Thursday, December 18, 2008

Happy Holly-Daze 2008!!!!!

Patty Mooney & Mark Schulze, Principals, Crystal Pyramid Productions

The team at Crystal Pyramid Productions all wish you the happiest holiday season ever. We know that the economy is on its knees right now, but perhaps this opens the door for all of us to see it as an opportunity to excel in our chosen endeavors. Now is the time to make our fondest dreams come true. Keep on striving to achieve the best of the best, for life is short. Enjoy it while you can. Steer clear of expectations, for you will surely be disappointed. Go forth with a smile and a happy attitude and love will come to you.

Have a divine "oh-nine"!

Monday, December 15, 2008

2008 - The Year in Review

Mark Schulze shoots Ryan Howard at Sony Playstation headquarters

Patty Mooney & Zachary Levi who plays "Chuck" (even cuter in person)

Carmen Electra, Patty Mooney, Kim Kardashian, Mark Schulze

With the approach of the new year, one takes a last glimpse at the year they are about to step out of, like a pair of well-used gym shoes. We had some stellar experiences, some of which I will recount here...

Loudest Shoot - the flight deck of the U.S.S. Stennis. As a sound person, it was the most challenging gig on which I have ever participated. There is really no way to collect clean audio during the arrival or take-off of an FA-18 on the deck of an aircraft carrier. This shoot also qualified as the one with the largest number of cute eligible bachelors. (If I was 30 years younger..... and single.... - ha ha ha). Check out the music video I made with a camera the size of a deck of cards. Aerials provided by U.S. Navy.


Most Fun Shoot - The San Diego Craft Brewers Convention featured dozens of brewers and hundreds of brews. The crew was allowed to shoot interviews in the "Tap Room" where a hundred taps of the best craft-brewed beer beckoned. Scott Kerkmans, the first ever "Chief Beer Officer" at Four Points by Sheraton, interviewed third-generation brewmaster, Jim Koch, CEO of Samuel Adams, who showed everyone how to properly taste the beers.

Most Extraordinary Shoot - Some of us thought that Hillary Clinton could be the next President of the United States. She certainly had an amazing run and nearly shattered that "glass ceiling." Our crew had the chance to meet her along her campaign trail, and interviewed her for Extra. She had a strong handshake, and remarkably blue eyes. In reply to who was most inspirational to her in her lifelong career, she immediately responded, "Nelson Mandela, who taught me the meaning of forgiveness. He invited his jailers to his inauguration." Congratulations to Hillary on her Secretary of State appointment. We wish her and the new Obama administration the best in leading us all to a better time and place.

Most Fascinating Interview - Craig T. Venter is the first man to successfully map the human genome. The crew went to his laboratory, Synthetic Genomics, and interviewed him about his accomplishments and the process of creating fuel from algae. To that end, Venter has a 95-foot sloop called Sorcerer II which has circumnavigated the oceans for three years, uncovering more than 6 million new genes and thousands of protein families. To think that this man swam a mile out to sea, never intending to return to shore. But he did return at a break-neck pace, and now the rest is history, and possibly a bright new future for all of us.

Most Celebrities in One Place - The San Diego Comic-Con is San Diego's largest annual convention. Our team has been working it for about a decade now, and we have seen it grow from Little Lulu to The Hulk! It is now a Hollywood venue and if you blink you might miss seeing such stellar celebs as Keanu Reeves, Kiefer Sutherland or Hugh Jackman, who all participated at Comic-Con 2008. We interviewed Carmen Electra and Kim Kardashian, and I put a lavalier mic on Kevin Spacey. While standing around a hallway in the Hard Rock Hotel, I spotted Zachary Levi, who plays "Chuck," and Simon Pegg, best known as "Shawn of the Dead." Then while loading our gear in our vehicle parked outside the Hard Rock, we saw Brendon Fraser, Jet Li and a bunch of Mummy extras, run out the door to a limo bus. Jet certainly looks much larger on the big screen!

