Dedication and Inspiration: Inside Eddie Schmidt's Documentary 'Good Bread'
Eddie Schmidt created and directed “Good Bread” as part of the Focus Forward initiative from Cinelan. Crafting an “incredible three-minute story” was the challenge Schmidt faced in relating the tale of ex-cons and at-risk youths going straight by learning the noble trade of baking bread at Homeboy Bakery in L.A.
What were the challenges in keeping documentary under three minutes?
Eddie Schmidt: It forced me to think about everything I am doing as a storyteller, as opposed to having an open canvas where I can just keep painting. I wanted the piece to feel natural and have some breath in it so you can feel what it’s like to be in that bakery and to be a guy turning his life around. That was the trick for us: to tell a three-minute story that feels like it goes somewhere but doesn’t feel like it’s rushed getting there.
How was it shooting on location?
We shot for two consecutive days. The first challenge was that the color temperature differs throughout the space. We couldn’t turn off their lights or change the bulbs because it’s a massive space and they were working in there. We augmented their lights with lights of our own to normalize the color temperature of the space. Then we did a color correct at Chainsaw Post to make sure it was all even. It was very important to me to have a warm feel because I felt that thematically, food and bread, it’s all a very warm experience. It plays in to your feelings to have that visual sense of warmth. We didn’t want it to tend toward being a cool blue or green.
Arlene Nelson is my DP. She shot on a Sony PMW-F3 camcorder using prime lenses. This meant we couldn’t zoom, which can be tricky with scenes of cinema vérité, but I think it was a worthy tradeoff for the sumptuousness of the look overall. Sound was another challenge. All those machines hum and everything makes noise. Tim Kitz was in charge of production sound and did an excellent job of keeping the sound really clean.
How is their bread?
It’s all great! They fed us during filming, and it was the best eating that I’ve ever gotten on a documentary shoot.