Sidestep is very happy to have Brandon DeLong as our Casting Choreographer!
Brandon is a native Texan who was introduced to dancing by his family, but actively refused to enjoy it as he struggled to learn. He eventually fell in love with dance after taking lessons. This unique perspective encouraged him to become a teacher to help people like himself - people who wanted to challenge themselves to be better dancers, but needed a helping hand.
He is the three-year consecutive winner “Top Teacher” for the Alamo City Classic Ballroom Dance Competition. He also won San Antonio’s largest ballroom dance competition, Alamo City Classic Showdance Showdown four times for Viennese Waltz, Foxtrot, Quickstep, Foxtrot.
When he's not teaching, he performs in all types of events, shows, and competitions. His real passion is the excitement of seeing his students display their progress on the competition floor.
Sidestep is thrilled to have Val Frazee as our Key Hair & Makeup Artist!
Val is a writer, actress, and hair stylist. Originally from Las Vegas, NV, she is now a resident of the greater Austin area. She has published one novel and is currently working on her second. She has been featured in film, television, and stage, When she's not acting she is working at Sweet 101 Salon (located in the Blue Lion Salon Studios in Cedar Park)
"Story telling has always been my passion. From the time I was alittle girl I have been interested in people and their every day stories. If you look in my bag, you'll find a notebook. I can't leave home without it." -Val Frazee
Sidestep is beyond thrilled to have Jenna Covarrubias as our local San Antonio Production Designer!
Jenna is a junior Radio Television Film major at The University of Texas at Austin. She currently has a short film titled “returning” that she wrote and directed last fall in the festival circuit. She has experience in all departments of filmmaking and is very passionate about the art department. She hopes to continue this passion while pursuing her goal of working as a director full time.
Sidestep is excited to have Lara Britton as our 2nd AD!
A musician from the start, Lara is a classically trained pianist who (naturally) turned to opera to fulfill her performing needs. That led to a little Gilbert & Sullivan, then a little musical theatre which (of course) led to acting on stage without music (oh the horror!).
In Austin that means acting on film, so she started doing that, too, with hopes of becoming the next Cynthia Rothrock. Life got in the way so that never happened, but she has written and directed a few short films. A glutton for punishment, she keeps writing and directing with hopes of making a feature.
In the meantime, to deal with the angst that all this art gives her, she does Kung Fu.
Sidestep welcomes Katy Couron to the team as one of our Associate Producers!
Katy is from North Carolina and now lives in San Antonio. She graduated from NC State University. She was recently an Air Force Intelligence Officer for nine years. She is now self-employed and diving head-first into the filmmaking world.
She is famous for her organizational skills and killin' it with a spreadsheet.
She loves the way movies can make you feel good, emboldened, challenged, or uncomfortable. They have the power to make you think differently, to experience a different circumstance, to see the humanity of others or a deeper understanding of yourself. So if her organizational skills can be used in any industry, filmmaking is where she wants to use them. And we're thrilled to have her expertise on Sidestep!
Favorite part of Sidestep so far? Meeting new people and learning more about film production.
Sidestep is ever-so-grateful to have Nicole Davis on board as one of our Production Assistants!
Nicole is a San Antonio native and attending school in Austin at St. Edward's University for a BFA in Acting and a Minor in Musical Theatre. She works as a Teaching Assistant for the SEU Music Department. She is also a Producer for student film company Quiet on Set , Co-Managing Director for Transit Theatre Troupe, and a Senator for the SEU Student Government Association.
She just finished work as the titular character in local SA short Interview with Anna Ruiz. She has won awards for outstanding performance, creative, and service work from St. Edward’s University this past 2017-2018 school year.
She just finished learning with other young filmmakers at UT RTF Workshop this past summer. Which is something she love about being a Production Assistant on this project - it has been a wonderful opportunity to learn and grow under Natasha Straley, her dear mentor and friend. She believes in the power of art, how it brings people together in both creation and consumption. She believes that this project can do that.
