Happy Birthday Lynelle!


Song: Ricky Blaze – Endless Summer (feat. Kes The Band)

This was my gift to my sister for her 30th birthday. She had a really nice 30th soiree at a photographer’s home in DC back in September, and I brought my glidecam to see what I could capture. A good event makes capturing the energy of the event really easy, and this one was truly great. Recording vocals was difficult from any further than a couple feet, even with my Zoom H4n. I would recommend renting the strongest shotgun you can afford if you need to spontaneously capture voices in a crowd. The shots are a combination of glidecam and handheld shots.

All that said, she loves the video! Mission accomplished.

I Deejayed My First Wedding!

I deejayed my first wedding this month! Weddings are very high stakes events, so I’ve been holding off on jumping in until I felt ready.

For me, being ready means having tons and tons of backup gear. There’s no room for excuses when it comes to weddings. Getting all the backup gear together took a long time, but now, I have backup gear for every piece of equipment in my setup, from my laptop all the way down to my microphone. And if all else fails, I keep the entire playlist on my iPhone cued and ready to fill in the gap while I figure out what to do next.

Thankfully, I made it through this gig without needing any of the backup gear, and everyone had a great time.

Here’s the complete dance playlist:

1. Chris Brown – Forever
2. Beyonce – End of Time
3. Michael Jackson – Don’t Stop til You Get Enough
4. Michael Jackson – Off The Wall
5. Bruno Mars – Treasure
6. Michael Jackson – Rock with You
7. Daft Punk ft Pharrrell – Get Lucky
8. Lionel Richie – All Night Long
9. Janet Jackson – All for You
10. Beverly Trottman
11. Ciara ft Missy Elliott – 1,2
12. Cupid – Cupid Shuffle
13. Dlow – Dlow shuffle
14. Lecrae – Spazz
15. Social Club – Bang
16. Flame – Break the Building
17. Flame – All In
18. KB – 100
19. Lecrae – Hallelujah
20. Tedashii ft Trip Lee – Notihing I Can’t Do
21. Andy Mineo – You Can’t Stop Me
22. The Saturdays – What About Us
23. One Republic – Counting Stars
24. Bruno Mars – Just the Way You Are
25. Maze ft Frankie Beverly – Before I Let Go
26. Justin Timberlake – Suit & Tie
27. Amerie – One Thing
28. Lecrae – I’m Turnt
29. Doug E Fresh – The Show
30. Kriss Kross – Jump
31. Lil John – Turn Down For What
32. Lecrae – Walking On Water
33. Cali Swag District – Dougie
34. Rhema Soul – Steez
35. Beyonce – Love on Top
36. R Kelly – Step in the Name of Love
37. Outkast – Hey Ya
38. Young Chozen – Beat of Your Heart
39. Demi Lavato – Neon Lights
40. 43 – Michael Jackson – PYT
41. Rihanna – We Found Love
42. Pit Bull – I’m All Yours
43. Cha Cha Slide
44. Usher – Without You
45. Usher – OMG
46. One Direction – What Makes You Beautiful
47. Chris Searcy – Take Me Away
48. Rhema Soul – Party Sleep Repeat
49. K Drama – Air Jordan

#MikeBrown Vigil at Howard

I filmed the entire vigil Howard students held for Mike Brown. I broke it down into eleven parts for easy viewing.

Here’s what I said in the intro video:

By the time I heard about the vigil for Mike Brown happening on the Yard I was already angry. I was already terrified, and confounded by what keeps happening to black men in this country. But being there to record it for you all was cathartic, and it gave me motivation for what I’ll do next. Rather than cut it down and polish it all up, I uploaded the whole vigil, so hopefully you can experience it the way I did. I hope that you also will be able to move from relief to resolve, to make sure these vigils will not have to happen again.

Running Crazy for Kickball with my Glidecam

I got some practice running with my Glidecam HD2000 stabilizer and Panasonic GH4 camera at a cookout & kickball game my friends do every year. I captured the video directly to an Atomos Ninja 2 hard drive recorder so I could record without stopping, and it helped add the extra weight to balance my glidecam. I also attached my iPhone with a fisheye lens to the bottom of the glidecam for an interesting low angle. This is the best of the action and the most stable footage after two games. In other words, I need more practice, hahaha.

Three Lessons from Three Years

DCM-Three-yrs-FEAT
June 16 marks three years since I started my LLC, Dual Caliber Media. A lot has definitely been learned over that time. If the company name isn’t familiar to you, that’s partially by design. I realized over the past year that I needed to reapproach my marketing as a professional artist. Here are the three reasons why:

1. “We” is old-fashioned, and sometimes a lie.

Having a company with a name and a logo was the cool thing to do for me and a lot of my peers when we were in school, but at some point I started to look around and realize most of the great directors and creators that I admire weren’t known for their companies (and some have huge companies). People were familiar with them as individuals, and followed that name as a brand. In this new era of social media being at the center of every marketing endeavor, dropping the “we” presentation for professional services gives me permission to be a unique personality, rather than the rep for a faceless corporate collective. While I do assemble a team on occasion, the vast majority of the time I’m representing me, so no need for the facade.

