A Reflection on May

May 2014

May has been an exciting month. As I’ve taken each step toward my goals, the dreams I have are nestling into reality.

I have greatly enjoyed my personal life as I have distanced myself from the website, in the past weeks. May has always been a special month to me. It excitedly marks the emergence of summer, and is my month of birth.

I was treated to several birthday celebrations with various family and friends, and the celebrations surpassed my wildest expectations. My cup was certainly overflowing. Not only were the celebrations permeated with fun, but they were embodied with meaning. The family and friends I have are my greatest treasures.

May was a very social month. After four months of chronicling Wes Brooks Productions’ flight, a conflict I’ve consistently found in writing about myself, is in finding the balance between my private self, and my Wes Brooks Productions self. Because Wes Brooks Productions is so profoundly infixed within my life, naturally, a lot of personal things seep through, as I’ve embarked on sharing my honest thoughts and feelings—while in the context of Wes Brooks Productions, are intensely personal.

I say all that to serve as a reminder for the purpose of this blog: to share about myself, in the context of my efforts. Not every monthly curtain will divulge every facet of who I was, is, and am, and all that I did, from the start of the month to the end of it. (I most of all struggled with this when I wrote A Reflection on March.) Anyway, let’s move onward in Reflection of May.

You’ll remember from A Reflection on April, that I had a couple of jobs as a hired hand, lined up—the inaugural events that WBP has gained any income. In May, I edited a project that will be played, later today, for a graduation ceremony. I filmed it in early March, around the time I was writing the TID pages.

Back then, a fellow student asked me if I would put together a graduation video for a number of students. I am all friends with these students, and readily accepted the project. The most specific idea the students had for the project, was, “We want to surprise our parents.” I drove the concept for what the video became: an interview-based video, excluding my statements in the final edit, frequently alternating between students as they reminisce, look toward the future, and share about themselves, in answer to my edited-out questions. The students have had an opportunity to see the video before today. The students I’ve heard back from are happy with it. I am too. Post-filming, I added a bit more pizazz to it than I anticipated. (I couldn’t help it.) I’m very happy with it.

I considered the project a great favor to make. I did not expect to be paid. But, after our afternoon filming had ended, the student that arranged my doing the project privately handed me a generous sum. I was stunned. With an old U.S. General in hand, he offered me biblical wisdom that rang something like, “When you’ve worked, and least expect a reward, you’ll have earned it.” That’s a certified misquote on my end, but the remark was something along that thought. I was incredibly impressed and blessed by the gesture. That student happens to have portrayed George Wellson in This Time in History (released in February).

In the weeks leading up to mid-May, I was in contact with a member of the Board of Directors of a local homeschool children’s choir. I was to film their Spring Concert. (I was recommended by a friend who recommended a friend that recommended me!) I had never met any of the choir personnel before, and our dialogs were very professional—far from a favor.

In past concerts, they’d usually had a parent film—nothing fancy. They didn’t need anything fancy from me, either. They just wanted a nice video to capture the evening and be put on a DVD for folks to enjoy. I think I might’ve said, “Well, I’ll see if I can’t make it as fancy as I can.” With one camera, that was a quasi-bold claim. My plan was to intertwine video footage with still coverage. (I will edit the video, as well.)

I decided to attend the dress rehearsal for a “trial run”. I centered the video camera up in the balcony. I would set a shot up, then run downstairs and get stills of the choir. Then, I would run upstairs, reposition the camera, or do a shot with movement. The process would repeat itself. If I was lucky, I could do this cycle more than once during a music number. It was a hustle. In editing, I would use the stills to cover up my repositioning the camera. (Because a choir performance, as a strictly live function, could not be editorially maimed in the way that a narrative project would.)

Come the night of the concert. All the age groups are dressed nicely and are standing on the stage, gracefully. The auditorium is packed with an attentive audience. And I’m going to be monkeying around with a camera, helping distract the performers, and intrude on the audience, while running around the sanctuary, going upstairs and downstairs and upstairs and downstairs? I did it once. I abandoned it. So, how was I going to cover up my camera repositioning? The photographer off to my left was the answer.

After the photographer and I were introduced to each other, I informed him of my plan. Once I abandoned it, I ran over to him, saying, “Take lots of photos, because you’re all I’m using.” He’d expressed, earlier, that he was open to collaboration. I stayed in the balcony behind the video camera for the remainder of the evening, making usually one, two, three, or four camera switches during a number, while he drilled in on photography.

Before the photographer and I were introduced, I had never met him. When we were introduced, he said, “Wes, I’m familiar with your work!” I was stunned. He had seen Viewpoint: A Convention of States (released in March). He and his wife were complimentary of it. Turns out, they’re friends of my Viewpoint costar’s family. That was a pleasant surprise.

Another pleasant surprise occurred at the end of the evening. During the post-performance celebratory honors and applause, an acknowledgment was given of me. “And thank you to Wes Brooks, who was our videographer, this year. You’ll see him up in the balcony.” Everybody turned around and I waved. That was an unexpected treat.

I am very honored that they chose me to document their evening, and that they enthusiastically gave WBP a push into business. I was very happy with my reward, as well. It was very appropriate for my first experience doing that kind of work, in my opinion.

The folks at the choir were great, all around. It was a pleasure to work with them, as it was a delight to be present for the concert and witness all of the talented children.

Later in the month, I took part in the production of a short film. I appear as an extra in a film being made by a young local filmmaker. The director plans for a fall release. Around then, I will make a post on it. It was great fun to squeeze that in and take part in it.

Even though my Reflection on May has turned out to be the longest of my four monthly curtains, I haven’t even scratched a surface on what my primary focus of May has been. But once again, as I take each step forward, the dreams I have are manifesting in reality.

Stated similarly to my conclusion, last month, “I’ve been setting the stage for something I’ll shed barely anymore light on, in the next post.”

In conclusion, May is a contender for my favorite month of 2014. See you at dawn.

Upwards and onwards,

~Wes

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