Adventures in Filmmaking

By Nicole De Meneses

When it comes to the adventurous and often spontaneous world of video production, beginner auteurs and even season pros can get bogged down and side tracked by technical and business related issues that can distract from the creative process. Pull My Focus was created to provide tips and tricks to guide would-be creators through the trials and tribulations of filmmaking with cost effective, DIY solutions.  

Frank Dellario and Manu Smith, the force behind Pull My Focus, leverage their over 20 years of experience in the “biz” while keeping up to date on current film making techniques and trends. Constantly being bombarded by questions from friends and peers on recording dialogue properly and how to create film transitions, they were compelled to share their knowledge with the film community but in a fun and creative way through humorous videos.

They cite The Electric Company as one of the shows that have influenced the tone and presentation of their videos. The Electric Company was an educational children’s television series from the 70’s that used sketch comedy, cartoons, and songs to entertain their audience. One of the things that set Pull My Focus apart from other YouTube channels is their infectious sense of humor. You will be hard pressed to watch one of their videos and not crack a smile while learning a great deal in the process.

The other element that sets them apart from the YouTube pack is their years of working experience on film sets and in studios.  Frank got his start working as a PA while he attended The School of Visual Arts in NYC in 1987. He worked his way into the grip/electric department and has over 10 years of key and dolly grip experience. He also has 1st AD experience as well. He created a trade magazine called FilmCrew in 1992. Frank’s willingness to share his film knowledge has been a huge part of his life. FilmCrew published from 1994 to 2000 and had subscribers all over the world, with technical and fun articles geared to the film crew community.

Manu started working as a recording engineer in Brooklyn in 1990. In 1993 he opened up his own studio and teamed up with Frank to as one of the pioneers of Machinima Animation. Machinima uses the graphic engines of computer games to create animation in real-time. Manu did all the audio and coding needed for their early productions. The transition into editing was a natural fit. Assembling pictures to create a sequential story the same way he would assemble audio to create a track proved to be kismet.

The way the Pull My Focus team collaborates and works with one another is their biggest strength and greatest asset. Their skills complement each other in a yin-yang fashion. They write and shoot their own segments, Frank focuses on preproduction and production, and Manu focuses on editing and audio. Frank creates and assembles the shots for his segments and then sends them to Manu to finish. They have worked together for over 20 years. We should all be so lucky to have a creative partnership that rivals most marriages.

Some great behind-the-scene photos from a recent shoot: