A peek behind the scenes

Image of film crew, with full gear, in the field.

Sometimes the film crew ends up on the other side of the camera! During our week on the ground, Olivia Carril took an occasional break from collecting bees to capture a few shots of me and Tony Di Zinno, our director of photography, doing our thing. Here we are with full payload, getting ready to head up to the mesa top of Fiftymile Mountain.

Curious what filming in the backcountry was like? Register for the free ioby webinar happening Monday, Oct. 28, for a peek behind the scenes! It’s going to be a great panel discussion about using photos and film to promote any project you’re working on.

📷 Olivia Carril


Animation of walking thru mud puddle in slot canyon.

My usual medium for storytelling is print, a beautiful yet frozen form of weaving characters, scenes and events together. Publishing on the web certainly provides a much more dynamic way to share a story – but graphics and GIFs and video are still secondary to the text in the majority of cases.

But making a film – being completely immersed in and driven by visuals – is an amazing experience! The same guidelines for good storytelling still apply. But crating a great story from the raw materials available means drawing on a whole different set of tools. And one of my favorite visual tools in the process so far has been bringing still photos to life through animation!

My inspiration for animating photos is the documentary Valley Uprising. (If you haven’t seen it, do!) Here are a few of the animations I’ve been working on. I don’t know if they’ll all make the cut into the final version of the film. But they’ve been fun to create – and the process of creating them will certainly have contributed to the animations you do ultimately see in the film!

Upcoming webinar: a behind-the-scenes peek at the project

Image of people walking thru mud puddle in slot canyon.

So this is super cool: I’m going to be a panelist for an upcoming webinar on how to use photography and video in a successful crowdfunding campaign! ioby – the crowdfunding team that supported our first round of fundraising for the Bees of Grand Staircase-Escalante project – is hosting the discussion on October 28. If you’re looking to add a few new ideas to your current marketing toolbox, or if you want a behind-the-scenes peek at the Bees of GSENM, then you should join us! The webinar is free and you’ll have access to a recording of the discussion afterwards.

How’s the film coming along?

Animation of work happening at my desk.

Despite radio silence for the past several weeks, I’ve been making excellent progress on putting the film together. And the plan is to have a final version ready by early 2020 to show at film festivals in the fall.

Of course, this is the stage of film production where there really isn’t anything exciting to show or tell – unless the image of me sitting in front of my computer, headphones on, the Clash, the Cars or wonky podcasts playing in the background, and bottles of kombucha scattered about my desk seems interesting to you.

But the other day I did catch an interview with one of the masters of storytelling: Ken Burns. And one particular thing he said about conducting interviews really resonated with me at this particular moment in the project. To paraphrase: The key to a great interview is not to get through your list of pre-planned questions, but instead to listen to the answers you’re given and find the entry point to the real story being told – and then go after it!

As I sit here, revisiting my interviews with Olivia and Joe (and some other select individuals), it’s exciting to see the entry points we found and the true stories we pursued.

I’m getting excited to share them with all of you in the not-too-distant future!