Our New/Old Flickr Account

Dreaming: Exploring French Cinema

Just a quick post to let you know that I have dusted off our old Flickr account and will be updating it with both new and old images in the weeks and months to come.

The icon link to our Flickr account is on the top menu bar on this site. I will also list it right here for you, the lovely blog reader’s, convenience:

Isaac Rullo Flickr Photostream

Isaac Rullo Flickr Profile

Check it out, we have added new photos! Post a comment if you like.

Thanks, Ladies and Gents.



“The B” in Boston

Boston Screening. Superimposed Kimmy. Photo by Kristen Lauth Shaeffer.

August finally arrived, and for Isaac/Rullo that meant a screening of our film, “Zircus des Zelbst” in Boston, Massachusetts. The film was selected to be screened as part of the UFVA (University Film & Video Association) Conference.

What is the UFVA Conference? It is a series of panels and screenings featuring work from those of us working in academia at the university and graduate level. It has been an interesting mix of film programming, ranging from the exquisite to the… “oh my”. A few of my favorite sessions included discussing the role of the AD, the pro’s and con’s of Apple’s recently introduced Final Cut Pro X, and editing insight with Chris Nelson, editor on such shows as Mad Men and Lost.

The flight was short, sometimes bumpy, but in my window seat near the wing, I enjoyed taking photos and short videos of some really fun clouds. Music for the flight was provided by a U2 playlist from my friend Katie, who suggested that I’m missing out by not exploring more of their music. The combination of U2’s chord structures combined with the imagery of passing through multiple levels of clouds was really a pleasurable experience. (Thank you iPhone for providing literally all of my activities; camera, iPod… Angry Birds…)  The cab ride to Emerson College was almost as turbulent as the flight. I’m still about 7 showers away from washing that cab off of me.

Took a lot of photos and video of clouds. iPhone Photo by Brent Isaac.

Emerson College is a fine facility adjacent to Boston Common, where I spent a lot of time walking, watching outdoor plays at night, and enjoying some moments of peace in an otherwise busy couple of days.

With an hour to kill before registration check-in, I decided to go on “an explore”, walking around to see what I can see. In addition to the Common, I found the Public Gardens where I watched people on Swan Boats, listened to music, and enjoyed the shade. On the far side of the Gardens, I emerged to find Cheers, the actual bar used in the filming of one of my favorite shows as a kid. Naturally I “geeked out”, and joined the throngs of folks taking photos of the famous sign. I did, however, spare myself and everyone around me the obligatory and awkward “take my picture while I make a forced grin and thumbs-up gesture” experience. Come to think of it, maybe I’ll go back and do that later… Might be good fodder for this piece…

Was fun to discover Cheers on my little "explore" before I checked in to the conference. iPhone Photo by Brent Isaac.

Check in was smooth and easy. Got three comments on my Bluth’s Frozen Banana t-shirt from fellow Arrested Development fans, and one comment from a guy asking for money out on the street. “Hey man, where can I get a good frozen banana?”, he shouted to my head as I slunk by. The rest of the evening was spent taking long walks around Boston, often times in pouring rain (I didn’t mind) before heading over to a pub to meet friends and colleagues Kristen Lauth Shaeffer, Tony Buba, and new friend Jeremy Braverman. Tony, I’ve known forever. He’s a celebrated filmmaker, and was my editing teacher back at Pittsburgh Filmmakers. Tony knows EVERYBODY at this conference, and is stopped constantly to chat with people. One of my favorite people around, Tony was also responsible for connecting me with my job at Edinboro University. Kristen was one of my instructors at Chatham, and we’ve since become friends and have collaborated on multiple short films, using the RED camera. Jeremy is a great guy from Point Park University. He directed “Regent Square”, one of my favorite films from the Pittsburgh Neighborhood Narratives project. Not a bad crew to be hanging around with.

Home of the UFVA Conference, Emerson College. iPhone Photo by Brent Isaac.

Faneuil Hall. iPhone Photo by Brent Isaac.

Thursday morning I was the respondent for Mary Horan‘s short doc called “Storywoods”. Mary is a documentary filmmaker with lots of promise, and patience as she dealt with the conference know-it-all, who had the nerve to accuse her of not respecting herself or her work because he didn’t like the aspect ratio of her film. Nice guy. Thursday afternoon was the screening of our film. Despite a scheduling issue on behalf of the conference, the film was well received and people had some thoughtful questions that I managed to answer, without looking too uncomfortable without Kimmy there to offer logic.

Boston was lovely. I walked everywhere, either alone, or with the throng of filmmaking educators that collected around the Wednesday-night reception. A walk to the North End to find Italian food was a delight, and ended up at Mike’s pastries, where most people got custom cannoli creations, and I naturally ended up with a peanut butter cookie. (Thanks to Tony for buying!)

The moon at dusk over the Public Gardens. iPhone Photo by Brent Isaac.

Friday was screening day for Kristen. Her “Mercury In Tuna” was a delight as always. I had a great time working as a crew member on that film, so it is always fun to see it again. Even the jerky conference know-it-all seemed to enjoy it. Go Kristen!

