Skip Cohen: Marketing for Photographers at creativeLIVE

Update 6/9/12: Thanks to all of the creativeLIVE viewers for visiting my website and checking out my blog. Day one on the show was really fun and informative. Skip Cohen has a wealth of knowledge that he has been so  gracious to share. Good luck in your creative endeavors. On to day two!

(Original post) Okay, I’m not really an orphan. But I would like to be a student of Skip Cohen at the creativeLIVE studios on June 8th and 9th. No money is involved, all you need to do is watch and hit the  like button on my very short video. After a lot of hard work I am finally gaining traction producing videos for business and corporations and work in film sets as a director, DP and sound recordist. But my long term strategy is to balance my work in the world of sound and motion with stills work. I’ve actually been a photographer for a very long time. I offer services as a commercial, event and portrait photographer. Even though I get a lot of complements for my work and am constantly upgrading my skills and gear I still have a lot to learn on the business side. Skip is known as a master of marketing and is sure to help me focus my energies in this area.

You can connect with Michael on the social media via the following links:

Kleven Creative Services on Facebook

MPKK on Twitter

Michael Kleven on Photoshelter,

Google+ Vimeo

Thom Jode on Flickr

& Lifesavrewow on Youtube

Clients in an Election Year

New Clients in an Election Year

If you are running for office and need to to get your message out fast without sacrificing quality check out the professional filmmakers and photographers at Kleven Creative Services. Call us at 206-307-7588! We are happy to work for business owners, non profits and arts organisations as well. Getting your message to your audience, (with style and grace), is job number 1!

Guy has a website up so I wanted to share that with you first. The videos I made for him are under the tabs ‘Issues’ and ‘Take Action‘. Read below to find out why the shoot was so much fun. As usual I have taken much too much time between my blog posts. If I spent half the time here that I spend on social media I’m sure I would have a hundred additional posts. So the big news is that after working with a new client Howard Hale, a search engine optimization expert located on the East Side, I took his advice and updated my listing on Google Places. Not 7 days later I was contacted by a man running for State Senate in the 1st District Guy Palumbo. He asked me to create a series of videos to help launch his campaign. I’ll share two of the shorter ones with you now. It was an incredible experience for he. Although difficult with the short turn around he had requested and tight production day. We shot all 5 videos within 5 hours and I edited over the next 36 hours.

I also had the unique experience of adding Closed Captioning for the 1st time to an online production. It was very important to the client that his videos have Closed Captioning for the deaf and hearing impaired. Although new to this I was excited to learn something new and help out folks in the disabled community. I used this handy Youtube subtitler app to somewhat streamline the proicess.  It will help you produce a text document that can be use to add text to video on various platforms. The other app offered by Youtube gave me nothing but head aches. This is the only one that I recommend. An added bonus is once you have added Closed Captioning your video can now be found more easily by search engines!


Here is the 1st video I produced. Guy Palumbo: Take Action



And the second. Guy Palumbo: Independent Thinking


If you are also running for office this election year and need video, portrait or event photography please get in touch. Call me at 206-307-7588 or send me an email. My rates are reasonable and I will do my best to help you market your campaign. I also do corporate films and work promoting non profit groups. Let me know what you are looking for and information about your budget and I will create a proposal for your review. Here is more about what I can do for you on my video services page. I’m also available as a freelance Director, DP and Boom Pole/Sound Mixer Op. Here’s more about my freelance services and gear. Thanks for taking the time to visit my blog.

A Guide to Wintertime Survival

A Guide to Survival in Winter

Seattle’s had been experiencing a very mild Winter until the epic snowstorm of January 2012. While maybe not epic to those outside of Seattle it was a welcome break from the regular. Now that rains has returned and slush flows freely in the streets I and many like me have returned to the norm. My response to the brief exposure to cabin fever was to double down my focus on creative pursuits doable in or near my home.

A Winter Road

The first project was a set of  HDR photos of the farm up on 88th. It’s a lovely vista with a peak of Lake Washington in the distance. I hope that 10 years from now that it isn’t being converted to Apartments!



