Always New Things to Learn

Lately we’ve been shooting footage of classes for the Homebuilders’ Association. It has been very informative and interesting. The most recent class was in Wilsonville, OR. The topic? Thermodynamics. Going in, I didn’t know how that very scientific sounding title related to building homes, but then I’m not very knowledgeable about construction. My boxes never end up square.

The class was a lecture about how new technology can help houses last longer; mainly due to materials and design principles that allow water to evaporate and flow instead of being stuck inside wood to cause rot and mold.

The instructor traveled a lot to give lectures and inspect home building sites. He had photographs of some very shoddy practices, and his goal was to teach people how to do construction right. He showed the photos as part of a PowerPoint presentation and I was surprised at the images of homes (only a few years old) that had lots of problems because of poor design. The instructor had a mock house corner (a couple walls and a partial roof) in the room for participants to view. It had a window, Tyvek wrap, insulation, window flashing, ventilation holes, and more to demonstrate how the construction should look. He encouraged the builders in the class room to create their own mock house corner out of scrap wood so that the people at the construction site doing the work could see a reference of how to do it right. You could see how the window was framed, how the wrap and evaporation “spacers” would let water flow, as well as holes that were cut to the correct size for ventilation or a wall outlet.  It sounded like a lot of the problems were caused by people who did poor work because they were in a hurry, or had been shown the wrong way to do the job. Apparently bad work is often fixed with lots of caulk.

I learned a lot during that class. The instructor presented the material in a fun informative way. He cared about what he was saying and I saw a lot of very experienced building professionals nodding their heads in agreement about the need to improve practices. The need to improve the methods, and the available technology to do so, was promoted in a clear, concise way. I found myself laughing along with the jokes and shaking my head while I looked at examples of lazy, sloppy work. And I thought my non-square box was bad! It’s good to know that people care enough to want to keep learning and to do good work.

That’s one of the cool things about being videographers. We produce videos for car dealers, restaurant owners, toy stores, medical facilities, furniture stores, educators, musicians, actors, politicians…the list is quite long. The point is that we learn about very many different topics. It’s very interesting to submerse yourself in someone else’s profession (if only briefly), then create a video that promotes their business, shares their message, or simply presents them to the world via media. I’m happy that I took a chance by quitting a “secure” (yet incredibly boring) job to start my own business years ago.

2011 A.V. (After Vegas)


Just a quick note to let our millions of blog followers know that we have returned home safe…well, “millions” might be a slight exaggeration since I don’t actually think anyone is reading it yet, but as they say “If you build it, they will visit”, or something like that.

Anywho, the Steve Martin concert with the Steep Canyon Rangers was the highlight of our trip (and the best live show I’ve ever seen). I have to admit bias since I’ve been a huge fan of Steve Martin since the 70’s, but the show was excellent.

The band is a group of masterful musicians who play banjo, upright bass, guitar, mandolin and violin. They play bluegrass music, and their singing is filled with humor and heartwarming harmonies. Steve Martin has been playing the banjo since he was 17 and he’s a fabulous musician too. He’s a Grammy winning musician/writer too!

Of course, he was funny as always with hilarious introductions and stories between songs and lightning quick responses to the few comments yelled out by loving fans. We sat a few rows behind Penn and Teller, so that was cool too. I really wanted to yell “Keep it down, Teller!” (fans will get that one), but I just sat there for two hours with a huge grin and eyes wet with tears of joy.

Their encore was a hyper-fast rendition of “Orange Blossom Special” with a few fun twists. The violinist stole the show on that number.

They closed the evening with the audience on their feet singing along with “King Tut”!

A life-long dream came true when I got to see Steve Martin perform last night.

Viva (Retro) Las Vegas

Christy and I are having an awesome time in Las Vegas! After I won $500 on the first $20 I put in a slot-machine at the MGM Grand (had to brag), we went to the Golden Nugget Casino to take a photo. I had one taken there on a family vacation in 1970 with my mom holding me in front of the casino sign, so I wanted to get a new photo to send her from 2011. 

The Golden Nugget is a cool old casino that’s decorated with hand-blown golden glass art and chandeliers surrounded by dark wood. We loved the energy there. It was very laid back, with normal looking people relaxing and having fun, so we decided to look around the area.

We had no idea about the amazing time we’d have on Fremont Street! It’s the street in Vegas where a row of classic casinos are covered by a huge arched canopy. Millions of lights are attached to the canopy. At night, the lights display video images as you hear music fill the 4-block area. It’s a sight you have to see, but the best part is the people watching experience. Performers sing, dance and play music. People dressed as cartoon characters, famous actors and singers, and an infinite number of Elvis impersonators, stroll around and take photos with you for a tip. Visitors (hate the word “tourists” for some reason) also join the show. They dance and sing along while others watch and smile.

Last night there was a big production by MTV Online Music Awards. Imagine seeing a dazzling light show and music videos displayed on a 4-block video screen above you while watching a live concert. Of course, I was drooling a bit over their production equipment that included a 40-foot video crane!

I had many favorite moments, but two stood out. The first was when they played “American Pie” (the classic version) while thousands of happy revelers sang along on the street. People were flying by above on zip-lines silhouetted against that amazing video display! My other favorite moment was seeing Rick Daly, stilt-performer-extraordinaire dancing to hip-hop music played by a DJ. There were girls on stage in sexy outfits, but when Rick danced in the audience, he stole the show! (Video of Rick and other fun stuff coming soon)

There were showgirls, margaritas, street artists and lots of souvenirs to buy. It was a fun, memorable experience to share with Christy! We’re going back tonight after we see Steve Martin in concert. Ah life is good 🙂

Heading to Vegas!

A Wild and Crazy Guy!

 

I’m heading to Las Vegas with my sweetheart Christy of On Air Media to see Steve Martin in concert with his band. They are promoting their new “Rare Bird Alert” album, and I have to confess that I’m a sucker for bluegrass music. I’m hoping that he plays “King Tut” lol! Steve Martin is one of my all-time favorites. We’re going to stay at the MGM Grand and see the sites. It will be a fun, short vacation, then back to work on Monday!

 

New Clients!

 

This makes me think of how important it is to work together.
It’s always fun to get new clients! We are producing television commercials for two Roseburg businesses. I’m an independent video producer but often work with advertising agencies, TV Stations, Cable TV providers and other production companies like On Air Media. Their Account Executives sell airtime to businesses, then we are called in to do the video production. These two new clients were acquired that way, and I thank the hardworking AE’s who sent the business our way! Working together increases our creativity; it reminds me of M.C. Escher’s “Drawing Hands“.