Some nights are for new edits, and learning to reach out.

I’ve been working on a dance project in collaboration with Wyoming Dance Arts based on this creative prompt of mine:

I worked with three of the WDA dancers and we created a piece based on the restrictions of the space. We spoke a lot about theme and how they could internalize it so we could produce some site-specific choreography. It was a very fruitful, impromptu shoot and I’m still going on the high of that interaction. It’s the best kind of collaboration because the dancers really owned their performances and committed to the idea behind the video. I appreciate their creative trust tremendously.

Still from the new project: Narrow (Variations)

I had to put this on the back-burner due to the Oyster Ridge Music Festival Deadlines I had to follow, but every chance I got this fall, I worked away at a rough cut for the first video. Oh I forgot to mention, this project will be designed to be edited a handful of ways in order to produce three main pieces and several little snippets for social media. I want to see how much of it sticks and what doesn’t, so by the end of the year, I hope to have most of it wrapped up. So much for free time!

So once I had a reasonable cut, I sent it over to one of our collaborators and she not only shared some outstanding feedback, but reminded me of this very important lesson: Don’t be afraid to reach out.

Still from the new project: Narrow (Variations)

I sat with my rough draft for about a month because I didn’t know what to do with it. The editing brain went stale and I couldn’t see what needed to happen next. Yes, it was a reasonable draft, but upon getting a fresh set of eyes to look at it, I was able to stand back and observe the piece for what it really was. Because of that, I went home and re-edited the first piece all over again. And it is a much better cut now: Leaner, yet patient and specific.

I would have kept the old cut and chiseled away at shit had I not taken it upon myself to ask for help when my creativity needed it the most. Don’t hesitate to reach out and communicate, and I’ll try to do the same.

Much love,

j

Do.

Just checking in to let you all know I’ll be podcasting tomorrow at lunch about what’s working, and a lesson in passing on art through the generations.

However, as I wait for a few clips to download from my cloud, I look back on today with pride as a great example of what I haven’t been doing in recent years: Today was a day of effort and productivity, even if I don’t see it right now.

  • Made it through work today. Will go back to my priority list and solve some problems and paperwork. I will do better tomorrow.
  • Spent some time coloring with my son tonight, and he has chosen to keep my red pen as his own. I am proud.
  • Made time to read.
  • Made time to journal.
  • Recorded with Madd and edited this week’s great episode of Our Kid’s Asleep about Disney Plus and Schitt’s Creek.

I’m making a point of not staying up late more than once a week, if necessary. This is my freebie night, I can do some video editing on my latest collaboration with Wyoming Dance Arts and call it a night. There is more time to be found. Just do.

Be well this week, and I’ll post soon.

Much love,

j

Mystery Project, coming soon.

At the Henning Mansion! (Video)

This past weekend, Maddie and I had the pleasure of attending the September Soiree at the Henning Mansion to benefit my friends at Wyoming Dance Arts. I knew it would be an awesome time so I brought the camera along!

The Mansion is a gorgeous building on the National Register of Historic places, so it was a delight to get to capture some of the moments of dance and good cheer at the event. Since I had no idea what was coming next and no tripod with me, I just started playing around handheld style. These days I’m looking for what I can do with less. To trim the fat of equipment but never the purpose nor direction. I’m eager to continue on my minimalist videographer pursuit and see where it goes. I also can’t wait to start our planned collaborations with WDA, lots of creativity on the horizon!

Food and drink was awesome (provided by our excellent Casper vendors), but of course, the highlight of the night were the performances, as a handful of duets and short works acted as interludes, a great evening of art. Congratulations to Wyoming Dance Arts on such a great event!

j

The Highlights are here! (Video)

This weekend, I got to share the first of many videos I put together for the Oyster Ridge Music Festival. The last few weeks have been intense with cataloging and syncing the footage of the six cameras I was working with. It was also my first deep dive into DaVinci Resolve, so I’ve been learning as I go and completely feel like I came out on the other side with some DaVinci assurances. It’s unbelievable the program is free to use, it’s a great tool.

So as the coming weeks unfold, I’ll be posting interviews and performances from all of the bands, in an effort to capture the spirit of this phenomenal experience. I have to take a step back and let my heart fill with gratitude: I’m fortunate to work on something that truly speaks to what I love and want to advocate for. I can’t imagine a better cause to contribute to than to a festival that brings joy, community, and the performing arts to our great state. It’s a real privilege to capture the talent on that stage and to work with such kind, wonderful people. To get to work on this festival is truly a dream.

