No two projects are the same. Obviously there are those that take me to places like Alaska or Nicaragua. But many times it's the projects that are a few miles away from Jackson or literally just down the block that bring out the creativity and innovative drive in me. Don't get me wrong — the optics in Nicaragua were amazing and not a bad place to put in a few days work.
But the video I recently wrapped for the Chamber of Commerce for the small city of Oakland, Tennessee resulted in this note — just words, no pretty pictures — from my client:
"I had the pleasure of working with Jackson Alley Films earlier this year. They directed, produced, and filmed a commercial for the Town of Oakland. They were an absolute joy to work with. I love that Joel Evans really took the time to listen to what I wanted our message to be. He gave it a lot of thought and came back with creative ideas for the commercial. He and his team had incredible rapport with the actors and others on set. His equipment was top notch and everything about the day was very professional. The turn around time of the project was very fast too. I feel like he told our story very well. We have had positive feedback from everyone that has seen the commercial. I highly recommend Jackson Alley Films and look forward to working with them again in the future." Pattie Krepela, Executive Director
I'm so grateful to Pattie. I mean who takes that much time out of their day to write that long of a thank you/recommendation? A simple "That turned out great Joel" would have sufficed. But it got me thinking.
Simply stated — Pattie helped sum up why I love what I do:
Working with my staff and crew.
If you've ever be at an actual video shoot, it's like herding cats sometimes — or juggling flaming knives. But the people that work on my team are the best. For our industry, we're tight and we even sometimes, freakishly, read each other's minds. So major props to my compadres, partners in crime, bffs. I won't list you all here — I'll wait until my first Oscar acceptance speech.
Being appreciated for actually listening — which may sound simple but really takes focus for me as a creative-minded guy. You simply can't force feed your creative "vision" to a client. It has to be a conversation. And since beginning this venture based in Jackson, I refuse to be known as the cocky jerk, pre-madonna — that's just not who I am. Thank God!
My equipment (video equipment that is)
I'll admit it. The advancements in technology can refine my work and enable me to invent better ways to tell my clients' stories. I'm like a kid at Christmas — except I'm footing the bill for all the latest equipment — not Santa. I believe that tech advances in the video production industry are NOT replacing us with auto-focus robots. It's not making any kid with an iPhone 7 Plus an instant world-renowned portrait photographer (although I have thoughts on that for another article). Just because we can readily buy cage-free eggs, organic non-hormone milk, and fancy flour from where ever flour comes from (possibly delivered via drone), does not make us master bakers. While filming the tv commercial for the City of Oakland I used some pretty fancy equipment, and we got some beautiful footage. But I didn't use my high-end equipment purely for fun. I used it because it helped craft the story that Pattie and her team needed to tell. I wanted to give her a product that she could be proud of....and simultaneously use my awesome (often expensive) toys too.
Where does the time go?
Pattie mentioned in her letter to me that my turnaround time was super quick. As I'm writing this post to you, a line from Ferris Buhler came to mind. I'm paraphrasing a bit: "Life moves pretty quick. If you don't stop and look around every once in a while, you just might miss it." Ferris, I'm with you buddy. I "look around" for a living — I capture time for a living. Time does fly, but man is it a beautiful thing when I can go back and watch a video I created for a client — regardless of the tight schedule. It's not the late nights that I recall. It's the funny outakes, the laughs we all share on set, and — most importantly — the notes I get from clients like Pattie.
At the end of Pattie's note, she "highly recommends" me. Two words that when put together make me so excited and deeply grateful. Why? Hopefully those words will result in a ticket to take this incredible ride with more people like Pattie.