If you’ve caught a viewing of the PBS-based television series “Live at 9:30,” you know each one-hour variety-based episode focuses on concert excerpts for up-and-coming and internationally known artists, interviews and short film footage of the happenings at the well-known Washington, D.C. nightclub. You might not realize, though, that the production services for the show were done by the Silver Spring-based Chiet Productions.
“It was a great experience to meet some of the amazing artists we grew up listening to,” said Justin Chiet, the company’s owner and director. The show gave him as well as fiancé and producing partner Brittany Warrington and their crew the opportunity to interview and film more than 50 acts at the venue he has frequented since middle school. “There are not a lot of people out there that get to find a way to do what they like to do as a hobby as well as make it a profession and enjoy doing it and have such passion doing it,” Chiet said. “…It’s great to be able to create this (company) with (Warrington) as well as everything we have created together. It’s paving our own way and writing our own story together.”
While growing up in Gaithersburg, Chiet recalls drawing, creating short stories and making his own comic books. Eventually, he said, “I realized I could translate that into real life through photography and eventually video and film.” The Quince Orchard High School alumnus would later be drawn to film. After seeing movies like “The Matrix,” “Fight Club” and “Memento,” he said, “I realized I could turn all of this into a career and combine it into what I have seen on screen.”
Born in Greenville, S.C., Warrington moved to Easton at age 10. She was a freshman studying psychology at the University of Maryland Baltimore County when she first met Chiet in 2007. Warrington was acting in area music videos and short films, and Chiet cast her in some productions when they transferred to Towson University. They began dating in 2009.
Although accustomed to being in front of the camera, Warrington became interested in behind-the-scenes production aspects. “When I got on set, I realized there was no one producing,” she said. “No one overseeing that they stayed on schedule and making sure crew had food and everything was safe. With my Type A personality, I realized that producing was a job and something I could be good at.”
While working as a camera operator at a television station, Chiet pitched an idea for a music show featuring male and female hosts interviewing local bands on a couch in a college apartment similar to the movie “Wayne’s World.” The result, “On the Couch,” became a popular show, which Warrington would co-host. The experience provided valuable lessons on how to direct and produce with a multi-camera crew.
After both graduated from Towson, Chiet Productions officially registered as a business in 2012. Specializing in music cinematography, documentaries, commercial and television production, the business has grown each year since. “A lot of our clients are clients we have had from the beginning,” Warrington said. “We’ve never really advertised. Pretty much all of our business we get through word of mouth.” In August, they wrapped principal photography on three episodes for an educational series that was picked up by Discovery Education.
The couple approach each client on a per-project basis. “Every project is really unique, so our game plan is always to, at first, really understand, in their words, what they are looking for and what their needs are,” Warrington said. “We get asked a lot ‘How much for a commercial?’ or ‘How much for a music video?’ And I explain that it really depends on so many different factors because different size companies and different individuals have varying budgets.”
“Rarely, will we turn a client down just because their budget isn’t enough,” she said. “Instead, we try to work with them to figure out ‘OK. With your budget, what can we offer you?’ And rather than break the bank and do one television commercial, let’s think more long-term and do three or four smaller videos spread out over time to get the most for their money. That’s what is unique about us. We really care about each client and how we can make their budget work for them.”
Chiet enjoys meeting new people, telling and bringing their stories to life visually in the way they would most hope to be seen. “We are always on the prowl with every new piece of technology that comes out and everything that we can use it to tell (stories) in a new way and a different way and be ahead of anyone else also trying to do it,” he said.
For more information, visit chietproductions.com.