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Keeping The Lights On

I will not be shooting a video production this year during the Holiday Season.  I suppose I’ve got enough footage to edit and unless I live to be at least 200 years old, I don’t stand a chance of getting all of this video footage logged, much less edited.  There are so many concepts for both online advertising and feature length that I’d like to complete.  Common problem among us all, especially those working with and using their creativity to earn a living and always in short supply of the time required to complete personal, not paying work.

So I suppose its to be expected that the older I get the more I think about light. Not only is ‘light’ an absolutely essential ingredient for my work as a video producer or photographer, but it is what I am very mindful for my soul.  My spiritual stirrings only increases as I age.

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I find myself thinking about the 8 lane traffic, both oncoming and in my rear view mirror, of change. Speed. And just ‘change’ for the sake of change.  Most of it does not seem to be for progress but rather when honestly looked at, its really just a process.  I think to myself that process is not progress no matter how many times that’s spent to make it seem like we’re going somewhere.  So I’ve opted to do what seems to me to be the most trying and important task – keeping the light on.  As many lights as I can help to kindle, or to breath on the spark asleep in the embers, or to shelter a fragile flame from a wild wind.  It’s a beautiful task to be busy with and it matters to me.  Great jobs worth, you could say.  Not much luck or purpose for trying to produce a video production about that! LOL  Its not as though its a light you can see with your eyes and yet, one glimpse of that extraordinary Light, shinning out from someone and you just know!  You love it and you love them.Spiritual Light, Video Production , SEO Blog

The Christmas Festivities becomes both easier and more difficult at the same time.  It’s easier for me because the reason for it is clear to me and it becomes more difficult because I’ve become more conscious of what madness seems to cling to the celebration of it!  I just can’t help but wonder how the hell a child processes this mixing and mingling of The Nativity and the mad shopper!  Its hilarious in a sick sort of way.  Not so funny however is the ever encroaching of the Christmas Shopping madness taking over the more modest festivities of Thanksgiving.  This year was the very first time I heard of the many shops being opened on Thanksgiving Day…and some of them opened up their ‘Black Friday’ shopping.  (remind me to tell you about the time I was hired to shoot video footage of some shopping madness..and then the video production was used in a college level psychology class.  Please. Well, you’ve got to admit there’s a hell of a lot to learn from watching it.video production nativity

Getting back to Light…the Light within – have a look at this image of a Nativity Scene.  I adore this and you know why?  Because an inmate carved it from a match box.  Imagine doing life in prison.  Looking at this piece of poignant art somehow tells me that that inmate has his Light on.  Mrs. Mary Baker Eddy has a quote that comes to mind when I see this lovely and endearing statement: (can’t recall it word perfect but it goes something like this:  ‘Light glints from the church dome, glances into the prison door, glides into the sick chamber, blesses the earth, beautifies the landscape..”  can’t recall what else…but note the words, ‘glints’ , glides,  glances.  Very interesting and having so much depth. Point if, light is everywhere present, and when we decide to see it in everyone and in every situation, the brightness of this light will become more and more apparent. And then perhaps we’ll back to the basics.  Christ Light & The Spiritual Gift of an awareness of our connectivity – our inseparable unity to one another and our ultimate Source of True Being.video production with blogs

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Do Our Christmas Practices Profane The Sacred?

Educational Value of Video Production: I wonder what kind of video production would I have to do to convey this simple point of view?

The Morality of Christmas Practices:

For decades I’ve wondered whether I belong to the majority or the minority by wishing that all of the commercialism that is attached to the Christmas Season could be left far behind us?  Given the way our world of commerce is generally dependent on this season of spending, or as I am temped to term it, a frenetic frenzy of commercial spending.  The reasons I feel we’d be better off for getting rid of this annual commercial spin and not all of them are of a religious origin.

Do Our Christmas Practices Profane The Sacred?

Do Our Christmas Practices Profane The Sacred?