See you next year!

j

Writing and Editing Night

Podcast night didn’t work out so well last night on account of me collapsing into bed without much warning. It happens from time to time and I have to forgive myself. Yes, I lost a night to work on the editing for the podcast as well as the big videography project, but some days the body just wants a good night’s sleep. So that brings me to tonight: I’m settling in to give the latest episode of Our Kid’s Asleep a final pass and will be working on the Music Festival Highlight to deliver sometime this week. I’m really looking forward to sharing some of the performances captured. I feel completely immersed in the magical weekend! But for now, I’ll try to stay focused and bring about a new episode of the podcast now that summer is winding down and the workload is getting manageable at the office. August was a busy busy month, but incredible rewarding. I’m so lucky to have a job where I can meet people who are working hard to better themselves, no matter the circumstance. I’m inspired by all the folks I meet and work with, so it kind of pushes me to follow my gradual progress, even after five o’clock rolls around. I’m optimistic I will wrap up my videography commitment in September and shift focus to writing my short story collection and recording some music. Hopefully I’ll have a week or two to chip away at these side projects and when the time comes, I’ll start sharing some updates.

OKA Episode 23 Now Playing!

In order to manage my time a bit better, I went back to the pocket agenda, which now goes with me everywhere. As much as I’ve tried my Google calendar, I really struggle with the app on my phone and using the calendar online. I much prefer seeing the week and scratching dates and times and deadlines on a tangible page. It adds a warm sense of urgency that I can’t get from my online calendar. It may sound old school, but I have to go back to the things that make me efficient, and discard the rest.

Good news: I’m sleeping better. It’s not perfect, but I’m making a habit of getting good sleep at least three nights a week (to start with). I’ve noticed I have more energy, I’m sharper at work, and I’m following my creative instincts to some really good ideas lately. I used to think that I would only have time to write or edit or record if I stayed up ’til three in the morning every night, but I’m changing my tune after all this time. There’s enough daylight hours at my disposal, I’m sort of learning to use them! And to be honest, it’s not so much that I’m taking drastic, well regimented steps at this time. My rule of thumb has simply become to do one creative thing a day. So here’s what I am choosing to do to help myself:

  • I’m carrying my idea notebook with me.
  • I’m documenting my progress on my calendar.
  • I’m taking a break when I need it.

It’s not much, but it’s a start. I also wanted to document my diet but that’s been a shit-show. That notebook is starting to become a thesaurus for regret. We’ll see how that one pans out. Regardless, we’re making little strides to keep up the creative side in this complicated, tiring, working class world.

Be well and make some art when you can. I’ll try to do the same.

j

Happy Monday, From Late Sunday.

Wrapping up a little promo for the amazing and fast approaching Oyster Ridge Music Festival! I can’t wait to head there this weekend!

Yes, it’s late, but there are times one must go the extra mile and offer something to the cause. I just wrapped up on this quick promo a few minutes ago, since the festival is just four days away, every little bit helps to keep spreading the word! Oyster Ridge has given me so much in the last few years, and it does so much for the Wyoming arts community that it’s only right I try to bring as much awareness to this festival as possible. Producing web content for the festival has given me so much reward and joy, I can’t help but think of this project year-round. I’ll try to document a bit as I go, but as the festival takes hold, it’s hard to do anything but record and enjoy. Four more days!


In podcast world, Madd and I got back to podcasting on Saturday and should have a new episode this week as well. I had a big editing stumble the last few weeks, so I apologize to our dear friends who came on for episode 20. That episode will be coming out in the coming days! We cover some great movies and have a good time goofing around. For now, checkout the last episode we published, it might be one of our best yet:


On a personal note, I learned a lot this weekend. Sometimes irrational or poorly timed goals lead to a frenzy of time wasted, and energy spent on the wrong things. I tend to follow this pattern often, but a conversation this weekend led me to a helpful observation: It’s tough to get out of your head. Tough to see things from a vantage point other than your own. More importantly, it’s tough to meet the needs of friends and family if you aren’t actively listening. On my best days, I can be a great listener. Attentive and caring, generous. I have fallen short of that standard because thinking about myself and my distractions is more important. It sounds awful as I think this thought and lay it on display for all to see. This is however, the truth. I carry with me what I call, The Delusion: A powerful, intoxicating drug that drives me to fixate on a specific creative project because if I don’t finish it, a part of me will cease to exist. Rinse and repeat. Sadly, I’ve held this thinking for a long time, and its volatile nature has mangled my more healthy behaviors of relationship building and communicating. I firmly believe there is a healthier balance to be found between my creative pursuits and the relationships I hold dear: They must enrich and nurture each other. The secret is in clarity and communication.