Sidestep enthusiastically welcomes Jonathan Rios as one of our featured dancers! He's one of the smoothest dancers out there.
Jonathan is from San Antonio Tx! Graduated from a small town 20 mins south of San Antonio in the city of Somerset, Texas (GO BULLDOGS). When he's not on the dance floor he's working for an awesome bar named Howl At The Moon as Head of Security. Even at that he still finds a little way to get on the dance floor and boogie!! His favorite dance move is too hard to choose so he'll just go with saying DANCING is his favorite move.
He just loves dancing.
"To see us dance is to hear our hearts beat."
Jonathan has won multiple dance competitions in San Antonio and loves traveling to other cities to compete with his awesome friends. He's just someone who loves to dance like the rest of y'all!!!
He loves that he's going to be a part of the Sidestep cause it's an awesome story and he'll be working with awesome people. AND he's ready to show some of his cool moves to the world lol!!! He is also part of an awesome dance team called CNF (Country and Family SaTx), a group of friends that love to go out dancing.
Y'all go check out their YouTube/Facebook/Instagram!: @CNFSATX
Sidestep is excited to have Nadia Gonzales on the team as one of our Makeup Artists!
“Nerdia Cat” is a makeup artist, filmmaker, illustrator, blogger, and a genuine lover of the arts and all that it has to offer. She graduated from the University of Texas at San Antonio with a Bachelor’s degree in Art and is also a licensed cosmetologist. She prides herself on only using products from makeup brands that are ethically conscious, cruelty-free, and sourced from sustainable resources.
Currently, she is an elementary teacher by day and a filmmaker by night. She has worked on many indie films, features, commercials, and documentaries. Nerdia Cat Makeup + Art is a business she has been growing that consists of all her artistic business ventures. She is based in San Antonio, Texas.
Follow her on Instagram: @nerdiacatmakeup
Sidestep is honored to have Camden Elizabeth on board as our NY Unit Production Manager!
Camden is a NY-based actress & producer with film, TV & theater experience in US, Europe & Asia, alike.
She started at Comedy Central doing Brand Marketing & Event Production. From there, she launched Suitcase Productions: an indie production company, producing shorts, web-series & featurettes.
Follow her Instagram: @camdengaultney & @suitcaseprods
Sidestep is ecstatic to have Kat VanCleave on board as our New York Production Designer!
Colorado grown, California honed designer & filmmaker currently living in NYC. She dreams up & designs the worlds your characters live in— the textures, the colors, the architecture, clothes & shapes— everything visual from set to screen. That’s her jam, the design jam.
Immense THANK YOU to Felicia Belle Floyd-Wildman for joining the Sidestep team as an Associate Producer!
You've seen her gorgeous face live-streamed with prizes from Wild West San Antonio and heading up public fundraisers at Avocado Cafe & Juice Bar and Burleson Yard Beer Garden. But you haven't seen all the work she's put in behind the scenes...this lady kills it.
She is mama to 3 boys, a serial entrepreneur, and is loving the life she and her husband are creating. Sidestep is one of the first films she's ever worked on and she is thrilled to a be a part of this beautiful creation by her dear friend of many years. She had NO IDEA how much goes into making a film, but is along for the ride and happy to support however she can. In fact, you know that Avocado Cafe & Juice Bar we love to talk about? That is her family's cafe! Take advantage of their bake sale supporting our project by emailing your order to email@example.com!
Check out her other business: By Felicia VA Services + Success Coaching. The work she does here effortlessly translates to her producing skills.
If you're interested in being a Background Actor in this film, this is your lady! Email your selfie to firstname.lastname@example.org.
She's excited to meet more Sidestep fans and help Natasha bring her magic into the world!
Sidestep welcomes Chris Ivey to the team as our Choreographer!
Having played football with the New Orleans Saints, Capital City Bulls, and Dallas Vigilantes, his on-field experience only enhances his dance skills. When he's between games currently playing quarterback for Team USA and the Austin Vipers, you'll find Chris on any given dance floor across Texas.
