The Return

The last Fire Escape Films project I worked on before the COVID-19 pandemic hit! This was a fun one.

Director Corinne Rutledge approached me to work on the project and we shaped the visual style together. I’m a big fan of camera motion, so I advocated for the handheld aesthetic, which we accomplished using a variety of motorized gimbals. All credit for the anime-inspired shots in the confrontation scene goes to Corinne, though – it turned out well despite the cold!

My roles: Director of Photography, Editor, Camera Operator, Gaffer/Grip/Electrical, and Set Construction.

One particular challenge for this project was to create a void for Bonnie to walk through. Inspired by Eleven’s void from Stranger Things, we set out to recreate this look with largely practical effects… on a fraction of the budget. (Not to mention the fact that we weren’t allowed to flood the University’s production studio. Lame.)

We ended up constructing a 270º surround out of blackout drapes affixed to a pipe grid along with just enough lighting to emphasize the effect. Check out some of our behind the scenes photos below – we had a great time climbing around the ceiling to put this all together.

A photo of the completed ‘void’ before we moved gear in, added the mirror, etc. Not bad given we only had a few hours to use the space.
An unedited frame – the effect worked pretty well, even in-camera! We later added color correction and scrubbed out the ropes hanging the mirror.

Written and Directed by Corinne Rutledge for Fire Escape Films
Cinematography and Camera by Alex Emerson 
Starring Alisa Boland and Ellen Askey
Original Score Composed and Recorded by Simon Li
Edited by Alex Emerson and Corinne Rutledge

As with most Fire Escape projects, this is a work-in-progress while we fine-tune it for a film festival run.

We kept a super minimal camera rig for this shoot due to limited time in the space.

Chance Emerson Promotion

My cousin is a musician – you can find him on Spotify. As his favorite cousin and official Director of Media and Marketing, I’ve worked with him on all sorts of projects, from music videos to social media campaigns.

Here’s some of that work, sorted chronologically.

2021: Spotify Canvases, Remote Editing, and VFX

The official Spotify Canvas for ‘Gloria Gracie’ which I pulled from the music video due out soon. While I couldn’t film this video (they shot in Taiwan due to the pandemic) I modified my work on the bridge VFX to make this endless loop.
VFX for an upcoming music video I edited remotely, shot by Chance and company in Taiwan.
One of my shots at a pre-pandemic dining hall gig with Chance and his band.
More VFX – full video coming soon!

March 2020: The Raspberry Men Marketing Campaign

This one has two parts – first, a coordinated 9-day marketing campaign promoting Chance Emerson’s then-upcoming release The Raspberry Men.

See the full 9 days on instagram – it’s the multi-panel collage from March 2020 that makes up the album artwork.

The campaign also included targeted Facebook and Instagram ads designed for a few specific demographics, including alumni of Brown University where Chance attends school, listeners in our age group, and people likely to interact with his pages. The ads reached an audience of 100k+ and generated above average interaction with his profile.

General Audience Ad
‘How Can I’ – Vertical, 30s
Brown Alumni Ad
‘The Raspberry Men’ – Vertical, 30s

Director / Cinematography / Editing by Alex Emerson
Produced by Chance Emerson
Footage contributed by Brown University Office of Communications, Chance Emerson, and others.

February 2020: Annabelle Dance Video

It premiered on DittyTV. I describe this one in detail through another post – go check it out!

Annabelle – Dance Video

Back in summer 2019, I was running a sailing program in Brooksville, ME. At the same time, my cousin Chance was finalizing his first album – so we decided to shoot this dance video for one of his singles in an old chapel nearby.

It was a pretty minimal production: the building had no electricity so we were working with natural light and some candles, and the crew consisted of myself and Chance. We were on set for a total of two hours or so.

The two of us having no choreography experience, we asked our friend (and NYC Ballet dancer) Eliza Blutt to improvise, and we went from there. This was one of my earlier experiences using a motorized gimbal to shoot – it’s now one of my favorite tools!

Annabelle by Chance Emerson.

Directed by Alex Emerson
Produced by Chance Emerson
Starring Eliza Blutt
Cinematography, Editing, and Color by Alex Emerson

Us Two

How can we tell the story of a romance without using words?

**Winner of Best Student Film at Trinity International Film Festival, 2019**

*Official Selection: Trinity International Film Festival 2019, Dam Short Film Festival 2019, Reality Bytes Film Festival 2019*

Roles: Director of Photography / Camera Operator / Editor

I also experimented with soundtrack recording, mixing, and mastering – one of the first times we’ve done this in house with Fire Escape.

Written and Directed by Corinne Rutledge for Fire Escape Films

Property Damage

The first film I (co-)directed with Fire Escape as a freshman at UChicago! It’s a sci-fi about reality, simulations, and blurring the lines between the two. It’s also the first project I worked on with a drone, and my friend Brett wrote the score!

Roles: Co-Director, Editor, Aerial Cinematography, Visual Effects

Welcome to Root

A work-in-progress cut of a film I’m producing for the Salem, MA based non-profit Root NS, Inc.

Roles: Director, Cinematography, Editor, Motion Graphics

From their websiteRoot offers a rigorous 12-week, 200 hour, workforce training program that uses food preparation and service as its vehicle for teaching career and life skills. In the kitchen at Root, and those of our partner restaurants, hotels and caterers, Program Partners learn and practice safe food preparation and handling, and many other direct skills that they will need to succeed. They attain industry-certified credentials that give them a sense of accomplishment – and an advantage in seeking employment. In Root’s classroom they learn professional preparation and develop maturity and life skills that will help them to secure and thrive in their first and subsequent jobs.

A Tribute to Barb Liston

Commissioned by Brookwood School in June 2017 to honor their retiring Assistant Head of School, Barb Liston. I conducted five of the six featured interviews and sourced hours of archival footage to produce the final product.

Roles: Director, Cinematography, Editing

Andover Admissions

When I was a student at Andover I worked in collaboration with the Department of Admissions, Student Activities Center, and other campus groups to create a slew of various promotional content. Here’s some of what I worked on:

Blue Key Head Jello Wrestling Promo (2017)

Produced in conjunction with the Blue Key Heads, Phillips Academy’s school spirit leaders, this video advertised the annual tradition of jello wrestling. 

Roles: Director, Cinematography, Editing

Music Department Introduction (2017)

Working with the Phillips Academy Andover Department of Admissions over Winter 2016 and 2017, I created a series of five ‘department intro’ videos designed to give newly admitted students a sense of what Andover offers by giving them an intro to various academic and extracurricular departments on campus. Here’s one of the five.

Roles: Director, Cinematography, Editing, Motion Graphics

PA PA Land (2017)

Produced in May 2017 in conjunction with Andover MovieMakers Club and Under The Bed, PA PA Land is a parody of the epilogue sequence from the 2017 film La La Land. We’ve accumulated over 25K views so far!

Roles: Gaffer, Grip, Electrical

The Bluebooth (2015)

Produced in conjunction with the Phillips Academy Andover Department of Admission in 2015, The Bluebooth is a video about life at Andover that was distributed to all newly admitted students.

Roles: Co-Director, Cinematography, Editing