Happy New Year!

As the 2013 closes and the big O-14 starts, I hope that all of you have your best year yet. Looking back on the past year, I feel very fortunate to be able to work with the Travel Channel, HGTV, PBS, the HHS and the Doolittle Raiders. I worked on many productions this year but I will just touch on a few of them.

 Day 2 of Phoenix Comic Con

Day 2 of Phoenix Comic Con

 Left to Right: Randy Huff, myself, Fon Davis, Maryam Cne

Left to Right: Randy Huff, myself, Fon Davis, Maryam Cne

Toward the beginning of the year, I attended Phoenix Comic Con. It was my first comic con and it is definitely an experience needs to be seen to truly understand. I flew to Phoenix because two short films I edited, Elevate and Call of Warfare, were Official Selections for the Comic Con Film Festival and also to spend sometime with my buddy Randy and his family. The experience of seeing the films shown on a big screen mixed with everything that a comic convention provides: crowds of people in costume, entertaining Q & A panels and merchandise that you can't find anywhere else was one that was overwhelming. It was only after I processed all of it that I realized how awesome it was especially having drinks one evening with Grant Imahara, Fon Davis and Fernando Perez with Randy. The cap of my time in Arizona was a day at the Grand Canyon and Sedona. All I can say is that one day is not enough. Trying to take as many photos as I wanted to mixed with just trying to experience the spectacle that was in front of me, there just wasn't enough time.  

 South Rim of the Grand Canyon, Arizona

South Rim of the Grand Canyon, Arizona

 Image captured from Travel Channel.com

Image captured from Travel Channel.com

There are few things more satisfying than seeing segments that you filmed in the final product of something so well done as Shane Reynolds' Top 10 Locals List: Destin, Florida for TravelChannel.com. It made me think back a few years when I interned for Shane on his show Shane Untamed for Nat Geo Wild. It was one of the first projects I worked on after graduation and was a great experience to start with production Shane's style is so well done and entertaining that I jump at the chance to work with him when I can. 

 Interviewing Lt. Col. Edward Saylor, Crew 15 of the Doolittle Raiders

Interviewing Lt. Col. Edward Saylor, Crew 15 of the Doolittle Raiders

It is always a welcome surprise when I learn something new on the job, not just about the job but about the subject matter. A great example this year occurred while working with Kevin Almodovar of Revive Media Services on a documentary covering the Doolittle Raiders. I knew very little about these men before taking on the project as a camera operator, media manager and editor but finished the project with a great deal of personal growth and a surprising amount of admiration for the men who volunteered over 70 years ago to bomb Tokyo shortly after the tragedy at Pearl Harbor. Though their numbers are few, while interviewing three of the remaining Doolittle Raiders it was incredible the lack of ego these men had and were simply doing their jobs when asked about what they learned could likely be a one way mission that involved a number of firsts in military history that they thought could work in theory but had not been able to test. Amazing and worth researching if you do not know the history of these men. 

 Sitting in the nose of a B-25

Sitting in the nose of a B-25

In between shooting and editing the documentary on the Doolittle Raiders, I worked on a show for HGTV that has not come out yet so specific details I will refrain but feelings I can give. Since the show revolved around building a beautiful house from the ground up, my role as a production assistant had a feel of helping a friend move. This friend just happened to have been on national TV quite a bit and I was helping him move the antiques he spent the last decade collecting. No pressure. The host was surprisingly welcoming and extremely hands-on with the whole moving process. As a result, I wouldn't be surprised to show up in one of the episodes. Very unexpected but quite cool if you ask me.

 Meeting Patrick Warburton

Meeting Patrick Warburton

Throughout the year, I also filmed a few events including the Destin Charity Wine Auction and the South Walton Celebrity Golf Tournament with SB Video Productions and RJ Murdock. These events, as stated in at least one of the names, are to help raise money for charities including Catholic Charities, Shelter House and Children in Crisis. These are very important charities for aiding children and families in their times of need. Each year that I work on these events, I see just how much money is raised and it is amazing. This year was special though since I also filmed one of the check presentations. Being able to see the faces behind the names and interview some of the volunteers was a special experience because I could tell that recieving that money gave them a renewed sense of empowerment and ability that glowed through their smiles.

 Docks near HarborWalk Village

Docks near HarborWalk Village

Later in the year, I worked on the show "Getting Away Together" for Pineridge Film and Television, which airs nationwide on PBS. It is a travel show that follows the activities of two families that go on vacation together. The familes were very entertaining and as a local to the Fort Walton Beach / Destin area, I think that the show will showcase a lot of the entertainment and restaurants well. It was a nice surprise to see the size of the crew for the shoot. Under 10 crew members total. With that size crew, the production had a feel similar to local productions that I have worked on versus the larger "big name" productions come into town. There was also a sense of comradarie that is always welcome that gives more the feel of a team and almost a family than just a group of co-workers.

In retrospect, there were many good moments I experienced this year and moving forward into the new year that is what I am excited about. 2013 was a year of growth and experience and I look forward to more of it. 

 Photo courtesy of Melissa J Thurber Photography

Photo courtesy of Melissa J Thurber Photography

Thank you to everyone that made it what it became and I wish you all the best!