Being nominated for a Daytime Emmy Award is undeniably awesome — just ask Film Production grad Graham Cairns. He recently received the very exciting news that his work on the Nickelodeon HALO Awards Walk The Moon 360 Experience was nominated in the Outstanding Interactive Media category. And it’s not hard to see why. Graham and his team at IM360 Entertainment, including fellow VFSer Kelly Matovich, paired up with Nickelodeon to capture a musical performance from their HALO Awards event. The footage they put together gives audiences a full 360 experience of the concert without having to leave their computer. It’s the future, people.
Graham has been doing plenty of amazing things since graduating from Vancouver Film School. We were lucky enough to have the chance to ask him some questions about his school life, career path, and what’s up next. Read on for more!
Where are you from originally? What made you decide to go to VFS?
Graham: I am originally from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. I got interested in the film industry when I was visiting and saw the filming of “Unforgettable” on the street that I was staying at in downtown Vancouver. I was twenty-four, into the arts, and looking for a career that wasn’t 9-5 and required a suit and a haircut.
Later that year, I decided that I would go to film school in Vancouver. I toured all the schools providing film training, but I chose VFS because of what they delivered, the reputation, and the fact the program was a year long.
Graham, what was it like in the Film Production program? What was the best thing about it? What was the most challenging?
Graham: What I liked most about the program was the experience of working on real projects that didn’t feel like school assignments and the instructors. I really enjoyed my peers in the program who were from all over the world and were also passionate about a career in filmmaking. The most challenging parts were the intensity of parts of the program and meeting the films’ deadlines.
What was your journey like after graduation? Did you have a strong sense of what you wanted to do and where you wanted to go?
Graham: I didn’t have a great sense of what direction to go after school ended. Ultimately, I wanted to be an editor or director, but I also really enjoyed and succeeded as an assistant director in school. I started out just trying to get on sets and work. I worked on corporate videos and volunteered on indie films in a variety of roles – boom person, gaffer, dolly grip, cast driver, PA, and editor. I was invited into the Directors Guild of Canada (DGC) where I started working as a PA on the film I’ll Be Home for Christmas. Later, I gained acceptance into the DGC as a full member. I worked my way through the ranks as an assistant director – working on notable projects, including Scary Movie 3, White Noise, Stargate SG-1, and the Andromeda Strain. I also worked as a film educator for several years, and it’s something I continue to pursue. Currently, I teach the Motion Picture Industry Orientation course in the Okanagan.
I began my work with IM360 Entertainment last year. My first project with them was assisting as a Virtual Reality (VR) producer on a short film directed by Randal Kleiser who directed Grease. Since then, I have produced commercials, VOD, and live VR content that has been shot in the UK, Portugal, United States, and Canada.
You’re currently working in Kelowna at IM360 Entertainment. What is that like and what is your role in the company?
Graham: IM360 creates 360 and Virtual Reality entertainment. We are working in a very new and progressive method of media, which is very cool. My role here is that of an executive producer and trainer. Therefore, I create production budgets, manage production logistics and schedules, and manage the set as an on-site producer. I also work as a trainer to assist new staff in learning the ropes.
If you can share, what are some upcoming projects?
Graham: Mums the word! Sorry! When they’re out, you’ll know!
A project you worked on was recently nominated for a Daytime Emmy in the Outstanding Interactive Media category – congratulations! Can you talk to us about “Nickelodeon HALO Awards Walk The Moon 360 Experience”? What is it?
Graham: The Nickelodeon Halo Awards Walk The Moon 360 Experience is a project we teamed up with Nickelodeon to create. Nickelodeon has a televised awards show called the HALO Awards and they wanted to have some 360 content associated with it. The shoot was over one night in November 2015 at Universal Studios, Orlando. The event featured the band Walk the Moon and they performed a concert with Nick Cannon as the host. We captured the whole concert, but the plan was always to cut it down to a two-song piece of the band playing “Shut up and Dance” and “Different Colors”.
From your side, what does creating a 360 experience entail? From an audience’s perspective, what do they gain?
Graham: Production planning and logistics on 360 are fairly similar to 2D shoots, but the shooting itself is much different. First of all, because the camera sees everything the crew has to make sure they are not visible in the shot. The viewer is able to move around and feel like they are actually at the event. They can look at the band, the general surroundings, the people, and all in a natural way -- not just in cuts.
If you could share one piece of advice with your younger self, what would it be and why?
Graham: Be confident in your skills. You did go to film school, so you have the knowledge of all aspects of production.
Anything else you’d like to add?
Graham: I’m extremely excited by this nomination. It feels good to be recognized!