Bluffton, South Carolina
"A film is never really good unless the camera is an eye in the head of a poet." That quote
from Orson Welles explains my personal connection to film and filmmaking. While
photographs are images that arrest a moment in time, film is a fountain of moments,
moving and flowing with emotion, filled with characters and stories, to be told and
My dream is to use film to tell and share Pittsburgh stories about Pittsburgh people. As a
journalist and visual storyteller for almost 30 years, my dream is to create a media and
film company to produce short-form cinematic films that promote the area and the people
who live and work here. The films would bring into focus the positives of the Pittsburgh
area in a variety of ways, from helping to promote and market individual small
businesses to raising awareness about a civic or community concern.
Pittsburgh's "Steel City" moniker is well known outside western Pennsylvania. But
Pittsburgh is also known as a "City of Bridges," as some 446 bridges cross its rivers and
byways. Like those pathways, films can build bridges within a community and make
connections to others outside its borders. In today's world, the Internet provides a bridge,
and films can be a delivery method for instant branding, promotion and marketing.
Web-based film or video has already proven to be one of the most effective ways to
present online marketing or promotional messages. By 2012, the U.S. online video
audience is expected to grow to over 190 million people. That's almost 90 percent of the
entire online audience. Film or video can instantly create an online connection for a
business, cause and even a community. Web-based films provide visitors with a warm
and friendly human touch, lending credibility and providing for increased visitor activity,
engagement and page views.
During the past 20 years, as part of my business I have produced cinematic short-form
films for weddings. Among the many professionals I've encountered are two
photographers – Kristin and Jared Spencer. Just over two years ago, their twin boys were
born prematurely. The boys spent months in the hospital in intensive care. Kristin and
Jared spent almost every waking moment with their boys at the hospital. During that
time, Jared was inspired by a little girl who he knew was sick and would not be going
home. It was her positive attitude and upbeat demeanor that struck him and stayed with
him even after his boys got to go home from the hospital.
Grateful for the health of their boys and inspired by the little girl, Kristin and Jared
created a nonprofit foundation to help parents with children in the hospital working
closely with the local Ronald MacDonald House in Providence, Rhode Island. They
asked me to produce a film to help promote the foundation and to share their story. It
was their film that in turn inspired me to want to create more films like that ... not just to
promote a cause but also the community at large.
My dream of creating a Pittsburgh-based film company would also include the
continuation of my short-form cinematic wedding films. Every wedding is the same yet
every wedding is different because people are different and their stories are unique. I
love when potential clients view the films of others and start to cry. It shows me that the
passion I have for telling the story is making a connection ... and it only gets better when
that couple gets inserted into their own story, becoming even more emotional. Short-
form wedding films provide a personal history and create moments for family legacies
that I enjoy helping to preserve.
Over the years, I have personally benefited from the generosity of other professionals
willing to teach and share their craft. Part of my dream would include the opportunity
for young filmmakers to understand the art and craft of filmmaking through hands-on
learning. It would be my goal to create employment opportunities and internships
providing instruction in lighting, film techniques, camera operation, sound engineering,
interviewing, writing and – of course – film editing.
Realizing this dream would also include an element of historic preservation in a portion
of the films I would seek to create. There is no other city quite like Pittsburgh with its
unique history and rich traditions. The filmmaker can play an important role in
documenting visual and oral histories. As part of this dream, I would look to produce
films that tell the stories of Pittsburgh's past to be shared with future generations.
For some this opportunity to realize a dream is simply a "relocation" to Pittsburgh. For
me it would be a homecoming. My family settled in Pittsburgh and the surrounding
area coming from England, Ireland, Germany and Sweden. They were carpenters, coal
miners, steel workers and tradesmen – blue collar workers who used their hands. They
worked with wood, steel, brick and mortar. They literally built the city and communities
in which they lived. I grew up here in Pittsburgh, leaving in the early 70s when my father
took a new job and moved our family to Ohio. Despite having lived most of my adult life
away from Pittsburgh, it has always felt like home, and coming home to Pittsburgh would
help me to realize a dream to share with others the positives of this great community
through film. It would offer me an opportunity to create something tangible – something
created with my hands – that would honor my family history and their legacy in a place
that is truly home.
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