The Yellow Bird

The next project happened when I was getting ready to ride my mountain bike in the snow. I had the door open as I got my gear ready for the ride. I saw lovely yellow and black bird flying around the porch maybe looking for some shelter from that snow. Suddenly he was in the house. I grabbed my camera and shot some video before I attempted my rescue. Watch the short film to find out what happened next. Turns out he was a Townsend’s Warbler who had been fooled my our mild winter.

My other big projects this week were two days of Gaffing and Cinematography for the web series GLITCH and a portfolio set starring my bike in the snow. I’ll try to post that group soon. It includes an interesting 360 degree panorama of my bike in the snowy forest. I’ll search for a place to host it online.

Other good news this week includes 3 jobs in addition to GLITCH, includes documentary and portrait photography commemorating the 50th Anniversary of Dr Donald and Mary Malins, a promotional video for Dex One – Rooster Down Tattoo Gallery and a series of videos for an Eastside SEO guru. The week before I landed a gig to do work as a boom pole operator/sound mixer for a short film highlighting the treatment on Filipino veterans of WWII. 2012 is off to a good start!

Crow Town

I started school in Kenmore and lived there until age 10 when the family began the transition that would lead us to Bellingham. Kenmore was a small town back then, still is, but much of the country charm has left replaced by a certain suburban quality decidedly upscale. I remember when I was a kid the firemen would let me play with their white dog with black spots as I stared in amazement at the shiny brass pole they would slide down during an emergency.

The drive-in was called The Arctic Circle or AC for short. The teenage girls who worked there would save the ice cream cones that had collapsed during their creation and sell them to me at a reduced rate. You would just ask for a “mistake”. My Grandma worked at the local thrift store called the Wigwam and my grandfather was a race car driver at a place called Sky Valley. I guess he was pretty good.

Two days ago I was looking for some inspiration and I looked up in the sky at the wave after wave of crows passing overhead as they made their way up the lake to there roosting areas in the marshes and forests beyond. I ventured down to the water and captured a few of the crows as well as the unique industrial area and the setting sun beyond. These are a few of the pictures I took.

Podcasts for Filmmakers I

Last year my housemate turned me on to podcasts. Since then I  have become hooked myself. Podcasts are free, informative and often entertaining. Most of my podcasts relate directly to film production, writing, pre-production, post and distribution. I want to share a few with you today.


The Art of the Guillotine from founder Gordon Burkell is focused on editing and post production. Whether you are an editor, a filmmaker or just interested in the process this is a great podcast to keep you up with what professionals are thinking. In particular I recommend the three part Canadian Cinema Editors Sound Panel featuring Jane Tattersall, Mark Gingras, Jill Purdy, Steve Foster, David Hayman, and Michael Doherty C.C.E.  This series delves deep into a world particularly dear to me; post production sound. In my opinion high quality post production sound is one area that separates the average production from the outstanding. You can subscribe to there podcast The Cutting Room here oniTunes. Art of the Guillotine on Twitter

Another awesome podcast for filmmakers and fans of indie film is The Q & A with Jeff Goldsmith. Jeff has a nice personal touch while talking with top players in the world of indie film. At the same time he still always gets to the point. Recent podcasts I really enjoyed were one with Indie Director and Actor Ed Burns talking about his new film Newlyweds. Ed describes how even a filmmaker of his stature is forced to make films for nano-budgets! On the positive he also describes how this may be a sustainable business model for indie directors. Another inspiring podcast was with Pariah writer/director Dee Rees. This podcast delves deep into her creative process for that film, how she went rose from Production Assistent to Director and exciting projects she has coming up. This podcast will be particularly interesting for those interested in screenwriting, and for that film in particular. Here is a link to subscribe to Jeff’s podcast on iTunes. His work is consistently an intriguing mix of personality and theory. Here is a link to the Jeff Goldsmith Twitter feed.

My third and final podcast Simply Scripts focussed on screenwriting and the business of screenwriting. Featuring Literary Agent, Babz Bitela of Silver Bitela Agency. Babz has a charming delivery while cutting through the BS and getting to the essential elements of story telling and script marketing. I have two scripts I am finalizing right now, GI Joseph & Mary and Grand Coulee. I really appreciate Simply Scripts for the way it shares important elements of the writing process. Her is a link to subscribe to Simply Scripts on iTunes.