The Christian Justification for a Pagan Christmas:

While I’m not a Seventh Day Adventist, I am, nonetheless in complete agreement with them on how the birth of the Christ Child has been mixed & mingled with the money changers thus profaning the sacred.  In all innocence, I assert, we’ve been taught and usually, what’s sung to the cradle travels with us all the way to the grave.

The way Christmas is celebrated today is a hodgepodge of Pagan practices cobbled to suit the market forces.  Including the tree dressing!  That on the table, I still love all the lights and the glitter.  Santa Clause, a character known today was once an historical figure whose origins are found in Turkey. The North Pole, the midnight ride with magical sleigh and mythical reindeer, are, as we all know, the stuff of children’s stories.  Lovely stories, I’d like to add.  But to overlay, this Santa who ‘knows if you’re naughty or nice’ and rewards you accordingly is a travesty when it replaces the sacred hour that Jesus of Nazareth was born, heralded as the Christ, only begotten son of God.

Video Production:  Interview With Jesus of Nazareth:

Don’t mean to undermine my serious point but would you agree with me that to have Jesus of Nazareth brought into a recording studio and interviewed, like any other video production; record that commentary of his on the current practices regarding the Christmas seasonal spending would you agree with me that he’d most probably find our ‘current’ Christmas practices repugnant? Would he even know what the heck we we’re talking about since everyone now knows that he was not even born in December, no matter what calendar you’re referencing!
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Does anyone doubt that once he figured out that this spending spree, was instigated to celebrate his birthday, by both those religious and secular types, does anyone actually think he’d say, “Gee, what a party!?!  All this for me?!”  I sincerely hope that no one would think he’d say that.

I can see all the emails and comments on this blog now! LOL  There are those who would love to give me a blast about the fairy tale of God impregnating a virgin with His only son to later kill him with the cruelest of deaths, in order to save what he already had – us, His Creation.  I also agree with that… thrown about as it is, peppered with disinformation or no historical underpinning at all, is equally full of myths and legends.  It seems we are prone to taking crumbs, a bit from here and a slice over there and whipping them into a loaf served at the last suppers from many a table!

So, endeavouring to stay clear of all known ‘facts’ including those that are spun into what could only be honestly called a ‘fable’ – I’d like to just discuss the damage this holiday often causes… especially to those that it is often intended for: the children.  Taking all the fact and fable into one bit arena… I’ll set everything aside except for the children.
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Christmas Message as it Communicates to Children:

For those of you who’ve not had to endure hardship, or very little of it, try to imagine you’re a child; let’s say, for the lack of argument, one under the age of 10.  Let’s suppose you and your family are enduring drastic hardship… the worst possible way to have to face this is if you’re living in an otherwise well heeled neighbourhood but if you’re poor, you’re probably going to live among others who are also poor.

Let’s say you all know about Santa Clause, who’s been working with his many Elves making toys all year long. Hopefully one of them in the very least is for you!   As a child, you probably would’ve been told that Santa Clause, Old Saint Nicolas is watching everything you do…and, he’s keeping score!

Just for a moment, think to yourself, ‘what the hell does this have to do with the Christian holiday celebrating the birth of God’s only son, the Christ?!  Even if you do not share in or practice a Christian faith, you still must wonder why our economy is so precariously poised on the now infamous, ‘Black Friday’ and the flurry of gift returns that subsequently follow on in the preceding 2 weeks following the December 25th affair!

Anyway, back to the way you’d reason about Christ & Christmas, Santa Clause & presents if you were a child. Rife confusion is introduced when the child is taken to church or plays a part in the annual Nativity school play.  Worse yet, and this is more and more found to be common place – the child knows nothing whatsoever about Jesus in the manger or Jesus on the cross!?

What the child, especially one born to poverty will know is this:  the lack of presents under the tree from Santa means they’ve done something wrong.  Suppose they have friends whose families are not quite as strapped for funds,  who they know are ‘bad’ and yet those kids return to school from the Christmas break, piled high with their Christmas gifts.  How would you balance, or perhaps, how did you balance all of this in your head?   When the jolly ole St. Nicolas wasn’t happy with you…how does a child process this?  How do they figure out why folks are giving presents to each other when the Three Wise Men gave them to the baby Jesus?
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Teach the Children:

Why not teach them Christian history which documents Saint Nicholas?

