Sidecar Productions wins Feature of the Year in San Diego

San Diego, Ca – On March 7th, Eternity: The Movie picked up its second nomination and first award, Best Feature Film, at the San Diego Film Awards. Principal photography was completed in 2012 in San Diego County and released in theaters late October of 2014. Eternity: The Movie is the comedic story about the rise and fall of an R & B duo in the mid 1980s. “The film is similar to the look and sound of Hall and Oates and contains more heartbreak than a Richard Marx album,” noted the Encinitas based producer Eric Staley. Eternity also received accolades for its lead, Barrett Crake, its supporting actor, Myko Olivier, costume and makeup, production design, and editing. “It’s nice to be recognized for all of the hard work hundreds of people put in on the film,” acknowledged Director Ian Thorpe.

(From left to right) Director Ian Thorpe, Actor Jon Gries (Napoleon Dynamite), writer Joey Abi-Loutfi and Producer Eric Staley on the set of Eternity at the Department of Transportation building in Old Town San Diego.

(From left to right) Director Ian Thorpe, Actor Jon Gries (Napoleon Dynamite), writer Joey Abi-Loutfi and Producer Eric Staley on the set of Eternity.

Produced by San Diego’s Sidecar Productions, Eternity was produced in a multitude of San Diego communities, including Hillcrest (The Merrow on University), La Jolla, University Heights, Old Town, Point Loma, Downtown San Diego, Rancho Sante Fe, Santee, Encinitas (Lou’s Records), and Escondito. Staley, Thorpe, and writer Joey Abi-Loutfi were on hand to receive the award thanking family, friends, and the support of the San Diego film community. “We are truly blessed and have so many people to thank. No one can make a film alone. San Diego came out in support of creating this film and it is such an honor to receive this award.” Beamed Abi-loutfi.

Currently, Abi-Loutfi is writing a feature in hopes of working with actors Crake and Olivier again. Producer Eric Staley is assembling his first pilot episode, a drama to be filmed in San Diego revolving around the United States involvement in the Afghanistan War. Sidecar Productions continues to creates videos and web development for local corporations and looks forward to its next feature.

Sidecar Productions demo reel.

With 9 Cities to Open This Fall, Eternity Could Last Forever

Eternity Wide

NYC Opening – AMC Empire 25 Theater – October 17th

Eternity: The Movie, “The greatest 80′s movie to never have been made in the the 80s” Derek McCaw, Fanboy Planet.  A film captured by a team of 30, forged by a collaboration of post-production artists and delivered via independent networks will begin screening in New York City October 17th.  This 80′s comedy is set for their North American openings with musically charged scenes and ridiculous 80′s fashion.

Below the reviews of best electric knife is a list of events they have planned in the near future to kick off the release of Eternity: The Movie in North America.  Please join Sidecar Productions for pre-parties, question and answer sessions, and after parties all of which you can get invited via our Facebook events pages.  Add yourself and get invited to the Jam of the Fall, Eternity: The Movie, The North American Openings. Pages are updated daily. 

New York Opening – Oct 17th – AMC Empire 25 – Facebook Event

Los Angeles Opening – Oct 24th - Laemmle Music Hall – Facebook Event

Toronto Opening – Oct 24th - Carlton Cinema – Facebook Event

San Diego Opening – Oct 31st - AMC Mission Valley – Facebook Event

Portland Opening – Nov 1st - Clinton St. Theater – Facebook Event

Detroit Opening – Nov 7th - Cinema Detriot – Facebook Event

New Orleans Opening – Nov 7th - Zeitgeist Center – Facebook Event

Regina Opening – Nov 7th - Golden Mile – Facebook Event

Saskatoon Opening – Nov 7th - Roxy Theater – Facebook Event

* City’s Premiere of Eternity: The Movie

Filmmaking in San Diego – Supervisor Roberts and a County-Wide Film Commission

Supervisor Dave Roberts at Filmmakers meeting Tuesday

Last Tuesday, I had the pleasure of attending the San Diego Filmmakers meeting during their topic of discussion, “State of Film in San Diego.”  The key speaker was San Diego County’s 3rd District Supervisor Dave Roberts.  We as filmmakers have heard the battle cry for opening a new film commission since 2012, the day the old film commission closed, but have seen little to no activity within the government to bring this million-dollar industry back to America’s Finest City.

