JDtR Mission: Arkansas PART 1

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JDtR or Just Down the Road, is the TV show on which I crew.  By crew I mean I run camera, sound, carry things and occasionally boss people around.  I enjoyed the bossing around this last experience, but I found out that my muscles are sad.

Really, really sad.

But let’s start at the beginning, shall we?

I’ve worked on JDtR since the fall of 2012.  For those of you who know your stuff, that means I’ve been with the show for about a year.  Through the show I’ve been able to film shark fishing, stand-up paddling, people jumping on trampolines, airboats going 50+ miles per hour, manatees, dolphins, beaches, the Kennedy Space Center and a famous barbecue competition.  I’ve met Guy Fieri, a NASA astronaut, tons of awesome entrepreneurs, PR people galore, and really the nicest people around.

I have a fun job, eh?

Last week we set out to Arkansas to bring the gorgeous Southern state to TV stations nationwide.  We have a 5-person team and we piled into a 15-passenger van with all the equipment.


Our first destination was Hot Springs.  We made it without much incident, except some possibly disturbing dancing in the van and an annoying betrayal from Darth Vader (our GPS).  After a good night’s rest we geared up for some zip lining at Ouachita Bend Adventures.


Yep, I even had my camera.  But before you wig out, just know that the big camera didn’t actually come on the zips with us, we had smaller ones for those.

Zip lining took my breath and words and balance away.



The closest word I can think of for the experience is this:  EPIC.

Taken by our guides at Ouachita Bend Adventures before we zip lined.

Taken by our guides at Ouachita Bend Adventures after we zip lined.

Stay tuned for more JDtR missions and links to the show!


Football vs. Affluence

I have nothing against people with lots of money.

Okay, maybe I do.  Forgive me, please.

It’s not that I don’t think that he or she has a right to that money–I’m an American through and through.  If you work for that check, hey, it’s yours.  And if your parents worked for that check and gave it to you, hey, it’s still yours.  You have a right to your money and I have a right to mine.

I have a problem with “rich” people who are also high on themselves.  Just because you have more money than I do doesn’t mean you’re better than I am.  You’re not.

On the flip side of that, just because I have less money–dude, I’m a filmmaker–doesn’t mean I’m better.  Get off your high horse you artists out there.

So.  Why am I talking about money?  I’ve been filming high school football games.

The first week, I filmed at a school whose media booth was literally falling apart.  I mean, there were parts of the floor that were so cracked I was afraid to set down my back pack.  Or my foot.  The stadium was modest, but well-cared for and well-filled, despite the stifling heat.  Really, they pushed the kickoff back an hour because of the heat.

This suburb in my city isn’t the most affluent.  Okay, they struggle a bit.  I think of the residents as average, but I come from one of the lowest income areas of Kansas City.  Here’s the thing:  This high school cares about their football team.  I’m sure they were instructed in the game to the best of the school’s ability.  The team didn’t lack uniforms or equipment.  The game was the event, nothing else.

The 2nd week I filmed at a school that intimidated me with its sheer size.  I mean, the media booth was HUGE and brand new and amazing.  Except there was this window that refused to open and then it refused to stay up….Anyway, this was an affluent suburb.  The kinda place where everybody drives a new car and sends their kids to dance and band and JC Penny and whatever else and thinks nothing of it.  Even with all those dance outfits that cost like $75 for one performance.

It’s okay to have that kinda money.  Really.  Money isn’t happiness or fulfillment or success necessarily.  A “poor” person can be perfectly content with life.

But man, the contrast with the first school was so startling that I spent a majority of the game thinking about money and how it changes things.  How it changes people.  You know how you have a group of people who are all middle to lower income and none of them really think about it–even if the level of income is fairly wide.

But then you have a group of high to higher income people and everybody has to show off their nice clothes or their fancy house or their car or their high school football stadium.  And you start to see the pettiness of it all.

Remember, I’m just the videographer.  I just document.  I can’t see into these people’s hearts or thoughts.  I don’t know any of them.  All I know is what I see. And what I saw was two schools from totally different suburbs of one of the most stereotyped cities in America and the vast difference money looked like.

It made me think, do we lower income people have a poor view on higher income people because we judge them only on what we can see?  Like, “This team is gonna be better because their media booth is newer?”  OR  “This team is gonna be bad because the school doesn’t have the money to repair a dangerous floorboard?”

I probably biased you immediately by making the title “Football vs. Affluence” like affluence changes anything.  Football is football and if you can play, you can play.  If you want it there isn’t anything, not even money, that’s gonna hold you back.

I’ve posted my filmmaking story on here and how a lot of people told me I would never make it.  I couldn’t afford the “best” college or the “best” camera or the most amount of time to just make films and not work.  Didn’t matter.  Really.  Money doesn’t change determination, talent, proficiency, and passion.

Rich or poor.  Whatever.

Yeah, there’s a difference.  Yeah, I can see it.  But it’s only as important as you make it.  Remember the group of high and higher income people and their weird need to impress each other?

I ain’t got that need.

Let’s play ball, guys.

Post Production, Life and Adobe

It’s been a while.  I know.  Here’s why:  POST PRODUCTION and LIFE.

By life, I mean that I am the Maid of Honor at a wedding the 2nd week of November, I have a sibling due to have a boy in October, lots of drama we won’t go into and a dog that keeps stealing the rugs to tear them apart on my back lawn.

Why do dogs do that?


(Rory, named after the Doctor Who character, yes.)

Let’s talk tech for a moment.  The coolest thing I’ve heard about lately is this:

It’s a stylus Adobe developed for use by designers and such.  Why is this so cool?  For a company that gave us the amazing program After Effects, which opens the door for filmmakers to show what we see in our heads, this stylus is the hardware that could revolutionize how we create images, stories and worlds.

Too bad it isn’t even out until 2014.

I’ve been waiting for this for years.  Maybe ya’ll remember that the iPad was my idea?  A legit stylus was too.

‘Cause, well, this is what I drew a few years ago with my…not-legit stylus.

Tree Houses