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Well, I now officially have two documentaries in the work: the one about Salt Creek Artworks, tentatively titled Finale, and one about homeless in Pinellas County, titled Another Day in Paradise.

I’ve worked ‘way too long on Finale.  For a while, I didn’t have access to my videocamera, and had to try piecing together what I had already filmed.  However, I knew I needed more film, preferably around St. Petersburg (Fla.).  I figure that I should have enough film within the next couple of weeks to be able to finish the project.

I started filming the second one (Another Day in Paradise) over the weekend.  It’ll deal with homelessness in one specific Florida county (Pinellas) and the fact that while there are homeless who have problems with alcohol and other drugs and/or mental health issues to almost justify the stereotypes, there are too many who are homeless for other reasons.  These reasons are:

  • low paying (minimum wage) jobs;
  • high housing costs (even for efficiencies and smaller houses or apartments);
  • domestic violence;
  • loss of a job;
  • and other extenuating circumstances.

Saturday’s filming involved someone who is homeless (Disclaimer: the person is someone I know personally, who moved to Florida for his health).  He was very eloquent, well-spoken, and not what one would necessarily think of when thinking “homeless.”  I also plan to film one or two more individuals and/or families (yes, there are homeless families), as well as different agencies that work with the homeless.

I would be remiss if I didn’t add that I was able to get some help with locating one or two people who work with the homeless by PM-ing a local city official; more on that later.

And now…on to work.


Back To Work…

After having my business (and working on documentaries) on hiatus, I’m back.

This time around, I’m slowly but surely getting organized.  By this, I’m brainstorming on documentaries and what direction I need to go with all of them.  This includes:

  • Finishing the documentary on Salt Creek Artworks;
  • working on one dealing with homelessness;
  • working on one about hospice;
  • “my home town” (i.e. small town America);
  • firefighting;
  • and “You’re a What?”

Okay, so here’s the breakdown…With the Salt Creek documentary, I’ve pretty much got the footage I need, and need to complete putting it together in a coherent storyline.  I do need to get some more footage, mainly around St. Petersburg, to give a little some background, to give the viewer an anchor to where Salt Creek Artworks was.  I also figure that if I can possibly film a few of the places that the artists are working at now, that might help, as well as possibly filming Pat, the lady who owned Salt Creek Artworks.

With the homelessness documentary, I need to contact several homeless shelters around Pinellas County, possibly interview and/or film several people in each place to help the viewer get a better understanding of homelessness, as well as contact several police departments about their homeless outreach.  I also want to possibly follow one or two people as they get out of homelessness.

With the hospice documentary, I plan to discuss hospice’s place in the community, how they help not only those who are dying but their families as well.  There’s also the possibility of follow a family or two as they go through the whole hospice experience.

“My Home Town” would deal with small-town America, and how it’s trying to upgrade its image.

Firefighting.  Enough said.

And finally,  “You’re a What?”  This would deal with people in non-traditional roles: female firefighters and police officers; male nurses; etc.

More to come…


Back To Work

After a very long (read: too long) break from editing film for the Salt Creek Artworks piece, I’m back to editing.  Will keep everyone updated on how that’s going.

One request: if anyone knows a tech who’s great at troubleshooting Macs (and not hideously expensive), please let me know.  (And thanks, in advance.)

So I’ve been working with photoshop…I’d learned bits and pieces of the program several years ago as an undergrad from one heck of a great prof and photographer. Ever notice how many people can do something, but not teach how to do it, or can teach but can’t do what they’re teaching? The photojournalism prof I had for two semesters is a really great photographer AND can teach.

But I’m digressing. I’ve spent the past week going over the watermark part of the program. Now to see how it translates onto a web page. I’ve taken a photo that I shot several years ago. It’s not a great photo, merely one that I can experiment on without worrying about whether I’ll mess it up.

So, here goes.

fair photo

Cash ideas…

I’ve had to slow down on filming lately, due to cash-flow problems, so I’m currently brainstorming in order to get back on track.  Possibilities include:

  • Kickstarter
  • Indiegogo (though I haven’t really had any luck there)
  • Printing up blank greeting-style cards with some of my photography
  • finding new venues for the photography I already have available.