What are we teaching the children about Christmas?  With so few children these days  involved in any sort of liturgical calendar or Christian community,  then the only celebration is purely secular.  A festival of sharing and receiving presents.  Nothing wrong with that.  A seasonal holiday set aside to exchange gifts, eat, drink, and rush into the shopping malls for the customary discounts.

My Proposal:

Would be to set a clear definition between the sacred and the secular.  Mark them well and ensure that no child feel deprived or punished.  What about those who are more comfortable with the pure secular version of this festivity, reduce the spending in so doing remove some of the emotional weight that usually attaches itself to this practice.

Wouldn’t it be lovely if it were to be taken back to what it once was – the exchange of gifts that n individual actually makes themselves.  Sharing a meal, having the exchange of conversation about how we feel, what we think, conclusions that have developed throughout the year…wouldn’t that be an alternative and useful modification?  Since almost every smart phone, tablet and laptop computer have video recording capabilities, why not begin the creation of a family heirloom in the production of videos?

I would propose for those who do want to teach their children about the sacredness of remembering the birth of Jesus the Christ, that they have open conversations about this Christian celebration.  Discover what the child already knows about it, if anything and fill in the blanks or throw out the misconceptions.
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Reformation of New or Revival of an old Economy:

And finally, I’d say we need to get involved with the entire restructuring of our central economics.  What the hell happened?!  Shouldn’t we be asking of ourselves how the sacred was so grossly profaned?  Should’t we now be wondering how it is that only when individuals and corporations, going into debt is required to keep an economy ‘upwardly mobile’?

Part of the citizenship we enjoy in America was instigated in part by a very small sect of Puritans calling themselves Pilgrims.  They fled the mercenary foundations of European homeland believing it to be sinful and entirely contrary to their core values of their Christian faith.  They passionately sought a better life and risked life and limb to find it.  This is not a romantic fancy of mine  it’s history.  They documented it.

They knew far more about the primitive Christian church than most professing Christians do now. They had less archival discoveries drawn from the many archeological digs that we have and yet what they did know, they practiced.

They pooled everything they owned and shared from a common pool.  The original, you could say, of the oft quoted:

“From each according to his ability to each according to his need”

There was no shopping frenzy.  There was a self formed family who all agreed to share everything with each other and worship in the spirit.  No need for a shopping spree on the run up to December 25th or the stampede to return the unwanted gifts for the exchange of those preferred.
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I need to shut up now – its the season! LOL and I have to get on with some other video productions.  This is a first draft set out here and no doubt would have been seriously condensed were it to go through a rewrite.  And while I’ve yet again provided Hamlet with a no doubt  irresistible urge to say: “words, words, words”  I nonetheless stand by all that I’ve gone on about in this blog article.

I hope someone out there hears me and will enter into conversation about this with anyone who will give it the time of day- because this is more than a travesty to the sincere simplicity that generated the commonly agreed Christine beliefs.   This is a well engineered commercial fiasco.

And while i do so love the many pagan practices now infused into the commemoration of the Saviors birth, the glitz and sometimes glamour, I prefer the cooking and shared meals, the hymns, the romance of church candles, the scripture, and I abhor what its become and I think that to remain silent about it is to condone it.

Next time I write about this, I’ll do so more precisely as this part of our history is actually very interesting. That is to say, the way these pagan festivals were woven into the Christian’s practices is very revealing about who we are.

Maybe I should sign off – Bah humbug!  But then again, that’s another story! LOL
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Halloween At Visionary Dance

Why Dance?

I first learned to video dancers in traditional schools and then innovated a style of shooting and creating video production that gives the audience an up close and personal experience of the dance and the dancer…the camera is usually racked on wheels so that it’s easier to move in close and appear to be dancing with the dancer.  I’m told that viewers of these videos feel as if they are part of the dancers experience and even have their own experience of the dance.  Dance is, after all, a conversation – a dialogue.

