About Steven Calcote

Steven Calcote is an award-winning director with a passion for great storytelling, world building, and exploring humanity’s relationship with technology. He has created projects for such clients as Adidas, Sony pictures, Disney, BBC America, Nickelodeon, HBO, AT&T, Sega, Electronic Arts, the National Hockey League, Boeing, MTV, Nexon, and Intel. Most recently, he directed a series of films for a major new exhibition at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. An expert in the latest digital and interactive filmmaking, his work has been recognized by the Telly Awards, Spikes Asia, One Show Interactive Awards, and the LA Weekly Theater Awards.

Going Live for National Geographic and Airbnb!


Executive Producer Kat Urban (TBWA\Chiat\Day) challenged us to take our Facebook Live game to the next level by shooting a project for National Geographic and Airbnb in the field out in Roswell, New Mexico at the International UFO Festival. We also shot a short companion documentary at the same time–just to make sure we never stopped moving!

Hosted by National Geographic Explorer Asher Jay, the live streams presented an insider’s perspective on the unique story of Roswell and its environs. We began at sunrise with an alien diorama behind us, grabbed a behind-the-scenes perspective in the afternoon at an alien costume contest, and then featured Roswell’s UFO parade that night.  Along the way, we filmed Asher’s experience throughout Roswell as she sought answers, adventure, and excitement.

Butcher Bird crew included Steven Calcote on direction and streaming tech, Buff Brothers Jason Milligan and Jarrod Wendler on camera, and Todd Steinhauer on sound. Back at BB HQ, Lillian Diaz-Przybyl produced and Adam Fair edited.  

While we went in expecting to uncover the secrets of the Roswell aliens, what we found was a wonderful community of positive people united by one of the best kept secrets to living well: the capacity to entertain curiosity. We discovered that a warm, enchanting bunch of curious people might just be more amazing than definitive proof of life in outer space.

Watch archive of the live show at dawn!

Watch archive of the alien costume contest!

Watch archive of the live show for the UFO Parade!


By |2017-12-05T19:44:14-08:00December 5th, 2017|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Butcher Bird FLIES!


Think helicopter shots are out of reach? Think again!

We’ve been flying the DJI Phantom Quadcopter all summer and just installed the completely bad-ass two-axis Zenmuse H3-2D gimbal for proper helicopter-style filmmaking. The result is smooth, beautiful and absolutely ready for television, cinema, music videos, commercials and more!

Case in point: check out a quick view of our aerial filming adventures last weekend in Texas Canyon!


By |2016-03-29T10:01:50-07:00August 13th, 2013|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Calcote Directs Ryan Beatty Music Video


11p.m. Friday night. Hollywood strip in front of Mann’s Chinese Theater. I’m hanging off the back of a 30 foot camera truck with a Technocrane swinging by overhead. Ryan’s “driving” a vintage Bronco being towed five feet behind us as a car of screaming teens keeps darting into oncoming traffic and pulling up next to him to catch his eye. I’ve got the LAPD in one ear and the A.D. in the other as we prepare to do another take that will match the actions of our previous studio shoot. Total rush!!!

The concept was simple. After working on thousands of VFX shots in my career and juggling a hundred times that number of digital elements, I wanted to capture something that looked like a big effect but accomplish it practically.

Imagine my delight when message boards lit up with arguments about how the “complicated green screen compositing” was pulled off. Nope, all the “background replacements” you see were accomplished as non-motion controlled match moves and dissolves!

And of course, the transitions from “make-believe” to “real world” served as a perfect backdrop to Ryan’s catchy song about making dreams come true in Los Angeles, the movie capital of the world.

Starring Ryan Beatty
Directed and Edited by Steven Calcote
Produced by Shawn Laska (The Agency Production Group)
Cinematography by Patrick McGinley

By |2016-03-29T09:53:36-07:00September 4th, 2012|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Shelf Life Web Series Concludes Third Season


Phil Morris (Smallville’s Martian Manhunter) totally kicked ass as Black Velvet in the two-part season finale of Shelf Life Season 3. At least, until Hero Lass showed up. And then he was properly scared like the rest of us.

