Laura Beth Love has been working with The Asylum for several years as a Cinematographer mostly, however when she’s brought on a projectshe embraces the opportunity to wear multiple hats. Directors and Producers that work with Laura Beth have nothing but praise for her due to her creativity, eye for detail, and dedication to give it her all for each film. Over a decade Laura Beth has worked on countless projects and is constantly learning, cultivating new skills, and evolving. She’s nonstop working and all her time and effort is mentally and physically exhausting for the human body. To keep her mind and body in finely tuned, Laura Beth makes sure to take care of her body and mind through fitness. Her exercising and nutrition routine is a critical factor in her keeping her creativity rolling, energy level up, and is a huge factor in the short recovery time allowed between projects.
Being a highly regarded team player with amazing talents, it’s only fitting she takes it to the next level. Laura Beth steps up and takes on her first feature film directing role in The Asylum’s sci-fi film, INDEPENDENTS’ DAY.
Aliens invade, this time delivering a clear ultimatum. The fate of humanity hangs in the balance as the U.S. President and citizens decide if these aliens are to be trusted …or feared.
“I was signed on to DP “Independents’ Day” (working title was Alien Waves) with no director attached for a couple of months!” shares Laura Beth.“ The truth is everyone thought the movie would end up pushing into the next year… When rumors surfaced that the movie couldn’t push, I offered to step up (even though it was only a few days from the start date!). I knew the challenges, I knew the team very well, and I have a real soft spot for the original V: The Mini-series, V: The Final Battle, and, of course, Independence Day. :)”
“I think it was two days before principal photography started, when I got an email from the executive producer welcoming me on board as the director. Ha! Obviously a lot of things had been put in place at that point… I had to work with locations that were already chosen, assumptions in many departments were too far down one road or another for me to change their course without throwing the whole thing into a tailspin. Still, I grabbed the reigns, gave up any hope of sleep on our brisk ten-day schedule, and shaped a movie that I hope fans of V and Independence Day will enjoy. “
Slightly Distorted Productions teamed up with The Asylum to produce INDEPENDENTS’ DAY. Lauren Elizabeth Hood a Producer/Owner/Creator at Slightly Distorted, line produced the film. Lauren currently is working with Laura Beth on the upcoming James Cullen Bressack film STILLWATER and with Laura Beth and The Asylum on ISLE OF THE DEAD which is due out soon. Some other films Lauren line produced recently with The Asylum include, FORTUNE COOKIE, ZOOMBIES, NIGHT OF THE WILD, FLIGHT WORLD WAR II, SAN ANDREAS QUAKE, ARDENNES FURY, ASIAN SCHOOL GIRLS, and JAILBAIT.
Building relationships over the years, Laura Beth knew who would be ideal to bring on board to meet her requirements and work the exhausting hours with her throughout production and especially in the editing room. Just one of the team players for INDEPENDENTS’ DAY that had multiple jobs is Composer and Visual Effects expert, Mike Verta.
“Laura Beth islegit – she knows what she wants dramatically and visually, and knows how to communicate that to both actors on set and to a post crew. So any time you’re working for somebody with real, old-school chops like that, it’s going to be fun and inspiring! Those things always elevate the material that’s being produced, and the level of work that’s being done. One thing I’ve heard people saying already –whether they’ve seen the film or just the trailer- is that for all the obvious mockbuster elements in it, it doesn’t feel exactly like a typical Asylum film, and I agree. It’s got a cohesion and a shape; character motivations and payoffs that are often considered luxuries or optional on projects like these, but they’re there in Independents’ Day. And that’s all her.”
“Laura Beth is a great worker of light and the different phases it can go through,” Director Christopher Ray.
“Laura Beth Love is amazing! A true artist and a great person,” Director Jared Cohn.
“She’s super talented. She uses the camera and lights like a paint canvas, and makes magic. I love her to death,” Producer GabrielCampisi.
The numerous directors and producers Laura Beth works with speak highly of her and would go to her when creative recommendations are needed to help out with making a scene better. All the experience educated her and prepared her for directing a feature film.
“I’ve worked with all kinds of directors. The seasoned directors have shown me what works, and the first-timers often gave me an opportunity to try out my own solution. I’ve watched directors masterfully orchestrate and deliver a scene, and I’ve seen guys push hard and fail because they simply weren’t able to read their actor,” Laura Beth shares.
“Everyone knows that directing is about getting performances, but it’s the other stuff that I’ve learned that wasn’t as obvious at the beginning of my career. I can’t begin to quantify all of the things I’ve learned from directors over the years, but right now I can think of three “lessons” that I considered before shooting “Independents’ Day.”:
1.The director stands alone.
A director once told me a story about overhearing crew conversations “talking smack” about himself on his comtechs (headphones). It was something I hadn’t considered before. As a Camera Operator, for example, you aren’t likely to walk up to crafty and overhear somebody talking about how they would have operated the camera differently in the last scene. But, “everyone” has an opinion about the director. And if they get frustrated with their job, they are likely to blame it on the director.
When tensions get high, and there are disagreements, there is no “directing department” to stand along side you, no one to pass the buck to, there is only “the director.” So, be mentally prepared.
2. Be attentive to your actors
I’ve seen so many directors who are great at this, and a few who were so wrapped up in technical details, they ignored their actors. The actors need your time. If you neglect them, they will neglect you.
3. You can’t get what you don’t ask for.
Ask for what you need. The worst that happens is they say no. And even then, don’t be afraid to push back. 🙂 There is no one else steering the ship. If you don’t set the course, the ship won’t go anywhere.”
