Jay Christensen, a Minneapolis-based aerial cinematographer, got the invitation of a lifetime March 9 when “Right Up Our Alley,” an 87-second video he shot with a drone swooping through a bowling alley, went viral, with 7.1 million views to date.
Stars like Elijah Wood praised it. “I kept saying, ‘Just let me know when Kid Cudi sees it.’ That would be the pinnacle for me,” Christensen says with a laugh. Then a shock: James Gunn saw it and tweeted, “I want them to come with us to London later this year when we shoot Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.”
Christensen, 25, got into drone filmmaking in high school. He’s fascinated with the technology as a way to enhance story, not just to show cool shots.
“A drone can move through cracks and crevices to tell a story.”
Rally Studios, the production house where Christensen has worked for two years, produced the video for free to promote the newly reopened Bryant Lake Bowl & Theater on Lake Street, the site of racial-justice protests after George Floyd’s killing by police. Christensen spent a day with his team planning the shot, with sound design added in postproduction.
Neither Gunn nor Marvel have not formally reached out, but the young filmmaker is excited and proud. “It all comes down to the story the shot has to tell,” he says.
Oh my God this drone shot is stupendous. 🎳 pic.twitter.com/bUcfRtq70O
— James Gunn (@JamesGunn) March 9, 2021
A version of this story first appeared in the March 18 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Click here to subscribe.