So…We made a thing. Check it out at https://caregivingtheuntoldstory.wordpress.com
March 11th, 2022
11:21 AM-Brooklyn Kolache
Snacking on kolaches in Bedstuy Brooklyn at the moment. Reading articles about Ukraine. Still pondering going over there to volunteer along the Polish border at one of the warming and food centers where they welcome refugees. In the meantime, rebuilding my own life here in the USA still…
New York. What a strange place eh? But the kolaches are to die for. My son lives just around the corner. My blue outdated Android phone’s timer is set for me to leave here soon and go get my son’s stuff out of the dryer at the laundromat. He is back in his 3rd story walk up apartment, that we painted together last night, taking a shower to be ready for work today.
Soon we will leave in an Uber and head across the Williamsburgh Bridge and into Manhattan. He works right along the view into the Rockafeller Plaza. I will be heading on into another Manhattan location though. An office building with bright windows and colored couches and my first interview of another person since before I began caretaking for my parents in August of 2019. The last time I had my cameras and mics out to interview someone was likely for my movie 400 Feet Down. I went from making a movie that sold out three local screenings in a row…to barely even turning on my cameras for 2.5 years. I had to turn down work in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Newfoundland, Ontario…I gave up invitations to work on material in Norway. But all that is behind me currently. And today I finally get to get back to what I worked so hard to build. I am pretty damn excited about it.
This is an all volunteer project I dreamed up. The topic is dementia. I want to create a docuseries, sharing the deeply personal experiences of those who are caregivers of family members with dementia. Then I will give dementia related organizations the rights to open source share the content on their platforms. I think it will have an impact.
I have my Panasonic GH4, my Zoom H6, Rode Pro, two tripods, a backup GoPro, tons of extra batteries, my question list, my glasses…I have gone through my gear list over and over, rather obsessively, since I am so out of practice. It used to be that a client could call me and my gear bag was literally always well stocked and ready for a shoot. Hopefully I will be getting back to that. It’s been a long wait. And more than that I didn’t even know if I would get back to this point. Glad to be here though.
After the interview here today I will head back to my son’s apartment and backup all the footage from the cameras and mics. Then I will scrub through it all to make sure it’s looking and sounding good. Then tomorrow I head back up North into Vermont. And apparently there is a big old snow bomb cyclone coming through. So yeah! Glad I still have my snowshoes and skis in the car. Sounds like fun to me.
I was able to finally secure a storage unit in Burlington VT. The housing market is so strained right now that even finding a storage unit is like searching for a rental. It’s crazy out here. On Tuesday I begin my next housesitting gig in Warren VT. I have three interviews lined up related to the my video work and social media expertise. Very excited about that! I also have some other interviews popping up to help me cover the bills that look exciting, though not video related. At this point, money needs to start coming in period. It’ll all work out.
And besides all that. I have about 2.5 weeks of gap in my housesitting time…and I might go over to Ukraine to volunteer if things line up.
Not that I even have many readers here…I mean, does anyone even read blogs any longer?
In case they do, imma gonna write something. I’ve been BUSY!!! OMG!!!
There, that’s the update. I’ve been busy. I’d love to write more but I’m too darn sleepy. So I’ll just post some links to some of the most recent fun stuff I’ve done or am currently working on.
Managing Instagram for The Fragrance Shop
Managing Instagram and Facebook for Townsend Bertram and Company
Organizing monthly screenings for the Adventure Film Series for Townsend Bertram and Company (sponsored by Osprey Backpacks)
I screened my film to a nearly full local theatre and screened the film 7 other times besides…and now have it online for anyone to watch.
The Promo Reel for Oh Crappy Day finally went public…
My Your Bottle Means Jobs Campaign Video hit over 29,000 views on Youtube…
And a local TV Station liked it enough to make reedit for their own uses…
Then I crafted this first attempt at a series I am calling “Vital Signs”
I also decided to help out a local Fluoride activist group by making these short and simple vids.
I also finished some bigger private projects. A wedding video…a short fiction film for entry in to the NASA Cinespace Contest.
I am slowly working on a documentary about the history and consequences of Fluoridation. I am about to release a new series called PTSD: Mission Recovery.
Finally I just wrapped a second project for the Your Bottle Means Jobs campaign. Mums the word…it’ll be coming out soon!
Jesus…no wonder I am tired. And video isn’t even my day job…yet.
First of all, this is a story about a top-notch guy…Bradley Bethel. I don’t see him all the time. We don’t hang out on the regular. But you know what it’s like to run into someone who is just a fair dealer…no hidden agenda, no guile? That’s Brad. When you get into video editing, try to work for people like that. Brad gave me my start by enlisting me to help out on some projects that were tricky and mind expanding for me at the time. The first project pretty much had me filming in a medium security prison…that was the deep end for sure.
Next on the list was an assignment to help create a promotional short for some really fantastic guys named Lance Bacon and Steve Neilson. They live a short drive away and run a company called Dagtype Films. These guys are film aficionados through and through. They also created a short film called Oh Crappy Day…a film that I really enjoy. It has done exceedingly well on the festival circuit. Steve and Lance are now revealing their plans to get full funding to take their short and expand the ideas and story into a full length feature film. My task was to help with the interview filming and to help create and edit other existing footage into a promotional short for the overall project.
