Interview with Forge Motion Pictures
Forge are a group of people for whom film is not a choice, it is a mandate, for life. As Skip Armstrong told us: “We provide comprehensive production and post-production services under one roof, and neither is an add-on. 30 second spot or a 90 minute film, that’s gotta be the result. We’re doing it in new ways and defying tired conventions. We embrace smaller budgets as an opportunity. Keep the process in house. Keep the team tight, light and fast. Buy raw talent. Work your ass off. Put emotion and story above all else.”
How long has Forge Motion Pictures been together and how did it all start?
Anson founded Forge in 2007 to tell emotionally connective stories rooted in the outdoor, lifestyle and sports world. Skip joined the team in 2010 on the side of the Payette river in Idaho while Anson was in production for Wildwater. Thatcher was brought on in November, 2011 as an intern and quickly earned a full time position.
How do you find your inspiration to create new content?
The outdoors have always been a major source of inspiration for us. Little nuances as much as large panoramas. We love early morning light, unpopular locations and well planned and envisioned shots deep in the wilds of our beautiful world. Our incredibly kind and supportive creative community is massive inspiration for us. We are truly honored to be a part of it.
What have been the most amazing projects you have worked on?
Shooting and editing the State of Colorado’s advertising campaign was super rewarding for us – all three of us were born and raised in Colorado, we love it here. To be hired to show it’s best for the world has been a huge privilege.
What is your main message to your audience?
We want to connect with you -the audience on an emotional level. Do you feel something after one of our films? Do you relate to it? Does the character remind you of a situation you’ve been in yourself? How would you have handled the situation or place? It’s our sincere hope that we can inspire, connect and learn with our audiences.
From a cinematography perspective where do you want to take your work and what are you looking to achieve?
We want to create visually poetic images that tell a story. We want planned camera moves and placement to enhance these stories and paramount – we always want to accurately portray a scene or environment. The camera is often used to further place the audience in the scene we’re shooting.
Congratulations on the launch of the web series Of Souls + Water. Can you give us some insight to the making of this series?
We’re shooting on RED EPIC, some FS100 and 5D creeps into every shoot. We shoot almost exclusively on the Zeiss ZF prime set (21, 35, 50, 85mm) and the canon 70-200 series II zoom. The steadicam has been used in a lot of the Of Souls + Water series to create an ethereal and passive camera presence. Some of the episodes are planned to have more energy and bigger camera moves. We shoot a lot of dolly and crane shots that are subtle but unachievable without this equipment. And of course we shoot a lot of locked off tripod shots.
I (Skip Armstrong) am directing the series and Thatcher Bean is Assistant Director. When we’re out in the field shooting where its mostly Thatcher and I and if we’re lucky an assistant. We have a unique combination of being a light and fast crew but still getting produced and planned shots. We have found a nice balance with this combination of resources. Of course we’d love to have more hands and little more sleep but this arrangement has worked nicely for us.
Some of our biggest challenges have been finding a sheltered place to actually transfer our data. Powering our hard drives and laptops is always a challenge. Sometimes we have a generator, sometimes we find a car we can use and sometimes we use a solar setup. All depends on the location and amount of time we have to shoot.
When the series is finished we’ll have filmed in all three countries in North America and almost all corners. We’ll be well traveled and a bit road weary. We listen to a lot of music in the road. We talk to ourselves a lot. It gets weird because we’re sleep deprived but we always have fun. Huge priority for us, FUN!
What new projects are you working on?
We’ll pitch many ideas this summer to various companies and we’d like to produce some long form projects. Hardest challenge will be to select one idea. Lots of ideas flying around.
What is your ultimate dream project?
Skip speaking here, don’t want to speak for Anson or Thatcher. This is a hard question to answer! I would love to do a feature length film with my favorite friends and collaborators. Something creative. I’d also love to shoot in several high budget commercial productions and bring our unique sense of outdoor shooting and storytelling to them. I dream of reaching a wide audience with inspiring and compelling stories.