Spotlight: Bennett Elliott

Recently the School of Visual Arts Film & Animation Alumni Blog published a feature on       House of Nod Producer Bennett Elliott. 

School of Visual Arts Alumni Bennett Elliott has been incredibly busy since graduating five years ago. She’s co-founded a production studio with fellow SVA alum, working full time as head of production at a digital production company, traveled around the world, and… won an Emmy! 

I was a sophomore in Ralph Toporoff’s class when I learned the word for what I wanted to do for the rest of my life: produce. Finally, there was a job that meant, “solve the unsolvable”. 

Obviously in this field, no two days are ever the same. At the start of every day, there are already a million fires to put out, vendors to negotiate with, creative to nail down, budgets to review. I’m the co-founder of House of Nod, a production company created with a slew of SVA alums, most notably co-founder and Writer/Director/DP, Robert Kolodny. 

I’m able to travel around the country and the world, making gorgeous content that’s fun, engaging, and viral. I’ve been backstage at Fashion Week, raced speedboats on the canals in Amsterdam for the Netherlands Board of Tourism, driven under snowy Midwestern skies, and drunk countless cups of coffee in towns and places that I’d never been before. I have staffed a department with extremely talented coordinators, APs, and producers I’ve worked with in the past, ensuring a constant stream of inspiration and mentorship. This management experience has been especially valuable.

At House of Nod, I work with an incredibly talented group of SVA alums who continue to blow me away with both their skill and imagination. Last year, we shot footage that ended up being in the Superbowl, had our first short screened at the Cannes Film Festival, and were also awarded New York Emmy® Awards for our work on a NYC-based cooking show, titled “Frankie Cooks”. We’re currently in development on our first feature.

Since I’ve graduated, I’ve survived countless internships in both film and television, cleared pop songs for features when there was no money to be found, booked interviews with hard to reach celebrities, hustled thousands of dollars of gear across the Canadian border, worked with amputee orphans in Haiti, and wrangled exotic animals.  

My years at SVA opened doors that would have otherwise taken years to unlock – starting when my thesis, Dot, got a 2010 Dusty! The study abroad program, the almost unlimited access to gear and studios, and the teachers who pushed us way beyond what we ever thought we were capable of, are the reasons why I’ve been able to succeed.

Many thanks and love to the faculty, alumni, and students at SVA who contributed to where I am today – with a very special shout out to the frequently pestered, never acknowledged crew in the Production Office, for constantly granting me the chance to extend a checkout or return for a curious DP.

Why Do Stories Matter?

For a new storytelling mini-series, Contently gave us an open-ended assignment: Create a one minute film that interprets and answers that critical question, “Why do stories matter?”

Here is what we came up with:

You can see Contently's entire great article here:

Fun fact: This video was shot in Brooklyn, Mexico City, The American Virgin Islands, Michoacán, Valle de Bravo and beautiful New Jersey USA.

Contently spoke with House of Nod creative director Robert Kolodny to learn more about how we approach storytelling—and tackled this strange assignment.

CONTENTLY: What was the first story you can remember telling?

ROB: When I was six years old, I wrote a short story called Jack and the Werewolf, which my parents submitted to a local Halloween-themed story contest. I wound up winning first prize and a “witch” read it out loud on public access television in central New Jersey.

C: Why did you choose to tell the story you did in this video?

R: Because storytelling is something beautifully democratic. Anyone is allowed to do it anywhere in the world, regardless of location or circumstance, and it requires no tools. Just think and say something/draw something/sing something/film something, then from nowhere a story is born. It’s truly one of the most incredible facets of being alive. I wanted to show stories being told from many different people in many different places.

C: Do you think stories actually matter, or were you just humoring us?

R: I genuinely do believe that stories are as vital as eating or breathing. They make our memories real and their details come to define the narratives that make us who we are.

C: What’s your favorite story?

R: When the underdog wins.

A beautiful wall at Contently's very cool office.

A beautiful wall at Contently's very cool office.

House of Nod Creative Director taking a colloquial "selfie" in a public men's room after wrapping a long production.

House of Nod Creative Director taking a colloquial "selfie" in a public men's room after wrapping a long production.

C: Tell a funny story in 50 words.

R: Once while directing a short film that involved the use of a live pigeon as one of the central characters, we decided the best way to work with the bird(s) was to build a full-sized coop in the kitchen of my small apartment. Needless to say, hilarity ensued.

C: What advice would you give brands that are trying to tell stories that don’t suck?

R: Be adventurous, honest, and a little bit weird. Stories are compelling when they have a real emotion or sentiment attached to them which the audience can engage with. Be passionate, be funny, be willing to push the envelope… just don’t ever be boring.

C: Who are your three favorite wizards?

R: The wizards of cinema of course: Stanley Kubrick, Martin Scorsese, and François Truffaut.

C: Name your least favorite band.

R: Every band I played in during high school.

So, in case you were wondering, Contently is a really cool company and it was a pleasure to work with them.  They help brands create great stories, engage audiences, and deliver business results — at scale by connecting them with world class creative talent (cough cough). We look forward to working with them more in the future and continuing to tell great stories- just. for. you!

HEART 9/11

In remembrance of September 11th 2001, here is a video that we created that documents the great humanitarian work of HEART 9/11 , an organization that House of Nod has been proudly involved with for several years, helping to document their work in disaster areas like Haiti's earthquake, Oklahoma's tornado and Hurricane Sandy.

This team of FDNY, NYPD, PAPD and NYC Building Trades members, many of whom were first responders to the World Trade Center, leverage their unparalleled experience, including extensive WTC site response and recovery, to respond and rebuild in times of crisis. 

We are proud to be providing them with an on-going visual document of their inspiring work.

Ice Bucket Challenge at 1500 Frames per Second

Our friends in the band Painted Zero's nominated me to participate in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge and since we have a Phantom High Speed camera I decided to film this at 1500 Frames Per Second to raise awareness of this rare and horrible disease.

The sun had just set and my brother Adam and I had finished rigging two C-Stands with a cross beam to support the five gallon bucket of water and ice. We attached a rope to it that I would pull down on my self as adam triggered the phantom camera.  ALS is a devastating illness, one that claimed the life of mine and Adam's own grandmother, on our fathers side. In order to make this video I actually dumped the cold water over my head four separate times to achieve the varied angles.

There is relatively little known about amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, including what causes it and how to cure it. In addition to making this video House of Nod has donated to We hope that you enjoy this video but more so that it helps spread awareness of ALS.

There is no such thing as too much awareness for a good cause.

To find out more or to donate please visit

♥ Robert Kolodny

David Lynch at BAM

Last month the House of Nod team took a field trip to the Brooklyn Academy of Music to see one of our favorite directors, the catcher of big fish, Mr. David Lynch.



Lynch was being interviewed by the New York Public Library's (nearly equally) idiosyncratic Paul Holdengräber. They discussed Lynch's films, photos, and music, as well as his feelings on life, art and truth. It was a rare and incredible glimpse into the mind of a true cinema genius.


House of Nod Lynch favorites are as follows:

Rob: Blue Velvet (alt/ The Elephant Man)

Bennett: Wild at Heart 

Adam: Twin Peaks

Below you can check out a video from the night (From

House of Nod Wins Emmy's®!


We are so honored to have won two Emmy's at The 2014 New York Emmy® Awards! Frankly, we are in shock! Our production of Frankie Cooks created by Host Frankie Celenza went home with the prize for best Informational/Instructional. Along with Frankie, statues went to House of Nod Director, Robert Kolodny and Producer, Bennett Elliott!

It just goes to show that if you use the right ingredients and your heart is in the right place, you will wind up with something truly rewarding.


You can watch the wonderful show that is Frankie Cooks here:

House of Nod and Frankie will be teaming up again early this summer to bring you the new season, complete with exciting new dishes, fresh ideas and delicious entertainment!

Return to the Middle East (Part 2)

We have been back from our latest trip in the Middle East for three days. It was a non-stop adventure, and our work brought us all around, to every corner of Jerusalem. We will miss our new friends, the beauty of the city, the warm weather, and (possibly most of all) the falafel. However, we won't miss our seven hour layover in the Istanbul airport.

With all that we saw and experienced, the House of Nod team would like to invite you (dear reader) to take a behind-the-scenes peak at our travels.

First, meet the team members who embarked on this journey:

Rob, our fearless Director.  

Rob, our fearless Director.


Sasha, our Executive Producer/Biggest Fan in the Eastern Hemisphere.  

Sasha, our Executive Producer/Biggest Fan in the Eastern Hemisphere.


Bennett, our Producer and Captain of the Ship.  

Bennett, our Producer and Captain of the Ship.


and Adam, Camera Operator, author of this blog post, and (during the course of this trip) inheritor of the nickname "Sweet Sweet".  

and Adam, Camera Operator, author of this blog post, and (during the course of this trip) inheritor of the nickname "Sweet Sweet".


We can't reveal too much about the project, but we can tell you that it brought us to amazing places...


and we met some truly incredible people during the shooting process.

Ronnie Slate.png

The beauty of Jerusalem was described to us by one of our new friends as "the juxtaposition of a very modern city and a very ancient city occupying the same place". We found that to be very true.


We saw it in the twisting alleyways of Nachlaot...

Nachalot Alley.JPG

as well as the marketplace, the colors and scents of which still linger in our jet-lagged minds.

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We worked almost constantly, but still found some time to experience the city's underground music culture and enjoy some of the local flavors.

Rob and Bennett Hookah.jpg

Although we are back home, the House of Nod family grew during this trip. We can't wait to go back.

Thank you for coming on this journey with us, see you next time.

- Adam + House of Nod


Return to the Middle East

The House of Nod team is back in Israel! Our wonderful new client loved our ONE DAY / ISRAEL short so much that they flew us back here to shoot their project. 

Kotel Night.jpg

It is only the night of our 3rd day in Jerusalem, and we have already met so many talented new friends. Each one of them has their own amazing story and incredible connection to this beautiful country that they call home.


As with our last trip, we are consistently stunned by the unique visual character of this country. Our cameras and eyes are constantly drawn to the unavoidable historical beauty and the incredible minutia found on every street and down each stone-walled alleyway.

Old City Ally.jpg

We have taken to our temporary home quickly, bringing small elements of our New York City life, friends, and mentality along with us.


Our journey is only just beginning, and there is still so much to see. Expect to be updated!

Love as always,

Your ever-travelling, ever-adventuring, cinephile friends  

film festival

Fly on Out wins big at HBO/BET Urbanworld Film Festival


Our little film "Fly on Out" which won the top prize at the Vision Research/AbelCine Miro High-Speed Challenge was accepted into the 17th Annual Urbanworld Film Festival, sponsored by BET and HBO! We screened with a series of other great short films on the mission to redefine and advance the roles of multicultural constituents in contemporary filmed entertainment. It all took place at AMC 34th Street Theaters in NYC. Thank you to all of our supporters who came out to see the film on the big screen! It was truly and amazing weekend.


At the close of the event, after having the opportunity to meet many incredible filmmakers and see even more wonderful films, House of Nod Creative Director Robert Kolodny and Producer Bennett Elliott were invited to the festival's awards ceremony. Much to our happy surprise, Fly on Out was awarded the Audience Choice Prize for best short film, which was an incredible honor for us! We are so thankful to the Urbanworld film festival's staff and programmers for allowing us to be part of this absolutely stunning festival. A huge thanks for the entire cast and crew of Fly on Out who made this film happen by really putting their hearts and souls into this project...that's real House of Nod style.


Fly on Out was written, directed & shot by Robert Kolodny, produced by Bennett Elliott, assistant directed by Phillip S.R. Allison, costume designed by Katelyn Mueller, production designed by Kate McCreary, expertly camera operated by Chris Cazavilan, beautifully lit by Justin Van Wie, with sound by Parker J. Colt, boomed by Akin Feyijinmi, AC'ed by Ian Hoban, key gripped by Adam Kolodny, on set DIT'ed by Mr. Mike Leuis, with music by the incredible Parallel Thought who you can check out here:

A very special thanks, as always, to our friends at AbelCine and Vision Research who gave us the golden opportunity to bring this film to life!  

Keep an eye out for more news about Fly on Out as it begins to have more public screenings that we would love to see you at in the future! For more information on the film please visit!

Phantom High Speed Reel

A few months ago House of Nod won the Miro High Speed challenge, presented by AbelCine and Vision Research. Since then we have really been sinking our teeth into learning how to use this incredible tool to the best of it's (or our) ability.

We are now releasing our very own High Speed Cinematography reel. Our technicians and operators are trained and certified with the world famous Vision Research Phantom High Speed Camera line to help you with all of your slow motion needs.

