Technorati

Just got confirmed as an author for Technorati, a professional blogging website. They’ve authorized me as a writer on a whole host of subjects. Pretty cool. Sadly, I have to post a unique post with the following code to prove I’m the owner of this blog. So…here it is:

6SSS5DX35UQS

I’ll try to keep this article from updating and emailing everyone, but it may not be possible. So sorry if you get this…

Thanks for reading!!

RJ

Clam Chowda, the Mob, and Governor Carcieri (RI)

UPDATE TO POST ON 6/19: STORY HAS NOW AIRED ON CBN NEWS. VIDEO FOUND BY CLICKING LINK BELOW.

CBN TV

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I had the chance to go to Rhode Island the week before last. I’ve been a little behind on updating this blog, mostly because I’ve been on the road so much. But, here I am, trying to recall the things that happened during our trip to Providence, RI to cover same-sex marriage legislation… Continue reading

Bank Robbers, Creme Brulee, and a Bag of Peanuts (MI)

Everyone has, at one point at least, thought about robbing a bank. Whether it was from watching a movie with Clive Owen or Nicholas Cage, walking through a bank lobby and glancing at cameras, or buying new ski masks for the white Colorado ski season; we’ve all let our minds entertain the thought. Well, the story we shot in Grand Rapids was an amazing one. And it had to do with a real bank robber… Continue reading

Chi-Town

UPDATE! STORY IS DONE, AND CAN BE SEEN ON CBN NEWS!

http://www.cbn.com/media/player/index.aspx?s=/vod/HSE163v1_WS&WT.mc_id=EmbedPlayer

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I had the opportunity to head to Chicago for a few days and shoot a story on Plan B, the day after pill that is used to terminate early early pregnancies.

In Chicago, the state is legally requiring pharmacies carry the pill, which is making local Christian pharmacy owners angry; angry enough to take the law to court. The circuit court is stuck between granting rights to the small business owner, and granting rights to the women that claim the pill should be offered everywhere. Or in other words, it’s the woman’s right to have the pill avaiable whenever and wherever they need it. A fight of rights so to say…

We interviewed local pharmacy owners, pharmacists, politicians, and some folks from a pro-choice group that helps stand for women’s reproductive rights. All very convincing arguments. It was refreshing to hear the voices of those fighting to uphold the freedom to make moral choices, protected by this country. Often times these things are too big, we couldn’t possibly make a difference. We walk the streets and see the desire for change, yet the plunge scares us like a child running away from home. We don’t even know where to start. These common citizens, business owners and women, took that plunge, diving head first into the courts, researching the laws, the topics, speaking intelligently about their freedoms and standing for them, no matter the negative or positive attention. Refreshing, and eye-opening.

Chicago was an interesting place. We spent most of our time in Naperville, a new face-lifted suburb of Chicago. Blocks were filled with new homes, big concrete hotels, and brick downtown squares. Everything was clean, and people walked quickly. We also ventured into historic downtown Chicago for an interview. Lots of old family run stores handed down over a few generations. Certain blocks were separated by ethnicity, which makes the whole place a mini-mart of unique, yet similarly weathered faces. My favorite was the Yugoslavian block. Older couples with brown wool scarves held hands as they wandered into little coffee shops. Young kids dressed in bright colors and see-through backpacks dove into 7-11’s on their way home from school, using pocket change to grab a Coke. Mom’s talked quickly on street corners in Yugoslavian, as they pushed their babies in strollers.

On our second night there we grabbed dinner at Girodinos (SP?), a famous Chicago deep dish pizza place. No Sbarro for us. Actually, the waiter told us that the restaurant will take domestic orders across the US, and ship half-cooked pizzas on dry ice. That’s the sign of good pizza I suppose; people paying nearly $100 for deep dish carryout.

I took a few pictures: rural Illinois, Chicago, Naperville. I’ve been shooting domestically a lot, so I haven’t had time to drop film off at Walgreens, but I’ll throw up some pictures soon. In the next few weeks I’m headed to nearly six or seven places. I’ll write about a few of the interesting ones.


Walkin’ On Water

Okay, so I said I would write when I travel. But, I had a big marketing shoot and thought I would write about it anyway, even though we filmed in multiple locations around Virginia Beach, VA. The marketing department was tasked with making Jesus walk on water. Difficult, I know, since we can’t really do it without Him. So we hired a guy who looked like Jesus, dirtied him up, and sought the expertise of the special effects and animation guys here at CBN.

