Normally I'd share this post on Mirrorless Monday, but it's holiday time and with next Monday being Christmas Eve, there's too much good content here to not share it today. In fact, I can't think of a better topic for a blog post going into the last week of the year than to share this video about the Friendship Centers.
Here's the scenario:
I've been actively working with the Friendship Centers here in Sarasota for the last seven years as a blogger, volunteer and now a Board member. Their tagline says it all, "To promote health, dignity, and quality of life throughout the journey of aging."
There were nearly 33,000 visits to the Senior Centers in 2017; 273,900 meals to hungry elders served, 16,000 patient visits to the medical and dental clinics and the list goes on and on in at least six more areas providing community support. And, just as important as the service they provide, they run a multi-million dollar business with 92% of funding going back to program services!
On December 13 the Friendship Centers held their annual Venice, Florida holiday party, Venice Lights of Friendship, with approximately 150 people in attendance. It's a fund-raising dinner, and the video below was shown for the first time that night.
This is where Mirrorless Monday takes over even though it's Thursday! The backstory here also ties into one of my favorite things about this industry - the friendships that come out of everyone's love for the craft.
The video was captured with a LUMIX GH5 by a talented local videographer, Don Gangnagel who I met for the first time at the Venice event. He shot the video interviews with the LUMIX Leica DC Nocticron 42.5mm lens and the B-roll with the LUMIX G X Vario 12-35 mm and G X Vario 35-100mm lenses.
Don's company is G3 New Media, and he's no stranger to creating award-winning films. G3 New Media is a collaboration of marketing media professionals created by Don Gangnagel, an Emmy-Award winning professional filmmaker who has worked on five continents. With twenty years of experience creating online content, his passions are video production and podcasting.
After the event, I caught up to Don with a great phone call this week. We started talking about the process he went through to tell the story, and I learned a lot about one his most important keys to success. It's his philosophy about the way he goes through the interview process when doing a documentary piece like this.
“I don’t even call them interviews…they’re just conversations. It's critical to show interest in your subject and make them feel safe. When that happens, you start to build trust....and everything is about the storyline. One of the biggest mistakes I see videographers make is not spending enough time listening to their subject. You've got to understand their point of view.
So often film producers working on a piece like this walk in with a list of questions they want to ask. Well, if you focus too much on the questions rather than just having a conversation, you miss these wonderful little nuances, gems of wisdom, that people share and help tell more of the story. The most amazing things people give you won’t come out the first time around, but come out along the way. So, if you’re worried about your next question you’ll miss some of the best material.
It’s not an interview, but a conversation person to person and you need just to listen – your next question isn’t on the page in front of you, but in response to something your subject has said."
Knowing that many of you are also interested in Don's technique and lens choice he talked about the Leica lens:
This is my FAVORITE interview lens. One of the challenges on this piece was that we had to conduct all nine interviews in two locations and didn't have the ability to visit each person at home. So we setup a portable green screen to film all the interviews. As a one-person production crew, I had to trust that the GH5/Leica combo would capture all the beautiful details of their facial expressions when I couldn't monitor what the camera was capturing. Part of that conversational interview style is always being mentally focused on the subject. If you keep looking away to check the shot every few minutes, you will distract the subject as well as yourself and you will break the momentum of the conversation. This requires a lot of trust in the camera. I love the way this combo captures facial details and provides a nice clean image to be able to remove the green screen during editing.
Regarding this three-minute clip about the Friendship Centers, Don admitted he interviewed more people than he normally would include. There were nine people interviewed and close to four hours of interview time to edit down to just three minutes. But, for me that's one of the things I appreciate most about his skill set as a storyteller - he's boiled down all those interviews into one solid high-impact piece that tells a story about the Friendship Centers.
While I know most of you aren't from the south Florida area, the Friendship Centers help thousands of people in the area every year and never stray from their vision to "continue servicing an ever-growing senior population with the highest quality of programs and service and remain the leader in the industry."
The Friendship Centers need everyone's help all year long. If you've got an interest in finding out how you can help or would like to donate, just click on the Friendship Centers' logo below.
Check out "Why?" one of the most popular features on the SCU Blog. It's a very simple concept - one image, one artist and one short sound bite. Each artist shares what makes the image one of their most favorite. We're over 100 artists featured since the project started. Click on the link above and you can scroll through all of the episodes to date.