SDCC’13: The Sidekick

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Among the myriad of events and ideas being shown at SDCC, some very interesting smaller projects can get overlooked. The Sidekick here is one of those projects, and everyone should take the jump to check out the trailer and some of the press information for the short film.

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Los Angeles — (July 18, 2013) – Editor/Color Artist Stephen Hens has launched KiddKolor; a new “micro company,” providing crafted edit, color and finishing services to the entertainment industry. Hens and KiddKolor have collaborated with Writer/Actor Rob Benedict and director Michael Weithorn on their new featurette “THE SIDEKICK,” making its world premiere at Comic-Con 2013 later today at 3 pm in the Indigo Ballroom, followed by a Q&A with the filmmakers.

And while the panel itself has come and gone, we do have some of the more interesting questions to come out of the Q&A session.

“THE SIDEKICK” (www.thesidekickproject.com) is a 30-minute featurette, directed by Michael J. Weithorn (“The King of Queens,” “A Little Help”) and Writer/Actor Rob Benedict (“Supernatural,” “Waiting…”), featuring a powerhouse cast including Ron Livingston (“Office Space,” “Swingers”), Lizzy Caplan (“Mean Girls,” “Cloverfield”), Jordan Peele (“Key and Peele”), Martin Starr (“Knocked Up,” “Superbad”) and Jason Ritter (“Happy Endings,” “Parenthood”). “THE SIDEKICK” is both an offbeat take on the super-hero genre and an allegory about the struggle to find your purpose in life even as you are being…re-purposed.

“When we set out to make this featurette, one of our primary mission statements was that it not look like an independent short,” comments Filmmaker Rob Benedict. “We wanted this to appear to be like any big-budget, super hero feature that could morph into a banal world where people just happened to be super heros. This put an enormous amount of responsibility on our Colorist Stephen Hens, who was the hero of our postproduction journey. He was able to elevate our project into this amazing realm where you could shift between a show down on a rooftop to four guys talking in a Laundromat; from an evil lair to a boring lunch at a sushi restaurant. He brought character to the vision of the movie, which we honestly thought could not be done. Without Stephen this would just be another short. He helped to make it more than that.”

KiddKolor was hired for “THE SIDEKICK” by Nathan Adams of Cinematomic, a company providing full-service post-production for web, television and theatrical projects. Cinematomic leverages relationships with freelance artists working from micro-companies or home studios, a concept that Adams calls “in-sourcing.” “By decentralizing post-production, we’ve created a ‘facility-free’ solution for clients on more sensible budgets to achieve high-quality results.” Adams believes that “micro-companies” like KiddKolor and Cinematomic represent the evolution of post-production.

“I was thrilled when Nathan called me to do finishing work on ‘THE SIDEKICK,’” says KiddKolor’s Hens. “I found Rob and Michael to be incredibly open and collaborative. They had shot the film with two very different looks, and after an initial pass, it was clear that it wasn’t working. We did a second pass that got us closer. Then it was time to throw the playbook out the window. The filmmakers let me do my own pass, and we decided together to just focus on making this a beautiful film, which I believe we did.”

With KiddKolor being a “micro company,” Hens was able to take on the project and work within the filmmakers’ budget. “The economic structure of KiddKolor has given me the opportunity to return to being an artist, taking on projects that I feel passionate about since I am not beholden to bill by the hour to a multi-million dollar facility. This also gives me the freedom to collaborate one-on-one with my clients until we get it right,” explains Hens. “Because the cost of technology has dropped so significantly over the past few years, with KiddKolor, I don’t have to compromise on quality. We are running the same technology found at any of the top-name facilities out there today. Clients’ budgets can be applied directly to what you see on the screen, not to maintaining outdated technology or infrastructure.”

In addition to “THE SIDEKICK” featurette, KiddColor also recently collaborated with production company atSwim on a new Jeep commercial with Director Tom Gatsoulis. “Stephen has always been the creative end of many projects we have done together,” notes atSwim Producer/Partner Daniela Humi. “Coming back to his new company was like coming home. We always loved to work with Stephen, who brings new ideas on how to make any project better. atSwim had already worked with Stephen on a five-spot Acura campaign, so there was no thought about using anyone else. Stephen is considered part of the atSwim family. He is always available, always creative, and always understanding to the production’s needs.”

Adds Director Tom Gatsoulis: “Stephen is certainly very creative, but he is also intuitive. On the Jeep spot, I gave him my vision for what I wanted to see, and he showed me several looks; all of them were in the zone. We had a lot of inclement weather on that project — shooting in the desert, which had sunshine in the afternoon, and then gray skies and snow in the morning. Stephen was able to make the whole piece look very cohesive overall, but also maintain skin tones and make it look very real. For someone who shoots car commercials like me, who cannot control the skies unfortunately; working with Stephen is a dream.”