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Last month, more than 150 people crowded into our open house event for the premiere of our short film, the Craft of Poetry, and a live performance by poet Larry Robertson. It was an impactful night of connecting with clients, creative partners, and friends in our community.
The Craft of Poetry is the first film in the Craft Collection, a series we’re producing about artists who appreciate craftsmanship like we do. Our goal is to create a platform to share stories about the artists who inspire us and their unique approach to their work. Beyond shining the spotlight on artists, the collection will also benefit our client work. In our experience, one of the most effective ways to help clients connect with their audience is through story, offering a simpler way for customers to resonate with the why behind a company’s products. Keeping our creative storytelling sharp helps us hone our ability to effectively communicate a brand’s message.
Our Craft of Poetry event featured a film premiere, music, and a poetry reading by Larry Robertson.
For our first film in the collection, our team identified an opportunity to partner with our friend and Columbus creative, Larry Robertson, to tell the story of his first book, Words Saved Lives. As we began concepting, we quickly realized that running is a key part of Robertson’s writing process. For him, running is an act of creation that is closely connected to the struggle, endurance, and strength it takes to translate inspiration into tangible art. This unexpected link in Robertson’s process provided an entry point into the story’s themes, allowing us to explore the tension between reflection and intensity in both poetry and running.
The concepting phase was led by Serif’s founder, Doug Joseph. Though Doug’s background is in filmmaking, his role has turned more to driving the vision of Serif as the business has grown. The Craft of Poetry film was a way for him to get back to his filmmaking roots. “This project was personal to me, filled with passion and expression,” Doug said. “I hadn’t directed a film in almost two years. When Larry shared the depth and struggle of where his poems are born, I knew we found a good story. My vision was to walk the tight rope of reflection and intensity in the film to show how those two worlds collide.”
To produce the film, we chose to partner with cinematographer Josh Emerick, whose worked with Serif for more than 10 years, for his skill in crafting succinct stories and convincing visuals. Our team built a set at the Serif studio using a scaled back approach comprised of lo-fi lighting, minimal set dressing, and a hazer to create a trance-like atmosphere.
Cinematographer Josh Emerick shot through a crystal drinking glass to create a trance-like scene.
A defining moment of the shoot occurred when Emerick pointed the camera through a crystal whiskey glass to capture a shot. “I used glass for natural in-camera refraction to match the reflective nature of Larry’s poetry,” Emerick said. The production took place in two days, with running scenes in the Brewery District and Franklinton, and supporting scenes in STUMP Plants in Italian Village, where Robertson used to run a pop-up clothing store experience. Emerick edited the film and Robertson helped concept, write, and score the film.
To premiere it, we wanted to create a space where people could experience the film in an engaging and inclusive way. Hosting a physical event in our space, rather than a digital release, was the best way we could think of to enable an authentic exchange of energy with our community. After the film, Larry offered a moving, goosebumps-worthy live performance of poems from his book. It was a moment that we were truly proud to see come to life in our studio.
Larry Robertson’s reading of “Fear,” his final poem of the night, was a goosebumps-worthy experience. You can buy his new book, Words Saved Lives, on his site at www.wordssavedlives.com.
We’re grateful for all those who participated in this fun and meaningful night. We’d like to extend a very special thanks to our friends at Noble Cut Distillery and Elevator Brewing for providing the night’s libations, Oakland Nurseries for providing our office greenery, and artist Mike Seiler for providing the art on display around our office.
You can watch the Craft of Poetry film and learn more about upcoming films from the series at www.serifcreative.com/craft-collection.