National Geographic

Mennonite Made

Last year, right after the floods here in Colorado, I signed on to be the location sound mixer for a reality show pilot with National Geographic. Well, I guess it got picked up, because it's airing next week! The show is called Mennonite Made, and it's a build show that centers around a Mennonite family that works together to build log cabins. The pilot centers around a cabin build up in Estes Park, and highlights some of the challenges they faced getting the log trucks into the neighborhood after entire roads had been wiped out. Plus, they had to work through heavy winds and freezing cold weather. Should be fun to watch so that I can relive all of those struggles myself. Ha!

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Overall, it was a great experience and it helped me grow immensely as a sound engineer and as a filmmaker in general. To be able to work on a crew that size, and to see them build a house around us in just three days, it stood as a true testament (some religious humor there) to the work that can be done in such a short amount of time. When it comes down to having a job to do, you just have to get it done, no matter what the struggles might be.

The episode airs three times next week, the first time on Tuesday at 10PM ET, then again at Midnight ET. For more details on the show, as well as where and when you can catch it, check out the website here.

Brand New...

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I had three major projects these last two weeks, and when all was said and done, I feel like they've pushed me one step further in my career.

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It started with a commercial shoot for Cabela's. I joined my good friend James Drake over at 5K Insight on a trek up to Sidney, Nebraska to visit Cabela's corporate headquarters, then over the next three days we made a commercial for their new "Instigator" compound bow. The idea behind the commercial was a "Hunger Games" type survival of the fittest, and, of course, only those with the Instigator shall survive. It was a great shoot with some incredible talent, and it was nice to get out of town for a few days to the peaceful quiet of Nebraska. It often gets a bad rap, but it's a welcome alternative to the hectic pace of city life from time to time.

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After returning from Nebraska, I literally had hours before I had to turn back around and head up to Estes Park to work again on "Mennonite Built", a reality pilot which will hopefully be pitched to the likes of National Geographic. I had worked on a preliminary day a couple of weeks ago, but now it was time for the real deal. And I couldn't have done it without the newest addition to my sound arsenal: the Sound Devices 664. Being able to record both 6 isolated tracks and a stereo mix, all while sending dedicated signals to cameras and IFB made it the perfect candidate for this type of show. It was an intense 4 days of work, but it was an incredible production, and the fact that we were allowed to stay in The Stanley Hotel made it easy to relax after each shooting day.

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Getting a couple days off, I had to keep the pace of my work days, recovering from the previous week but still organizing for the days to come. Finally, the light shone at the end of the tunnel, as I jumped on "The Cure", a Christian film which shipped half of its work out from LA to shoot in both Evergreen and Breckenridge. It was a three day shoot, but the more leisurely and artistic pace of the set was a welcome change to the frantic time that I had just gotten through. Once again, it was nice to get more variety in my work, getting to watch the artistic process take shape as the crew worked to adapt the book, written by John S. Lynch, to the screen. It was also a unique opportunity to see the camera crew work with the newly released Movi camera stabilization system. While it still had its quirks, it appeared, it's easy to see how these nifty little machines could soon change the way that we use our cameras and how it could eventually change the industry.

Overall, it was a busy couple of weeks, and it's nice to get the rest now, but I'm still looking forward to the work to come, while continuing to expand into new and farther branches of filmmaking.