Hachette Book Group | Things I Wish I Told My Mother

The Mother-Daughter Book of a Generation Produces Tearjerker Book Promo 

“Pretty much from the jump, we knew that the Things I Wish I Told My Mother project was gonna be special.” ECG’s Creative Director, and the project’s Producer/Director Jordan Nowlin half-smiles as he reflects. “I mean, the title alone has a lot of emotion tied up in it, right?”

We’ve been lucky enough to work on quite a few projects for our good friends at Hachette Book Group. Perhaps that’s an understatement: we’ve worked on a lot of projects for HBG; and while we’ve produced some exciting videos for excellent books, Things I Wish I Told My Mother presented an opportunity to zero-in on emotions like never before.

“At its core, Things I Wish I Told My Mother is a story about family, the ties that bind, and hang-ups that can hinder those special connections,” says Jordan, “and we wanted to create a series of videos that put some real life examples of that on display.”

And display those stories we did.

A house is a home…and occasionally a commercial set

With Jordan pulling double duty as the project’s Producer & Director, Associate Producer Haley Kask stepped in to assist with all things logistical. While the day-in, day-out of producer work is second nature to Haley (or HayKay, as she goes by in the office), there was one particular challenge on this project.

“Finding the perfect house was…tough,” HayKay chuckles. “It was just walking a fine line, I think. It had to be a place that fit Jordan’s vision for a cozy, comfy space where these real mom/daughter pairs could bare their souls to each other, but it also had to be modern (but not too modern), and lived in (but not too lived in). Just took a little finesse to find!”

Coincidentally, there was another favorite location earlier in the pre-production process, but motherhood kept us from filming there.

“We had an awesome location that everyone loved – Jordan, our DP, Haley Fusia, and the client – and everything was set. But then, just a few days before production, the homeowner let us know that she was going into labor and would be having her baby the day before we were supposed to shoot! Talk about coincidence!”

But, as they say, “The show must go on!,” so Haley went to work and found another beautiful house for the production, and the results speak for themselves

A window into our day on set

So, the day finally arrived. Our team rolled out from the ECG Studios in our reliable 1-ton grip truck – affectionately nicknamed the Rocinante – and hightailed it over to the location.

Once the gear was unloaded and organized, our first goal was to set the scene by getting the lighting just right, a task that fell to our trusted Gaffer, Collin Ingram.

“It was an interesting and important challenge to get the most out of the big windows set right behind our interview space,” recalls Collin. “Really they did a lot of the work – made the space feel warm & inviting – it was just on me to maximize that effect”

While the windows gave our interviewees a nice “glow-y” backlight, Collin also utilized our trusted Aputure 120 D lights and Pavo Tubes to complete the look.

Meanwhile, Haley Fusia was busy tinkering with our shot framing:

“Intimate yet cozy was the direction,” Haley remembers, “which, admittedly, presented some challenges. We wanted to keep the A-shot wide to give us some flexibility in post, but we didn’t want it to be so wide that the moms & daughters felt small. Ultimately I think it worked out very nicely! And the interviews themselves helped a lot with that, too; I remember tearing up a lot that day.”

Haley’s frames weren’t the only thing getting dialed-in, however; our Sound Mixer, Cassie, also had her fair share of front-end adjustments.

“The space was great, but it was also echo-y. We had to battle against that. Luckily, it was just another case of sound blankets being an audio person’s best friend. Those bad boys really did some work on the Things I Wish I Told My Mother shoot!”

In the end, everything came together perfectly and we all walked away from the shoot with some amazing interviews under our belt (as well as a few tear-streaked cheeks).

things i wish i told my mother



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