Wednesday, July 08, 2009


I mentioned my struggle writing the family documentary on which I'm working. How's this for a kick in the pants: I got an e-mail from a St. Petersburg Times reporter who stumbled across my personal documentary site (, if you don't know) and thought it might make a good story idea.

Although I'm happy with the site now, if I could get a couple clips from this current project up there, it would make an even better impression on anyone who visited. Should I get a mention in the Times, that should bring a lot of traffic. It would be good to have my best foot forward.

It might not happen. I confessed in reply to the reporter that I had not started marketing the business and I did not yet have any paying customers. I did include several possible angles for her to pursue if she was not deterred by my opening admission.

In fact, there they are:
First, in the YouTube era people are much more conscious about capturing and sharing themselves on video. A personal documentary is a richer ore in the same vein. People can have their life stories professionally told and preserved on video. They're also using more multi-media in the events of their lives.

Wedding receptions now feature "how they met" film clips. Funeral services often include a memorial tribute video. Anniversary celebrations and birthday parties, including bar and bat mitzvahs, are now sometimes incomplete without the "how they got to this point" video.

Those who would not subject their friends or loved ones to sitting through home movies can hire someone like me who can turn a rambling recollection of memories in to a memorable film.

Second, the same advances in technology that have made consumer grade equipment better and easier to use have also brought professional equipment into more people's price range. Camera and editing equipment that would have required a second mortgage on my house just a decade ago cost me less than $10,000. It has already paid for itself in freelance work.

What that means is that someone like me who knows his way around a camera as well as script writing, narration and editing, can work as a one person crew for smaller jobs. That, in turn, brings the cost of production down into an individual's price range. Not that these productions are cheap. You're talking between $5,000 and $9,000 depending on how complex the project is. But it's still a lot less than if you had to hire a producer, camera person, narrator and editor separately.

Last and probably least, I'm a former TV news and sports reporter looking for a new way to put his video storytelling skills to profitable use. I don't have to tell you how the media landscape is changing and how many people displaced from traditional media outlets have to find other places to ply their trades. The term "enterprising reporter" may now entail a different kind of enterprising.

I tell people's stories. This is my enterprise.

I'll let you know if I hear anything back.

My personal documentary site as well as are both getting traffic from links embedded in e-mails. While I do now include both sites in my e-mail signature, I don't think that can account for it. The visitors are coming from places, according to my StatCounter, where I have not sent e-mails.

That means that some good soul is spreading word around about my sites for me. I'm curious to know who and why. And I'd like to say thank you.

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