That all changed recently in a letter back on April 22nd, 2014, to the mayor of San Diego, Kevin Faulconer. In this letter Supervisor Roberts started to lay our his plans to entice production companies to San Diego.  Supervisor Roberts was working with a group of individuals who headed up the San Diego Film Festival.  Chairman Dale Strack, President Kevin Leap and Vice President Tanya Mantooth were on board with Roberts’ six-part plan to bring productions back to San Diego.

At the meeting on Tuesday, Supervisor Roberts told the Filmmakers Meeting of his recently revised six-part plan to reopen the film commission, notes that he will be taking into his meeting with San Diego’s Mayor, Kevin Faulconer on August 28th.  Following each note from Supervisor Roberts is my opinion on his reasoning and my support on these key points.

1) Revise the permitting process.

Currently there are multiple names, phone numbers and regions in relation to where you would like to be permitted and who has the authority to grant access.  This process needs to be streamlined if we are to ever attract large budget films that will grow San Diego’s economy.

2) Organize the function of the film commission.

Back in 2012, while the commission was on its way out and during filming of my movie, the office was little more than a phone directory of people to contact.  The online location directory was dated and contact numbers were disconnected or in some cases the location didn’t exist due to gentrification or construction.

3) Increase incentives for film making in San Diego.

The film commission has explained in the past that there is a hotel tax credit for productions filmed in San Diego County.  This small compensation of approximately 10% on hotel bills will not be the deciding factor in bringing a 10 million dollar budget to town. “The incentive to film in San Diego should be more then just heads in beds” said Brent Altomare, Groovy Like A Movie owner and speaker at the Filmmaker’s meeting.

Side note: Unfortunately, no one — the San Diego Film Commission, The California State Film Commission, the hotel itself, nor my staff — found administration to assist with this process back in 2012 when producing my film, Eternity: The Movie.  The hotel refused to accept the form provided by the commission and our production left over $2000.00 on the table due to the confusion. (Nearly 1% of our entire small-independent budget.)

4) Be proactive in contacting studios, producers and film companies.

Today, San Diego sends no representatives to conventions to showcase our great city for location filming.  We have the desert, the mountains, accessible beaches, coastal communities, lakes, rivers, downtown skylines, niche neighborhoods, the military, and hundreds of alternative locations.  Conventions like CinemaCon in Las Vegas are great markets for cities to advertise to production companies to produce film in San Diego.  Sadly, San Diego hasn’t sent representatives or rented booths to advertise this area for filming for many years.

5) The film commission should be seen as an economic engine in the community.

The numbers are staggering when it comes to how much economic growth large budget films create.  Money spent in the San Diego area on film productions includes jobs for local filmmakers, catering, equipment rentals, printing, security, wardrobe, makeup, off-hour meals, hotels, and many more costs that rival a small country’s GDP.

Will Smith in After Earth filmed only 2 weeks in Humboldt County

Will Smith in After Earth filmed only 2 weeks in Humboldt County

A recent report created by Film LA Inc. posted in the “Hollywood Reporter” found that while the film After Earth primarily filmed in Pennsylvania, Utah and Costa Rica the production company spent 2 million dollars while filming for only 2 weeks in Humboldt County.  That is almost 150,000 dollars in revenue a day to a small Northern California County.

6) Ease the cost of permits to student filmmakers.

San Diego State University, University of California San Diego, and University of San Diego all have film departments that have to deal with the headaches of the San Diego’s filming administration.  If their experiences while studying to become the next Coppola are negative, they are less likely to start their careers in San Diego, and they may even spread the word of the city’s inability to work with film producers and studios.

As a member of Supervisor Robert’s 3rd District in Encinitas, California, I am proud to hear that a local government official understands the economic impact of bringing productions to San Diego and what the industry could potentially do for our local economy.  As a local production company owner (Sidecar Productions, located in North County), I hope to see you at the next Filmmakers meeting September 9th at Groovy Like A Movie in Clairemont Mesa.  We will continue to support Supervisor Roberts top luxury suv line and hope to have information from his meeting with the Mayor early next month.


