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The Bridge

The Bridge

The Bridge is an adaptation of Three Billy Goats Gruff as an early internal exercise by KFMG to complete a production from start to finish, allowing each member involved to try a particular production role. The original idea was for the main Group to be split into two smaller groups, each taking a fairy tale and adapting it in any way they saw fit and presenting them to the main Group at the same time to compare. In our smaller group's case, we brought the characters into a more modern time frame, humanized them and reversed the protagonist/antagonist relationship.


The Bridge was selected and assigned to our subgroup at the March 28, 2011 KFMG monthly meeting with a deadline for both subgroups to complete and present their films at the May 23, 2011 monthly meeting, giving us a meeting in between to update on progress. Our little group originally consisted of 7 members but eventually dwindled down to 4, meeting on a nearly weekly basis to discuss and solidify the script, roles in front and behind the camera, location(s), shooting day(s), etc.

Shooting occurred on Sunday May 15, 2011 with a total of 30-40 takes over the course of an hour and a half in the early afternoon, during light rain and snow. The film was edited over the remaining week and presented as scheduled, May 23, 2011. A notable production element is the use of a digital recorder and lapel mic for greater sound quality and is featured in a short comparison at the end of the film, as well as outtakes.

Film Details/Crew

Running time: Approx. 5 minutes

Location: Moore Park


Kayla Sha as Troll Girl
Joe Studendorff as Knute Gruff
Jesse Widener as Tove Gruff
Pat Finnegan as Hans Gruff

Producer: Jesse Widener
Director: Jesse Widener
Screenwriter: Katie McGirl

Based on a story by: Pat Finnegan, Katie McGirl, Rebecca McGirl, Josh Reynolds, Kayla Sha, Jesse Widener and some Norwegian guy

Editor: Jesse Widener
Camera Operators: Jesse Widener, Pat Finnegan
Wardrobe: Kayla Sha
Music and Sound Director: Jesse Widener
Art and Structure design studio -
The original Gruff team as selected was Pat Finnegan, Katie McGirl, Rebecca McGirl, Josh Reynolds, Julie Sayre, Kayla Sha, and Jesse Widener. And now a look back on how some of the process went about with some early notes from those pre-production days...

original Three Billy Goats Gruff story link here

Initial organizing as posted by Jesse Widener after the team's first meeting:

"Gruff Team week ahead...Next meeting at Katie and Rebecca's, 6pm a week from sunday. Let's have story details fleshed out...

Josh look into mic/sound equipment and possible web forum for the project discussion

Kayla start thinking about costumes

anyone with ideas for alternate locations/bridge/etc. bring them...

let's get a better idea what equipment we have available.

I'm going to brush up on editing."
Art and Structure design studio -
Another after-meeting post:

"Gruff Team Cast/Crew...

Thanks to everyone for the meeting. It went great. Cast/Crew breakdown:

Gruff 1: Chris Breedlove (hopefully)

Gruff 2: Jesse / Josh as alternate

Gruff 3: Pat

Troll: Katie

Director: Josh

Screenwriter: Katie

Costumes/Makeup/Props/Set Design: Kayla

Cameraman: Pat

Soundman/Effects: Josh

Editing/Composer/Music Director: Jesse

2nd Assistants to all crew as needed (2nd camera, lighting, props, asst. director/editing/etc.): Kayla and Rebecca"
Art and Structure design studio -
Some thoughts about the production from Jesse Widener during post-production:

"Just a note Gruff Team shooting was completed yesterday [May 15, 2011]. We are now in edit."


Well, we aren't without our complications [...], and this being the first thing I've ever shot in motion there are some issues I'd do differently a second time around.

Most notably, it turns out the LCD on the MiniDV recorder I have is brighter than the actual footage, so the actual footage is underexposed a good bit from where I expected it. To some degree it can work with the feel/context of our film, but I may need to reshoot part of it, and on a second go around with this camera I will know better.

It's a learning experience. On the one hand I am a perfectionist and can handle a still camera/SLR very well, so I'm disappointed in some aspects of my shooting here. On the other hand, it's my first ever try, and I'll learn from it.

One success story in the making though is on the audio side. Digital recorder + lapel mic = ~$65, is small, portable, hideable and picks up the dialogue clearly, without the distant sound and wind noise the MiniDV gets, though I haven't yet tried to sync it to the video.

Update: There are shortcomings in the video due to my lack of experience, but the audio approach is a complete success. The difference in sound quality and dialogue isolation between the DV camera and using the digital recorder with mic is night and day. Aligning it is very nearly a piece of cake even in iMovie as the audio can be dragged at the frame level i.e. with a 30fps production the audio can be dragged to within 1/30th of a second...enough to imperceptibly line it up with the original audio on the DV track.

This also means, with the clear isolation and manipulation of the dialogue, sound effects, soundtrack, etc. can be easily balanced/manipulated with it. Smile"
Art and Structure design studio -

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