For this promo Brad and I dropped in for an afternoon on a very hot and muggy summer day to hang out with the Dagtype directors. I grabbed my camera…we interviewed and did what film people always do…recorded every nuanced thing that we thought might prove valuable later on. Lance and Steve are a riot to hang out with. Be prepared to laugh…
Later on, back at home on my desktop a fellow named Ned Phillips dropped in and we worked together on the promo. Ned is super talented and I got to learn a lot from him. Especially in how he likes to blend music and audio between scenes to cover the clip change…lovely technique that I wasn’t using yet.
This promo was just a lot of fun to work on…the collaboration was worthwhile and I am just pleased that it is time to unlock it and share it with the world. Please go and support these hard-working indy filmmakers and actors as they proceed to create Oh Crappy Day.
To catch up on what the Bolin Creek Project is read HERE.
I have been into Bolin Creek Forest more times than I can count. It’s how I know it should be preserved from even a single square foot of pavement. Yep…been in there a lot. But something I never thought I would do is to see it from above. One day, a few weeks ago though, I was sitting there wishing I could show people how special it is from a whole new perspective. Just how small is it, or large, when seen from above? Just how green is this oasis? How closely is the city already encroaching? How gorgeous IS Bolin Creek Forest as seen from above?
Last week I got to find out. A very cool local pilot took me up so I could find out. I will save the best parts of that experience for a video episode of the project. But I do want to share some images of his absolutely beautiful aircraft. It’s a 1946 Piper Cub. An original WWII Navy Trainer. Going up in this small craft was something that changed me in a lot of ways. Seeing Bolin Creek treetops whisk by did indeed change my perspective on how fortunate we are to have this place so close at hand. And flying in a plane that unique and rare, with such a fascinating pilot with local knowledge was a game changer as well. I don’t know how I keep getting so lucky when it comes to finding great projects to be a part of….but the trend continues.
If you haven’t been in a plane as small as a Piper Cub, I’ll tell ya that it’s about as small as it gets. It is more like having a jacket on as you fly through the air, than being in an airplane that keeps you from feeling that essential closeness. I had no idea flying could feel that way. As the pilot said, “bigger planes slice through the air…but in this plane you are a part of sky.” I couldn’t agree more. Anyway, after the flight I grabbed my trusty Nikon and fixed 50mm f/1.8 and had some fun. Enjoy the pics and remember that you can click to make any pic larger.
If you like what I am up to and want to support me so I can just do more good things like this then look for me on Patreon.
My buddy Brad called me up around May 1st, 2016 and said he had a project. It took me a few meetings to grasp fully that I’d be required to film INSIDE of a medium security prison. This was also going to be pretty much my first crack at shooting and editing a documentary that mattered to me on such a strong level. I instantly had a vested interest besides paid work.
I have always wanted to volunteer in prisons. I have just always wondered what it was like. What are the lives of inmates really like? What is it like for them when they are released? I also wanted to be able to be of service somehow to inmates in terms of breaking down the “us” and “them” construct that most of “us” have.
We all see and watch shows like Oz, Orange is the New Black, or more recently Prison Break. But what did someone like me really know about a world so different? Not much. This project was about to take me closer than I ever thought I would get.
Ears, Eyes, Nose and Paws (EENP) trains service dogs for people with disabilities. They recently began working in a medium security prison here in NC. They were training inmates to work with the puppies. Inmate trainers who commit to the program are paired with a puppy that lives side by side with them for over a year. They sleep together, go outside together…they are literally together at all times. During that time the inmate trainers, under the guidance of EENP staff, are bringing along the pups to a very high level of service competence. I didn’t even know dogs could do what these trainers were having them do.
Anyway…EENP was about the graduate some of the dogs and they were having a ceremony. The problem was that the public wasn’t allowed to attend a ceremony in prison. So EENP needed a way to bring the experience to an audience out here…hence the video idea was born. There was to be a public celebration where the video would be screened. My task was to create something…somehow…that captured the spirit of what EENP does, along with the graduation ceremony.
I could go on and on and on about how incredible this experience was. I had so many “I must be dreaming” moments. My first big project and there I was, filming in a prison. Was I ever nervous about not getting it right? Oh hell yes!
But just to keep this brief, I loved every minute of it. And I did indeed learn an immense amount about prison life. Us and them ceased to exist for me. I feel flummoxed about what more to share here, because honestly it would be a book.
I’ll skip to the end then…
Watch it. Convince your friends to watch it. It’s about real life prisoners/inmates instead of paid TV actors. These are real people who are working hard to better their lives and the lives of others. And…there are tons of cute DOGS in the video…and it doesn’t get better than that. You get your dose of hard hitting reality and a nice blend of…smiles. Yes, people in prison smile.
There is an abridged version, which is the one included above. The EXTENDED version has the full graduation speech, which is worth the watch for sure.
I want to give a huge shout out to Alan Lorden, who composed all original music for this movie.