The Hollywood Reporter – LA Film, Inc 2013 study

Kickstarter’s $50k to NYC’s AMC: Just a Dream in 2006

Eternity: The Movie showing at the AMC Empire 25 10.17.14


Here’s how it happened…roughly:

October 2006 – Sidecar Productions finished post production work on a second feature as editors and effects artists.  In a meeting the owners decided to seek out a writer to create a fun, energetic comedy for their next feature production.

March 2007 – Writer Joey Abi-Loutfi was hired to produce 5 treatments. One of these was a comedic look at the music industry in 1985.  The idea of a loner in the Los Angeles Valley creating heartfelt music about women who don’t like him struck a ‘cord’ with Sidecar and Joey began work on Eternity.

The first drafts were completed in 2008 by Joey.  Sidecar knew for this production to work the estimated budget needed to be reflected in the script. The development process had no funding so the team would meet on weekends to table read and compare notes.

April 1st 2012 - Sidecar Productions kicked off their Kickstarter campaign on April Fools day to raise over $50,000 to start pre-production of Eternity: The Movie. (then called Todd Lucas: Singer/Songwriter) With the help of producer Kevin Tostado and Kickstarter, the first of Eternity’s finances were in place. *

July 2nd 2012 – With additional funding made possible by private investors production began July 2nd starring Barrett CrakeMyko OlivierEric RobertsMartin Kove, and Jon Gries.

December 31st 2012 – The world got it’s first look at Todd Lucas in Eternity: The Movie.  The teaser released on YouTube pictured the loser Todd moving into Reseda from the mid-west and meeting the lovely Gina Marie.  He meets BJ and chaos ensues with the added cast members Tamzin Brown and Donna Ruko.

An old school look at Director Thorpe’s old school look at 1985.

March of 2013 – Eternity’s featured six songs were completed by Nick Faiella and Sean Walsh at Pulse Recordings under the supervision of TLMP in late March of 2013 allowing editors Eric Staley and Ian Thorpe to put the finishing touches on the first theatrical edit.

June 2013 – Focus groups set up by Craig Bentley of Imageworks and  American Dream Cinema had great results according to producer Eric Staley.  ”We learned what we could do and what didn’t work with the audience and the characters of Eternity.  It’s a shame, we lost a good amount of over the top drama we’d like to see, dead bodies, abs flexing from crying…you try and find that balance in a music-comedy” said Eric.

July 2013 - After the second rough assembly Sidecar recorded additional footage to complete the circle in Eternity: The Movie.  Some of the cast and crew were brought back to the Reseda Complex, filmed in University Heights, where the Director’s daughter got to make a cameo. The Ruby Room (now The Merrow) was again called upon for the production.

August of 2013 – Eternity: The Movie started as a block of marble.  All the footage, all the music, all the story line had to be condensed to hit the audience with the cocaine driven spirit of the mid-80s.  Director Ian Thorpe, producer Eric Staley and writer Joey Abi-Loutfi had the opportunity to do the final sculpting of their film 7 years in the making.

September 2013 – Enter Kevin Brough to take on the creating the sounds of 1985 as the film’s musical composer. Get Kevin’s songs on iTunes here, on Eternity: The Soundtrack. The film’s sound effect tracks were created by Sean Walsh and Will Hagan of Privet.

October 2013 – Colorist professionals Fancy Film Post Services got out their neon shades and gave the film it’s final polished-retro look.

December 2013 – The film’s first festival entries were sent out.  Cinequest in San Jose was the first to accept the film. “Bill and Ted’s Journey of Hall and Oates” remarked Robert Emmett of KJFC in an on-air interview with writer Joey and producer Eric during the festival.

March 2014 – September 2014: “It truly is flattering to be selected to these festivals after so many years of hard work.” said writer Joey Abi-loutfi when asked about their upcoming screenings at Outfest Los Angeles and AGLIFF in Austin on September 11th.

July 2014 – Director Ian Thorpe and  Barrett Crake gave audiences what they wanted (over 13,000 views) with Make Love, not Just Sex the music video.

Download “Make Love Not Just Sex” the mp3 for FREE here.