There’s nothing like entering the world of six-inch tall action figures and bringing their (often psychotic) antics to life in a live-action romp. Often, overcoming the challenges of creating a story at that scale results in unexpected creativity. I will always treasure the image of Yuri and Tara chasing after tumbleweeds and then covering them with Halloween cobwebbing to create giant dust bunnnies for the under-bed set.

Starring Tara Platt, Yuri Lowenthal,Travis Willingham, Bran Enk
Directed by Steven Calcote
Produced by Monkey Kingdom Productions, Butcher Birds Studios, Ultimatum Entertainment

By |2016-03-29T09:57:14-07:00August 21st, 2012|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Mad Cow and BBird Together Again



There’s nothing like working with creative people you love! We reunited with the incredibly talented Mad Cow team on a brand new television pilot for Nickelodeon called “The 5th Hour.”

The approach was brilliantly simple but hilarious: add a “Daily Show” take to the ubiquitous morning talk show format. We took over a studio familiar with daytime television sets, rocked four cameras and a Technocrane for a multi cam shoot, and then unleashed the comedic talents of Lauren Weedman and Molly Erdman on a host of real world guests.

Produced by Madeleine Smithberg and Sarah North
Execution by Mad Cow Productions and Butcher Bird Studios
Directed and Edited by Steven Calcote
Motion Graphics and Visual Effects by Jason Milligan

By |2016-03-29T09:34:30-07:00March 29th, 2012|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Ogilvy Shanghai Consults BBird


While cultivating my mysterious past, I spent quite a few years working throughout Asia on film, television, and new media projects. It’s a crazy and adventurous world I often miss. Imagine my delight when an old friend from Ogilvy Shanghai recently called me out of the blue to set up a Hollywood-style consulting session for some of his clients in China.

Butcher Bird created a custom week-long session to collide brand and story for some hip execs from across the pond. We even had a chance to work with the delightful Amy Berg (“Eureka”)  as our resident story master.

Producer–Butcher Bird Studios
Director–Steven Calcote
Story Master–Amy Berg
Artist-in-Residence–Jason Milligan

By |2016-03-29T09:25:58-07:00December 1st, 2011|Uncategorized|0 Comments

MapleStory Introduces Three New Character Classes


MapleStory is one of the world’s most popular free-to-play online games. When it came time to advertise a new set of character classes, Nexon’s creative video maven, Luis Reyes, challenged us to take a different approach than just unleashing some flashy animation (although that’s certainly cool too!)

So… what if these new characters had to actually audition for the job? How would they handle the casting process? Hilarity ensues. And violence. Make that hilarious violence. And a giant walking robot.

Produced by Butcher Bird Studios
Directed by Steven Calcote
Written by Luis Reyes
Visual Effects by Jason Milligan

By |2016-03-29T08:48:07-07:00January 20th, 2011|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Interstitials for Genetic Technology


What happens when you combine cinema with the traditional four walls of a stage production? In the case of the world premiere of the new play “The Limitations of Genetic Technology,” you immerse the audience more deeply into the future.

With four projectors running simultaneously for the entire length of the play, audiences watched the stage open up into genetic labs, an opera house of the future, a high tech residence designed by Tokyo-based Rui Kyo, and more.

Before the play started and at Intermission, we ran over fifteen minutes of original commercials, industrials, and other content that featured the fictitious company at the heart of the play, “Global Cytodynamics.” By the end, the audience did more than watch the world of the play; they lived it.

Produced by Butcher Bird Studios
Directed by Steven Calcote
Inspired by Luis Reyes’s “The Limitation of Genetics Technology”

Global Cytodynamics YouTube Page

By |2016-03-29T08:36:32-07:00November 13th, 2010|Uncategorized|0 Comments