At the Bread Factory: How filmmaking and bread-baking have a lot in common.

The roof deck at BKLYN Commons.

In 2016, TimeTravlr Creative moved offices to BKLYN Commons, a new co-working space in Brooklyn. Prospect Park is around the corner; the Brooklyn Botanic Garden is across the street. The building itself is the former Bond Bakery building, a majestic, aging factory built in 1925. The no-longer-operational clocktower still marks the gateway to Prospect-Lefferts Gardens (PLG) and greater Flatbush from brownstone Brooklyn, and the once-beloved bakery was known for wafting the yeasty aroma of freshly baked bread throughout the neighborhood.

No bread is baked in the building now, but here at TimeTravlr Creative we’re doing a different kind of baking. Though you won’t find any yeast, flour or salt in the TimeTravlr offices, making bread is actually an apt metaphor for the filmmaking work we do here on a daily basis. Here are a few of the things making bread and making films have in common.

  • Start with a Great Recipe. You would never set out to make a delicious loaf of french baguette or tasty caraway-rye without a terrific recipe (unless of course you’re already a master chef, which is kind of saying the same thing). The same is true for filmmaking. Having a clear plan in place before you get started makes the process that much more effective, ensures that you and your team are tracking toward the same result, and gives you a much better chance of coming out in the end with something that looks a lot like what you set out to produce, so that you don’t end up with a bunch of rolls when you meant to make kouign amann.
  • Ingredients Matter. Just as making a delicious crusty loaf of bread depends on having the right mix of the right ingredients, the quality of the films we produce depends completely on what we put into them. Having the right team and the right tools in place — from camera, sound and lighting, to logistics and creative direction — and bringing the ingredients together in the right way, is what makes for a successful film project that yields delicious results.
  • Good Results Come from a Good Process. To make good bread, you have to knead the dough. The same is true with films. The editing process is a lot like kneading: once we’ve gathered the footage for our film, we spend time massaging the material, pushing and prodding and mashing it up to get the gluten-y goodness of story to bond and gel together. While some films can be cut in a flash after only a gentle “knead,” most of the time, editing is a rigorous process that involves a lot of forearm strength, a few rolling pins, and believe it or not, a razor-blade or two. Who knew filmmaking could be so messy? And, just as dough can be over-kneaded, films too have to be carefully handled, or one runs the risk of pushing too much air out of them. Over-cutting can be just as detrimental as under-cutting.
  • Letting it Rise. A good film, like a good dough, needs time to take shape. Giving a film some time to settle (or your own mind to settle) is as important as slashing the dickens out of that film. Taking time away from an edit to get perspective is as critical as letting the dough prove away happily in a corner of your kitchen.
  • The Bake. Once the cut is finished, or the dough is risen, it’s time to bake. That means sound mixing, color correcting, outputting, and throwing the dough into a burning hot oven and waiting for it to turn into bread. Seriously, do not underestimate the importance of the bake. Getting that film out there without going through the necessary finishing steps can be akin to throwing a big blob of dough on the table and calling it bread, or smacking a huge hunk of burnt crust down and declaring it “delicious.” I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty sure everybody can tell the difference.
  • Presentation. Ah yes. Presentation is everything. Just as a baker would never just toss her loaves in a pile or roll them across the floor, how you present your film can make all the difference. Setting your film apart with a pretty package—from things as simple as which thumbnail you choose for YouTube, to what your poster art looks like, to how you optimize for search — can mean the difference between a lump that sits in a corner untouched, and a delicious centerpiece that everyone can’t wait to enjoy. Sometimes your marketing needs marketing, and presentation matters.
  • That Special Something. None of this would mean anything at all without that special something. You can have the finest ingredients and the best people together on a project, but without that special something, that extra pinch of love, care, and je ne sais quoi, you can easily end up with a pile of tasteless nothing. Vision, craft, inspiration, magic. Daily practice. It’s the difference between that perfect loaf and one that’s only “meh.” You wouldn’t want to eat a loaf of “meh,” would you? Yet so many of us do, because we’ve forgotten, or we’ve never been shown that going that extra mile can make such a big difference. Films are the same. Without that spark of love, your audience will chew politely, nod and smile, and then spit what you’ve served them in the nearest potted plant when you’re not looking.

Don’t bake lousy bread. Give us a call.

At TimeTravlr Creative we know that Great Stories Change Lives. And that baking good “bread” takes patience, care, and hard work. We love working with our clients to ‘bake’ great stories that make a difference. Have a story that needs to be told? Please get in touch!