October 17th 2014Sidecar Productions and Vagrant Films Releasing and Publicity will premiere the film in New York City. “Releasing the movie theatrically has always been the goal, but to do it in New York at a great theater is truly special.  I am very thankful to everyone who has helped get us this far through their hard work and dedication.  Hopefully New York (followed by the rest of North America) is ready for this candy-colored ode to cheesy 80s R&B music.” commented Ian Thorpe Director of Eternity.

AMC Empire 25 will host the grand event with 80′s rockers, the film’s stars and special guests.  Join the mailing list here for updated information. More dates to follow.

Eternity: The Movie

facebook page - imdb page - Twitter page - YouTube page

Eternity: The Soundtrack on iTunes

Ryan Levey of VFRPR handles all North American bookings and releasing.  

Please contact Eric Staley for all international inquiries.

* Kickstarter rewards are scheduled for delivery late 2014.

Jason Kisvarday, Art Director on “Turn Down for What” DJ Snake and Lil Jon’s music video is up for a VMA.

Best Art Direction Nominees

Jason Kisvarday has wowed directors, talent and music video sets for years and is finally getting some of the recognition he deserves.  DJ Snake’s video “Turn Down for What” featuring Lil Jon has been nominated for a MTV Video Music Award for best art direction and Jason looks to be in the lead.  Utilizing puppetry, explosives and camera tricks DJ Snake’s “Turn Down for What” has the potential to really clean up at this years awards.  With other videos in this category relying on pop culture references such as Clueless (starring Alicia Silverstone) and Max Headroom, Snake’s video conjures up images of living in an over populated area with the blue collar working class cutting loose to the newest song featuring the hip-hop mogul.

The song is driven by the breaks, building energy and releasing it on the unsuspecting high-rise featured in this video.  The outcome is a crazed, crotch thrusting young man who convinces the other tenants to join him in his sexual dance.  The talent’s bodies are taken over by the bass from the song and their minds soon follow.  Jason’s use of everyday items to dress the sets (and many of my houses growing up) is mind blowing.  From the wood paneled walls of a single female’s home, to a family having a dinner together over a bowl of french fries, to a house party complete with red solo cups the viewer feels right at home.

This video isn’t the glitz and glamour that we are used to seeing in the hip-hop world, and this is probably why the video works so well.  Everyone from college students to mother’s with children can associate with the scenes.  Neighbors refusing to turn down music, parties down stairs that no one invited us too and using your living room to hang wet clothes.  This video is a drastic turn from other Lil Jon hits such as “Get Low” and “Snap Yo Fingers” that feature scenes with lap dances at the barber shop and groups of models dancing in their bikinis.  This video goes right to the source of a rapper’s fame, the working class. People who just want to turn up the music, dance, and forget the real world for 3 minutes.

Jason Kisvarday has a great chance to pick up some hardware this August 24th at the MTV VMAs.  Although this isn’t a voting category, my vote is for “Turned Down for What” featuring Lil Jon for best Art Direction.

Want to see the other nominees?

Maxboost and Ambrosia power – Case Study SCP

Ambrosia Video

In June of 2014 Sidecar Productions was hired to create two unique videos to create brand awareness for a tech start up in the San Francisco area.  Knowing that the client wished to add value to the project we created a script that was energetic, funny and modern.  Time constraints also added to the project’s needs with the product set to launch in less then two weeks.

Maxboost’s Brand Consultant, Marketing Director, and Sidecar’s Senior Project Manager, Eric Staley got together over Skype and hammered out two 45 second scripts that loosely would translate to two, one-minute videos for online distribution.  Bryan Decker, Sidecar’s Production Designer, hired Maddie Moon clothing to recreate the look and feel of a high-end fashion show while the show’s producer, Eric, reserved the locations, received and scheduled castings, and hired the 10+ person crew.

The crew consisted of a Director, a Director of Photography, an Assistant Camera Man, the Production Designer and an Art Assistant, a Lighting Technician, a Boom Operator/Audio Monitor, a Fashion P/A to help with wardrobe, a Hair stylist and a Makeup Artist.  Also, many on the Sidecar team helped with the production including a Graphic Artist and an Assistant Editor while in post production.  Having these resources helped us stay on time and on budget.

