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Paws4People Hazelton Bump from Derek Davis on Vimeo.

Paws4People is an organization that trains and places assistance dogs with people with disabilities throughout the mid-Atlantic and southeast regions. They specialize in clients under the age of 12 and veterans with PTSD; as well as the ground-breaking field of training and utilizing the Educational Assistance Dog.

In this video, the members of Paws4People help to rehabilitate inmates by teaching them how to train dogs.

Footage by Jim Gilson
Edited by Derek Davis


I swear. This whole “deadline” thing is hard. I guess that’s why so many people marvel at the people who make them because making a deadline is a rare talent that is so difficult to master.

But I’m sure that I can talk about that in a later post. Fear is what I really want to talk about in this post because I feel like it is the greatest antagonist to anyone trying to follow their dream (I know that it is for me.)

Whether it is the fear of failure, rejection, or insecurity, fear has been my greatest enemy in the past month, and it is certainly my biggest concern for my future. I think that fear arises because in the freelance/filmmaking world. There are countless, unanswerable questions, and their is no one path to success. If someone wanted to be a doctor, there is an understood path that you have to take (pre-med, med school, internship, residency, ext.), but with filmmaking, there are numerous ways to get into the industry. Of course, none of this paths even guarantee if you will be able to make your monthly car payment, and this is what keeps me up at night. 

Unfortunately, this is why I believe that the majority of people fail to pursue after their dreams. People desire and need comfort and security to live happy, worry-free lives, and how are you suppose to be happy and worry-free when you are constantly concerned about money?

When I worked at the restaurant a few months back, I saw middle-aged people waiting tables because it paid their bills. Does anyone really have dreams of being a waiter? I honestly don’t think so, but the comfort and stability of the job keeps them relatively happy and serving food. Then the servers stays their for months, years, and sometimes, even decades wondering why they are still there. 

This is why I had to move on. Complacency is the murderer of hopes and dreams. I’m sure someone wiser than me put it into better terms, but I think that it still rings true. You cannot chase after your dreams by walking. You must sprint full speed like a cheetah attacking a gazelle! 

The week that I decided to move away from the restaurant to doing freelance work. I had offers come to me almost every week because people who needed help knew that I was available, and once I got on set, my work ethic and kindness spoke for itself. Now, I have fairly consistent jobs every week, and I have plenty of time for more personal projects as well.

Although I have been fortunate enough to be have work, I still live with fear, but I have learned that fear is only life telling you that you are doing something worth while, that you are doing something worth being told. So, I respect my fear instead of letting it petrify me, and in a way, I also feel like to motivates me as well. Fear drives me to keep doing my best and pushes me to make my best even better, so that I can get more jobs and ultimately achieve my dream of directing and writing. Honestly though, it also helps to make that car payment every month too! 

So, do not let uncertainty and fear take away your dream and passion. I feel like FDR’s famous quote is very appropriate here. "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself." Keep pushing on! 

A few weeks ago, my friends and I were bored, and we decided to enter campus movie fest. 

It was a hectic but enjoyable experience since we only had a week to make the film, and unfortunately, we didn’t win best comedy. But, we were in our school’s (Georgia Gwinnet College) top 16 films, and we were nominated for best comedy. 

I hope it makes you laugh as much as we laughed at ourselves, and be sure to listen for strange noises. It may require multiple views to catch it. 


Alright, so maybe this whole “deadline” things is hard to get use to at first, but I’m sure that I’ll get a hang of it one of these days. 

As for an update on week 4 of my freelance independence, there is not to much to tell. It has been a constant struggle to find new, payingjobs, and juggling all of the jobs that I currently have is a struggle as well. For instance, I’m trying to help an organization edit a short video, but it’s unpaid. So if anything that comes up that is paid or offers more experience/connections, I have to put it to the side and try to make my payments for the month. Unfortunately, that leaves the video untouched for a while, and the client starts to asks questions. So, I’m still trying to figure out how to set my priorities straight and to keep myself from over-working. 

One thing that I have found really helpful though is to constantly keep a calendar and to-do list up to date, and once everything is in sync, make reminders that pester you until it’s done! The pestering is the most important part, even though it comes down to you to get the tasks done. It really helps to motivate you to get it out of your way just to stop the annoying pop-ups and notifications. 