Anyone with any great ideas (let me rephrase that: any legal ideas) for funding a small business, let me know.  

Pulling things together…

It’s been a long road putting together the Salt Creek documentary.  I’m sure that there are people who wonder why it has taken so long.  Film, edit, slap it together.   And, at one point, I thought that.

Turns out it’s a lot more complicated than that, especially when there is no funding or backers and one doesn’t drive.  The first month or two (or more) of filming, I’d cab it to Salt Creek to film.  Sure, it would have been cheaper to catch a bus there and back – a lot cheaper.  Then, once my daughter and her family moved back to the area, she was able to drive me there and back.  She’s a big help, too; it didn’t take long to figure out how to start putting the equipment together, then break it down at the end.  But when transportation dies, it makes things a little dicey.  If I thought it’d be interesting carting cameras (video and DSLR), tripods, a dolly, etc. on a PSTA bus, it’d be downright impossible on the back of a scooter.

The next step is to start putting the film, or the useful parts of the film, into a cohesive story, see where I’m short on storyline, contact any of the artists who I might need to film and get a time for filming, film at least the outside of the buildings where the artists have landed (two places so far, as far as I know, with the majority of the group in one place, a few in the other spot a block or two away), as well as some shots of downtown St. Petersburg for the beginning of the documentary, and maybe a few interviews with others in the art community.  Of course, I might also need to talk with one of the Tampa Bay Times photographers and one of the writers for the St. Petersburg Times segment of the Tampa Bay Times, both of who documented different aspects of the closing.  I’ve also recently contacted a soon-to-graduate grad student at USFSP about possibly using some of his short on Salt Creek Artwork.  Any info, film, photos, etc. included into the final documentary will of course be given credit; anyone who has helped over the course of filming, etc., will be properly acknowledged in the credits.

Several years back, I spoke with someone I know who has been filming short films for a while.  I had asked questions, figuring I’d hear something like, “Yeah, grab a video camera, figure out what you want to film, and go to work.”  Turns out, he advised that the first few shorts would be learning projects and that the first longer one would be take longer than I anticipated, take more film than I’d figured on, and generally be a lot of work; I’d best be up to the task and actually enjoy the process, since there’d be times when I’d wonder what the heck I’d gotten myself into.   Turns out, he was right on the money.

I wouldn’t trade the trip thus far; I’m still moving forward.

Salt Creek Artworks, Creek side

Creek side (back) of building

Winter Moon

Winter moon, Florida, Pinellas Park

Possibly more filming

It looks like I may have to do a little more filming for the Salt Creek project.  Why? you ask.  It turns out that most of the core group has found a place to rent.  Two places, actually.  Most of the core group will be moving into (or have moved into) a building on Central Avenue near Haslam’s bookstore, while several artists have taken a place maybe a block or two from the rest of the group.

I think what I’ll probably do is try to get hold of a few of the artists, get their thoughts on the move, film the outside of the buildings, maybe one more interview with Pat (the lady whose family owned the Salt Creek building), then finishing the film with something along the lines of how Salt Creek Artworks will always be part of the artists’ lives, even years down the line.


Almost done – sort of…

I’m almost done with the Salt Creek Artworks project, at least with the film that I have so far.  I hope to do a little more filming, though at this point, it’ll be mostly a few interviews, generalized city shots, etc.  There’s a good chance that the final project will be between 45 to 60 minutes.

Also, it looks like I might have an opportunity to film a non-profit agency in November.  The group is looking into a grant to pay for a 3-minute spot.  It’ll probably take 2 – 3 hours of filming, then editing, etc.  Someone else had also mentioned needing someone to film a wedding at the end of November, but I’m getting the feeling that there are cold feet involved.  Even if the couple backs out, I can live with that.  In this business, it’s best to learn how to roll with the punches…

The rest of this week will involve working on my thesis, working on more editing, and brainstorming for more documentaries…