First of all, I want to say "thank you" to all the friends I have met through my column. I have been thanked for being an inspiration because of my age, and
I have been contacted for advice on how to apply many of the ideas I've written about. I feel that my column has given me an opportunity to affect lives and help others succeed. I've always tried to be very transparent and share from my own experiences, not just write theoretically. I also want to thank Steve Nathans-Kelly for inviting me to write this column and giving me great freedom to share my ideas and experiences.
Second, I want to remind you that, as videographers, we have one of the greatest callings in life. Notice I didn't say "job." In my opinion, a job is where you focus on collecting a paycheck; I see what we are doing as much greater than just earning money. Anyone who goes into video just to earn a paycheck will soon burn out and quit. Those of us who approach video as a calling are passionate about what we do, and we realize that we have the privilege of encapsulating moments in time for generations to come. Talk about leaving a footprint that lasts beyond our lifetime! We not only capture a person's life on video, but we provide the opportunity for future generations to be impacted by what we do.
Third, I want to remind you to not forget your greatest calling: your family. There have been many times that I missed out on important family occasions because I had overbooked myself, or I was afraid to say "no" to a potential client. Through the years I have learned that the best way to focus on your family is to involve them in your work. I have written about how my son, Jason Naumann, and I did video projects while he was in high school, and today, he is directing movies and creating incredible videos. My youngest daughter, Carrie Naumann, has been my second cameraperson on numerous jobs and has taken video courses in college.
My oldest daughter, Jennifer Uren, actually met her husband as a result of a video assignment. I needed to send a videographer on a summer mission project to Europe, and the mission needed an accountant. My daughter was looking for an internship for college, and through a lot of creativity, we were able to have her cover both needs. She came back with countless hours of Hi-8 video (this was many years ago), and of all the testimonials she recorded, I chose one that I thought was exceptional. Jim Uren was going to start attending the same college Jennifer was attending, and so they had a lot in common and became good friends. I didn't know about this friendship when I selected his footage to include in the promotional video I had contracted to produce-I just felt he was special. And I still do, since he and Jennifer have been married for 16 years and have given us three precious grandchildren!
Lastly, I want to encourage you to continue to develop, not as videographers but as people. Take time to grow intellectually, socially, physically, and spiritually. If we don't feed our souls, we can become empty shells. You have heard me encourage you to serve others with video, not just look at video as a way to earn money. My philosophy has been to find a video need and meet it, often without thought of remuneration. This doesn't sound like much of a business plan, but doing so has brought me more paying work than one person could possibly handle. One of the most recent projects I've taken on is the Minnesota Special Olympics Truck Convoy. October 2011 marked my third year producing a video for the event. Not only have thousands of people seen my work, but I receive free advertising by the acknowledgement of my work on the organization's website (http://northland300.org/Convoy.aspx).
Video has been, and continues to be, good to my family. I have learned much, made many mistakes, met wonderful people, and look back in amazement that I can actually get paid for something I love to do. As someone once said, "Find something you love, and you will never work another day in your life!" If that is true, then I haven't worked since 1988-the year I started my video business.
Several years ago, I spent a meaningful month in Germany. The spelling of my last name may indicate that this was more than just a casual interest. One thing I remember is that every time we left a community-whether it was large or small-we always saw a sign that simply read, "auf Wiedersehen," which translates to "until we meet again." That is the way I like to say my goodbyes.
Dr. Seuss has been credited with saying, "Don't cry because it's over; smile because it happened." As my fellow Minnesotan Garrison Keillor says, "Be well, do good work, and keep in touch." I look forward to seeing you again.
Alan Naumann (alan at memoryvision.tv) is co-author, with Melonie Jeska, of The Complete Guide to Video Biographies, a comprehensive set of training materials for professional video producers. A featured speaker at WEVA Expo 2004–2010 and
a two-time EventDV 25 honoree, he is based in Minneapolis.