National Geographic

Soooo today all of my dreams came true. A producer from National Geographic emailed me, requesting permission to feature one of my videos on the Nat Geo website. The producer stated that my short film would be of interest to the Nat Geo audience. I had to read the email several times and pinch myself just to make sure I wasn’t dreaming. To say that I was excited would be a vast understatement.

National Geographic Homepage Screenshot

Like many children from my generation, I grew up on National Geographic magazines and films. My grandfather had a subscription to Nat Geo for what must’ve been the majority of his life. I remember gazing at his bookshelves as a young six-year-old child, having to squint from the bright yellow glow of hundreds of National Geographic magazines lining the shelves. I spent countless hours flipping through his vast collection, exploring foreign countries and cultures, and reading fascinating facts about wild animals. My grandfather must’ve taken note of my interest, because that year he gave me two National Geographic atlases for Christmas; Our World and Our Fifty States.

I can recall my mom taking my brother and I to Blockbuster Video, where I would always head straight for the Special Interest section to look for Nat Geo nature films for rent. Same thing at my local library; I would scour the premises for any yellow VHS cassettes I could find. I still own the National Geographic: The Filmmakers on VHS, with Derek Joubert on the cover, draped in zebra skin and wielding his film camera.

So to receive an email from National Geographic is by far the most flattering and exciting thing that has ever happened to me in my entire career. Now if only I could land a full time job or commission from them.

Hey Nat Geo, I’m available…

Check out the video featured on the Nat Geo website here:

MUSK – Short Doc Project

This project was an exercise in producing a documentary entirely from existing content. I wanted to weave together a narrative without shooting interviews or broll. Research the topic, hunt down and gather content, and create a compelling story from it. It sounded like a fun and interesting challenge.

Being a native of Florida’s Space Coast, I’ve had an interest in Elon Musk and his work at SpaceX. I decided for this project I would produce a 3-minute documentary showcasing Musks’ accomplishments as CEO of Space Exploration Technologies.

All of the content used in the piece was found under the Creative Commons license. I created the backbone of the story through sound bites from a Mahalo interview with Musk. I listened to several interviews with Musk but pulled all of the soundbytes from the Mahalo interview.

All of the SpaceX video was taken right from their Vimeo page, while I acquired the NASA footage via an official request and FTP from their archives. I even acquired some amazing timelapse footage shot from the International Space Station.

Fun project for sure. I hope to produce a feature-length doc one day entirely from existing content.

Bing.com

I noticed this morning at 9am that one of my videos had a sudden spike in viewership. The video in question is a short documentary I produced about Crystal River, a fascinating location on the Gulf Coast of Florida where you can swim with Manatees. Truly a magical, one of a kind place. Clearly the video had been embedded or shared somewhere quite popular, so I pulled up my analytics to find out where all of these views where coming from.

I tracked the URL embed to Bing.com. Bing? I was confused. People were searching it through Bing? Why was the URL embed just Bing.com and not a specific URL? I navigated to Bing’s homepage to see what was up.

Screenshot of Bing.com.

Come to find out, the theme of the day on Bing.com was, you guessed it, Crystal River. My documentary was linked directly from their homepage. So cool! Needless to say my Crystal River documentary got some viewership.

Check out the wonders of this one of a kind spot!:

 

Dive Documentaries – The Beginning

I always love to hear how projects and ideas are born, so I thought that I would share how my latest big side project, Dive Documentaries.com, came to be.

So every year for the past six years my family and I have had a birthday tradition of going on a weekend camping excursion to Silver River State Park, in Ocala, Florida. We love to kayak and canoe on the crystal clear water of the Silver River, and take hikes in the Ocala National Forest. It is truly a magical area.

But last year we decided to switch it up and head down to Key Largo, in the Upper Keys area. We camped at John Pennekamp State Park, and even decided to rent a boat and head out to do some snorkeling. The nice folks working at Pennekamp gave us various coordinates on how to reach the best snorkeling spots along the reef line, which was some 5 miles off shore.

Our first snorkeling spot was Grecian Rocks, a very shallow area where part of the reef actually comes out of the water during low tide. I tied the boat off to the mooring buoy, and then jumped into the water. After swimming the short 25 yards over the sand banks to the reef, I was shocked. I couldn’t believe my eyes. The reef was stunningly beautiful, and bursting with life. The never-ending visibility of the blue water and the cornucopia of colors from the reef were a bit much to take in all at once.

This area is a preserve, and is protected from fishing, so wildlife is relatively fearless of humans. Barracuda were scattered all over, and the majority of them approached to investigate. Parrotfish of all colors cut through the various reef formations. We spent several hours at Grecian Rocks, and snorkeled several other areas that day. I felt a little ridiculous not knowing about the unique beauty of this area. I’ve lived in Florida my whole life, but have only been to the Keys a few times, and mostly as a small child.

After returning home from our trip, I began searching for information on scuba diving in this area. Since I was recently recertified to dive, I was already set to plan another trip to Key Largo for some scuba. I was surprised when I couldn’t find any videos that actually discussed the various snorkeling and diving spots. Almost every video I found was just a montage of underwater shots set to music. While this can be fun to watch, it didn’t satisfy my hunger for information.

This is really where it started. And so now here I am. I want to produce some video content that I feel will do these wonderful areas justice. I want these videos to include interviews, animated maps, and underwater footage, and then it will really give viewers a comprehensive look at these dive locations.

The problem is, where would viewers go to watch these videos? YouTube? Blah.. While that would be nice, it would be even better to have some kind of searchable database. This database could include textual information along with photographs and maps to supplement the short form documentary content. Therefore I constructed this database website to serve as a home for the short form documentary videos. And now I am currently fundraising for some much-needed cash to produce the first seven documentaries to put in the database. So fundraising will be the next blog entry discussion.

Stay tuned………