Long exploratory walks, fascinating educational sessions, great screenings, a brush with the Blue Man Group, and good company made up for a great conference. The cab ride to the airport at 5am was made smoother thanks to a shared fare with new colleague James Joyce. And the incredibly random meeting with Tracey Ryan at 6am in Boston’s Logan Airport was a delightful surprise. (How often do you sit, bleary-eyed at an airport in a strange city in the wee hours, and look to see your friend is sitting right next to you at the gate?!) Flight home was bumpy but quick (thanks again to Katie for the U2), and several showers later I feel like a human again…


There were musicians tucked away all over the Public Gardens. This guy had a cool vibe to him. iPhone Photo by Brent Isaac.

Boston By Brent Isaac · 8 of 14 Tag This PhotoShareDownloadReport This Photo Another fun discovery. While walking through Boston Common, just happened to discover a play going on. At 11pm. Cool. iPhone Photo by Brent Isaac.

USC's Holly Willis at the opening of the conference. iPhone Photo by Brent Isaac.

Boston Screening. Photo by Kristen Lauth Shaeffer.

Westmoreland Art Nationals

This past week, I journeyed to Twin Lakes Park to retrieve the Isaac Rullo photos that were on display at the Westmoreland Arts and Hertitage Festival. The entire event program is located on their website.

These were the Isaac Rullo images selected and juried at the event:

Tee Dream 4, photo by Isaac Rullo

Mystical Spring, Photo by Isaac Rullo

It was an honor to be selected as finalists for this national competition. Unfortunately, we missed the event due to other obligations, but I was able to check out a few of the art pieces when we retrieved our images from the site. I even photographed and blogged all about the image “pick up” adventure across Rt. 30 at Mother Blue. Check it out and I hope you enjoy!

Borders, Brainstorming and Bonesso

Technology really does make EVERYTHING possible. I realize that statement is quite a boring a cliché, but the sentiment still holds up. In truth, I am still baffled with how any of us got any work done prior to 2008, let alone trying to decipher how on earth we connected with each other. Thinking back to how we did the Pittsburgh Nude Project™, it all seems so grass-roots through 2011 eyes: the “seeking models” ads placed  in the back of now defunct free local papers, email and word of mouth connections, countless face to face meetings with “would-be” models, etc. Heck, the first “real” model, outside of our gracious college pals, was referred to us by a friend.

Facebook; mutual friends, both virtual and real; and my “naked self” prompted a meeting with Gab Bonesso.

Gab listening to my manic speak about this and that. iPhone photo by Brent Isaac.

Last Tuesday, we met Gab in the hopes of working with her on some sort of film project. Both Brent and I had been virtual friends with the award-winning local comedian, bonding over topics as varied as Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, film quotes, the local comedy scene, and my nude self-portrait therapy session (more on that project in another post). This bonding prompted an idea that we had to discuss in person.

iPhone photo by Brent Isaac.

It is always worrisome meeting virtual friends in person. It’s like knocking on your neighbor’s door and inviting yourself in after staring through the peephole for a long, long time. Much to all our collective relief, the meeting went well. We bonded over our mutual neurosis, the state of flux between manic and depressive, Clorox wipes, and expounded on our love of peanut butter and chocolate and the phenomenon of brother actors. This conversation led us to an exciting concept. We are looking forward to starting the creative process.

More details to come as the process unfolds.

iPhone photo by Brent Isaac.

Me being "cheeky". iPhone photo by Brent Isaac.

Brent. iPhone photo by Brent Isaac.

Screen-ing and other “ings”

Screening, transcoding, debayering, correcting, and lots of other “ing” words…

Whimsey & Dabbler

On May 15th the Bricolage screening for the Whimsey & Dabbler project occurred. (Check out the really flimsy shot of the screen that I took with my iPod). “No Void”, a short film that Kristen Lauth Shaeffer and I created last February, was revealed to the masses for the first time. How did this film come about? Well, it is tradition that Kristen and I go out on the coldest day of the year to do shoots. Is this by choice? No, it just happens. And on that day in February we were not only out in the cold, but we were on a sheet of ice near the frigid Allegheny River… with a really heavy and expensive camera… oof…

"No Void" still (courtesy of a less then stellar cell phone camera) from the Whimsey and Dabbler screening

The film was prompted by a prop that Kristen brought: old reels of video tape. She suggested we “unspool” the tape because the film strips would look “amazing in the sunlight.” She was absolutely correct. And that nugget of inspiration became the centerpiece of our spontaneous film. If you didn’t get to attend this screening, try to stop by the next one because we will be screening this again (screening dates TBA). The imagery really came out better than we expected. We even had our own custom-made version of the “No Void” song by W&D to play with so the whole thing was very organic and lovely.

