dose of activities that I don’t like and, therefore, never do. I wanted to push out of my comfort zone and challenge long-held assumptions about myself.

Which brings us to baking. For years, I felt like I should, at the very least, pretend that I liked it. I tried to hide the fact that I found baking boring, stressful and pointless (I mean, there are so many good bakeries in the world). But eventually, I accepted that I was more likely to buy a macaron than to make one, and I haven’t even attempted to bake anything for at least two years. But as another busy working weekend loomed at Long Haul Films I figured a baking project might represent a nice break from editing.

I was in a really bad mood on Saturday. I woke up still feeling tired, and when I looked out the window at the beautiful spring Saturday, all I felt was resentful that I would be too busy working to go out and enjoy it. For hours, I put off baking but by the time 8 PM rolled around, I knew I had to confront this adventure head on and with a good attitude…


Me, showing my good attitude about baking

I chose a recipe from Martha Stewart because, hey, she seems to be pretty good at this kind of thing and also because it was for a blueberry crumb cake recipe that reminded me a lot of a cake my Grandmother used to make.

Martha's recipe

Martha’s recipe




I then set about preparations, whining the whole time along the lines of “What’s the point of having baking powder and baking soda? And “Why are there so many damn types of sugar?”

Me at work

Me at work


I was also so intimidated by the electric mixer that I had to recruit Tom to take over that part of the process. And yes, he splattered batter everywhere, including in his mouth.




Mickey was in the office editing before the great baking adventure began, and after listening to me griping he recommended I make a sad face on the cake to reflect my bitterness. And so I did. And yes, I didn’t have the right size dish for the recipe. Sigh.

Pouty blueberry crumb cake

Pouty blueberry crumb cake


You know what? The cake didn’t come out too badly. I wouldn’t say I’m going to be hired as a pastry chef anytime soon, but people ate slices without grimacing too much…

Mia gives the cake a thumbs up!

Mia gives the cake a thumbs up!


I can definitely see why people enjoy baking– there were moments when I felt in flow (not that many, but a few) and it really cleared my mind. I also felt pretty proud to offer everyone who came in to the office a piece of something I actually baked. Baking really wasn’t as bad as I made it out to be, and I’m (sort of, kind of, maybe) looking forward to finding another baking project, especially now that we have such a nice kitchen in our studio.



Kyle & Mary’s Intimate New York Wedding | Long Haul Films Wedding Videography

April 16, 2014 by Megan 1 comment »

How can you tell how much Kyle and Mary love each other? Well, let’s see…it’s in the way they talk about each other, the way Kyle looks at Mary, the way Mary spontaneously nuzzles up to Kyle, the obvious way they enjoy each others presence, the way they write the most heartfelt, beautiful letters to each other, plus infinite more reasons. It seemed that no matter where we pointed our cameras that day, there was some display of love we could capture. Tell me, what sounds better to a couple of wedding filmmakers than that?

So we have two people that are most definitely and adorably in love…what could make this day ANY better? Why, cool venues of course! It’s few and far between when we get to shoot receptions that take place in a more intimate restaurant setting, so it came as such a welcoming and cool factor to us that Kyle and Mary chose the awesome Helsinki in Hudson, New York as their reception space. The place was industrial and funky, but still sophisticated enough to host such a special event and unique enough to make it completely personal to Kyle and Mary.

It was such an awesome day to be a part of. Kyle and Mary, we can’t thank you enough for being so wonderful! We had so much fun running around Hudson with you, and we wish you a lifetime amount of happiness!

Special thanks to coordinator extraordinaire Russel Pinto from Little Red Bean Productions for creating one of most smooth wedding days ever, St. Mary’s Church in Hudson for being so welcoming and kind to work with, Helskini for providing a badass and awesome space to celebrate, and Paulo Tonn and Kasaya Nacharoen for being such cool photographers. The song in the trailer is “Sweet” by SisterBrother, licensed through The Music Bed.

Ava & Jeff’s Sunny LA Wedding | Long Haul Films Los Angeles Wedding Videography

April 15, 2014 by Megan 4 comments »

A few months ago I had my first conversation with Ava about her wedding. It would be emotional. There would be A LOT of dancing. It was going to be in LA (hellllllo sunshine!) We would get the chance to collaborate again with good photographer friends Callaway Gable. It would be, in so many words, EPIC. I left that conversation giddy with excitement, and that excitement lasted all the way through the last shot we captured of the wedding.

