Switch is a vignette-style short documentary written and directed by JT McCreery, and produced by Gear Seven in collaboration with Shift Dynamics. Switch captures the passionate essence of several individuals immersed in the skating culture in Nashville, TN. Through the film, the important roles in which skating serves in the lives of these individuals is evident through the dedication, love, and appreciation they put into their art. For them, skating transcends being that of which it is just an adrenaline-filled sport — it is a community, a way to express oneself, and a lifestyle.
The founder of Gear Seven, Kirk Slawek, explained the origin and themes of the piece, saying:
“The idea started pretty heavily from JT, who spawned the idea out of a lot of collaboration with our team. They wanted to come up with ways and ideas that we could shoot something we had always wanted to that was sports-related and create some kind of story or creative narrative around it. Ultimately, we wanted to hone in on something that everybody would be proud of.”
The director, JT McCreery, explained the origin and themes of the piece, saying:
"To me, I wanted to hear about what drives skaters to pursue something that at times can be so risky — why do they do it? I was interested in hearing that from them, and honestly just shooting it a little different than what you usually see. Most skating pieces are shot at a wide angle and hand-held, and I thought it would be cool to shoot them with our more cinematic gear while still trying to keep the motion element of it. Ultimately, what was so interesting was hearing about the skating culture, and their particular discipline – whether it be blading, skating, or biking – was how it resonated with them from such a young age. I also loved getting their insights and learning so much about the community."
Shift Dynamics provided the specialized camera support throughout this project including the AGITO Sports, ARRI SRH-360, Sony Venice 2, Leitz FF Zoom lenses, Phantom Flex, and 8mm Sankyo camera. Combining footage captured with the 8mm Sankyo camera added to the overall edgy and nostalgic feel.
The location of the shoot was chosen due to the wide variety of unique shots the environment offered. With apparel provided by Spiritual World Tour, director JT McCreery wanted to also tie in some fashion-forward elements to the film. As a result, project manager Maddie Herreid came up with the creative idea to hang up sheets and capture the portrait-style shots of the subjects with inspiration derived from Vogue photoshoots. The emphasis on both the importance of fashion and self-expression within the skating community tied in effortlessly with the nostalgic and skillful camera work. These two elements blended seamlessly in the end to capture the authenticity and raw talent present throughout the skating community.
Leading up to the shoot, the Gear Seven team collaborated with one another in order to come up with the shot list and art design. A large priority of this piece was the camera work and the breathtaking shots that were able to be captured due to the high-tech cameras and robotics utilized through Shift Dynamics.
Having all these production resources (production, camera support, etc.) in house holistically available enabled this film to be created in a matter of days with optimal efficiency and coordination. All of these elements allowed for stunning visuals that captured the extraordinary essence of such a tight-knit community.
Director JT McCreery also oversaw the editing and post-production process of "Switch". He states,
"Well, I wasn't going to let anyone else have the fun of getting to edit it. I took on the edit, and I got a lot of good feedback from people in-house and friends that I trust that also had ideas on how to do the frame-to-frame type of shots. It's really nice to be surrounded by so many talented people and to tap into those resources."
The masterful colorist Brett Price helped take the footage to the next level, while the talented Alonso Cacho did the sound design which helped elevate the piece even further.
A Gear Seven original piece, “Switch” served as a way to express creativity, be experimental with a variety of cinematic gear and challenge the Gear Seven team. Although the final piece will not be sent to any clients, it will be used as FilmSupply footage and be submitted to numerous festivals. Having already been chosen as an official section for Beyond the Short, this Gear Seven original does an incredible job at capturing the talent and passion behind the Nashville production team and showcasing how they strive to continually push the creative envelope in the industry.
Director: JT McCreery
Producer: Cody Fisher-Williams
DP: Justin Wylie
1st AC: Quinn Foster
2nd AC / 8mm Op: Tani Houston
Phantom Tech: Kirk Slawek
Phantom Tech: John Spencer
AGITO Op: Patrick Wilson
Production Company: Gear Seven
Camera Solutions: Shift Dynamics
PA: Jordan Hubbard
PA: Rea Ariola
Color: Brett Price
Sound Design / Audio Mix: Alonso Cacho
Project Manager: Maddie Herreid
Wardrobe: Spiritual World Tour
Talent: Tony Woodland
Talent: Natalie Simmons
Talent: Brian Wooden
Talent: Aydan Wren
Talent: Phillip Sheffield
Talent: Lataj Cason