Salinas San Francisco Pebble Beach Soledad & Big Sur

Click on the photos to view the galleries on Photoshelter. Photos are available for purchase or license. Your patronage is greatly appreciated!



I recently spent 8 days over the Thanksgiving holiday with my family in Salinas California. It was a refreshing departure from the wet and cold of Washington State. My aunt and uncle were excellent hosts and I had quite an adventure. Here is a small update. Earlier I had omitted the series from Salinas. Their are some really cool buildings around the John Steinbeck Center downtown. All and all the town has the ambiance of America 20 or 30 years ago.


We took a day trip up to San Francisco on Nov 26th the day after Black Friday. Me, my aunt Becky and cousin Katie. Traffic was a mess but we had a great time. We visited the district around Union Square. I was suddenly very excited as this is where the opening scenes of one of my favorite films, Gene Hackmen’s The Conversation take place. If you haven’t seen it please do. It is a great film, complex, subtle, yet the message is clear. I don’t think they make films like that anymore. We took a quick drive through Fishermen’s Wharf then made a stop to see some tall ships and brave souls taking a late November swim. We finally made it to the park overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge just in time to capture some dazzling images in the twilight. I’m so glad my family puts up with me and my camera.





My aunt Becky is a hostess at The Tap Room at The Lodge at Pebble Beach. If you are in the area do stop in. The hamburger with cheese and bacon was the best ever. I promise a week of nothing but carrot juice! Later I toured 17 Mile Drive snapping lots of pics and shooting a bunch of HD Video, what for I am not yet sure. Amazing sites along the drive included The Lone Cypress, Spanish Bay, Fanshell Overlook and Point Joe. Photos of these can be seen in the gallery below. I took some interesting time laps shots of the stormy sea and had some fun with the effects in Lightroom.




Me and my Uncle Bobby visited the Corral De Tierra Golf & Country Club. The next day we took a trip to the Monterey County wine district. We started out near Soledad California at the Mission Nuestra Señora de la Soledad. Not for the communion wine but for a taste of the local history. The Mission was founded in the 1700’s when California was still the property of the Spanish crown. At some point in time the area became the property of the United States. It is a very charming and well kept establishment. Our 1st wine stop was Paraiso Vineyards One of two wineries that have lovely views of the valley below. As Bobby tells it much of the wine that sells in Napa Valley actually comes from Monterey County. Our next stop was the Hahn Estates also with a view, Wrath Wines, with a view of the haunted house you can see in my gallery, Manzoni and finally Pessagno. After several trips to the tasting rooms of the various wineries I realized that it was all good. And indeed it was. The wine tasting fee was small and waived if a purchase was made.




Before I left I made it down to Big Sur. My mother tells me that as a young child I stayed at Esalon for a time. Perhaps this is why everyone tells me that I seem so enlightened. I stopped in at Cafe Kevah at the Napenthe Restaurant. My hostess must have given me two ounces of jasmine green tea in my tea pot. I do love a good pot of tea. With two visited crows and 50 miles of coast to look at it was a very high tea indeed. I only had time for a quick stop at Pfeiffer Beach. Amazingly the sea has made two tunnels in the massive stone which protects the beach. Which do you think will win the sea or the stone? I had a glimpse of the future when the local gas station charged me $5.69 for a gallon of regular. My fault for not gassing up sooner. On the way home I rescued a small teddy bear near the Big Sur lighthouse. It was dirty and had no legs but was otherwise a charmer. I propped him up in a tree looking out at the lighthouse. Hopefully he will be there for some time to come.


Thanks for taking the time to read my blog. Hopefully you also enjoyed taking a look at my galleries as well. Those interested in my motion and video can view my film, motion graphics and TV portfolio here.

Blog in the year 2000

Blog in the year 2000.