2. I’m not “all business.”

I originally registered an LLC because I was getting requests for freelance services that I couldn’t accomodate as a sole proprietor. That didn’t mean that I would only work or create under my company name. I continue to have tons of great experiences as a professional and as an artist outside of Dual Caliber Media, and I want to maintain the flexibility to share that stuff with you all without having to carefully label everything as freelance/consultant/employee/just for fun. I just want to say hey, check this out!

3. DeAndré Anton Vidale is doing pretty good.

I’ve been fortunate to have my community come to associate my name with great work and a great work ethic, so I know I have the potential to continue to present myself as just an individual. The LLC will keep doing what it’s supposed to do–represent me legally–but for now that will be it.

With that, there is a slight transition happening with the name I put forward. For those who know me by my first name, DeAndré, I will eventually be transferring all of that “brand recognition” to my middle name, Anton. Why? It’s easier to pronounce, remember, spell, google… essentially it’s just better for marketing. So, look out for the name Anton Vidale on some great work coming out in year four.

The 48Hr Film Project!

I jumped onto a 48hr film team at the last second last month. The opportunity to crank out a film in one weekend and have fun with some like-minded people was hard to resist. We drew from a lottery and the festival gave us our rules: we had to incorporate an event planner, someone named Samantha Canterbury, an envelope, the phrase “trust me,” and the story needed to be presented as a dark comedy. Everyone on my team had a background in improv (I took a class once), so this was bound to be a good time. The writers brainstormed and scripted until they could do no more Friday night. Saturday we had a team huddle over lunch, went on a quick shopping scavenger hunt for all our props, and then got to shooting!

I ended up playing multiple roles in front and behind the camera. Behind the camera I assisted with audio and edited half of the final film. I opted to have fun and just go with the flow, rather than be the”oh so serious” filmmaker I have to be on every other project. It’s the weekend. This was about fun!

48hr-filmscreenWe didn’t quite finish in time for the 48hr deadline (rendering… rendering… rendering), but we were all still excited about the idea of doing it again someday, so I call that a success. And we still made the big screen! All the films submitted were shown at the AFI theater in Silver Spring. It was really cool seeing all those films that were written, shot and edited over the weekend. You could definitely tell which teams were veterans at this format. They were producing TV-ready shorts in unbelievable circumstances. My favorite was a musical about peanut butter and jelly.

The whole experience really inspired me to consider all the possibilities of what can be done with 48 hours and the right group of people. If you’re looking for something fun to do and the festival falls on a pretty flexible weekend for you, I would definitely recommend it!

Maya Angelou

I didn’t expect the news to affect me so much, but I feel like I’ve been down ever since I read the unthinkable.

On my way to my desk this morning at work, I saw one of my coworkers reading something with nothing more than her name at the top. I immediately felt this heavy, ominous feeling. I logged on, and Twitter repeated her name over and over again. I was so lost for words.

The day before, I was walking to the metro, working through another disappointment in another relationship that I was struggling to maintain, and the words “if someone shows you who they really are, believe them,” came to me, and comforted me. And when I said them, I felt like it was her saying them to me. I felt so alone, and it was like she was saying that’s okay.

And I feel like she’s been one of those people who’ve been saying that to me ever since I was introduced to her. I don’t claim to read a lot of her work, or know much about her, but her legacy gave me permission to be deep. To be introspective and to be different, and not to keep things light just because it would make people uncomfortable. And ultimately she made me feel okay to feel lonely sometimes–a lot of times–because being a deep thinker, a deep feeler, when it’s not popular, often means standing alone.

For some time now I’ve struggled with myself, back and forth, afraid to be real and true to myself at the risk of being alone in a crowd. It weighs on me so heavily when I get a sense of the desperation in some people’s eyes. In their voices. They don’t think anyone knows, or can see it. But I’m afraid to tell them that I see them, because then they’ll see me seeing all their vulnerability, and that might freak them out. I don’t want to be alone. No one wants to be alone and disconnected from everyone around them.

But nonetheless, Maya Angelou was one of those people who I didn’t even know, but connected with so much. And she died today. She’s a hero in my heart. She’s a hero for the heart. I hope she lives on forever in our memories. Amen.

Recap: The Webby Awards

The-Thwaites-web-2Going to the Webbys meant packing a whole lot of amazing into 24 hours. I got to reconnect with some of my old C.A.F.E. family, the steel pan aficionado Sherwin Thwaites and his now wife and big time agency art director Erica Thwaites. They both travel the world doing what they love. Sherwin travels throughout the Muslim world with the Hip Hop group Native Deen, and also teaches music classes in Brooklyn and the Bronx using the steel drum. Erica makes Publicis look good with her eye for graphic design, fashion, and video. It’s so great to see people you grew up with living out their passions.

