About “Freakin’ Heroes” Filmmaker Ted Frank

Documentary filmmaking is a natural extension of what Ted Frank does. His company, Backstories Studio deals with market research and strategy firms, helping clients understand the needs of their consumers better. A long-time veteran of marketing and consumer insights, Frank says he enjoys conversations, the stories that unfold from them and putting them together in a meaningful audio-visual package. But he knows there are a lot more stories to be told, and he’s determined to collect and share them in the hopes of inspiring others as they continue to inspire him. Here’s part of his back story.

How did you get started producing videos and films?
I took some classes at the Film Society and got really excited about shooting last year when Canon put out their first video-enabled DSLR for under $1,000. Of course, now I’ve spent thousands on lenses and such (since then), but that was the spark.

What equipment did you use in shooting and editing your first Ripple story? How was the experience?
I used the Canon Rebel T2i and a Steadicam Merlin to get the flying shots. My videographer-teacher Jason Wolos [Take his class at the Film Society. You'll be glad you did.] brought in tungsten lights for Jason Tanko’s interview. It was definitely scary to get behind the camera at first, but then once I started planning the key shots and letting go for the rest, you couldn’t get the camera away from me.

The video was edited on Final Cut Pro. Editing was my favorite part because I had a totally different idea (for the story) when I started. I was going to open with Jason’s childhood story about how he thought streetlights powered cars, but once I started cutting the audio and came across those little snippets in the beginning that brought out his obsessive side, I decided to go in that directon. That’s what’s so fun about editng. You really do have so much influence on the story.

Did you work with a team? If so, can you describe any challenges/successes?
I did the majority of it on my own. My wife Vania edited the questions, my friend Ed (Cefalu) did the interview, and my teacher Jason (Wolos) set up the lighting. On the Cupertino and Clare shoots, my Backstories colleague Danica (Barnes) helped me with the lights, sound and second camera.

My friend Cody (Westheimer) lent me music off his stock site Green Button Music. That brought the whole thing together.

What is it about the video/film production process that you enjoy the most and why?
I absolutely love starting with nothing, then playing with all the pieces, and finally ending up with something whole. I find that so fulfilling. Even if no one ever saw it, it would still be so worth it to me because the process of crafting is what connects me to the real me.

Watch Ted Frank’s Ripple documentary short entitled “Freakin’ Heroes here.”

– Owen Santos


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Posted on 28 June '11 by admin, under RIPPLE FILMMAKER PROFILE.