Behind the Scenes: Project Managing My First Video Shoot

gordongroup was recently approached by software giant Corel to create a fresh, youthful and inspirational promotional video for their new Corel Painter Lite software. One tiny catch: The timeline was just three weeks to plan and produce this thing!

Undaunted by the task before me, I enthusiastically dove in. While the creative team worked out the concept, my first task was finding a cool location, so I scouted almost every art venue in town. It only took a few days before stumbling upon SAW gallery, a quaint and elegant space that fit our videographer’s vision to a tee.

It was T-minus one week before the shoot, we had yet to find extras, and we still needed original artwork created with the new Corel software—this was mission critical. A Facebook casting call managed to wrangle up 30 young, artsy (not to mention good-looking) extras. Phew, one task down, on to the next: Finding a Corel artist.

Our vision was to have the artist on site showing our eager extras how to use the software. After much deliberation with our client, we decided to boldly request artist Mike Thompson’s presence. What a treat that he agreed to fly up from Washington for a half-day shoot!

The big day was finally upon us. As I struggled through the doors of the SAW Gallery carrying a giant Roman pillar, a prop for the evening, I was greeted by two smiling faces. Keith Fox of Source4 Productions and Craig Connelly of Partus Films were already in full set-up mode, adjusting floor tracks and enthusiastically discussing the lighting arrangement. I eagerly put down the pillar where the product shot would take place and stood back, taking in the stark white walls of the gallery.

As I turned the corner of the gallery, the calm, empty space was filled with the chatter of many excited extras. As I circled the room, greeting everyone, I caught a glimpse of our main talent, Mike Thompson, already creating live artwork on his trusty Mac. I was beyond excited!

Because of my background in graphic design and familiarity with a few illustration programs, I had an even greater appreciation for this man’s talent, artistry and gift. Mike Thompson’s illustrations have been used by clothing companies, featured in several print, web and television campaigns and can be found on video game and toy packaging.

In 2010, Verizon commissioned him to paint a 10’ x 30’ interactive wall for the Meadowlands Stadium in New Jersey. His artwork is also currently on display at the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles! Needless to say, once you see his work, especially his celebrity portraits, you’ll understand why he makes the perfect spokesman for Painter Lite and Painter Pro, Corel’s latest software for digital artists. Watching this certainly got me excited to play with the software myself and flex my creative muscles.


Painter Lite is the “student” intro software, and Painter Pro is what Mike uses. Dubbed as the leaner version of Corel Painter, Macworld magazine lists some of its pros as being: “much simpler to use, great for cloning over photos, has properly blended paint, quick to use and has Wacom pen/tablet support.” The tablet, Intuos5, is what Mike works with in the video.

Though it was a long day, especially for Mike, he took the time in between shots to chat with some very interested extras, many of whom were artists themselves. Near the end of the shoot, I found out that he had actually been up since 3 a.m., flew in directly from Washington, and would be flying out the next morning at the crack of dawn. Despite this, in a super casual, down-to-earth manner, he continued to joke with the crew and even stayed to autograph paintings used in the video for extras to bring home.

A huge thanks to Source4, Partus Films, Parktown Productions, Corel, our outstanding extras and, of course, Mike Thompson for a great experience.

What do you think of the video? Tell us in the comments below! 

About Danielle Valois

As an Account Manager at gordongroup, an integrated marketing agency, I have the opportunity to work with various clients – Corel being one as of recently. It was a true joy and an exciting feat to help pull together the Painter Lite video.
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