Chris was born and raised in Texas and began dancing after college. His only previous “dance” experience was with his Martial Arts and the Katas he has learned from former Ballerina, current Tae-Keon-Do Master and beloved friend, Joy Turberville. When his college girlfriend tried to teach him how to two-step, Chris became determined to learn how to dance. He went to dancehalls every night to learn from the locals. It wasn’t long before he found himself in the midst of the popular dancehall dancing circles.
Chris then began learning more advanced moves from more advanced and professional dancers. Chris also began teaching dancing at different dancehalls before he began to compete.
He has competed and won in several ADCA and UCWDC competitions across the US. Not to mention his countless dancehall competition wins across Texas.
Chris believes dancing is about passion and chemistry and the pure love of connection. He enjoys creating new moves with dance partners and testing boundaries of what's possible. Through his competitive spirit, he found his true passion for dance. He still strives for perfection and strives to become better every day.
You will find him dancing at various dancehalls across the state, feel free to walk up, say hello, and ask for a dance! He will only smile and take you for a spin!
Sidestep is thrilled to welcome Jes Ann Nail to the Sidestep team as our New York Dance Instructor!!!
JesAnn has been a mover and a shaker since the young age of 3. Ballet, Tap, and Jazz is where she started as a dancer, but later, she focused on Gymnastics and Competitive Cheerleading. In college, JesAnn took an interest in Yoga, Modern, Hip Hop, and Salsa, which eventually led her to a ballroom teacher training program in 2005.
After teaching and competing on the American Ballroom circuit for about 6 years, JesAnn started to direct her attention toward West Coast Swing (WCS). Enjoying the improvisation and creativity WCS offers has allowed her to freely express musicality within her unique dance style. JesAnn’s love for WCS continues to grow as she travels all over the world teaching, DJing and competing.
In 2017 she joined Dancing Classrooms as a Teaching Artist, teaching Ballroom to 4th graders in public schools in all 5 boroughs of New York City. She currently resides in Brooklyn, NY where she is a full-time dance and yoga instructor.
Check out and 'like' her pages here:
Follow her on Instagram here:
Welcome aboard, JesAnn!
Sidestep is very honored to have Richard Patterson on the team as our New York Unit DP & Stedicam Op!
Richard Patterson is founder of Four Bent Corners production company and a native New Yorker. Richard is a regular content creator for BBDO Studios, MSG Networks, HGTV, The Food Network, and RADO Swiss Watches. He has been honored the AFI Film Festival and has had select films included in Sundance and TIFF.
In 2017, he recently directed and executive produced, Soldiers of the Sea, a short documentary focused on the swordfish fishing culture of Messina, Sicily. Richard was the Director of Photography for the NBC Sports feature documentary Dark Horses, which aired before the Belmont Stakes 2018. He was the DP for the 2016 U.S. National Endowment for the Humanities
feature documentary Errol Flynn’s Ghost, filmed in Cuba.
His career began as a staff photojournalist at the Miami Herald and followed with a contract freelance position for the New York Times in South Florida. He graduated Florida International University in 1999 - B.A, English Literature.
Check out his work here:
Congratulations to Shell Soren for winning our #sidestepdanceoff contest!!! Keep inspiring, girl!
And thanks to Wild West San Antonio for the fun prizes!
Stay tuned for next contest later this summer!
Huge THANK YOU to everyone who participated in the #SIDESTEPDANCEOFF! We saw A LOT of impressive moves out there and had some strong contenders! Y'all are crazy talented, please keep dancing!!!
Huge CONGRATULATIONS to our #SIDESTEPDANCEOFF, Sidestep Master of Dance, WINNER, Shell Soren!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Special thanks to Wild West San Antonio for the prize!
