I have been in the freelance video journalism world for about five years now. Prior to entering the VJ (video journalism) world, I co directed El Inmigrante, a documentary about the US/Mexican border crisis, I did some short narrative films, and finally I used to work on film sets doing various jobs. But I eventually, during those years I became a second assistant in the camera department. I really enjoyed being a 2AC. I loved when I clapped the slate I settled in and then watched the talent and the director do their work.
However, I got into film to make stories, not just be a crew worker. So after being inspired by working on a NYU masters film project in Creede, Colorado I decided that it was time to make my own content. After a few short films El Inmigrante got launched and we were full on in making a feature documentary. For a very limited budget we did pretty good with the film. I am very proud of what we did as a team in creating that documentary. By creating your own films and producing them yourselves, you may not get all the funding that you would love to have, but you get a lot of freedom to make the film you want.
I feel that it is important to teach aspiring VJ’s that once you enter the professional world of creating content for a news agency that you have to being ready to work as a team with your producers. It is nearly impossible that your first cut will be the final cut. Some times there are minor changes, but at some times there are major edits to your original cut.
Here is an example of my first cut of a recent story I did for the BBC. Since this edit is not the final, I went back and did some minor changes to the text slates that are in this version of the story. But for the most part this is my concept of how I wanted to tell the story.
After I got my edit list from the producer, here are the second wave of changes.
Finally, here is the edit that went live on the BBC.
I you have time to watch all three versions of the story, you can see the differences. In short, video and film is a highly collaborative work environment. I love the process of it all, but still to this day I love making our own content. It is in this place that I feel free.
I was able to film the Snowshoe Hare in the San Juan Mountains in southern Colorado. They are fantastic animals. I used my GH2 with Driftwood’s Mysteron patch 24p Hi Res for all the Hare shots, the nature B Roll was shot on my old but worthy HVX 200.
Here is the last BBC story I worked on. I help produce the story and did the filming. Working with the Colorado Parks and Recreation team was a treat. Also is was fun to have to BBC staff here in Durango to work with and show them our beautiful area.
I am very excited to report that my story The American Who Quit Money To Live In A Cave has hit 200,000 plays from my Vimeo account today.
It was nice to get this story finally out in the public. After a few rounds of editing the story got into good shape. I knew that editing Kristen’s interview would be hard because she gave me so much good information. Below is more information about the story and Rocky Flats. It was nice to see the story hit number two in the most viewed on the BBC’s website.
Full Body Burden is a historical and personal memoir of Kristen Iversen growing up next to one of the world’s most notorious nuclear bomb factory, Rocky Flats. From 1953 to 1990, Rocky Flats built over 70 thousand plutonium bomb triggers for high capacity nuclear hydrogen bombs. Plutonium bomb triggers are in itself nuclear bombs that contain more deadly force than Fat Man, the plutonium bomb that the US dropped on Nagasaki.
Kristen Iversen weaves a haunting story of suburban life next to one of the most dangerous places on earth as if it were a Spielberg summer blockbuster. Unfortunately, Full Body Burden is not fiction; the book is a true life account of Cold War secrecy. Rocky Flats was run by Dow Chemical Corporation and many of the residents that lived near the plant in Arvada, Golden, and Boulder, Colorado thought the factory was making household cleaning supplies. But why would a house hold chemical factory need guard towers and rows of barbed wire fence being patrolled with tanks? Slowly the secret came that Rocky Flats was dealing with plutonium due to a fire that broke out in the plant in 1957 and once again in 1969. Iversen goes into details of her families personal secrets along with the clandestine operations of Rocky Flats.
Low levels and high amounts of plutonium have been found in the ground and water ways that feed the towns of Arvada, Broomfield and Westminster. Full Body Burden goes into detail of farmers’ mutated livestock and young girls dying of large malignant tumors while the government denies that Rocky Flats has anything to do with these increasingly large numbers or illnesses.
In 1989, Rocky Flats was the only US government plant that was raided by the FBI and the EPA for gross negligence of environmental contamination. The Cold War may have ended-but not in Colorado. The earth around Rocky Flats is still contaminated; there are still large amounts of strange cancers that are killing people, but the US government is fighting tooth and nail to keep full accountability closed.
I am very much looking forward to my interview with author Kristen Iversen and discussing her book Full Body Burden. Here are some stills taken from video on my last B Roll shoot at an old Department of Energy uranium mill tailings site.