It has always been natural for Laura Beth to train or share advice on set. She’s been a cinematographer lab instructor at the LA Film School. She left her full-time teaching position to commit her time solely to making films but, she still occasionally will guest teach and mentor film students. Being an instructor and leader in the classroom prepared her leadership role as a Director and being in charge, multi-tasking, and instructing cast and crew all was a thrill for her.
“I loved every minute of it,” Laura Beth tells. “I found it quite easy to sort of “compartmentalize” and give myself “the set” as a director for a while, and then, release the actors and talk to the crew as a DP for a while. I was most concerned about working with the actors, but that ended up being such a pleasure. My ensemble cast was truly a joy to work with. They were receptive and flexible, and I had the most fun working with my actors on that show. The biggest new challenge, I think, was that I am used to operating a camera! It forced me to rely on other camera operators more than I usually do. …which is “new”, but an important skill. My crew was great. I had my usual guys in camera and g&e so I knew exactly what to expect from them, and they took care to be extra supportive of me.”
Just one of the many actors it was a pleasure for Laura Beth work with was the multi-talented actress, song writer, and singer Fay Gauthier. Playing the role of President Raney in an alien film was a dream come true for Fay as she shares. “When I was a little girl, I had nightmares of coming face to face with aliens. I used to watch the evening sky on high alert for UFO’s lest they catch me unaware. I also dreamt about someday becoming the first female President. You could say I had an active imagination. But thanks to Independents’ Day, I got to serve in the country’s highest office while fighting aliens. Talk about a dream come true!”
“It was a total blast working on this film. From the cast and crew to our real fearless leader, Director Laura Beth Love, I couldn’t have asked for a better group of people to share the adventure with. And speaking of Laura Beth, to call her Director is to leave out all the other duties she took on while shooting, including, but not limited to writer, script supervisor, cinematographer and runner. Whatever needed to be done, whenever it was needed, she was on it with unruffled grace and confidence”.
“This may or may not be the year we elect our first female President. But I’m happy to see the potential of it becoming a reality outside of movies and television. We certainly need more women’s voices in the world. And along with that, we need talented female directors, the likes of LB, directing more of our stories”.
The visual effects team for INDEPENDENTS’ DAY consisted of Glenn Campbell, Tammy Klein, Joseph Lawson, and Mike Verta. Laura Beth and Verta both are artists and she knew his keen eye for detail and creativity would help her achieve her vision with his VFX and music as she shares, “I also edited the movie, and brought in my close friend and creative collaborator Mike Verta to score the movie, contribute to sound design and add an additional 120 vfx shots to the film, the film has close to 240 vfx shots total!”
Being longtime friends, Verta knew the two would work well together along with The Asylum team.
“She put her heart into making the most out of the material; we both did.” Verta shared. “In addition to having to write the music and do a bunch of sound design, I ended up doing something like 120 VFX shots for the film. As the edit was coming together, she felt the first act needed a couple of action set pieces up front – one of two F-22 Raptors investigating a Mothership, and then a dogfight sequence between F-22s and alien fighters (we called them “Dragonflies”). We’ve known each other a long time and have similar sensibilities, and I’ve been in VFX almost as long as I’ve been composing music, so it fell to me to design those sequences and generate animatics for the edit, at which point we tweaked them together a bit and cut them in. Ultimately, since I had done all the work of creating the look and animation styles for the Motherships and Dragonflies, it just made sense for me to handle doing those final sequences myself, so that the Asylum FX crew could focus on the Alien Queen and Transport Ship shots, Drone sequences; a ton of other stuff like that. They are routinely asked to work miracles given their schedules and budget, so they were only too happy to have me take that workload!”
Laura Beth called Verta her“Fighter Pilot Unit Director” for INDEPENDENTS’ DAY. His ingenuity in choreography and VFX played a key part for a couple main fight pilot sequences as he talks about those scenes indetail, “In both the “Investigation” and “Dogfight” sequences, we had put in shots of pilots in cockpits – for exposition, dialog, etc., – but as things went on, we realized we were running out of time on the pick-up day to do them. The list of other more-important story things that needed to be shot that day was growing, so I volunteered to take a second unit and shoot the pilots myself. I’ve shot a ton of commercials and uncredited stuff, so I knew it wouldn’t be hard technically, and it would probably be a lot of fun, and it was. I’m always bothered by pilot-in-cockpit shots where the camera just sort of randomly shakes around “Star Trek” style, so I came up with this rig where we put the pilots in the back of a pickup truck under a half jet canopy and just drove around in circles. That gave us actual motion for the pilots and let the sun rake across their faces. It’s the poor-man’s gimbal, and the result was pretty solid. But mostly, it was just a blast to shoot. Most of the extras there on the day got a turn in the rig. I actually ended up playing one of the pilots myself, and even Laura Beth makes a cameo as one in the dogfight sequence!”
Music is one of the final tasks in post-production and yet is one of the most critical when it comes to stimulating the audience’s emotions. The composing was another job Laura Beth put her faith in Verta to do.
“By the time it came to writing the music, I was obviously very familiar with the film, and that makes the composing process much simpler. But while I knew what the scenes needed, and while I was clear on the thematic elements and style Laura Beth wanted, once again there were many times where her ability to clearly communicate her dramatic goals was a lifesaver. I was pretty wrecked by that point in the show – I’d basically done nothing else for 2 months with little sleep – so just having her be able to listen to a cue and laser in on what was or wasn’t most important to her made all the difference. In the end, it’s called Independents’ Day – it’s a mockbuster. Everybody knows what to expect from it. But I think this time people will find it’s got just a little bit more, too.”
INDEPENDENTS’ DAY is now availableon VOD and DVD. Visit The Asylum’s website for more information.