Uncovering complexity

We were doing some filming yesterday with Wood Buffalo Productions, a local film company creating a series of videos for the upcoming United Way campaign.  Mike, Jon and Matt are seasoned professionals that bring the best equipment and know-how to each shoot.  They also bring a sincere desire to make a difference in the community in which they were raised.

I am frightfully afraid of all things video.  My 12 year old son Ben makes these incredible short films using nothing but an iPad, but how he does it is a foreign country to me.  Seeing the equipment that Mike, Jon and Matt were using last night - buttons, patch cords, and attachments everywhere - made me twitch.

Filmmaking - like painting, writing or any other art - is a complex process with multiple steps, hidden curves, annoying rabbit holes, and a hope that the client will fall in love with the finish product.  A lot of time and money goes into each project, each scene and the multiple takes required to get it right.

It makes me feel a little unworthy - to be completely honest - when I see filmmakers doing what they do best.  They are not only dealing with the content of the shoot, they are thinking about continuity, sound quality, composition, performance and myriad other elements, all simultaneously. Over and above all of that, half their brains are leaping forward to the editing process and asking themselves do they have enough options; do they have the pieces that they can stitch together in post-production to create the desired end product?

I'm not a video or film guy, but I've had a decade of experience in the radio broadcasting business and have been through more theatre productions and festivals than I can count.  In other words, I have an appreciation for what these amazing artists have to juggle in order to be successful.  I'm in awe of their skills, and in the case of Wood Buffalo Productions, how they seamlessly work as a team to get it done.

At the end of the day, thousands of people will watch this particular video and feel a range of emotions.  The journey from initial concept to sharable content is long and complicated, frustrating and exhilarating.  I am grateful to Mike, Jon and Matt for all they are doing for the United Way and the community.  I am also grateful for what they are teaching me along the way.


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