The result is a humorous video that has different levels of marketing, humor, and dialogue creating an environment that viewers want to watch over and over.  Please enjoy “Maxboost Power” and “Fashionable Slimcases” by Sidecar Productions.

Ambrosia and Maxboost videos by Sidecar Productions

uNu – Ultrapack: Content for The San Francisco Tech Startup


In May of 2014, uNu (a San Francisco based company) hired Sidecar Productions to create, write, and produce a 30 second low-budget commercial to be aired at a Live 105 Bay Area concert event.  The commercial had to be written, filmed, and edited within two weeks of signing the agreement. Screen replacements needed to be added when the product arrived and it was not camera-ready but our in-house staff was able to solve the problem with After Effects and Mocha.  Within a week we had our script and began the pre-production process.  Actors, equipment, locations, crew, and catering had to be quickly assembled with a delivery date only a week away.

Production designer, Bryan Decker, was able to use a majority of the furniture found at the location.  By adding plants, a slider and some great soft lighting by DP Donnie Eastman, the shoot was dynamic and colorful. Here is the result:

After completing the 30 second commercial spot, the client asked us to create a 60 second overview.  This video was created to inform customers about the UltraPak when they visited the product’s website.  Sidecar wrote, directed and produced the following 60 second and 30 second spots.

The 30 second cut from the 60 second overview.


Please contact Eric Staley at Sidecar Productions to learn how we can help your product reach market.

(858) 384-9937


Music Video from Eternity: The Movie – October 2014

Barrett Crake ready for another take

Sidecar Productions, in association with Collaboration Factory, has created a candy coated, wayfarer-wearing, look at 1985 with the real-fake song “Make Love, Not Just Sex“. The song is a tribute to the overproduced, synth-sounding era that most would like to forget and features the sultry sounds of of the sax.

Nick Faiella, the song’s producer, and owner of Pop. Control has found the soul of Hall and Oates, combined it with the heartbreak of Richard Marx, and brought it to 2014 with a modern-rock sound and comedic delivery.

Barrett Crake, Todd Lucas in Eternity: The Movie, sings on all of the band’s tracks taking us back to 1980-something with names like “Don’t Let Go (I’m Begging You Please)” and “Double Crossed”.  His performance in the video is over-the-top and dramatic adding to the comedy about a song for making love…not just sex. Myko Olivier, from the hit show Castle, plays B.J. Fairchild in the film and is a constant yin to Todd’s…well, yang. He and his mustache pair perfectly with Crake as the bad-boy sax player from Reseda, California.

Outfest Los Angeles has the city’s first look at the hysterical film attached to this music video this Friday at 9:30 pm. Tickets are currently on standby only at the Harmony Gold Theater on Sunset, more information available here: Outfest Tickets

How Much Does a Video Cost? Part II – Crew

How Much Does a Video Cost

I was on set last week and didn’t get a change to blog.  However, In our last installment we talked about camera package and how different levels of production have different levels of camera requirements.  In this article, I will discuss the people that are necessary to have a productive and professional production.

It’s that home-improvement time of year and you want to paint your house.  There are tools that make it easier, ladders to make you taller, and sprayers that get it done faster…but nothing is better then having someone like the Epcon home building franchise do it, but labor costs money.  Or, if you have children, get that brush in their hand so you and your wife can lay back in your hammocks.

Child Paint

“It’s not easy painting green.”

When hiring a crew you need professionals and people are taught to value themselves hourly.  Typically, people don’t think of their “daily price-tag”.  However that is exactly the way video crews work, either on a 10 or 12 hour day and generally freelance. (Freelance Work will be covered later this year.)

Getting back to painting your house, how much would you pay someone to paint your house hourly?  10/hr? 20/hr?  If you are going with a professional company, not the help found on the Home Depot street corner, you are in the area of 30 – 50 per hour of labor.  The same as a mechanic, the same as a plumber, the same as a camera operator on a 10 hour day.

Knowing how much people cost can help you decide who is necessary and who is expendable.  The Director of Photography is your lighting foreman and he will be setting lights, building camera, working with the director to compose the shot, and making sure the image is properly recorded onto the media.  If he has no help he will have to work slower, and less footage will be recorded.  There lies the budgeting balance.

