North Aurora Days Address

It’s the first weekend of August, so this means that North Aurora Days has rolled around once again.

Depending on how long you’ve been following me professionally, you may know that I covered this festival with E Leal Productions last year, summer of 2016. We had high hopes for that film coverage, but nothing ever ended up coming from it.

Why? You may ask.

It’s kind of a long story, multi-faceted. For one, we bit off far more than we could chew with our coverage. We covered everything over the entire 3 days of the festival. This made it hard to put our shorter videos. There was just so much footage to go through and organize. We had about 10 minutes of video edited, and we still had a ways to go.

On top of that, we had a hard drive crash on us, so we lost a lot of footage. After that, time just was not on our side. The project sat, and sat, and sat.

I had hoped to at least put together a promotional video for the upcoming festival, but once again, time just was not on my side. This goal never came fruition. I continue to be disappointed by that fact.

To continue with the theme of time, we will be unable to cover the festival this year because of previously planned engagements. If anything, we’d love to enjoy the festival for fun, if we get the chance. It really is a fun time.

I have no obligation to give explanation for why we won’t be covering the event this time around, or why nothing came of the footage from last year. We went into the event ourselves. We volunteered our time for no one but ourselves.

I’m writing this post for myself, as a reminder to not take on more than I can handle. It’s a reminder that things can always happen to make situations go differently than they were planned.

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Covering North Aurora Days 2016

It’s been a few weeks since I posted about professional work. During this time, I’ve been working with E Leal Productions again to cover the summer event, North Aurora Days. We’d recently relocated our office to North Aurora, so this was a good opportunity to get our name out there in a new community.

The North Aurora Days festivities took place over three days, the first weekend in August. There were a lot of things to cover, from music to food and other family activities. We covered as much as we could. This included some interviews. We hope to use those in the edit.


On top of this being our first time filming North Aurora Days, we also used this event as a learning opportunity for one of our frequent collaborators, Sarah Sofia Serrato. There has been some talk of a potential documentary on the horizon, so we wanted to use this as an opportunity for her to get experience with interviews. It’s a bit tougher than a lot of people would think. There are tricks to it.

We captured a lot of footage. The first week after the festival, we pretty much just went through the footage and labeled it, so we could find things easier while editing. That took a lot more time than I was expecting. We’ve only recently been able to start editing the finished product, so now I feel like we’re moving right along.

When we started editing the video, we realized that we were going to need a bit of a voiceover to carry the story along. That’s pretty much what I’ve been doing for the last few days. We’re pushing through. I think we have about 5 minutes of content so far, and I wouldn’t be surprised if we could take it to a 10 minute feature.

I’ll probably be suggesting that we do a short promotional video on top of the feature that we finish. More updates on this to come!

Southbank 2015 – Trish Kinnavy

The third video released as a Southbank throwback featured Trish Kinnavy performing “Hey Ya” accompanied by William Buchholtz-Allison on flute.

This video doesn’t feature any of my camera work. I’m not exactly sure why. Perhaps it was a battery issue since it was toward the end of the day, or maybe the lens I was using wasn’t favoring the level of sunlight as the sun was setting.

The camera work in this video is done by Erik Leal and Jason Rugg.

Southbank 2015 – Matthew Ripsch

Time for another Southbank throwback!

One person who has been at the TK Southbank Art and Music Fest every year that we’ve covered it is Matthew Ripsch. He’s a talented, young artist. We’ve seen him grow up and produce his own original music over the last several years, and it’s been great.

At the 2015 Festival, he performed an entirely original set of songs. We caught two of them, “Friday Night Gig Night” and “Party All Night”, as well as a short interview.

The camera work for this video was done by Erik Leal, Jason Rugg, and myself.

Southbank 2015 – Cashmere Moon

The first of our Throwback Thursdays was uploaded today!

Since so much time has passed since the TK Southbank Art and Music Fest, we decided to upload the videos we’ve edited once a week as a #tbt. This will be a way of making the videos relevant again by using the social media trend, as well as counting down to and creating excitement for the next festival.

For this first week, we uploaded a performance and interview with Cashmere Moon, a local jazz band comprised of talented teenagers who recently graduated high school and have now entered college.

The camera work for this video was done by Erik Leal, Jason Rugg, and myself. The original songs performed by Cashmere Moon are “Coffee Beans” and “I Am / You Are”

Revisiting Southbank

Way back in May of 2015, E Leal Productions covered the TK Southbank Art and Music Fest for, I think, the third or fourth year in a row. This time we went into it with a plan, and we had three camera operators. These three camera operators included myself, Erik Leal of E Leal Productions and Jason Rugg, a local freelance media producer.

In previous years, we’ve tried several different ways of formatting our coverage. We’ve created short promotional videos and an hour long special. This year, we planned on creating several different short form videos that focused on the musicians, artists, and vendors that attended the event.

Unfortunately, a lot of events transpired following the Art and Music Fest. The biggest issue was that full time positions came into play, and there wasn’t a lot of time available to edit the videos. At the time, we were also looking to relocate our home office location, and this wasn’t fully taken care of until October or November of 2015. The footage remained dormant for that entire time.

Around December 2015, we started receiving inquiries about the footage. This was completely understandable, of course. In response, I started the long journey of sifting through the footage and detailing its contents.


After so many months had gone by, it was definitely difficult to remember what we were originally going for. I’m sure we had a reason for every shot that we filmed, but after so long, I could no longer see it. I also had to go through the footage to develop a completely different plan for what to do with it. Since the event was so far in the past, it would no longer be relevant to follow the original plan. Overall, it took most of the month to completely look through all of the footage we had collected.

Now, here we are in January of 2016, and we’re attempting to edit some videos together for the event that will still be relevant. We’re still facing the same difficulties with finding the time to put these videos together, but I’m pretty confident that something will finally be finished soon.

Volunteering

Ever since I started working in video, volunteering has been a staple of my work. One of the first things I did was get certified as a producer for a regional public access channel. Through that outlet, I covered several events in local towns. When I got my own equipment, I continued to cover local events and provide content to that station. The content ranged from event coverage to original, narrative work.

Due to the experiences I had as a volunteer for that station, I decided to register as a volunteer for another local public access channel that was more focused on a specific city. In the beginning, this seemed like a very positive thing. The channel definitely boasted a more pro-active environment, producing a variety of its own original shows and working with high school students. It definitely seemed like an environment that I wanted to be a part of.

Recently, my outlook has completely changed. My experience with this new local access channel has not been positive. It’s recently come to my attention that the channel hasn’t used any of the work that I’ve done for them,¬†and this, paired with my experiences with them lately, makes me rethink volunteering with them at all.

I mentioned that this station had a more “pro-active” outlook. For them, this basically would entail me being at their office every week, like an intern. I can’t agree with that. That’s not how I see my volunteer work. While I enjoy covering local events for the community, I can’t do that entirely on a volunteer basis. I have other priorities, and I have to be able to make money somehow. When I volunteer, I do so because I want to, not because I’m being forced to.

Since I’m not at the office with them regularly, I definitely feel as though I’m not treated with the same respect as I would otherwise. When you add that experience to the fact that they haven’t used any of the content I’ve provided, it makes me feel like I’m wasting my time providing them content at all.

I’ll definitely be thinking over this for a while. It pains me to think about cutting ties like this. I don’t usually like burning bridges. I want to keep my outlets open if possible.

Even if I do cut ties with this station, I will still be covering events through E Leal Productions. That’s still a big part of what I do as a freelance media producer. I enjoy putting packages together, even if I have to post them myself.