Words. Maralee Spalla Elliott

January 10th, 2011 by Conor

In Feb, 2010, I was looking for some talent for an upcoming snowboarding video project. I met my camera crew up at the local ski resort to do some test shots and see who or what showed up. We taped all day and got a lot of footage…on a lot of different athletes. They were all pretty amazing snowboarders. At the end of the competition, we moved up in the crowd to interview the winners.

I wanted to see if any of them could actually speak on camera. They were all more verbal than I expected them to be. They were all good looking, too. Danny had really made an impression on me though. When I was interviewing him, I asked how he had gotten the shiner (he had a wicked black eye)…and he said without missing a beat, “Well…apparently I can’t do a double cork” and he flashed a charming smile right into the camera. The crew, who were freezing and tired by that time of the day, completely cracked up.

Hmmm …I thought to myself, that boy has some timing. All of the other competitors left, but Danny stayed and chatted with us until WE were done. I made a mental note of that.

When I reviewed all of the footage later, in the studio in Hollywood, I had time to analyze the clips a bit further. Danny definitely had some sparkle to him when he was on camera.

I showed picture’s of Danny to my best “judges of hotness” (my HS girlfriends) and their responses were:

“Oh …cutie pie”


“Dang …too bad he’s just a little too old for my daughter”

There were some other responses…but they aren’t printable in a public forum. You know how high school friends can be…

So I thought, OK..he has the appeal. I think I will contact him.

Danny was on board with the project from the very start. The show format is a bit silly, but Danny did not have a problem with that. I thought he had a great attitude and definitely had more going on in his mind than just snowboarding . I rewrote the script with Danny as the star and sent it to him. At some point during our conversations he said, “You should talk to my brother…you can work this all out with him.”

Your brother? You…want me to talk to your BROTHER? What was this about…

I talked with Conor a couple of times and dealt with details and ideas for my shoot through a lot of texts.

Actually, I was happy to have found a kindred spirit in Conor. Not too many people get excited about video, and show concepts, and really good edits. Most people’s eyes sort of glaze over…and then they change the topic. Conor is funny…and his texts cracked me up. We had the opportunity to chat about some other things that he was working on. I started to feel like I was rooting for them to defy the odds of being newcomers in the production world.
It worked out that Conor would shoot some tape for me, while he was taping for Shreddy Times. I truly was not expecting much, but it was worth a shot because there just wasn‘t time left in the season for anything else..
It wasn’t until just recently that I looked at the footage that Conor had sent me from the end of last season. I was completely surprised.

It was all really good. Exactly what I wanted. Perfect in fact.

I offered Conor the position of second camera for the upcoming dialogue scenes. He had really earned that job.
I was feeling confident that it was going to be a good shoot. I was waiting for confirmation of the details from Conor and Danny… when this little bend in the road happened…

I am looking forward to working with Danny and Conor someday soon.
Best wishes for Danny, Conor… and their family and friends who are giving them support,

Maralee Spalla Elliott
Producer- Extreme Indoor Recess

One Response to “Words. Maralee Spalla Elliott”

  1. Heidi Cluff Says:

    What a great post. One I can even relate to, even after not seeing either of them for many years. They are both beautiful people inside and out, and as I’ve stopped by Conors FB page every now and then since being friends, it always seems as though they are eating up all life has to offer. Very admirable.

    Another person looking in from NH. Sending love & light.

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