Ava and Jeff are vibrant. They radiate a certain kind of warmth that seems to make everyone around them just…excited. And the day was certainly filled with ah-mazing firsts for us. It was the first time we shot a Persian wedding, which, let me tell you, are FUN. It was the first time I’ve ever seen a groom dance his way down the aisle (Jeff can BREAK IT DOWN), and it was my first time shooting alongside Lauren from Callaway Gable. Shout-out to Lauren, who I consider to be my photography spirit animal, and the rest of the Callaway Gable team, who consistently blow us away with how amazing their work is. (Check out the promo video we shot for them!)

The love that Ava and Jeff share is so palpable, so infectious, that it made our jobs incredibly easy to capture what was right there in front of us. Their personalities are perfectly aligned with LA — bright, sunny, and gorgeous. I mean, aren’t they such a stunning couple?

Ava and Jeff, you are truly awesome, and we are thrilled to have captured your big day! I’ll think of you two every time I’m sitting in the beautiful California sunshine!

Many thanks to the Palihouse, and The Taglyan Complex for providing such cool backdrops for the day. The song in the trailer is “On We Go” by The Uglysuit licensed through The Music Bed.

#ProjectAdventure weeks 14 and 15: Of Mice and Men in New York and getting high in Seattle

April 14, 2014 by Melissa 2 comments »

Over the past two weeks, we traveled to New York City, San Francisco, Seattle and Denver for shoots. In each city we had a lot to do and not a lot of time to do it. We were getting on and off planes, lugging heavy equipment, going to bed late and waking up before sunrise in our quest for morning light.

When work is so big and all-consuming, it can be really easy to lose your life in the shuffle. But how can you be a creative and inspired filmmaker when all you do is work? The answer is that you can’t. And more and more, I’m realizing that Project Adventure is actually a key part of making sure we remember to take a step back and recharge our brains and our souls.

Which is why, in spite of bad weather, exhaustion and some snarly New York traffic, Tom and I made a mad dash to see James Franco and Chris O’Dowd on Broadway in Of Mice and Men for week 14. And it’s why Megan and I decided that even though we only had a few free hours in Seattle, we’d spend them in the city’s loftiest heights, going to the top of the Space Needle and following that up with a ride on the new ferris wheel that sits right on the water.

Here are some shots of our adventures…

Tom on a mad dash to the theater in New York...

Tom on a mad dash to the theater in New York…



We made it!

We made it!!!


Space Needle!

Space Needle!


Gotta love a ferris wheel

Gotta love a ferris wheel


The guy taking the photos was seriously amused by our badassery...

The guy taking the photos was seriously amused by our badassery…

Thanks New York City and Seattle for the adventures! Until next time…


Amol and Tara’s Indian meets western wedding | Long Haul Films Phoenix, Arizona wedding videography

April 7, 2014 by Melissa 1 comment »

To me, Amol has always been kind of a superhero. He’s the big brother of one of my best friends- the guy who let us crash at his apartment in college and took us out for fun adventures in New York. My very favorite story of Amol took place on a night out in London. We met up outside Leicester Square tube station and as we were chatting, we heard a scream. It came from a woman nearby– a man snatched her purse and was running off at high speed. Amol did not pause, he did not blink. He chased the crook down and got the woman her purse back.

Total superhero.

I got the chance to meet Tara in LA last year, and totally got why she and Amol are so perfect together. They’re both easygoing and laid back, but also passionate and so much fun to be around. They both work in the entertainment industry in LA: Amol is an actor and Tara is a make-up artist. Seeing their happiness makes me feel all gooey inside, and so I was very excited that team Long Haul was going to be there to capture Amol and Tara’s wedding in Phoenix, Arizona. And what a wedding it was; reflecting both of their backgrounds across several days, two ceremonies, a raucous Baraat and some of the most beautiful, blue-sky weather imaginable for late December.

Amol and Tara, we wish you the very best for a married life full of adventure, fun and magic. And Tara, anytime you need a superhero you don’t have to look far….

Song is “Always Been You” by Marie Hines licensed from The Music Bed.