Our Phantom Camera, Operators and DIT are now available for shoots. Please contact us to learn more about packages and rates:

Please visit

Follow us


♥ Rob+House of Nod



Snapshots From Peru

The House of Nod team has just returned from an adventure in South America and we have a lot of great content to share with you. After spending a week in Mexico with our great friend and fellow filmmaker Rodrigo, Nod Producer Bennett Elliott and I flew down to Peru to visit our friend Joe who was living in Lima. We explored the city and met some great people before traveling to the Andes mountains and seeing the vibrant cities of Cuzco, Ollantaytambo, Aguas Calientes and climbing Machu Picchu. 

I am truly excited to put together a video piece for this journey (which will be featured with our other travel video's on the places page of the House of Nod website), but for now, I leave you with a few stills that I snapped while abroad.

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Stay tuned for more scenes from Peru! To keep up with House of Nod's series of world wandering adventures and all of our other cinematic doings, please tune in to our twitter


Rob+House of Nod


Snapshots From The Middle East

 Three days ago I returned from The Middle East where I spent the better part of a month traveling around, sleeping on couches on rooftops, drinking ha'arak, visiting the four holy cities of ancient Israel, journeying into the West Bank and of course taking a vast amount of video and stills. I am really looking forward to editing the video piece, which will be featured with our other travel video's on the places page of the House of Nod website. For now however, I will leave you with a few stills that I snapped while abroad.

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Stay tuned for more scenes from The Middle East! To continue House of Nod's series of world wandering adventures, tune in to our twitter for live updates as Producer Bennett Elliott and I venture to South America to film in three days from now! 


Rob+House of Nod


From Paper to Picture

We've received a lot of questions about our process for our film "Fly on Out" which won the Miro High-Speed Inspiration Challenge (sponsored by AbelCine and Vision Research).

A lot of pre-production went into this film. We averaged two production meetings per week with the core crew. My producer Bennett and I would speak every day and work on the logistics. Camera Operator Chris Cazavilan and I spent many-a-day trekking through the side streets of Brooklyn location scouting. Kate, our production designer learned how to make sugar glass and hand crafted the whiskey bottles that break in the film. We had a pigeon coop built in House of Nod HQ, which hosted a small flock of tiny feathered actors through the production. Every single person did so much, so far in advance and this fact was essential for the shoot itself and the capacity for it to be realized.

Time was of the essence for this shoot. We only had access to the Phantom High Speed Camera for one week and the days are very short in the winter. There were a lot of moving parts, so it was essential for us to have every shot just right. I spent weeks drawing out storyboards and working on the shot list. Most of the boards included the optical focal length I wanted to use as well as the camera movement that would happen. I did this so when we got to our pre-scouted locations we could simply set up, get the actors in place and allow the scene to play out with minimal technical debate. For some insight on the process, I am posting the first scene's storyboards and  frames from the final realization of the film.


Fly on Out Scene 1 Story Board by Robert Kolodny ©copyright house of nod.jpeg
Fly on Out Scene 1 Story Board Realized by Robert Kolodny ©copyright House of Nod.jpg

Preparation is key when working on a low budget with time constraints. Film production is a living animal and so it will do things on the day that you cannot expect. However, it is an animal which can be studied intently beforehand. Every idiosyncrasy that can be accounted for in pre-production is one that you won't  have to be surprised by or worry about when the camera is ready to roll. Preproduction is the acting of making the most comfortable bed you can, so when you are ready to sleep you are free to dream your very best dreams.

If you want to learn more about "Fly on Out" you can visit the film's official website for updates on festivals where it will play. You can also visit the IMDB page. 


Rob from House of Nod

House of Nod: The Blog {Rated R}

Here at House of Nod we are always creating. We are filmmakers, yes, but we are also craftsmen, writers, photographers, chefs, painters, ranters, singers, sinners, toymakers, designers, musicians, practical dreamers, cineastes, journalists, adventurers, world travelers and professional friends. 

Here on the House of Nod Blog we will post all of the little morsels of our creativity that do not have a place on the website itself. The uncategorizable, gobbets, tidbits, fractions of dreams and soupçon's of our creativity.  

Here's to the christening post, which you are reading now. Hope you enjoy and be sure to stop by frequently for updates.


House of Nod