A month ago, I left New York—drove from Brooklyn sixteen hours straight to Peachtree City, Georgia. When I pulled up, a few of my favorite people were on the back porch of a normally quiet suburban house. We were gathered to film another ornana short. The band was back together.
After a few long hugs we dove into a production meeting, because there is nothing that feels better than digging our hands in and working side by side. When late night meetings lead to early morning shoots and work is broken up only by meals together two things become imperative: faith in the project and faith in each other. Both result from individual talent collaborating fully. As a group, ornana is committed to growth through inspiration for each member by each member.
The philosophy is that if everyone is to contribute optimally then each person has to shed the “my role, your role” paradigm and open up the dialogue as, “how do we do this?” Ego can only interrupt. Each time out, the entirety of production serves as a teambuilding exercise, “how can we work together to accomplish these goals?” The extra time taken for collaboration shows through in the films, as well as the group dynamic at ornana—anything is possible when everyone involved believes. By working together in this dedicated manner ornana has been able to operate outside of the commercial filmmaking model, which is of great importance to us.
“If it was easy everyone would be doing it,” Jim Henson. If ornana had an office and if they had a break room in that office with an inspirational quote above the water cooler, it would be that one. Still, the Henson quote serves as a mantra for the group. Process is king. Shortcuts are for people who want to be doing something else. The goal is the best project, achieved through thorough focus on each step of the process, taking every opportunity to strengthen the message.
Each film works to combine distinct visuals and audio to confront the audience with stories that create original experiences—layering all the elements to pull the audience into the conflict and envelop them in the narrative’s environment. To achieve full narrative immersion no part of the process can be handled perfunctorily. Instead, care must be taken to ensure each decision is made for betterment, not ease. This process-oriented approach to filmmaking has been the driving force behind work that is being appreciated at film festivals internationally. Though, dissatisfaction has taught as many lessons as success.
As time passes, ornana continues to hone these collaborative processes to create new content aimed at engaging the audience in a genuine manner. The work persists in challenging both the creators and the viewers. We are committed to pushing the limits of storytelling and film collectively. We are looking forward to sharing more of our work with you.
Check out more about ornana here and here.
And you can check out our work on exitstrata.com too– euphonia trailer
and the last short we completed (notes) on biology
[Editor’s note: Benjamin Wiessner wrote the above.
He started working with ornana in 2008.]