New Video and Article for “Pay It Forward” Contest

The reason that our blog post is late this week, is that we were completing work on a video that we had been doing. I’m not going to write a whole post here, but what I will do, is embed the video, and link to the article which we wrote to accompany it as part of the contest rules.

The video and article are about Chirba Chirba Dumpling Truck, which is a Food Truck here in the Raleigh/Durham area of North Carolina, and I’m not exaggerating when I say that they’re awesome. They have a great story, a dynamic look, and delicious food, and along with their committed fan base, they were the perfect subject for this competition, and I’m so grateful that I was able to work with them.

Time and Energy: Capitalizing On Our Resources

Last week, we wrote about the need to go easy on ourselves in during this crisis, and not expect to get everything we want to do done, but this week, I want to write about a couple of things that we’ve been working on, things that will make us either more prepared for life after quarantine, or possibly allow us to become somewhat productive and profitable while still in quarantine.

Last week, one of my big projects ‘around the house’ with my son to keep him occupied, was that we reorganized our garage. You have to understand that our garage is almost certainly never going to have a car in it. If we emptied it entirely, my Honda Civic would be hard-pressed to fit in there. What we do have however, is enough space for a small studio, and last week we cleared almost enough space (a couple of well placed bike racks, will complete it) to have a studio. This studio will essentially allow me to begin product videography, with a space like that we can do short glamour shoots for small products like beverages.

In addition to the studio space that we’re working on creating to allow ourselves some more ability to work, I’ve been working on learning all about the available functionality (mainly the stuff that I’ve never used) with my current equipment. Mostly this has consisted of learning how, and practicing using the motion path functions on my Zhiyun Crane Gimbal. I knew that the function was in there, but had never bothered to play around with it, and of course it’s a super smooth and important function which will help us immensely on future shoots.

Lastly, as part of Vimeo and Vocal’s “Pay It Forward” contest, we’ve been working on a video, something that we’ll be proud of regardless of how it does in the contest. After about a week of coordinating with a local business, and planning out a video, we filmed yesterday (while following all social distancing best practices) and will hopefully have the video ready for next week’s blog post. Even though there was at least 6 foot difference, and masks and gloves were being worn, it was kind of great to be interacting ‘face to face,’ and to use all my newly found gimbal skills to get great shots. It was certainly the thing we needed to feel like we accomplished something.

So all of that means that our current roster of projects, is:

  • Vocal/Vimeo commercial, which will hopefully have an ETA of 1 week or less.
  • Cheerwine Spec Ad, which is taking longer than expected but will hopefully be ready by the end of April
  • A couple of short product glamour shoots, once the studio is done, in the next month or so.
  • A real-estate reel video. (I had talked about this at some point before the quarantine, and having learned as much as I have about the Gimbal and motion tracking, I think I’m much better prepared.) This one is probably not going to happen until we’re completely out of quarantine, because it would unnecessarily risk exposure to the home-owner I am hoping to use, and it seems as though I have enough to keep me busy without rushing this as well.

Learning to Accept The Idea of Being Unproductive

It’s something I’ve been seeing across social media the past week or two, memes and messages telling us that it’s ok to be unproductive, and to not be hard on ourselves for that. I totally agree with that sentiment, but for me, accepting that idea has been for others, I’m not holding it against others who aren’t being productive, but I’m having a very hard time letting myself off the hook.

Before the shut-downs, and work from home, and eventually the stay at home orders, I was feeling really productive. Chocolate Diamond Media may not have had the most stuff coming out in public, but we were getting stuff done, and I really felt like things were grinding away, and then the world changed and I feel as though in a lot of ways things came to a screeching halt.

Don’t get me wrong, becoming the primary carer for my son has been really fun, and I know that in ten years from now he’s going to remember it as the time he got to spend a ton of time with my wife, the dogs and I, but it really shifted so that by the time my wife is done with work in the day, all of my energy has been zapped. Let’s face it, there is only so much productivity you can have with a four year old.

What I have managed to do, is chip away at things slowly. I’m trying to obviously keep our presence online going, which isn’t always easy (this blog is being written six hours after I hoped to have it posted). It has meant, to some degree that I’m focusing more on the fun, and less on the business end of things, but I think it’s still a good way of getting our personality across (creating TikToks and Instagram stories). As far as the serious work, that’s been at a slower but still consistent pace.

Right before the shut down, I had shot video for a Cheerwine Spec commercial, and the editing has been slower on it because of not having wide-open days to just sit for hours and keyframe and edit. It’s looking great, but there’s a lot to do (I am hoping to have it done soon!) I’ve also been keeping up with different contests that are helping video and filmmaking professionals to keep going in this time, and currently working one (I’ve found at least 4, only had 1 that I had a good idea for, and that fits with what I’m hoping to do with Chocolate Diamond Media when the quarantine/shutdown is over.

I know personally, it feels as if stagnation is death, especially when it comes to business, but it’s really important that we do what we can for the community, both globally and locally, and I’m adhering to guideline’s as strictly as I can. I’m also doing my best to come up with creative ways to move forward, or at least preserve momentum, while following those guidelines. So yes, I have to be less hard on myself for not being as productive as I want, but I also have to be as productive as I can.

Two weeks ago, I wrote about an idea I had, something that could bring us together as a community, while we remain apart physically. The idea of documenting what it is that we’re doing in this time. It’s something that I really want to do, and I think there must be a ton of amazing and beautiful stories out there, and I hope you can help me to create this. You don’t have to be a filmmaker, in fact, hopefully we’ll get a good amount of people who aren’t. Hopefully we’ll get people who are doing story time online, or using Zoom to connect people, or making masks. I think right now the human spirit is thriving in these types of stories, and if you have one, I hope that you’ll tell it to me, and let me share it with the world. Check out the original post for more details.