The Ups and Downs of Video Production

The above piece was conceived by my colleague, Addie, during a meeting where we were discussing new ideas for employer branded content.  We chose Felicia to be our host because she’s adaptable and can make people feel comfortable in awkward situations…like when your elevator ride turns into an interview.

I love projects like this.

When I studied video production in college, the number one thing I learned is that projects never go exactly the way you plan them.  That’s probably why I tend to gravitate towards concepts that are unpredictable.  I love the challenge of adapting on the fly.  I love it when things go wrong and chaos ensues.

So naturally I was drawn to the idea of putting a potted plant, 3 cameras, two chairs and a host in an elevator and seeing how things played out.  And after two hours of chasing our set up and down four floors, I was very pleased with the outcome.

How Game Mechanics Tell Stories

This past week I wanted to try my hand at something a little different.  I’ve recently become a huge fan of in-depth video game essays.

Like Mark Brown’s Game Maker’s Toolkit.

Or Cagey Videos.

Or [Game Array] (which is run by a friend of mine and I help fund because the videos are awesome).

My video is not nearly close to the quality of the those from the channels above.  Yet, I love storytelling and I love video games, so I figured I would give it a shot.

Story #5: Mindi is a Progressive Woman

This week I tried something that I find very difficult  I told a story that didn’t have me as its central figure.

My colleague, Felicia nominated Mindi for this award and we were all very excited when it was announced that she was going to be honored at this event in the Cleveland area.  I decided to document the occasion.

There wasn’t much planning involved (for better or worse, that’s my style).  In retrospect I should have thought about a more focused story.  Ultimately, I did one sit-down interview and captured footage at the event.

I even went to Mindi’s daughter’s softball game at a local elementary school to get shots of her with her kids.  As I passed the playground next to the field , sporting business attire, a full beard and a camera in my hands, I immediately regretted the decision.  I didn’t end up using the footage and I might not be able to step within 500 yards of a public school from this point on.

The price we pay to make art.  Congratulations, Mindi!

Story-a-Week Challenge

Having gone through a bit of a dry spell with this blog and creative personal projects in general, I’ve decided to challenge myself to tell a story every week using video as the medium.  Some might be vlogs, some might be short films, some might be mini-documentaries…I’m not really holding myself to a format.  The only goal is to have one posted every Wednesday on my YouTube Channel.

And, oh yeah…I’ve already been doing this for four weeks.

I find that if I make a big deal about launching a project before I launch a project, it will never get done.  I’m all talk.

But if I dive right into a project, get the momentum going and focus on the content first, then I’m more likely to keep at it.

After four weeks of developing projects and getting into a flow, I now feel confident that this is going to be “a thing.”  Not like the time I was going to develop my own board game… or the time I was going to code a video game…. or the time I was going to make a gaming blog about coding a video game….or the time I was going to start washing my pants between every use.

Here’s what I’ve made so far…

  1. How I Learned to Cross-Pollinate – A vlog I shot on a trip back to Ithaca College talking about how I use the skills I learned there in an unrelated field.
  2. I Saved 100 Women – A vlog about my shortcomings as an ally for women in the workplace.
  3. The Big 15,000 – That week I challenged myself to get 15,000 steps a day and then ran around a big-ass lake.
  4. La Pomme – A short film I challenged myself to make using basic French.  It’s weird.

As for this blog, I’m hoping to use it to tell stories as well, while also providing insight into these projects.

How long will this go for?  Hopefully the rest of the year, but now that I’ve announced it I may have jinxed myself…