This section looks back on my most prolific years of video storytelling.
2012 – 2015
Directed “The Absorbent Mind” for Metro East Montessori School, generating over 60,000 organic views.
Directed two successful application videos to ABC's TV show Shark Tank.
Directed a video a new consultancy used to pitch top global law firms, closing $1M in sales in their first six months.
I like getting involved when the vision is still nebulous. I develop the strategy in collaboration with the client, then translate it into a plan: schedule, interview guides, equipment rental, and checklists. Whenever possible, I pre- interview subjects on the phone. I often hire and direct a small crew to assist with sound, lighting, and/or cameras. On some projects, I work with an editor. On others, I edit the final video myself. In either case, I build the edit iteratively, from a rough storyline to the polished final.
St. Louis Symphony
I served as director of photography on a video played at the U.S. premiere of a piece entitled The Wolf by legendary Chinese composer, Tan Dun.
Pencil Design Process
My friend Shikha approached me about creating 60-second video for her design thinking class at Washington University. Her group's assignment was to brainstorm ideas for constructing a pencil, prototype some of them, and then select one to manufacture 30 copies of for the whole class.
Initially, I was planning to shoot this video as a mini-documentary. But then I visited the group in the architecture studio at the Sam Fox School where they were working. The robust studio furniture offered me the chance to stand on the desk and shoot straight down. That's when it all came together: We could tell the entire story from this angle. Here was a chance to elevate the materials the students were exploring and highlight the hands-on craftsmanship they were applying to the design challenge. Besides, their classmates would have the chance to see their wonderful faces during the presentation. So we decided to give the hands-on work center stage.
Forest Park Southeast
One of St. Louis's only full-service neighborhoods is becoming a wonderful place to live again thanks in no small part to the volunteer efforts of its Block Captains. This video inspires and educates Block Captains about their valuable role in the neighborhood.
When I hear "30-minute training video," my eyelids droop preemptively. Yet by interviewing real people, we showed how the work of the Block Captains impacts people where they live. The training content, which is dry (albeit useful) in the training manual, comes to life through credible personal experiences shared firsthand.
How do you sell a service your market misunderstands but desperately needs? Startup consultancy Decipher found themselves asking this question when they approached me about a video to re-educate their tough market—the top 200 global law firms—on the value proposition of due diligance.
They debuted this video at the National Association of Legal Professionals. Then the CEO took it to every sales call in their first six months, bringing in over $1,000,000!
"Are stories worth traveling for?" I wondered as I clambered out of my rental car an hour south of Canada. I had come to interview Nate in his hometown of Bellingham, Washington. Nate shows surprising confidence for a young minister. But as he explains, his career didn't begin that way. It's this down-to-earth quality that makes his story believable and ultimately compelling—and totally worth traveling for.
This story was a privilege to tell. It's a microcosm of the exciting developments in St. Louis's startup ecosystem, and how good geeks help our community.
The first of my two successful application videos to ABC's TV show Shark Tank was for Better Life, the natural cleaning product company. (For legal reasons, I can't display the video publicly.)
The heart of non-fiction video storytelling is the interview. I've had the privilege of helping over 100 of people tell their stories. The skill of planning and conducting semi-structured interviews has transferred neatly to design research.