It's pretty rare when browsing through web videos that any truly impress me. Sure there's plenty of silly/wacky stuff people are putting out there in 30 second blips from their cellphone cams but generally they're all one-hit wonders. Not so for a couple I found the other day. While browsing the video area of FeedTacoma I noticed a couple videos by a user called lnubav. They were thoughtfully made, high quality pieces focusing on local elementary school kids. The first one that had my short attention span self watching all seven minutes is an interview format film asking what the best/worst thing about being a kid is. Sound too simple to be good? Have a look:
I followed a couple links and discovered yet more videos by the same gentleman and had to learn a little more about the man behind the camera. Paul Blanchard is his name and there's good reason his projects are the quality they are. Paul has worked in advertising since the mid-1980s after he took an ad copyrighting class at UW and became hooked. The Parkland native dropped his intended psychology major and never looked back. Paul and his family moved to L.A. where he worked in what I would call the "big times" on TV spots for Mitsubishi the show Twin Peaks and tons of radio work for FX, Old Navy, Taco Bell, Burger King, Chevrolet, and others.
After an intended four year stint in L.A. lasted eight, Paul and his family couldn't resist the pull of Washington and headed back to live in the Proctor area of Tacoma. He now makes a living as a freelance ad writer and volunteers his time twice or so a year putting together mini documentaries like the one above. Most of his willing subjects are among his son's classmates at nearby Washington Hoyt Elementary where he started this series of projects with a school Valentine's celebration. Paul takes great care and utilizes obvious great skill in producing and editing these videos. He told me much of what comes out of it is guided serendipitously by the music his wife aptly chooses and the kids themselves. He says not only do they come out with some truly thoughtful responses to his questions but they also enjoy seeing the end product. Some more shy kids, Paul noted, even come out of their shells a bit when they see their face and name on the screen. And yet other times even the most rambunctious among them will knock Paul's socks off with statements any philosopher would be proud to come up with.
Coming from a time when video had to be edited together using reel-based machines, Paul admits that part of the reason he's producing these pieces for fun now is because the tools on any laptop allow him to do what he wanted to do 10 years ago that would then cost $500 an hour in a studio somewhere. He says it's amazing how many people don't utilize these video capabilities despite the simple and powerful tools available today. Well, here's a quick list of his other work that might inspire you to grab a camera and try something like this sometime:
Thanks for sharing, Paul. You've shown great service to your community through these pieces and I look forward to seeing more! Let Tacoma see your gift and have it never go unsung.