That style of video production was borne, as are most inventions, because of necessity!  i wanted to emulate the sort of video productions that were the hallmark of high end productions where crews worked as teams and set up jibs and cameras on sort of crane like racks.  All common place now but still, only available in high end and expensive video productions.  Usually there are 3 video cameras recording. You’ve seen them…there is typically the videographer sits in a chair on a crane like piece of equipment and can swirl, move forward, backward and track the movement of the dance troupe or individual performer.

I am particularly fond of dancers. More than fond!  I love them!  They give me the greatest of joys – a vicarious experience of freedom of expression that I do not experience through any other medium.  In fact, as a film maker and screenwriter, I always cast dancers as close to the main characters as I can.  In my narratives somehow or other dance and music is part of the dialogue. The characters locate and discover what they are really feeling and are not necessarily able to articulate with words. Unspent grief of which we all have much of, can be released without needing to talk about it.  Sometimes they discover they are in love, through watching someone dance. etc.  Locating emotion, that’s buried deep in places where only sighs exist is a soulful and delicious experience.

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Dance Defined:

Usually dance involves movement to music and is often rhythmic.  It was,once upon a time, systemic to most all cultures.  When you learned to walk, you also learned to dance; when you learned to speak, you also learned to sing.

For many cultures dance is central to deity worship, pagan rituals usually to do with the rhythms of the universe and cycles of nature about seasons of fertility and the cultivation of crops, etc.  All important expressions of living were danced.  Rites of passage; joy, sorrow and grief.  Anger for loss, trails and triumph – victory – dances for making war as well as for making love.

Dance In Western Culture:

With the rise of the western culture, a philosophy was adopted that began to view the landscape of ‘Life’ in parts’ rather than the integrated ‘whole’ of it.  This approach was taken in all areas of our lives.  It is a type of analysis that seeks to understand the whole by dissecting it into parts…then to understand the parts in order to know the whole!   In other words, very important assumptions are drawn by utilizing this method of learning – everything, including God, is studied as ‘apart from’ not ‘a part of’.  Hence the rise, if not rebellion of those now insisting in a more holistic approach to viewing ourselves in an ever changing part of the whole. Affecting and being affected by a world we touch and are touched by.

Video Production: Visionary Dance Garden of Allah Delilah

Its a given that you have to take things apart, observe and practice them in order to be able to preform them. This is, no doubt, a time honoured way to learn something to be able to master it…the main difference that happened in the west was that once we pulled something apart in order to understand and learn it,  we never put it back into a whole!  Gee, I wonder if that makes sense to you(?)  So our very dance, our most authentic way to express the ‘truth’ as it is at the moment, is cut away from our ‘day-to-day’ living.

This is one of the subtle reasons that I believe we mostly sit to watch performances and not particularly participate in them.  I don’t mean to suggest that other cultures, still alive and well today as well as ancient cultures, since past, did not have performers and audience. In fact a chief difference between what was common place then and what is common place now is very much a divided experience between the dancer and the observer.

We buy tickets to go and watch dancers; they are a part from us, not necessarily seen or experienced as a part of us…or an extension of our very own experience.  I adore those moments when performers get an audience up to ‘move a groove’ with them.  This is how it is in many cultures…everyone becomes part of the dance…whether they move or not!  A performer, like the one I’m speaking about here, Delilah Flynn (Visionary Dance- Fremont, Seattle) moves an audience the minute she enters there to perform TO them.  The dance is a language they immediately understand and respond to.

Dance As Therapy:

Dance is a central part of every healthy culture. It is a way to experience and release a complete range of emotions that never will be accessible to the spoken word . There is a vocabulary in the dance of each culture. Gestures in the hands, feet, head, for that matter many parts of the body are put to use to say something with the body.  Its been said and I wholeheartedly agree that, “Dance Is Our Mother Tongue”. When you think of the universality of body language and how easily it is understood, then that quote is not a far stretch.

So beautiful to be able to see a dancer that has combined the dance vocabulary from many cultures and uses his or her body to talk to the viewer.  It’s a conversation.