But even with a balanced schedule and steady to-do list, the one thing that I have unfortunately discovered working as a freelance videographer is the consistency of getting work. I know that I’ve mentioned this before in another post, but I feel like I have to emphasize it because it is my greatest fear (which I feel like I will dive deeper into Monday). I have only been doing this for a month, and the only paid work that I’ve gotten was from doing a production assistant job. Although I have clients that are interested in me, it is another story trying to get a paid job from them. Everyone wants something done for free and expect great results, but that isn’t how you pay bills or take care of a family. So, I’ve found that there is a balance between working for free and getting paid. 

To initially get a client interested, offer your service for free (or ideally, a lower “sales” price) then once they love what’ve you done for them, they will want more (ideally). Then you will be able to ask full price. Also, if you go to a business that has a stable client base (such as a hair salon, cupcake place, ext.), offer a free promotional video in exchange for leaving business cards and promoting your freelance business. You could always leave your card anywhere, but the business is less likely to care and help you actually get clients. 

Of course, this is only my theory. It hasn’t worked for me yet, but it is still the strategy that I’m using for now. I hope that it will work out, but only time will tell. 

Regardless, I hope that my journey helps you with yours, and if it does, please let me know! I would really like to hear about it. 

All Together Now: Using Adobe Premiere Pro with SpeedGrade and Audition in CS6 from DVi Crew on Vimeo.

This Adobe CS6 tutorial shows the round-trip process of taking a video clip through Adobe SpeedGrade that was deliberately shot at the wrong color temperature (i.e., a camera’s white balance was set to daylight instead of tungsten), because color temperature is something that Premiere Pro’s built in color correctors don’t explicitly have, but SpeedGrade does. Rounding out the workshop is a demo of a simple audio noise clean-up with Adobe Audition.

Feast or Famine

Well, I seemed to have missed an update, but it was for a good reason. I promise, so I did not miss it in vain or laziness. From the last update, I have learned some useful knowledge about freelance work. 

Last week, I had the opportunity to work as grip/boom operator on a short film and promotional video and a production assistant on a reality tv show called “Tiny Tonight” that was filming in Atlanta. I was surprised to see how quickly worked seemed to appeared, but I was grateful to work on anything since I quit my waiting job.

Although I helped out on the short film and the promotional video for free (which I will surely post once both of the projects are complete and online), I truly enjoyed being on set after a long period of time being away from film at the restaurant, even despite the long hours and countless takes of footage. I have worked as a grip and boom operator on numerous films and videos before, so there really was no learning curve on set.

Immediately after working on the short film and promotional video, I was contacted by a friend of mine who I had worked with on the short film set, and she told me a reality tv show that was being filmed in Atlanta called “Tiny Tonight”. I was hesitant to accept at first. But, it was a paid gig, so I immediately jumped on the phone and made a call to take it. I have not had a paid job since I quit my waiting job, so beggars can’t be choosers. 

So, working for free doesn’t necessarily mean you are working for nothing. You are paid in experience and connections! Just be sure to work hard, ask questions, and to be friendly. You will be surprised by how far that can take you. 

As I soon found out, working as a production assistant on a reality tv show is incredibly different from working as a production assistant on a narrative film. On reality tv, PA’s are mainly needed to drive crew and cast members to set, make sure that everyone on set is hydrated and comfortable (which can be normal for narrative films), and running errands such as lunch or getting five hour energies. Whereas in narrative film, PA’s are mainly on set to be an extra pair of hands moving things around and helping to set up different scenes (unless you are an office PA). So while I was on “Tiny Tonight”, I was a runner. The position really comes down to me mostly running errands and picking up lunch and dinner, and I was hardly around when the crew was filming. Even though I had to use my own car the majority of the time, I was compensated for the miles that I drove, and driving around everywhere helped to make the long day seem a little bit shorter. 

Although being a PA on any set isn’t ideal or where you would like to be, it truly helps to understand how sets are run, and you will be able to learn from other people’s mistakes and successes. 

I feel like I’ve gone onto a tangent, so here is the main point of my update. 

Doing freelance work is living in periods of feasts and famines. There have been weeks where I didn’t have any jobs, and I had to work every day and take every opportunity to find one. Then once you have a few jobs, I could have a few weeks worth of work and money coming in, but you have to prepare for the famine even though you get to enjoy the feast. You never know how long the feast will last, or how long you will have to starve. So, always take any opportunity that you can get! Even if you have to make it yourself. 

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