Shell absolutely stole Sidestep's heart. Her story of leaving stresses behind happens to actually parallel with the story of our Sidestep film. Dancing directly from her heart, Shell's graceful moves on the floor exemplify the power of dance. Thank you for sharing your story and your talents with us, Shell!!! We're excited to see you grow as a dancer and continue to inspire others <3 <3 <3
"Dancing is so therapeutic for me. When I’m dancing, I don’t have to worry about the Normal every day stresses. I can just go out and have fun! I love that! I’ve been dancing for 1 year and I’m in love with it! I can’t believe I’ve gone this long in my life with dancing and I can’t imagine my future without it! ♥️💃🏻 #sidestepdanceoff" -Shell Soren
Don't worry if you weren't this month's winner - we'll have another contest later in the summer. So keep practicing those moves!
We here at SIDESTEP Film are hosting an online dance competition!
Show us your best moves by submitting to our Facebook Page. The winner will get posted onto our page as well as bragging rights that they are the SIDESTEP Master of Dance.
Submissions for this contest don't even just have to be you.
They can be of your dog, your grandma, your dog and your grandma, you with your friend just embarrassingly dancing it out in your car, your baby (if you don't have a baby, borrow one).
So literally (okay, virtually)...
COME DANCE WITH US!
We'll announce winners at the end of the month.
The last few weeks have been a whirlwind. Have you heard this terminology from me before? Something is familiar here...
One of the biggest, bestest, most amazingest moments of note is we began production on Sidestep Film. Like. It's happening. Like. We completed one whole scene (well...half of the whole since we'll be cutting between this and our lead's face throughout). And not just ANY scene, but the one that takes place in New York City with Forest VanDyke playing our lead's best friend, Michael.
I have to say I was moderately heart broken when I found out we'd have to push the shoot dates for the San Antonio Unit, but I wouldn't have it any other way now. This thing wanted its New York voice heard first. And we all heard it. It felt good to kick this it off in my element - dodging on-coming traffic through a crowded crosswalk full of elbowing pedestrians.
My heart is singing.
I can't describe the sense of flow I feel when we're filming. And even when we're working through technical difficulties (which is inevitable). We've all come together to create something special. And how freaking lucky are we that this is what we're doing today?! I mean. Come on. We are full on guerrilla-style filmmaking with our skeleton crew of seven. This is pretty great.
And this team! Let me tell you about this freaking team!!!
Forest provided us all with the highest quality of performance. Funny yet heart-warming.
Rich showed up with some great stedicam skills. Intuitive and effortless.
Taylor jumped in and somehow filled in all the gaps. Like. All of them. Communicative and strong.
Trevor brought a sharp eye to his AC skills. Pleasant and focused.
Marc did whatever it took to get the sound right. I mean...whatever it took.
Kat jumpstarted the project's aesthetic dressing Forest in the hottest wardrobe. Fierce and unapologetic.
Camden kept us on time, nourished, and safe. Vital (and lovely!).
Everyone had a great demeanor and was a joy to collaborate with. You know people love what they do when they want to continue working after scheduled wrap. "One more take" was requested and quickly granted. Maybe more than once. Thank you, to each of you who made Day One of Sidestep such an incredible joy.
I hope to work with each and every one of these folks again on future projects.
Next up...huge meeting this week to map out our plan of execution over the next several months. Making this thing happen.
Hey everybody meet SIDESTEP's lovable Jules played by Alisha Banks. Alisha is an Austin original commercial and film actress. An actual trained dancer, she pursued her love for the arts through dance and theatre, studying at Ballet Austin's Academy and performing in musical productions such as "West Side Story", "Anything Goes", and Rodgers and Hammerstein's "The King and I." But that's not all! Her bright smile has appeared in commercials for Google, Shiner, WellsFargo, LL Bean, Dell, Fiat, and the spokesperson for Sparefoot.com.
She is represented by Zephyr Talent Agency and is thrilled to be working on Sidestep!
And we're thrilled to have her!
#sidestep #stepstogether #makeitbetter#womeninfilm #localfilm #safilm
Not an easy one to write...