The bad news was I didn’t get to present the newest film that night. Technical delays prohibited the completion of the film, so we’ll be having a new screening later this summer. Details to come soon on this and maybe another film project that may or may not be in the works…

As processing of the film takes place, check out the green head below, and see if you can figure out how it will fit into the new project…

— Brent

The mysterious green head (insert evil laugh here). Photo by Brent Isaac.

Dabbling in Whimsey: Green Screen Edition

No rest for the weary…

Shooting continues on, but most of the principal photography is almost ready to wrap. A few “pickup” shots here and there and we’re done! Then the hard part begins.

The majority of the photography was done on a green screen. Unfortunately, it was one of the worst green screens in the world: i.e. Dirty and tattered. This is going to make cleaning up and editing the footage in post a time-consuming nightmare (and probably the main reason we may not make the May 15th deadline — we will try like heck though…)

Brent in the "cop" costume for the silhouette shots. Photo by Kelleigh Miller.

The always fantastic Rachel Vallozzi, a fixture in most of the Isaac | Rullo projects, was asked to take on a series of strange characters. Rachel is a wonderful actress who totally “gets” the spirit of the project, as she always seems to do. (Is it a compliment to say that when I need someone to interpret a crazy idea, that Rachel is the first choice?)

Rachel not only had to take on interesting characters, but also work with the unique costuming quirks that were thrown at her. Furry stilt shoes have been in my brain for quite some time. Thanks to Kari Kramer, who not only built them, but also fought a bomb scare en route to the store when purchasing supplies for them, this vision is now a reality. In addition to her “harried” experience with fuzzy accessories and beyond, Ms. K spent several long nights creating the costumes. Who needs sleep, anyways?

Rachel (in KK dress) and Brent share a laugh on set. Photo by Brent Isaac.

Editing is underway, and many of the technical hurdles are being researched and handled by the fabulous Scott Frace, who is also the director of photography on the piece. (Add location manager, dog wrangler, and man-in-shower-with-tripod to his credits as well.) Kimmy (who is also fabulous) is working on photos/graphics for the prop phones, and going to take part in additional Pittsburgh-based shots. Cross your fingers, and hope we get this thing done in time!

Rachel on set. Photo by Brent Isaac.

danny on the kitchen set. Photo by Brent Isaac.

The overhead shot through the monitor. Photo by Brent Isaac.


Whimsey & Dabbler Project Begins

Yes, indeed, a new project…

On Friday, April 22, 2011, after a lengthy break from any substantial Isaac Rullo creative work, principal photography for our latest cinematic endeavor was finally underway. This new production is part of a larger film collaborative called the Whimsey & Dabbler project: a project that channels the talents of a varied collective of filmmakers, hand selected by the artist, to create visual art pieces to accompany Alexa Raquel‘s instrumental compositions.

This past February, I filmed a short piece for another W&D track, “No Void”, with Kristen Lauth-Shaeffer. The shoot was a lovely little spur of the moment piece filmed on the ice near the Allegheny River. The success of that shoot spurs much excitement and anticipation into the development of this current work.

Paramount Building, photo by Isaac Rullo

This new film is for the extended remix of the track “What’s Your Ulterior Alias” — a much more intense and concentrated production than the February “No Void” shoot. Scott Frace is the director of photography; dresses are being custom-created by Kari Kramer for actress Rachel Vallozzi. Rounding out the cast are Kelleigh Miller and danny Burger. (Look for my “Hitchcock moment” as well.) Kim Rullo will be acting as executive producer/consultant as well as helping out with costume design and fine tuning certain thematic elements.

RED camera, photo by Aleksandra Radich

One of the most exciting things about this project is the opportunity to shoot on the RED camera because it provides us with such IMMACULATE image quality. It’s quite a thrill to use this cutting edge technology on our first shooting day, which took place in an amazing and historic cinema building located in Pittsburgh. The Paramount Pictures Film Exchange (PFEX) was a thriving part of the cinema scene in the 1920’s. After years of neglect and a very real danger of being torn down, it is being saved and restored. I was able to shoot in the former Film Vault area of the building. The space is incredible, and I’m thrilled that Rick and Bob were so generous with their time in letting us shoot there. We hope to have a screening in PFEX this summer. Keep an eye on this blog for more details and while you are here, take a moment to read over the vast history of this space and consider making a donation to the restoration of this amazing building.

Click here for more info on the Paramount Pictures Film Exchange.

Next stop: the green screen studio. News and photos to follow soon…

— Brent


danny Burger in character as our law enforcement representative, photo by Brent Isaac

Cast and crew: Scott Frace, Aleksandra Radich and danny Burger, photo by Brent Isaac

Setting up the vault scene, photo by Aleksandra Radich

danny Burger and Brent Isaac, photo by Aleksandra Radich

The vaults, photo by Brent Isaac

danny Burger and Brent Isaac, photo by Aleksandra Radich

The vaults, photo by Aleksandra Radich

Working on a scene with danny Burger, photo by Aleksandra Radich

Scott using the RED camera, photo by Brent Isaac

Focus Project

Vote for us!

Focus Project 2011 Isaac Rullo

Tee Dream, photo by Isaac Rullo