Most Illuminating Shoot - James Ray gave a two-day seminar in San Diego and it was our privilege to videotape every minute. He is a "pacer" and as a camera operator it is quite a challenge to follow him around the stage while maintaining focus. What a great metaphor for life, eh? If you are not familiar with James Ray, he was one of the participants in the hugely popular movie called "The Secret" and I think of him as a "walking tome of spiritual knowledge." He reminded everyone that we all need to be careful what we wish for because we will get it, whether negative or positive, so focus on the positive. Truer words were never spoken!

Most Surreal Shoot - Hands down this goes to the Ryan Howard shoot at Sony playstation headquarters. MVP, Phillies third baseman, Ryan Howard, was chosen to star as the figure on the latest X-Box. We shot behind-the-scenes as he was outfitted in red pajamas with blinking lights that recorded his every movement while he was directed to "hit a grand slam," "strike out," "argue with the ump" and other various behaviors. It's been fun to follow his career ever since then, as he is a very talented man who has nowhere to go but up.

San Diego Chamber of Commerce Hosts Circles of Influence Holiday Party

The holiday spirit abounded at a networking party hosted by the San Diego Greater Chamber of Commerce, at The Red Circle, in downtown San Diego. The place was packed with business professionals who passed out business cards and enjoyed the ambience of the Red Circle. Chamber CEO, Ruben Barrales, circulated around the room, getting to know the members. He is very personable and gregarious, and it is suspected that he has a few clones, as it seems impossible for one man to participate in multiple events from Mexico City to Sacramento over the course of a week, and still look fresh and unruffled.

CPP Director of Photography, Mark Schulze, recently shot footage of Mayor Sanders conducting a Fireside Chat hosted by the San Diego Chamber of Commerce. An edited video will be available to the Chamber of Commerce membership in early 2009.

San Diego Biz Magazine Celebrates 2nd Anniversary

The holiday season kicked off to a warm and fuzzy start at the second anniversary of San Diego Biz Magazine on the rooftop at the Hotel Solamar in downtown San Diego. Mark Schulze and Patty Mooney, principals of San Diego video production services company, Crystal Pyramid Productions  and stock-footage library, New and Unique Videos had a blast. Hundreds of business and professional party-goers wore red and contributed money in support of the American Heart Association.

One "celebrity" was in attendance - Craig, the 30-year-old San Diego graphics professional who came from nowhere to win on the TV show, "The Mole."

Thursday, December 4, 2008

"The Invisible Ones" Wins Two Prestigious Awards

What a red-letter day it is when two prestigious award notices arrive in the mail on the same day. We are excited to share the news that our 43-minute documentary, "The Invisible Ones: Homeless Combat Veterans" has won both a Platinum Ava Award and an Accolade Award.

In winning an Accolade, Crystal Pyramid Productions joins the ranks of other high-profile winners of this internationaly respected award. Thomas Baker, Ph.D., who chairs "The Accolade", had this to say about the latest winners: "The Accolade is not an easy award to win. Entries are received from around the world. The Accolade helps set the standard for craft and creativity. The judges were pleased with the exceptionally high quality of entries. The goal of The Accolade is to help winners achieve the recognition they deserve."

And a Platinum Ava, as the name implies, is presented to those entries judged to be among the most outstanding submissions in the competition. Platinum winners are recognized for their excellence in terms of quality, creativity and resourcefulness.

We hope that these honors will help in our quest to open the eyes of every American to the sad truth that we have war heroes sleeping on our nation's streets, and that we all have to do something about it.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Tree Lighting at the Westgate - by Patty Mooney

The Holiday Season officially began in San Diego with the Nutcracker Tree Lighting at The Westgate, a hotel known for its lavish French decor and longtime support of the Arts. Guests enjoyed mulled wine, eggnog and champagne, and there was a carving station featuring roast beef and turkey. The audience munched on decadent desserts as young dancers performed bits and pieces from the Nutcracker Suite.