For a brief period in 2013, in my newfound town of Lakeland, FL, I dabbled in this Reading project. This project led to many interesting conversations with many interesting people. I met my now wife through this project. These days, this project is a time capsule of a time when I found myself squarely outside my comfort zone, and I voraciously explored every square foot of that space. 

This project was a personal education in recording sound and managing noises, and shooting in available light. I am setting some limitations while recording this. I plan to use no more than reflectors to direct light and shoot with an 85mm Nikor lens on my camera. I am filming in my apartment when I can. 


Before Chuck moved out of Lakeland, I had to find a time-capsule by which to remember him. He has been a great friend and has made my transition to a new city easy. He will be missed. 

Secretly, this video is my foray into recording and producing better quality voice. This was done using a Zoom H1 with a dead-cat covering the mic. The video is otherwise untouched, just trimmed for content. There are some minor adjustments done to the sound to reduce background noise. 

This video marks my second foray into the reading series. Tamara Sakagawa is a friend and one of those doers who any enterprising Lakelander is bound to run into. And if you are fortunate enough to follow her facebook or twitter stream, you will be familiar with her brand of quick wit and humor that is so lacking from society today. Tamara had her young sons pick this book for the project. They were partial to Bustopher Jones. I had never heard these poems before. I was somewhat awestruck at the genius writing during the first few takes. On another note, I now have a new iMac. This video was edited on a trial version of Final Cut Pro. It took me all I had to not go crazy with color filters and transitions. Coming from an iMovie only background, the temptation was strong. The editing process itself was quite seamless. I had to sync audio from an external source with the video. That process was a breeze.

Heather picked the first non-fiction novel in my Reading series. The book is by Helen Prejean who wrote Dead Man Walking. The scene she reads describes the execution of one of the prisoners in the book. I don't think I have the stomach to witness the execution of a human being, let alone have the resolve to write about it with such emotional strength.

I finally had a chance to film Tammy read for my camera. She has been one of my best friends and co-conspirators in Lakeland. Reading aloud is not a normal task for everyone, and Tammy faced her share of anxiety before the project. After providing a shot of some liquid courage that I keep handy, the tension ceased and she produced a beautiful reading of Emma by Jane Austen. Tammy chose Jane Austen secretly due to her love for Game Theory, which was pioneered by Jane Austen at a time when no one knew what it was. Tammy is also my first subject who reads from a Kindle, which emphasizes that content and intent are more important than their medium. They always will be.

I had Adam read for me so that I can fight the stereotype that I only have beautiful women (and old men) read for my camera. Kidding. This project started as a portraiture with words, but it is more and more becoming about the voice. I just love listening to a voice that I would normally not pay attention to in a conversation, but it gains extra dimensions when I hear it in isolation, and without distraction. I am also enjoying the one on one time I get to meet with my guests. Adam and I drank coffee and talked art for the better part of an hour. He brought me one of his mixed-media painting that I had been eyeing for a while. I found out that Adam has seen in person the original scroll that Kerouac had typed. It must have been a powerful experience.

I was discovering a new attraction to doing this video project when I was recording with Adam. I was really enjoying the one-on-one conversations I have with my subjects before and after we finish filming. Amy's was no exception. I discovered her love for documentary film-making and video production in general. Amy's family has been in Jacksonville for three generations, and in Florida for over six. It was a truly wonderful sharing our different perspectives on the progression of generations of people in relation to the city where they grow up. What I am really trying to say is that my friends are very cool.