I've directed many different types of films. I don't mean genres. I mean - they each have their own personality. Some are reserved and allow you to delicately take the lead as they flourish into something beautiful and grand. Others are like a wild beast you must tame and you only have the power to hope it doesn't destroy you along the way. And then there are the accidental gems that extend a hand and gently nudge you to remind you you never had control anyway, "Get out of your own way," they whisper. Ok.
The only thing they all have in common is that each one is unique. They all have their own breath, their own rhythm. I find the best way to approach each one is with a strong team. So I surround myself with the best person for each job - sometimes this means the person with WAY more experience than anyone else on set and sometimes it means the person with absolutely no experience who is hungry to create. But it's always a competent, collaborative and creative team.
It's important to me to create a safe space on set where everyone is allowed to grow. I encourage newbies to ask questions. I'd prefer to answer a million questions and have you learn than have you scrambling for the answer on Google search (...been there...) and end up causing a delay in production. And I sure as hell listen to my seniors. You are the guiding light and your wisdom is highly valued. A film crew quickly becomes a family. I sort of imagine we all landed in this industry after escaping some dysfunction. I mean, right? Let's create a healthy version of a family you enjoy visiting (don't worry, Mom, I love visiting). Of course, conflicts will arise. Open communication and transparency are the only ways of getting through them.
So. All this to say. Sidestep is a new film personality to me and we're still feeling each other out. We were originally scheduled to begin filming tomorrow. In fact, I should be reviewing my shot list right now instead of writing this note.
But we realized we needed more time. And more funding.
Simple as that.
Under the original deadline and budget, I found myself making endless compromises until I no longer recognized the story. It was no longer within my grasp. Yes, the story will organically change and breathe and take a life of its own. And I'm excited to see it grow into something I can't even imagine - something only a team of creative individuals can develop together. We made the decision to postpone production in order to give us the time to have those conversations. And raise more funds. We are moving forward with our New York Unit next week, but principal photography is rescheduled for later in the summer.
The best part of the reschedule has been the team's response. I was concerned about losing momentum, knowing everyone has been working very hard very quickly under this intense deadline. I didn't want to unravel their efforts. I am pleased that every single person has come back with enthusiasm, support and a sense of relief. We were all feeling the pressure and now we have the room to do this right. So. Much. Gratitude. To these people.
There is a scene in Sidestep where one of the characters accidentally steps on the other's foot as they begin to dance. They then take a moment to recompose themselves before they find their flow with the music and with one another. This reschedule in production feels an awful lot like that moment - I eagerly jumped forward before my partner was ready and I may have scuffed a boot. But we've shaken it off, I've apologized. My partner is back in hand and the eye contact is strong. We're connected again and now able to step into this dance together as one.
Let's cue the music.
Need a dance partner? Meet a DANCER in front of the camera, our actor, "Michael" aka Forest VanDyke. Every actor, like every hero has their origin story, this hero's gateway into acting was... singing! Talk about a triple-threat!! Having hailed from Austin, Texas he has always had this innate calling to music, living his passion first through singing gospel at church as both a canter and church choir, to singing in the reputable Austin Children's Choir, and later the the prestigious Princeton American Boychoir School (#blessed). He performed at Carnegie Hall ya'll!! That was in High School, come college he graduated with a BFA in Acting from Texas State University. Post-college he already started to work professionally by moving to the#bigapple, booking his first national tour gig earning him the coveted Actors Equity Cards. He the joined the international singing/recording group, Teatro, with TEATRO now apart of Broadway Pops International. Besides that Forest has since worked on new productions with wonderful directors and artists like Saheem Ali (A Free Man of Color, Goddess), Kevin Del Aguila (Altar Boyz, Peter and the Starcatcher), and John Rando (Urinetown, The Toxic Avenger). Forest is clearly more than just a "DANCER" he is a multi-talented tour-de-fource. We here at SIDESTEP are happy to take these next couple STEPS with him on our SIDE.