Iron Man

A Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Film

Iron Man is a story of a boy named Brandon who has cancer. He is the 2018 boy of the year for Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. This means he gets the honor of sharing his story with crowds to inspire helping LLS and educate people about curing cancer. This story was produced by Pennylane.

At one point Brandon tells me about his port and how he feels like a superhero. This small little line helped shape the core message in this film. Now he will enter the Gala after this video in his Ironman attire. As a dad, I was crying like a baby editing this piece. My heart goes out to any parent who goes through this.


The 3 Acts

  • Act 1: Before Illness (Setup)
  • Act 2: The Illness (Conflict)
  • Act 3: Recovery & about LLS (Resolution)

Music Licensed

“Begin Again” by Matt Hires
“Awake” by Michael Ottosson
“Mothers and Fathers” by Matt Hires

Director’s Commentary

The title of the film Ironman was not planned, it was something that was triggered by Brandon’s interview that we’ll see later on about three-quarters of the way into the film. So when we reached that scene we’ll dive a little bit deeper into that.

We open up with Brandon grabbing his backpack and taking out his baseball glove and ball and having a catch with his father This defines the father-son bond. It immediately transitions into the conflict of the story.

We had both Brandon and his parents tell us about finding the lump in their interviews, but we felt it was more powerful to utilize Brandon’s part of the interview to introduce the lump.

Although I did bring lighting the interviews for the parents I did in the dining room. There was a large window that I used as a key and that was the only source of light available light, which I thought came out great. So I filmed both them and Brandon in this room to utilize that light.

It’s always tricky when you have two people in an interview because you have to decide between one mic or two mics, but I use the Rode NTG3 and it performs really well if you put it in the middle and just do a few tweaks to make sure that their voices are even when you’re testing the audio before shooting.

One of the most emotional moments in the interview was when the father talked about not being able to go into the room to be part of telling Brandon that he has cancer. Everyone handles it differently and some people just simply shut down. That really choked me up when, when we were filming.

This film’s act one, two, & three is a little different than the norm. Our act one is very short and our act two ends a little bit past the halfway point extending the length of our act three. But the way we break up this story is the setting, the conflict, and the resolution. Human curiosity says, “well, what happened to the boy?” So we’re, we’re about to tell them.

Something we discovered when we were editing this was the father’s reference to superheroes with him drawing. And it clicked immediately when we talked to Brandon. Brandon tells me about the port in his chest where they have to give them medication, but he also references that Iron Man has a port in his chest too, so it makes them feel like a superhero. And that really hit home for me. It was a no-brainer to name this film after the reference of Iron Man and it really speaks volumes as to Brandon’s character.

We took a Dedo 650 light and bounced it off the ceiling. It’s very quick, very simple way to light a scene soft and move on. Same lighting technique while they’re playing video games as well. It’s very important that we’re in and out of these shoots within four or five hours so we can keep the cost down for the nonprofit. 


Tech Stuff

  • 5-hour shoot
  • I shot this myself and had a rep from LLS sit in the interviewer chair for eye contact. I do this with select non-profit clients of mine including LLS to help save them money and create a better ROI.
  • Canon C100
  • Rode NTG3 mic for interviews
  • Available light during interviews
  • Dedo 650 light bounced off the ceiling for video game and drawing scenes
  • Edited & graded on Premiere Pro
  • Hospital hallway clips repurposed from a previous shoot from my studio
  • The hospital monitor clip was licensed from videoblocks.