I am vowing to be present, to actively listen, and to be proactive in my own life by making choices. I am rejecting complacency and embracing love and selflessness. I don’t know what the hell that means yet, but alas, this is a late night work in progress. Now the work begins.

I hope you had a good weekend too.

j

“Such great heights.”
Check out my original writing prompts on Instagram #icprompts!

Up next: 25 years of ORMF!

Looking forward to one of my favorite video projects coming fast at the end of July: The Oyster Ridge Music Festival!

www.oysterridgemusicfestival.com/

Truly Wyoming’s Premier Music Festival event, the great folks in Kemmerer, WY host some of the best talent from the folk and bluegrass scene nationwide, and bring them to us FREE! This will be my third year providing videography for the festival and I am just overjoyed to know such a tremendous group of people. This festival, top to bottom, is a complete labor of love. Many of the musicians I have interviewed attest it’s one of the most well-run festivals they’ve played, and time and again, I have heard them say everyone is just so nice around here. I can’t imagine a better message to send out to the rest of the country about what we’re all about in Wyoming.

This will be the 25th anniversary of the festival and I, for one, can’t wait to see this lineup live! Here’s our recap from last year which included the Grammy Award-winning Steeldrivers! Bluegrass is not my default setting, but coming to this festival and surrounding myself in the genre has really made me fall in love with it. There is an earnest quality about the music and undoubtedly an insane amount of talent.


The prep begins!

To me, Oyster Ridge is a one man band videographer’s dream. There is so much happening that without a game plan, it is bound to overwhelm. Lucky for me, I was able to pick up a few tricks from my first trip that now I can simply enjoy the process, the friendly atmosphere, as well as the incredible talent onstage.

When in doubt, I always refer to two of my great inspirations for concert films: The Santana performance in the Woodstock documentary, and Queen’s 1985 performance in Live Aid. I liken that electricity they captured to something perennial and ritualistic and ultimately so gratifying. I’m fortunate this was my introduction to their music and my cassette tape sensibility, which still guides me when it comes to video work. It’s incredibly appealing to hold the camera in my hands as I record the details around me. The imperfections of an un-cinematic zoom, or a panning shot that slightly jitters, are there to remind you there is actually someone behind the camera. I was so hesitant to give up that organic, imperfect feeling that I didn’t feel the need to own a stabilizer until recently. Maybe it’s refusing to adapt, or being honest about what works and doesn’t work for me, but no matter the project, I choose to go handheld most of the time. It’s more immediate to me. More human. That’s what I love about those live broadcasts and now hallowed concert recordings: It really felt like the folks framing the shots really were immersed and invested in what was transpiring right in front of them. I know it’s a tall order to aspire to produce a work like those epic concert films, but it’s fun to revere them and emulate them. In my own way, I want to continue to create videos that highlight the pure joy and freedom of an expertly executed performance. I don’t mean to say great artists who craft technically superb projects using stabilizers can’t connect with their subjects. As artists, we all have an approach that rings uniquely true to each of us. The tools are there for us to create an aesthetic that makes sense to us, and hopefully, will make sense to a viewer. As long as we’re pursuing to deliver something honest.

I’ve been so eager to get back to Kemmerer, I’ve gone back to last year’s footage to remind myself what I’m in for. I like to do a multi-cam setup and work the cuts to amplify the intensity of the performances. I’m moving away from Premiere as well, so I thought this would be a good opportunity to play around with DaVinci Resolve and the other alternatives. The biggest difficulty so far is getting comfortable with the color correction “nodes” in DaVinci, but in due time, I think it will get the job done for me.

Of the many performances we got last year, this closing number from Mike Mangione & the Kin was amazing. Hope you enjoy! More to come,

j

Please check out the Oyster Ridge site for more information! Did I mention it’s free?!