A series of five interconnected short films about an artist’s life and family, told through his interactions with apple trees.

Role: Producer and script editor

September 2013 – October 2013


What I Changed?

Apples was my first project at the Centre for Digital Media, where my team and I were tasked with creating a minimum of four short films in five weeks that, together, would make a whole. Story had to be created very quickly in a collaboration between video editors, programmers, photographers, and writers, none of whom had worked in film before. I helped facilitate story brainstorming tools to focus in on core themes early. This helped the team agree on apples and allowed the screenwriter to work quickly to produce a script and get shooting started.

As production began I moved between several positions, using my writing background to help coordinate script editing and storyboard iterations while also doing location scouting and some early directing. Once shooting started, the team’s cinematographer was more capable than I was at handling shot construction, so I adjusted my role again to help the team as a producer, coordinating editing, sound, and casting.

On a shoot late in the production process two of our supporting actors cancelled last minute and I helped restructure the story on-set, as well as manage the shoot with the team’s cinematographer so that no part of the film had to be re-shot afterwards.

I developed and kept a master production schedule that allowed the team to balance a large amount of project work with daily classes without too much crunch or burnout, while also adapting the schedule for personal changes and actor/location availability. Tracking work hours and dependencies helped maintain strong team morale and our team’s culture allowed us to overcome a number of internal and external challenges along the way and still laugh together in the end.


What I Learned

The Centre for Digital Media emphasizes collaborative team building and I had to learn very quickly how to make a team from scratch without a lot of oversight or direction. Having previously worked at a newspaper with a lot of institutional memory I had to learn to take time to design and build agreement on the processes required to make a content pipeline.

Because this was also the first time I had worked with other CDM students, I had to learn about my teammates and adjust to a massive variety of skill levels, disciplines, strategies, and cultures. Our team included an Iranian, a Mexican, two Canadians from vastly different regions and ethnic groups, a Chinese student, and a student from Taiwan. Language and problem-solving techniques were especially varied and so learning to understand different approaches and work around them was essential.

Not everything on a project can be perfect and on Apples, with a very short production time, it was essential to choose which content to focus on polishing and which elements could be left for later sprints. Our team was able to control our content scope, and while sometimes it hurt to make the cuts, I was able to see how our project could still come together even with some challenges.

Finally, this was the first project I worked on sound effects for, doing foley recording in the field and voice direction/recording in studio, as well as some basic editing.




The films were all shot with still photography, a constraint that was set for this project. Full documentation is available for Apples, upon request. The “Prologue” short film can be viewed below and links exist to view the other films below that. Films may be viewed in any order. They progress through the main character’s life and are called Prologue, My Brother Mac, The Apple Seeds, The Last Apple Pie, Apples for the Poor, The Mad Cartoonist, and Epilogue for the convenience of differentiating them.


More from the Apples project:

“My Brother Mac”

“The Apple Seeds”

“The Last Apple Pie”

“Apples for the Poor”

“The Mad Cartoonist”



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