Video Production: DelilahFremontParade

Delilah’s Dance:

Now, this is, above all why I love the way Delilah of http://VisionaryDance.com teaches.  For that matter, performs.  She has managed, and this is not an easily accomplished task in a world that has subdivided the way we live and the way we work from each other.  How ever would someone maintain a ‘whole’ in an essentially an schizophrenically structured society?! Maintaining a career as a Dancer Healer is, as Delilah will tell you, a very challenging ‘row to hoe’.

Delilah’s dance is contagious.  She embodies a dance fusion of the very essence seen in ancient cultures with their extraordinary expressions and can and does combine them into everything from ‘Rock n’Roll’ to a Whirling Sufi Dervish.

The type of Belly Dance Delilah performs is a communion with the audience.  Her very movements invite your involvement.  It pleases you and teases emotions out of you…. she is dancing ‘for’ you as well as ‘with’ you.  When a performer, who really is a dancer, enters the room, it switches on!  Lights up!  It moves or rocks!

Video Production: HalloweenDelilahZombi

Delilah’s (Flynn) style is the closest I’ve seen outside of its country or origin.  She is considered the Grand Dame of Belly Dance in the Pacific Northwest as well as elsewhere.

Add to that the many theatrical productions where innovative combinations of many world dances are in glorious display.  She has, on many occasions, collaborated with Laurel Victoria Gray, who is a world scholar on Middle Eastern Dance, and is the Artistic Director, choreographer and costume creator of her Silk Road Dance Company in Washington, DC. The combination of these two is more than impressive – they’ve made history, AND, to my delight, they’ve recorded it.  ( http://www.silkroaddance.com/persian-dance.html)

Delilah is a beautiful woman and every bit the seductress her name suggests!  Her costumes are stunning.  I was surprised to learn how much investment there are in these gorgeous costumes.  Having said this, I don’t want to feed the erroneous concepts that has ‘belly dance’ as a display of sexual suggestions; it is so ‘off the mark’ to have that notion.
Belly dance is an art form.  Tremendous skill is involved in learning some of it’s intricacies, and yet everyone can learn enough of it to enjoy it as an expression as well as a wonderful  way to gain and maintain physical fitness.  Delilah can tell you all about that and is a very generous woman with both her time and her knowledge. I happen to love seeing men belly dancing – it’s part of a cultural exchange and experience in it’s country of origin.

Delilah Flynn been at this for, well, shall we say with great pride, for several decades!  Frankly, when you really think of it, haven’t you noticed that there are actually very few people that stick with a craft and drive themselves to not only perfect it, but then go on to stamp it with their own identity.

Video Production: HalloweenDanceBones

Delilah, in short, is a scholar of her craft.  She may not possess a document with her name and the letters ‘PhD’ scribed on it, but she is a scholar just the same and frankly, it’ll be a pity if somehow, all that she’s studied and mastered is not carved into a course for others to glean from.  That is how PhD  programs were put together anyway!

Dance As History: (story telling)

Dance is an extensive study. Its a vast and rich way to study history in a comprehensive way.  This next idea may seem a little quirky, but, hey, it’s my blog and no one is correcting this paper! LOL  To take some dance lessons and let a pro assist you while you really locate your own dance is another way to discover history. Yours!

Video Production: DelilahStoryteller

I hope you will one day witness her dance and let her lead you to find yours.  She has a very developed online presence, there are dozens of video productions you can view…BUT, I hope we never forget that dance was meant to be an experience… a live one…so that it can live on in us and who knows, that very experience may become part of our own dance.

House of Tarab / Arabic Music Ensemble (the in house band) & Visionary Dance give a standing ovation performance.   Consider booking them for your next event. It is sure to be a memorable one.