We did a few tests with green screens underwater, which failed miserably. We ended using shop vaks to clear water out of a huge tank we built in a studio. So we decided to shoot it with a green screen and no tank of water, we would do it all in post. For those of you who aren’t tech savy, a green screen is just as it sounds, a big green wall (and floor usually). We then use a computer program to cancel out the color and replace it with whatever we want, e.g. an ocean.

We hired a local DP named Dave to help us light and shoot it. We lit the set with a huge silk, lots of soft box lights, some 5K’s, and some Leicas. Exciting stuff. Everything was going great, I was setting up lights, putting some big fans into place, when I realized that I was about to sneeze. It was in the middle of a take, the camera was rolling, and and our Jesus actor was out in the green screen acting. Everything was quiet and I held it in for about ten seconds, but that was pushing it. I put my head into my shoulder and sneezed, but I couldn’t muffle the sound enough the compete with the silence. The director yelled cut, looked at me, then looked at our Jesus actor. Then Jesus looked at me and said, “God bless you.” He kind of mouthed it and then winked. Ironic.

Anyways, I attached some pictures of the shoot. We ended up using a land fill to simulate Jerusalem. We’ll take out the hill and put in an image of the ancient city. It was wicked hot too, nothing like carrying a generator and ten K’s over a land fill in 90 degree heat.

I’m headed to Chicago, the Windy City, next week. I’ll be sure to write about that.

The Great Virginia Adventure

It is not often that one gets to part with almost everything he/she owns. It happens on occasion: moving off to college, natural disasters, bankruptcy, divorce settlements, cross-country job relocation. My life happens to currently fall into the last category. I accepted a position with the Christian Broadcasting Network as a remote camera operator/field editor. This means I get to fill up my passport with stamps, as well as add new stock to my story arsenal with missed buses, Egyptian muggings, and border crossings. I get to travel the world (paid of course) and film news reporters–classy in a Robinson Crusoe type of way. I get to fall back into my nalgene-carryin’ roots of growing up in Colorado. Right now I envision distant places never seen, new faces, light clothing and hiking boots, sunscreen, two story buses in rainy London. But then reality steps in and I see a different picture: long weeks away from friends and familiarity. No dog or cat or fish. Paying rent for a place I’m never at. Living on the road, unshaven weeks accopmpanied by the lack of showering in European cities.

The gig has its pros and cons. I’m definitely excited though, that’s for sure. My intention is to write on here when I have a good story. Share my experiences if you will. I was just recently a field producer in Dallas, most days behind a desk and phone, arranging video shoots and casting actors. Well, this is just another transition, another story. I still consider myself a video producer, regardless of my new title at CBN. I’ll honor it, but I feel like my new job description is the same as my old one. Find stories, shoot creatively, edit creatively, and weave together a compelling story that others can relate to.

I’m in the process of selling most everything I own. I put it all on Craigslist. Kind of fun to strip down to the bare necessities (the simple bear-necessities…). I’m selling stuff ranging from couches to my DVD player to my dishes. Some things I’ll end up giving away, others throwing away. I’m shortening my closet racks too, sticking old college shirts in trash bags and dropping by the salvation army. It’s a little scary having to part with old items of comfort, like my coffee pot from college. It doesn’t even work that well, but its dripped me awake many a night. I also have two portable space heaters from my old college house. I would run them when it got cold in Fort Worth (which it doesn’t get very cold) because our house was built like an old shack, gaps and drafts like you wouldn’t believe. Lots of memories flood me as I sift through this crap that now represents who I am in Dallas, much of which will not make the move to Virginia. I’m reminded that I’m not defined by my things, or even the types of things I want, but the type of person am I and how that manifests in the relationships around me.

This is not a complex thought, but a hard one to find true at times. It’s easier for me to find my meaning in things that don’t show me my reflection. I’m hoping that I can make a difference out in Virginia and throughout the world. I’m hoping that I can carry a camera to far places in hopes that some might see what my camera sees, in hopes that those watching may feel more obligated to change the world around them. A lofty goal sure, but one that tells way more about who I am than my stuff ever could. That’s my comfort for now.

Keep up with my blog, check back often. I’ll be sure to upload photos from each trip I take. I think there’s a way to subscribe so you’ll get email updates when I post something new.

I’ll be sure to write on the road.

RJ