One of the highlights for this summer was the opportunity to spend two weeks in an intensive video workshop at the Santa Fe Workshops with ex-National Geographic photographer, now director and educator Bob Sasha.
While it has been great fun working on commercial projects where I direct and have a DP, Assistant Camera person, plus grip and lighting crews to collaborate with, I wanted to immerse myself in all aspects of film production. In a way, it's like having a makeup stylist teach me how to do beauty makeup a number of years ago. It's not that I wanted to become a makeup stylist, but because I travel so much and work with stylists in other cities, I at least wanted to understand the vocabulary so I could explain better what I was looking for.
In a similar way, understanding editing helps me understand how to direct and shoot to make sure I have the elements of a good story. As well, it helped me understand the importance of good coverage and options for transitions while shooting.
Probably the most enlightening part of the course was the time spent on story structure so that an audience feels a personal connection to the subject. I made one video each week, the first being about Clint Mortenson. Clint was born in North Dakota and like so many other young people raised on ranches, decided to move to the city and make a different life for himself. To see what happens, check out the video. In the second week, I focused on a young dancer and her aspirations to work with the renowned Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. I'll post that next.
I know the insights gained will help in the continuing work on my documentary, "A Handful of Dust", as well as on assignments for clients. Two weeks very well spent.