It's that time of year when we begin to look back and take stock of where we've been, what we've seen, and how much we've accomplished over the last 12 months. So I thought I'd take a moment to share the 3 projects I worked on over the last year that I enjoyed the most.
The first was a project This is Alabama produced in partnership with Alabama Mountain Lakes Tourist Association, aka Visit North Alabama. Visit North Alabama has designed multiple "trails" that they encourage travelers to explore, like the Waterfall Trail, Craft Beer Trail, Wine Trail, and Barbecue Trail.
I was tasked with taking elements of several trails and designing an Ultimate Road Trip that would take a road warrior from Florence to Fort Payne, AL, with multiple stops along the way. For this piece I brought in my friend, Lisa Easterling to serve as host and tour guide. Lisa has tons of experience behind the camera doing production design for properties like Cooking Light, but I thought her bubbly, disarming personality would be great on camera, and help deliver fun, light-hearted interviews at our various locales. And I was right.
As a producer, this was a challenging video to put together due to the number of locations and their distance from one another. Coordinating interview and shoot times so that we wouldn't have to back track on our route was also a goal, and weather was a factor as so many of these spots required b-roll coverage outside. We had 3 days to shoot, with 3 locations scheduled for each day. And we pulled it off, mostly.
We did have to schedule a make up shoot for Smokin' on the Boulevard because it was raining so hard when we rolled into Florence, AL. The barbecue spot has a tin roof, so there was just no way we were going to get useable interview audio, or cover footage of the outside of the restaurant.
In summary, this was my first serious challenge in scheduling multiple shoots in multiple locations on a tight schedule, and then putting together a video from it. I'm happy with the way it turned out.
The next project was started because of a production I wish I had been on during my time with Alabama Public Television. For 2 years and 2 seasons, I worked on the show Journey Proud for Alabama's PBS affiliate. But before I started, they did an episode on Sumter County Barbecue Clubs. In that show they mentioned a church that also has an annual barbecue tradition, but it wasn't included in the episode since it only happens once a year. Thanks to Joey Brackner of the Alabama State Council on the Arts, I was able to get in touch with members of that community and learn more about Panola United Methodist Church's annual whole hog barbecue dinner.
We started filming during the preparations which start 24 hours before church fundraiser opens to the public. Though we shot the footage at 2017's barbecue, the edit was done in 2018 a few weeks in advance of the annual event in hopes in might send a few more people their way.
I'd never witnessed whole hog barbecue being cooked over a pit before, so this was a great piece to work on and complete.
And finally, I was so glad to film and edit this video on the Quilters of Gee's Bend. I've wanted to do a This is Alabama piece on this subject for a very long time. There have a been many articles written and documentary videos made about these talented women over the years, but I felt that it was important that we make our own video that highlights their wonderful quilts, as well as their history.
Over the years, the quilts that they once made from scraps to keep warm now hang in museums and sell for hundreds, often thousands of dollars. Quilters in the community that once struggled to make ends meet now have a reliable source of income. Seeing their work in person, and also getting to hear Mary Ann Pettway and China Pettway sing, was a highlight of my year.
And there you have it. My favorite projects for 2018. What did you work on that you're happy with? Share your work with me in the comments, or via email. I hope you all have a happy and productive 2019. Happy Holidays!