Video Production: ErikBrownHouseOfTarab

By the way, I just learned that Delilah is having a fire sale of costumes, instructional DVD’s, artifacts, etc, all at exceptional prices!  I JUST learned this, honest – this blog was not to be a blah blah blah about a house on fire sale!  Seriously though, some real buys are to be had.  http://visionarydance.com/
If you want to see a good range of Delilah’s dance, have a view of the second video on this page…and that’s JUST one type of dance she does. Erik Brown on Tabla provides an excellent conversation with her! Erik Brown, ala ‘House of Tarab’ is an excellent choice of a CD to buy, dance, sing to!  I live that group – especially the ‘spirit’ they embody and the authenticity they maintain.

https://www.facebook.com/erik.brown.921?hc_location=stream
https://www.facebook.com/delilahbellydancer?fref=tsVideo Production: CD Booklet

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The Skinny On Creating A Viral Video:

The Water Skiing Squirrel.

The Water Skiing Squirrel.

(check out the product placement! Can you think of a better way to sell insurance?! )

The water-skiing squirrel, the little old lady smashing a Mercedes with a handbag, or a grumpy cat; they are all examples of viral videos. The term ‘viral’ refers to the contagion-like spread of the video on the internet. Clients sometimes expect guaranteed viral results from paying for an SEO video.

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THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN AN SEO AND VIRAL

SEO (search engine optimization) is a targeted tagging process which is applied to a video, wherein the segment pops up higher in search engines results, which can increase traffic back to a site and increase opportunities for being shared on other sites. This is usually done by a video production professional, and is a paid service.

A video going viral cannot be guaranteed. This is not a paid service. Although a video production professional may offer to help plan and execute a viral campaign, there is no way to guarantee whether a video will interest a target market and inspire widespread sharing. While SEO can help raise awareness of a particular video, there is no promise that the video will go viral.

CREATING A VIRAL VIDEO

EDUCATION THROUGH ENTERTAINMENT
One of the key traits of videos that go viral is the entertainment factor. If a video can educate a client about a product or service, while still entertaining them, the chances of the video going viral are greatly increased. Keep things loose and not-too-serious. It is easier for customers to connect with humor and they are more likely to share a funny video with their friends.  http://www.viralviralvideos.com/2013/10/08/kate-upton-and-snoop-dogg-hot-pockets-music-video/

THE IMPORTANCE OF BRANDING

Branded videos can go viral, although the tools used to brand the video may require some subtlety. A small logo or information in the lower-third of a video are obvious branding choices. Catchphrases or verbal cues are less obvious, but have a proven track record. A consistent face or spokesperson is also a fantastic way to build a following. Recognition is another proven marketing tool that aids in a successful campaign. For instance, “Where’s the beef?” It was a brilliant campaign and the closest thing to a viral video that could be produced in the 80’s. Not only was the catchphrase on television, but it showed up on t-shirts and other merchandise. The little old lady who said those iconic words became the face of the fast-food chain.CatGrumpy

HOW LONG IS TOO LONG
Length is also key factor in a videos ability to go viral. Often, segments of longer videos go viral, which directs traffic back to a longer video. The viral segment is usually short and often contains the source of the laugh, which can range from a joke, to a bit gag, to a professionally produced hijinks. It is important to remember an audience’s attention span, especially when perusing the internet, cannot be maintained for longer than 60 seconds.

ESTABLISHING A VIRAL CAMPAIGN

Whether the segment has been created by a video production professional or not, and regardless of whether it is an SEO video, a viral campaign works similarly to the ‘pay-it-forward’ concept from the hit movie. It all begins with social media and how those connections are managed. First, a trusted circle of contacts are given the link and asked to post it on their timeline and to send it to their own trusted circle. If those four connections share it with four of their own, that’s easily sixteen posts. Repeated posting of the links to social media sites with an invitation to share can also increase the spread of the video. The video segment should also be posted on a popular share site, such as Funny or Die.GrumpyWomanTin

Use the viral campaign to promote a service or product with a giveaway. Customers can enter to win by retweeting the video link or sharing the link from Facebook; both can be tracked via the social media site. Incentives can do a lot to help get the viral campaign on its feet.

As with any production, hiring a professional to help plan and execute the video, SEO and a potential viral campaign is an intelligent investment.

http://www.viralviralvideos.com/2013/10/06/dodge-durango-ron-burgundy-commercial/