Behind The Scenes: The Making Of "The Origins Of The Po' Boy Sandwich"


by Mike Houston and Dan de Graaf For the New Orleans episode of Mind of a Chef, we were asked to depict the origins of the Po' Boy sandwich. We loved the rawness of the story, so we decided to approach the segment by time-lapse painting and collaging the historical timepiece on a 14 foot canvas.

We conceived of, storyboarded, painted, and shot the segment.

The shoot was over four days in a studio with no A/C in the hottest week of August in NYC, using a three-camera time-lapse setup with one motorized dolly rig.

The main challenge of the piece was nailing the timing of both the painting and the camerawork essentially on the fly.  Even though we went into the studio with a well-timed storyboard, we still had to calculate how we would achieve that timing based on the amount of hours it would roughly take to create the entire scene, and then deciding the camera motion distance and frame intervals accordingly to match our vision for the specific shot.

We had a lot of fun doing that though, and it was exciting to embrace the elements of chance and performance to accentuate the raw sentiment of the piece.

A panoramic picture of the Brooklyn studio during the shoot.01_poboy_pano

All the characters were jigsawed, propped, and painted on the fly.02_poyboy_figures

A big spoon. 03_poboy_spoon&cam

Painting letters while balancing on a paint bucket.04_poboy_paint

Another panoramic. 05_poboy_pano2

Caught in the act of jigsawing. 06_poboy_jigsaw

Dan programming the dolly. 07_poboy_cameras

Dan and Mike carrying the spoon for a frame by frame entry.08_poboy_spoon

Watch: An Animated History Of The Po' Boy Sandwich

Mind of a Chef