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Kevin McGrail and Dynamite Productions

November 9, 2010 | By | Add a Comment

Jessica Green

Kevin McGrail

With everything that he has accomplished, you would never guess that Kevin McGrail is only 22 years old. Co-founder and owner of Dynamite Film Productions, McGrail is carrying out his childhood dream of being a film producer.

It all started when McGrail and his crew were in high school as members of the television department. The five of them turned what was once a pile of old equipment that no one knew how to work into a functional studio, and the seed was planted.

Fast forward to four years later, after the guys had all gone to college and parted ways. A new film contest sponsored by doorpost.com brought them back together again, and the short “Puppy Love” was born.

The purpose of the contest was to pick a word and make a five minute video about it. McGrail and his team decided on “love,” and produced and directed “Puppy Love,” a comedy about four high school friends who are after the same girl. The film was well received, and was a turning point in McGrail’s life.

“It really was the starting point of what launched me into the career move of wanting to be a producer. As a result, more projects came to be,” he said.

After McGrail moved to Chicago from his home state of Michigan, he got involved with DePaul University and their digital cinema program. DePaul has been a great resource for McGrail and his company, thanks to its program called DePaul University’s Project BlueLight. Filmmakers are able to put together a brief proposal to be reviewed, and in turn receive a grant from the school in the form of cash and equipment to make the film.

Kevin McGrail, "The Balancing Game" movie

This is how McGrail and his team produced their latest film, “The Balancing Game.” Shot in 2 ½ weeks, the film is currently in post-production.

McGrail is in the process of getting his master’s degree in digital cinema at DePaul. He received a bachelor’s degree from Michigan State University in electrical engineering, which has come in handy during production.

“It was a big jump coming out of engineering into production, but I was able to adapt using the math tools and skills they taught me and apply them into real life,” McGrail said.

He gave an example of this when they were on a shoot and two of their breakers blew out.

“I was able to temporarily fix it and not have to waste everyone’s time. It’s an example where I used my electrical background to make do with what we had,” he said. “Stuff like that happens all the time, where you have to use past experiences and what you’ve learned, think quickly on your feet and solve problems in production.”

Another problem that McGrail has encountered has to do with money. He stresses how important it is to ask for the appropriate amount of money when in a pitch or meeting.

“You’re telling them you can deliver a certain type of product. You can’t sell something that’s not up to the standard of what you’re promising,” he said. “The business aspect is a big challenge, I’ve made some mistakes, but you live and learn.”

Kevin McGrail's "The Balancing Game" in the making.

And McGrail has certainly learned the business quickly considering his age. Luckily, growing up in the digital age has made it a lot easier.

“Being a low budget producer I have more mediums available to get films out there than before,” he said. “The Internet is an amazing tool, and you should use it properly to exploit yourself and your films. I wouldn’t have a single clue how to promote myself if it weren’t for the internet. It’s the best thing that happened to low budget filmmakers as far as distribution.”

Dynamite Productions offers all production services, including memorial service videos, commercials, PSA’s and more. Teasers and trailers to “The Balancing Game” can be found at thebalancinggame.com.

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