This is a website for a short science fiction film I worked on this Spring. I was a Boom Pole/Sound Mixer. I also took some kick ass production stills during my breaks. Check it out. In talking recently with the director Dave Miller I believe the premier will be coming up later this Fall. The film was shot on 35mm film on $150 thousand dollars of professional equipment donated from Panavision. I was balancing things quite nicely with my Zoom H4N digital recorder, Senheisser ME67/K6 Shotgun Mic, K-Tek Boom Pole and Senheisser HD 280 Pro Headphones

L2K Production Stills by Michael Kleven

About the film:

Lucky is a “relationship representative” who saves prospective couples the time and drudgery of courtship by professionally standing in for one of the parties on a first date. She evaluates the level of likely interest in the other party on behalf of her client. In the year 2000, the use of relationship representatives has become so widespread, it is a near-certainty both parties are representatives standing in for their respective clients. Lucky finds herself in an unusual predicament and a role for which she never rehearsed, when she is assigned to meet with Lena Nigari, a young woman doing something unheard of — going on a date herself.

Documentary Filmmaker Doug Block Explains It All

Check out this informative podcast episode from my favorite podcast Film Courage. In this episode Doug Block goes into great detail discussing how he went about creating and distributing several documentary features and his forum for documentary filmmakers The D-Word.

Me  and  Sandra Kleven, a writer and filmmaker in her own right, are currently in the process of developing our own feature documentary Jumping Russian Rope about Native Artist Neva Rivers, Hooper Bay Alaska and previously unidentified historical Russian influences on the Yukon/Kuskokwim delta of Southwest Alaska. Using remnants left from Russian explorers and traders in both the language and DNA and potentially a previously undiscovered shipwreck, our film hopes to push back by several hundred years the record of Russians in this region and greatly expand upon what is known today. In the process viewers will gain a unique perspective on the land and its people. Doug’s advice comes at a key time for us, as we pitch our film to potential funders, collaborators and participants.

Thanks again Film Courage, for rising above and beyond with the high quality of your coverage of indie filmmakers, their creative process and professional practice.

Final Cut Pro X: Positives

I really like this rebuttal to those who have been hating the new Final Cut Pro X. I first found this posted to the Facebook Page of my favorite podcast Film Courege. Be sure to check them out. I haven’t purchased it myself yet. But I feel confident after watching this video that I will be happy with my results. By the way, I have started a Michael Kleven Facebook fan page who those who would like more news about films I am working on, access to my photographs and occasional tidbits about my acting career. I hope everyone has been having a wonderful Summer with at least one good hike, family picnic or amazingly awesome vacation. We here in the Northwest must now prepare ourselves for 8 months of potential gloom. Actually from October to May we usually have at least 10 nice days. I really shouldn’t be so pessimistic! I hope you enjoy the video as much as I did.

From the videos description: “In this special Tekserve event, presented by Evan Schechtman of and Outpost Digital, and co-sponsored by Manhattan Edit Workshop, we took a look at the history of digital video editing—with a particular focus on Apple’s Final Cut Pro X, and how this just-released software sets the foundation for the industry’s next big revolution.”

Check it out:


Alice: A collaboration with filmmaker Amanda Murphy.

As a filmmaker myself this film helps points out the power of collaboration. So often our creativity becomes stymied. We focus on future gigs, new production and editing software, new cameras. We forget that the reason we started this process was so that we could create and collaborate with other artists.

The production plan for the camera department was largely improvisational. My approach to the production was similar way I approached my Dutch Bikes piece; to discover the essence of a “process”. Of course more goes into it then that. Amanda and I are both graduates of the film program at Seattle Central. I should warn folks that some of the shots in this film may be difficult to view. For my part I am impressed with it’s overall quality. Amanda edited the piece nicely.

alice from amanda murphy on Vimeo.

The project was filmed in Capital Hill neighborhood of Seattle Washington. The camera used was the Canon EOS 7D. The lenses used were the Canon 50mm f/1.8 and the Canon 18-135mm f/3.5-f/5.6.. Lighting was achieved through practicals. The music is from Nine Inch Nails Ghosts I-IV released by Trent Reznor under a Creative Commons license. I was attracted to the interesting decorations found around the studio apartment and included some of them in my shots. Amanda was a brave and talented performer/filmmaker.

The film program at Seattle Central is scheduled to end forever in 2014, barring an economic miracle. I am still holding out hope that the program can be saved. Perhaps with closer integration and a sharing of resources with the existing photography program and the schools Creative Academy? It would be sad for future students to miss out on an opportunity to create. Seattle’s art, film and media communities will miss the yearly influx of talented technicians and artists.