Behind the Scenes of Killing Kennedy for National Geographic

Tonight on the National Geographic channel, they are premiering the movie Killing Kennedy, which is a movie based on Bill O'Reilly's New York Times best seller. If you've ever wanted to be transported back in time to be able to witness a moment in history, this is your chance. We have an in-depth behind the scenes view from Joey L. and Andy Baker, the Creative Director at National Geographic.

The amount of time and effort that went into the preview for this movie was astounding. There were five different sets going on at the same time and at any given moment, there were about 30 people on the soundstage. It was all done in Richmond, VA in a mere three days. They had one day to pre-light with a 30×40 foot Chimera soft box for lighting cars, a Briese focus umbrella, and Broncolor flash units. Then they had two days to shoot with an insanely talented group of actors. Andy explained the first day of shooting was about twelve hours and the second wrapped up around eight hours. They utilized five separate shooting locations, as well as taking shots in various stairwells and outside with a small Red and stills crew. Even with the amount of people on set and the intense schedule, I was able to talk to Andy about how they created this experience. Andy is the Creative Director at Nat Geo and he also runs The Client Blog, which we've talked about here before. Andy approached this project from both the talent side and the client side, and shows how we can learn from other people to better our working environment. With the intensity of the project, as well as the size, it was imperative that everything flow smoothly. National Geographic was a familiar place for the creative groups, Variable, Joey L. and The Mill to work together. An amazing talent pool with previous experience working together meant that they would do nothing short of amazing with the production. The creative goals and schedule were managed down to the minute. Andy explained they had some hiccups, but quickly hurdled them due to the close knit group and meticulous schedule.


Above: Early concept sketch for the shoot by Sebastian Koever


Above: Photo by Caleb Adams


Above: Photo by Caleb Adams


Above: Photo by Joey L.


Above: Photo by Joey L.


Above: Joey L. with Andy Baker overviewing 


Above: Photo by Joey L.


Above: Photo by Joey L.

In the behind the scenes video, Joey mentioned that everything was perfect, but what they were able to control on set would only make an image an eight, but when that one spontaneous moment happened, such as Ginnfer crying, the shot ranked right up to a ten. This was explained well by the aspect of the "meta-artist" in the article we posted a couple weeks ago on creativity. An individual artist might not be able to accomplish everything by themselves, but working with other talented creatives brings out aspects that might not have happened on the individual level. Andy explained that since the production was rich in not only content, but historical value there was a strong desire to nail every aspect in the shots.

There were multiple trailers but if you really want chills, feel free to watch this one.

Make sure to follow Andy Baker on The Client Blog for more in-depth, behind the scenes views at other upcoming shows and campaigns for National Geographic, as well as his twitter. Joey did an in depth behind the scenes on his blog as well. If you miss the premier tonight on National Geographic, it will be replayed throughout the week.


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Edward Porter's picture

Yo dawg. I heard you like diffusion, so I put a layer of diffusion on top of a layer of diffusion on top of a layer of diffusion so your lights be diffused. But seriously, Joey is an awesome down to earth dude. Thanks for the link.

Randy Curtis jr's picture

This is awesome , I would love to meet these people! Goes to show that your vision and the belief in it can bring about some amazing things.

I'm hoping that The Variable makes Joey L's "People of the Delta" film. That would be insane! These peeps are so dang good!

Another amazing work by Joey L! I remember seeing Variable's video, so it's great to see the still images coming from this project. And I love, love, love the light from the Briese Focus. Had the opportunity to work with it for a shoot and the light quality is stunning! Edge to edge brilliant light! Oh, and expensive, too, lol.

I saw 1 image of the series and immediately new that it was shot by Joey. I really like his style!!

Noam Galai's picture

Another amazing work by Joey.

BTS are nice looking just big disappointment came after watching whole move