Last month when my family was in Boston for the holidays, I was reminded of this expression when we spent an evening at the home of a good friend of mine watching his wedding video. My immediate reaction was a bit of reluctance, and not just because it meant reliving my own lengthy best-man toast; I thought to myself, “Isn’t watching wedding video most of what I do when I’m not on vacation?” Then again, I must admit I enjoy watching other people’s wedding videos more than I ever thought I would.
Steve Yankee wrote a column a few months back about the problem with working at home, which is that you’re never not at work, and consequently you need to create boundaries between work and everything else. With 24/7 email access it’s often tough to break away, but sometimes the real reason it’s hard to make that clear-cut distinction is that your job stays on your mind even when you aren’t supposed to be doing it simply because it’s part of who you are. There are a lot of EventDV developments in the works for the early part of 2009—mostly involving bringing more video to our website—that I thought about quite a bit during my vacation. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
I took advantage of my time on the east coast to meet with EventDV contributing editor Hal Slifer, who has played a key role in the development of EventDV-TV, a new offshoot of EventDV.net that we’re sneak-previewing today with the launch of Kevin Shahinian’s Production Diary: Tum Hi Ho. Hal helped sow the seeds of EventDV-TV last September with his Cash Cows in a Changing Economy feature, in which he invited all his interviewees to produce videos that would illustrate the points they made in the article about the “cash cow” services that keep their businesses profitable. The videos they submitted exceeded all my expectations. I know event filmmakers are busy people—and I’m pretty sure Hal hit them all up for contributions in their busiest season—so I wouldn’t have been surprised if they’d all sent in some mild variation on their demos, or if few or none had participated at all.
But when I saw Whit Wales’ submission—the first one that came in—I knew we were on to something. Wales’ piece was entertaining, insightful, and just a little off-kilter in a way that makes perfect sense if you have the good fortune to know the man. As the other entries rolled in from the likes of Steve and Laura Moses of Vantage Point Productions, Mike Jensen of Jensen Films, Phil Hinkle of Frogman Productions, Jerome Cloninger of JC/DV, Barry and Stephanie Giunn of Fat Cat Productions, and Jerry and Penney Malcolm of 2nd Generation Productions, I found that they combined solid, valuable content with plenty of odd personal idiosyncracies that showed you who those people are and how they’ve infused their businesses with their own personality and style.
And of course it occurred to me that I should have expected this. Video, after all, is the natural mode of expression for event filmmakers. Not only do they have plenty to say (I knew they would), I should have known they would all have their own way to say it. I never would have expected all these talented filmmakers to spend their “busman’s holidays” producing great short films to accompany an EventDV article, but that’s exactly what they did.
EventDV-TV will combine a lot of things, one of which will be “Secret of My Success” and studio tour-type videos of the sort I got from the “Cash Cow” interviewees. We’ll also have several monthly series hosted by a half-dozen of the hottest event filmmakers in the business (details coming soon), video tutorials, “man/woman on the street” interviews, original pieces produced by local and regional videographer associations, and video pieces that will supplement our print articles, such as Studio Time profile tie-ins and Mark Von Lanken’s March In the Field article on the Panasonic HMC150.
The thing that has always made EventDV successful on the print side is that it’s written by event filmmakers who live and breathe this business. Not only do the articles come from people who were practicing it long before they started preaching it, but most of the ideas behind the articles come from our great contributors as well. (If all the story ideas came from me, we would have run out of steam a long time ago.)
I think we’ve done a pretty good job over the years of making it clear that the best ideas that find their way into the pages of this magazine come from you; the many great story pitches I get, and ideas I get from talking to readers attest to that. EventDV-TV needs your contributions too, since I suspect editor-talking-in-front-of-greenscreen isn’t really what you want to see week after week. Are you an event filmmaker with a story to tell about your studio or our industry? It’s show-and-tell time and the floor is open. If you want to spend your next busman’s holiday on EventDV-TV, email me and tell me what you have in mind, and how you’d like to bring it to life.
Stephen Nathans-Kelly (stephen.nathans at infotoday.com) is editor-in-chief of EventDV.