2018 - Craig Manor block party - Des Plaines IL

I'm blessed with a loving and diverse community. Already looking forward to next years event.

Vlog Re-Launch and new format

When I first went full-time as a videographer and stay-at-home parent, I launched a daily vlog. My idea was to release a daily video of my life, before my professional work started picking up. My goal was to develop a solid work ethic, as-well as getting a lot of practice with my tools, but quickly became an unrealistic work load for me sustain. I still kept making fun videos on the side when I could, but nothing of a consistent release schedule.

There was another benefit to that project that I did not realize until recently. While talking to some wedding clients, I realized some were looking at many of my videos, wedding related or not, and would then cite my creativity as a major selling point for choosing me over a studio or another independent videographer. I'm not saying that just to navel gaze, as flattering as those compliments are (please don't stop giving them), they also scare me. Lately I'm noticing that the more wedding projects I book, the more wedding-videos I study, and the more I think my videos have to meet their formula, the less creative I feel. I can't let success and expectations change the qualities that got my foot in this door.

Here is a wedding video I found that inspired me to keep staying true to the independent-artistic spirit.


Sara Dietschy shot this video with just one camera and no sound gear, and yet it has more style and creativity than some of the most popular wedding videos that I have found on youtube.

To keep my creative flame ablaze, I have decided to re-launch the vlog project with a new approach. First off, the vlog will not be an exclusive look at a day in my life. There will also be DIY-Tutorial videos about how I use my gear, what mistakes I have made/avoided and some behind the scenes of certain projects. The other change will be the release schedule, which will be every Monday. That is specifically for videos I label as "Vlog", other finished videos will simply be released when completed.

-Shawn

Evolve, revise and repeat (100-day vlog challenge)

A few weeks back, my day job cut me loose. Frankly, my performance was struggling and it felt like my skills as an engineer drafter were exponentially dissipating, while my skills with my camera were rapidly expanding. This was not some overnight switch, this was 6-years of small steps to get where I'm at today.

Where am I today? Well I'm ready to be a professional videographer and photographer.  Can I tell you how or why I know I'm ready, nope, nor does that really matter to me anymore. The fact is, I believe it. The key word is, "I", for that a long time I kept thinking that somebody was going to come along and tell me, "hey you are ready, you have value, go do what you love". After waiting for this magic-gatekeeper to come along and set me free, I learned that I'm the gate-keeper. I never needed permission, I only needed confidence.

You are what you do, and what I do is point my camera at everything, and tell stories with the what I capture. So I'm going to do that, and I'm going to it constantly.

The other thing I do with great love and pride is parent. For financial reasons we have pulled Logan out of day-care and I will be a stay-at-home parent. I will spend my day with Logan, we will go on great adventures and document much of it on camera, and my nights/weekends are available for me to booked for paid gigs.

Right now, those paid gigs are spares, which will change, but I will not bide my time,  instead I will vlog (vlog is essentially like a video journal). I have two-episodes finished (see below) and a third one coming soon, these 3 span about 2.5-weeks. I like the content, I had fun making them, but I think I will change the format. I had been stretching days of footage into one lengthy consumable video, thinking, "I don't want to annoy people with a video to watch everyday", but now I'm thinking that was a negative point-of-view, and in actuality I should be cutting one vlog video a day. Some other changes is that I will not be making them with the iOS app Cameo anymore, I love the ease and connivence of their platform (especially the mobility of editing on my iphone 6+), but I need to be cutting on the tools I will use for my professional work, I need to constantly hone my craft. Quality, efficiency and consistency, is the hallmark of a great story-teller, and I intend to be nothing less.

Starting today, I will make 100 vlogs, in 100 days. Strap-in, get a snack and enjoy the show.