Meet the filmmakers

Beef and Pie Productions is a three-headed monster: Director Mike Woolf, DP Andrew Yates and Exec Producer Karen Yates.  Since 2001, when we printed our first t-shirt, we've  approached our work with one goal: to tell the best damn story with the given budget. From day one this set us on a unique path for a production company. First and foremost, we have always been a Director/DP team (kinda unheard of 10 years ago). Second, we brought editorial in house (also unheard of). Third, we invested in owning the best equipment: a Red Epic Dragon, Red Scarlet, steady cam, a suite of film lenses and at last count 6 Go-Pros. Oh, and a traveling Nespresso machine. What this has always made us is an independent film production company. So that's made it possible for #4) pursuing our passion of making documentaries. Fifth, and maybe most importantly, we're still doing it. Together.

Add this all up and you get the number 10. You also get an experienced, filmmaking company that knows what's important: Telling a great story, being honest and collaborative with our creative partners and starting the day with good coffee and ending it with craft beer.

A note from our Executive Producer

"Mike and Andrew have been married for 11 years now. They first met when Mike needed help filming a documentary and didn’t want it to look so,“shaky.” Their love bloomed when they realized Mike’s writer background was yin to Andrew’s photography yang. In fact they each have yin/yang tattoos discreetly placed on their bodies.

They have a unique dynamic on set. Mike fights to make every single line, take and set up to tell the best story. And Andrew is fighting to make every single shot look beautiful. So together they are a formidable force that is fighting for you, always working toward the same goal of making your project as awesome as it can be. 

Hand in hand they have filmed from US Air Force bases to Deion Sander’s crib, from monkeys on dog-back to longhorns in grocery stores, from the back roads of Texas to the slums of Detroit, all climaxing with a rocket launch in Kazakhstan.

They’ve had five little babies and a big one premiere at SXSW Film Festival. But  their life together isn’t always caviar on the red carpet. Like all couples they have their moments.  You’ll catch them bickering over coffee intake, whose b-roll is more prominent or how did they end up wearing the same t-shirt to set.

But at the end of the day they are proud of the work they create, happy with the relationships they have built and confident they gave it their all."

- Karen Yates, producer

The Story Behind the Name

We were having trouble staying on the road.

It’s hard to stay on the road when you’re massaging your belly moaning, “beeeef… beeeef… beeeef.” The gluttonous amount of ribs in our belly were depriving our brains of the much needed oxygen required to stay awake – let alone keep to the center lane. We had just convinced our crew to drive 35 miles out of their way to eat at Bodacious BBQ. No one minded at the time since this is BBQ at it’s finest. All the meat at Bodacious is spectacular but the ribs, oh the ribs, they are so tender, so smoky, so endless.

But now, back behind the wheel, with another three hours of highway in front of us things were looking bleak. It was at this point Andrew did something that is still horrifying to the day – he takes out his “pie to go” – a thick slice of pecan pie in one of those plastic single-serving wedged-shaped containers – and actually eats it. It seemed impossible and actually quite dangerous.

Now the belly rubs were accompanied by the low guttural chant of “beeeef and piiie…. beeeef andpiiie…beeeef and piiie….” With heads back, hands on belly and without taking our bloodshot eyes off the road we said, “sounds like the name of our production company.”

It was our second shoot together.

Let’s Break it Down

Wow, you're still reading.  OK. Director Mike “Beefy” Woolf spent seven years at GSD&M as a writer and creative director.  He created over 80 spots there but none have lasted longer, or made him less money, than “Wanna Get Away,” for Southwest Airlines. In 2000, he became a freelancer so he could spend less time in meetings, and more time wondering how he'd make a living.  This early retirement made it possible for him to pursue making documentaries.  He has spent thousands of hours interviewing real people and has learned how to get them to tell the story in their own words. He has the vision to use all the tools in the filmmaking bag - from edit, music, graphics and mix - to tell a great story.  This is one half of the reason you feel confident when your commercial is in his hands.You can see the first Wanna Get Away plus a bunch of other work in SD on his writer site: MikeWoolf.com

On the other hand, you've got Director of Photography Andrew “Pie Pie” Yates. His sole filmmaking passion is for every single shot to look as great as it can be. This should not be taken lightly - because he fights for every set-up to meet his standards of visual excellence. The most satisfying part is that he knows how to do it.  Yes he's won fancy awards for the likes of Texas Monthly, Southwest Airlines, and Bank One - and had his work featured in CA, The One Show and Print, but more importantly, it's the endless shoots of cell phones, computer screens, spine parts and building architecture that give him the experience to make ANY situation look great. His photography site: andrewyates.com

Now we're getting to the important stuff.  There's really no way to overstate this - you can't have Beef and Pie without Ponies. That's what we call Executive Producer Karen Yates.  She's been working the numbers, a million different ways, for a million different situations, for 10 years now.  That's like 1000 years of experience in dog years (that was for you Dottie!!). As only experience can bring, she knows what's important within those numbers.  She knows the ways to make a client comfortable before the shoot ever starts.  She balances the budget so the money goes on camera.  And don't forget that we often take projects through post so she's got a 30,000 foot view of the dollars so she can deliver a final project that meets hopes and dreams.  Once cameras are rolling she's got a great bedside manner.  She provides a gentle conduit of communication from client to agency to the director team and back again.  She's too modest to admit it but she's one of the best at what she does.  Dottie agrees but will say anything for another treat.

Since our humble beginning we've had editorial in house.  And for the past three years we've had Kingslayer on the keyboard!  Most of you know him as Landon Peterson - but he's earned the title King-Storyteller after bringing Crazy Carl and His Man-Boobs to life.

His relentless pursuit of archival materials and then the ability to present them in a visually engaging way is what took this film to the next level.  He is like us as filmmakers because he will do a bang up job in many different styles: from documentary to comedy to visual effects.  He just works all the tool available to tell the best story.  Now, unlike us,  Landon habla Español.  He's a fluent Spanish speaker who loves cutting Spanish language spots.

He's a slayer of many talents and we're happy to have him on board.