Waste Time

“When are we getting to my close up?”

As the producer it is your job to know what will help the speed of production and what the budget calls for.  If you have too few people the timetable will suffer, too many and the cost quickly elevates.

Using our last example from “How Much Does a Video Cost?” we know we have a DSLR camera package.  To save on time we will have two people assist the Director of Photography (one to set up lights and one to build the camera), one person recording the sound, a make up artist to make the client beautiful, and a production assistant (PA) to be available to run errands, pick up lunch, or lend a hand wherever needed.  This is a minimum of 6 people not including the creative team.

Depending on the script,  you may need an Art Director to gather props, visual effects, create posters and paint walls.  A head of wardrobe may be needed to decide what suit the talent should wear, pin back any loose fitting clothing, and oversee any rented costumes or jewelry.

As you can see, it takes a team, a well orchestrated team to ensure every moment on set isn’t being wasted.  In some cases the help outside the Home Depot takes more to manage then hiring a professional.  In the next installment of “How Much Does a Video Cost?” I will be talking about creative, and how little modifications to the script can add project value without increasing budget, and in some cases ‘simple gags’ can cost more then the client is willing to spend.



How much does a video cost?

How much does a video coast?

This is the age old question asked to professionals since the dawn of time…well, since the creation of business, commerce, ect…

Just like that dozen of doughnuts, a video has a price. But would you like sprinkels? Glazed? Old fashioned? It doesn’t really matter because most doughnuts cost the same but also come with little variation. Dough, fried with added sugar. While doughnuts still cost a dollar and their variation is limited; video has limitless possibilities.

SCP doughnutsSo, what does a video cost? In the next few weeks I will discuss what different elements during production cost, how and where you can cut corners, and what should be left to the fair market price.

Today we will discuss:

Camera Packages

To answer what camera package is correct for the show/commercial we are creating we look at the distribution, the demographic and we always have our eyes on the bottom line.

For this example we will say we have a web distribution commercial with a middle aged (18-35) targeted demographic.

This tells us a few things when selecting a camera package.

  1. Because the show will only be distributed via the internet there is little to no need for a frame size larger then 1080.
  2. The 18 – 35 demographic is a little more accepting of new formats of video, styles, and creative editing techniques.

Camera packages like the Red, Black Magic URSA and the Cannon EOS 4k lines are incredible packages and deliver a picture that is approx 3840 x 2160 and higher but if your delivery calls for 1920 x 1080 then this format is overkill and increases your need for :

  • Camera Support – because the large format camera are also heavier, your equipment needs to be higher grade.
  • Personnel – A larger format camera comes with more support so you will need more people to assist in building the camera and packing in equipment.
  • Insurance – With the increase in the cost of the camera the insurance required increases.
You sure you need all that for the birth of your daughter?

The 18 – 35 demographic has been watching MTv and online videos for years. Their visual palate is accustomed to swish-pans and color burns, editing choices that can increase the look of the show without increasing overall budget. Older demographics subconsciously prefer polished cross fades and well timed transitions as opposed to jump cuts and multiple formats.

Because the demographic for this show enjoys varied formats, faster pace edits and online distribution only needs 1920 x 1080, I would suggest that a standard DSLR camera package. Your standard camera package should include:

1 – DSLR camera that can shoot 1080 at 24 fps

1- set of high-quality lenses with follow focus and matte box system

1- professional tripod and spreaders

1 – professional camera head

1- simple movement for camera (slider or basic jib)

If you wanted to outfit your company with the materials needed for this shoot you are looking at anywhere from $25,000 – $38,000. Equipment rentals typically run from 10 – 15 % of cost per day, so some quick math will tell us a professional DSLR camera package should cost $250.00 – $440.00 per day.

Of course that is for the equipment rental and doesn’t cover the professional you need to run that impressive camera package or the audio you would like to capture.

In the next installment of “How much does a video cost?” We will discuss the people that you will need to hire to run the camera and all of the equipment required for your internet distribution show.

Until next, time ask yourself, “How much is my time worth?”

Sidecar Eric