Also it never would have come together without the direction, guidance and intuition of Brad Bethel, who also is the Director of the award winning documentary, Unverified.
But the film, in my mind, is definitely dedicated to EENP and all the hard work that they and the inmates put in to keep At Both Ends Of The Leash afloat.
When I was primarily a photographer (2008 – 2014) summer clouds were my favorite subjects. I was always in pursuit of the best formations. Summer around here in NC is the best time to capture dramatic cloud interactions. Here are some of my old favorites from the good old days. Feel free to click to enlarge.
Now I am pretty excited about seeing what video can do to capture these same moments. To be able to see up close what the cloud is doing, how it is unfolding or building is something that can’t be captured or seen unless it is timelapsed and accelerated. I find that it takes about 6 minutes minimum to create anything worth watching…due to how much you must compress the timeline.
On a recent night out, I was hoping to capture a lightning storm with driving rain curtains, but the rain abated, the lightning stopped and what I ended up with was lovely fast stacking and falling clouds right in front of the setting twilight.
One thing that was quite challenging on this night of shooting was that I saw the clouds forming up as I left a restaurant in town. I raced home to get my camera stuff from inside of my air conditioned house. The outside humidity was probably around 95% and the air temp was close to the same. It took nearly 30 minutes for the cold camera body and mirrors, and lenses – to stop sweating and heat up to match the surrounding temps. I should have foreseen this. I used to shoot all the time at the Butterfly House at the Museum of Life and Science and the air in there is set to match weather in the tropics. The first thing you do when you get into those kinds of places is let your camera breathe and adjust…you just don’t even bother shooting for the first 20-30 minutes. Everything will be fogged up. This was the longest I ever had to wait though. I had to detach everything and let it air out for a solid 30. I missed what I came to get…but got something I still really like and would have overlooked had my camera been working from the start.
Anyway…here is my latest…and don’t forget when viewing that Vimeo defaults the viewing res to the lowest standard. To see the HD version click on the HD button and adjust as needed.
So…today I am editing some photos for a client’s website. Like this one…
He needs some new headshots and when we made the video below…he asked me to snap a few shots.
He has just put his new site together and after I emailed him to confirm that they were waiting for him there in the Dropbox folder…I think “hey, I should drop by his site and take a look around.”
So I drop by to take a look. Here…you take a look too.
Then I read to the bottom of the home page (as you may have just done as well) and saw the following:
I click on the link to watch the following video:
First of all…what a fricking gorgeous video. Secondly…my buddy Phil made the awesome music and though I knew he did more than talk about the end of the world…I didn’t realize that he was on that kind of level as a musician. Well done Phil! What a (humble) guy. When I ask him about his musical past he only says “I used to play music”.
The reason my posting here is titled “Small World” is because in my other, non- video, life I have a part time job in an outdoor retail shop where we sell GoPro cameras. We have a kiosk for GoPro with a screen that plays GoPro vids on a loop. The video I have been watching now for over 2 years has this pelican in it! All this time I have been watching a video that Phil helped make and I never even knew it.
That’s a small world!
If you follow my blog you are probably sorta tired of hearing about Radioactive Veteran. I SWEAR to you that I am working on lots of other fun projects as well. But just too tired to write about them…because I am working on them instead of writing about them.
I just posted yesterday that Radioactive Veteran got fully funded…right? I mean, that’s good news.
Well tonight the producer, Bradley Bethel, group messaged us that our doc got accepted into DocUtah. Is that fricking off the charts cool…or what?
Hint..the answer isn’t “or what”.
DocUtah is an international film festival. That’s classy. But you know what is even better? It is in St. George, Utah. St. George Utah is one of the primary towns affected by the very kinds of tests that Radioactive Veteran highlights.
As one local resident put it back in the 1950’s…
“I remember thinking that it was normal to see piles of dead lambs …”
What could be a more fitting location to kick off this film’s public entree? I can’t think of one.
We hope you’ll come out and see it. More details to follow once we know them on precisely what time of day the film will premiere.
I have been very fortunate in my short life so far working in video. My first professional foray into the field resulted in being an Associate Producer of Radioactive Veteran, a movie about…well…just read my previous posts. In short, it’s fricking awesome. It also just got fully funded to the tune of 10K on Seed & Spark.
The two guys above were part of the team that it wouldn’t have happened without. I first met Brad in the video biz when he screened his movie Unverified here in Chapel Hill. I was really impressed with it. I had worked with him in another capacity outside of the video realm for a while…and was always hampering with notions that perhaps someday we could work together. Now we have and it was great.
I met Mark when I heard he was looking for help with turning a whole lot of great information and footage into a full fledged documentary.
We met for coffee and…well…now it is fully funded. It’s been a great process for me to watch unfold and I learned a lot. Mainly what I learned is that it takes a team. Also I learned that though there are many times when you are up against a deadline…the fact is that nothing really happens quickly. There will be so many revisions and so many late nights and “last minute changes” and “it’s good…but how about we change this…?”
I am hoping to be able to attend some of the film festivals where this movie will ideally (fingers crossed) be showing. If it comes to a town near you, check it out. Especially if you know of any vets from the WWII era…it’s really a riveting look into their lives.