The Big Think

July 18, 2008

Military Week

Filed under: Audio,Disclosure,Movies — jasony @ 8:59 pm

As many of you know, Erin and I got to spend last week up in Colorado. I had been hired to go shoot another video by a camp that hosts military soldiers and their families. Three years ago we went up to the very same camp and made the first video. They were so appreciative of the first vid that they wanted me to go and update it, so off we went again. For a whole week I shot footage around the camp (6 hours), conducted lots of interviews (8 hours), ate great food, and got to know the “other 1%”: the soldiers who make up our military (Army, in this case). They told some incredible stories. I had my perspective rocked quite a bit three years ago and worked really hard to make sure that their stories and their appreciation for the donors got through in the video. Through the whole process I have felt like all of my skills have been engaged. Technical: filmmaking, audio, lighting, framing, etc, and interpersonal: interviewing, getting to know people, keeping the “customer” happy, trust on camera, etc. I’ve felt completely “used up” and stretched to my limits while I strove very hard to put out something that would be high quality and hopefully have an impact.

Mission accomplished. I just found out that the people responsible for getting funding for the camp were able to use my video to raise half a million dollars for subsequent camps. This money has been used so that hundreds of families could come to camp together and reconnect after their soldier-parents had been overseas serving for one, two, or even four different deployments (up to 15 months per deployment). Seeing the appreciation on the families faces and knowing that I had a small part in that has probably been one of the most satisfying things I have ever done.

I’m definitely not taking credit for it, though. There were a few other key people who spent those three intervening years traveling around, talking to donors, interfacing with the military machine, and generally making it work, and they’re the real reason that the camp continues to this day. But I’m proud of the small part I was able to play and happy that I got to go back. It’s not often that we get to see the fruits of our labor used in such an obvious and meaningful way and I’m grateful to have seen first-hand the effect that my work had on these wonderful families.

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