A Very Personal Project

Title Episode A Meet-Early Marrage

A Very Personal Video Project:

Last winter, I realized I had developed the skills to produce a documentary film about my parent’s lives. Philip & Eleanor Smith were just teenagers when they married in 1945. Seventy years later, they are still an active busy couple fully engaged in their own and their family’s lives.

Initially I dismissed this idea. It did not feel compelling. I mentioned it to my friend and photographer Steve Prezant. He said, “I can understand why you would not want to do this, but I can tell you that if you don’t, you will regret it one day”.

I began this project by developing a list of questions to ask my parents. I shared this list with family and friends who generously contributed additional lines of inquiry. I sent the questions to my parents prior to filming. I wanted to stimulate their memories and to give them time to think about their answers in order to make the filming more fluid.

I wanted the footage to not only tell an interesting story I also wanted it to look good and sound right. I realized that I could not be the Director of Photography, The Sound Person, The Lighting Grip and The Interviewer all at the same time. I needed help. So I reached out to Nic Justice who took over the cameras and allowed me to concentrate on prompting my parents and helping them tell their story.

My parents can kill you with love and attention. My mother at 87 is still a force of nature and my dad, at 88, is very sharp with a kindness that is very charming. Nic got the full Smith Family experience when we drove to Detroit to film the interviews over a Fourth of July weekend.

I first envisioned this as a 30-90 minute single narrative. But the minute I started to edit I soon realized that no one would watch something that long. I decided to break it into six short ten minute episodes that would cover distinct parts of their lives.

My goal was to have this first episode finished for our family’s annual Passover gathering. Watching the smile on my parent’s faces, and seeing how their grandchildren and great grandchildren enjoyed hearing their stories turned this personal project into a labor of love.

Watch film, run time 1o minutes, at: http://tinyurl.com/o4yeqre

Nic Justice Website: http://nicjustice.com

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The Performer

The Performer


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Philip & Eleanor

The First Episode of Philip & Eleanor is now available for viewing:  http://www.zavesmith.com/MOTION:/Philip-&-Eleanor-Episode-1/1

This is the first episode of my documentary on my parent’s lives.  It runs for ten minutes.Title Episode A Meet-Early Marrage


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The Cure

I love making people smile. My photographs have a strong element of energy and fun to them. This year, my New Year’s resolution was not to loose weight but to return to direct mail. I remember walking into Art Producer’s offices and seeing postcards and posters plastering the walls and overflowing from the cabinets onto the floors. Today, I see a lot of empty space on those walls. Why should I not help fill those walls with some fun and beauty?

I wanted to create a direct mail promotion that would enhance my photographic brand of images that are full of fun, energy and life. I also wanted to create a mailer that would share my potential client’s office space for a while and maybe bring a smile into their busy days.

“The Cure” is a beautiful 8oz blue glass bottle with a silver cap that contains miniature M&Ms. These bottles are wrapped in a silver label that reads, “The Cure: To cure creative block take two and call, Zave”. This bottle sits on top of a tri-fold brochure of my images. The bottle and brochure are then nested in white crinkle paper and packaged in an attractive box with “The Cure” stamped on it.

I also created a social media component by taking photographs of the “Cure” bottle in various environs like Joshua Tree National Park and in the casinos of Atlantic City. I then posted one of these photos each week during our mailing cycle on social media. I mailed 40 boxes each week over five weeks. Each week’s recipients received an email stating that, “several lucky people will find “The Cure” in their mailbox this week. Might one of them be you”?

It is hard to know the impact of a promotion this soon. We have received many “Thank You” emails and suddenly people are answering the phone when we call.

We artists get hired for our vision. Vision alone in today’s crowded market will not grow business if potential clients are not aware of one’s work or struggle to remember who created that wonderful photo they recently saw. We hope that our “Cure” helps Art Producers remember our name and our images. We hope our “Cure” will bring a smile to our brand.

http://www.zavesmith.comThe Cure

Palm Springs

3-The Cure

4-The Cure

5-The Cure

6-The Cure

7-The Cure

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My interview today of Konstruktivist.net


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That Avo Moment

Smoking Jazz Night


“The lights are low and the music is hot. A small group of friends are sharing a moment and sharing the pleasures of a good cigar”. This was the creative brief that we received from Michael Olsson of Colangelo, to create that perfect “Avo Moment” for the campaign launch of their new Cigars.

After the usual rounds of portfolio viewing and multiple bids, Zave Smith and his Agent/Producer, George Watson of Watson & Spierman Productions, were selected to create this “Avo Moment”. Three models were cast, rooms full of extras were invited and a wonderful jazz trio provided both the musical inspiration and visual texture that was needed to make this scene feel real.

We hope you enjoy the results…

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The Battle Resumes

Model looking at her portrait.

Model looking at her portrait.


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