As the nominations for the 2010 Grammy awards were announced in December, Sach Baylin-Stern was sleeping, unaware that he had been nominated for his work as a producer for a music video. It was only after he was woken up by a telephone call from a former boss that he knew what he was in for.
“I was still waking up and I sort of felt a little bit shocked,” remembered Baylin-Stern. “I remember for the first five or 10 minutes I didn’t fully comprehend what that meant.”
After checking the Grammy website and sifting through the long list of categories, the news sunk in. The Concordia psychology graduate was nominated for producing a music video for local band Beast entitled “Mr. Hurricane.” The video, featuring a computer-generated man made up entirely of bees, is up against tough competition, including Coldplay’s “Life In Technicolor II,” and The Black Eyed Peas’ “Boom Boom Pow.”
The nomination came as a surprise to Baylin-Stern. “I never ever once even suspected that I would be nominated for a Grammy. We’re the obvious underdog; we’re an enormous underdog,” said Baylin-Stern. “I knew that the quality of what had been produced was really something special. I knew it would go far. It’s an incredible thing.”
Baylin-Stern began producing in 2002 after working on Edgar and Jane, a short film directed and written by Jay Baruchel. After approaching NÃºFilms at an audition for a role in a music video, he became a production assistant. Since becoming a producer Baylin-Stern estimates that he was worked on 75 to 80 productions in the last three years, including videos for Plants and Animals, The Stills, Hey Rosetta!, and The Most Serene Republic. While the majority of his work has been on music videos, he has also produced a small repertoire of short films.
But Baylin-Stern doesn’t take all the credit for the nomination of “Mr Hurricane.”
“The reason that we were successful was because the team was motivated. We had an incredible cinematographer, Christophe Collette, an incredible 3-D artist, Joshua Sherrett, an incredible, incredible, director, Ben Steiger Levine,” he said. “My job was to give them all the resources they need, to stay motivated, to keep the team tight, and to stay patient.”
With the Grammys quickly approaching at the end of January, Baylin-Stern has turned his attention to starting a production company, Antler Films, along with two Montreal filmmakers. Antler Films boasts the same team of Collette, Sherrett, and Steiger Levine that led to the nomination and other local and Canadian talent. “I’ve assembled a team of directors that are the crÃ¨me de la crÃ¨me of Quebec and Canada,” he said.
Antler Films will continue to produce music videos for homegrown talent and international artists alike. But Baylin-Stern is going to expand into films, both short and feature length.
As for his degree in psychology, Baylin-Stern laughed that it has solved more than enough disputes over his producing career.