Webby-stage-post-2The Webbys were full of creative, accomplished people. George Takei won for his YouTube show on the latest in technology. Taylor Shilling won a special achievement for best actress for her role in the Netflix series, Orange is the New Black, and De La Soul was awarded artist of the year for posting their entire catalogue online for free for one day.

At my own table I talked with Daphne Avalon, Jimmy Kimmel’s stuntwoman in the viral video “Worst Twerk Fail Ever: Girl Catches Fire,” and her guest Lexi Aiassa, an up and coming startup maven, as well as some of the advertising team from Mullen, the people responsible for listing Walter White’s house online with Century 21.

5-Word-Speech-poster-postAll the winners had to give a speech in 5 words. In classic R&E fashion, I decided to have some fun highlighting the religious angle common in awards speeches. I said “I’d like to first thank…” and held up a poster of a bunch of religious and cultural icons like I was trying to decide who to pick. The funniest thing to me was the video they showed of me geeking right before my speech! When it was my turn to be recorded, they handed me the award and I looked over at my coworker and made that face. Pure geekery.

Questlove-at-the-after-party-postAnd then there was the after party. Highline Ballroom, Questlove on the 1s and 2s, meeting more Webby winners… Questlove on the 1s and 2s! Incredible night!

Overall, it was a really fun, inspiring experience, and it definitely motivated me to figure out how to make sure I get to go again. If you haven’t already, check out the Webbys site for all of this year’s winners, including the website I manage for Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly. There are some amazing things happening on the web!

Behind the Scenes: The Webbys Campaign

RE-FB-fan-pageGetting nominated for a Webby for the Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly website was huge all by itself, but I really got into it when we started campaigning for the People’s Voice Award.

Facebook

We went straight to our Facebook fan base to get the word out that we needed their votes. Our posts average over 100 shares and likes each, so this was a perfect opportunity to rally our viewers behind the show. The first post we made about the awards… 3 likes… and no shares. It almost immediately clicked: even with an existing fan base, content marketing was going to be more effective than direct solicitations.

RE-FB-age-statsOn top of that, we also attract a very unique demographic on Facebook: the 40 and up crowd. Their generation as a whole is just beginning to really embrace the internet, largely because of Facebook. Voting on the Webby Awards site was difficult all by itself, so asking this particular group to vote was like asking someone that just learned to speak Spanish to compete on a spanish game show.

Keeping our audience and the marketing strategy in mind, I decided to just add a short sentence at the end of our usual content with a link asking people to vote if they like our show.  Instead of going directly to the Webby’s voting page, this link pointed people to a page we made on how to vote, with a step-by-step video, and a graphic tutorial in case you couldn’t watch the video. And it worked! Our content was getting its usual number of shares and our link travelled right along with it.

Personal Campaigning

instagram-post1 I also decided to get a different set of fans involved: my own friends, family, and some of the young adults I’ve had the opportunity to mentor. I presented my campaign like an Oscar run, because while some of my fellow nerds would know about the Webbys, everyone knows about the Oscars. I recorded my personal appeal for everyone to vote and emailed every name I recognized in my Google contacts (I think everyone I met in the past four years got a text message about this too, lol). That was pretty painful to manage, so I set up a MailChimp account for the rest of the campaign. I know the online voting type would be in my Facebook and Instagram circles too, so I took freeze frames from my video and made some social media campaign posters.

What I didn’t count on with MailChimp was the excitement of actually getting to see what was happening after I sent an email, and then watching the views on my video, and then watching our votes take off! I could actually see who opened messages, who clicked on links… and MailChimp was showing me that I was actually getting higher than average responses to my emails than other users in my category.

Memes

Get-the-story-meme-1-finalI also noticed that the Webbys have a Tumblr site, and that they were showcasing their favorite People’s Voice campaigns on their blog. I’m thinking this is a big opportunity for publicity. Taking a note from a nominee’s campaign that they had promoted, I knew I needed to come up with something that would be consistent with R&E’s brand, and also make a clever nod to our Webby nomination. We started brainstorming about what would make for great integrated marketing for our webby nomination. We threw some ideas around and ultimately decided on creating some memes to post on Twitter. I also posted them on my personal instagram. With two days left for voting, one of the memes actually got retweeted by The Webby Awards twitter account!

Surprise!

In the end, we didn’t get enough votes to overtake the leader, but being able to see that I have such an actively supportive community behind me was worth everything. And bonus…our website was chosen by the judges for the academy’s official award, and I get to go to New York and accept it!

So, stay tuned for part 2! Can’t wait to share this experience with you!

From a Small County Outside Washington DC

Kevin Durant gave a real heartfelt speech when he was awarded 2014 MVP of the NBA. His many credits to others brought a meditation that’s been circling my thoughts for a while to the surface: wherever I go, whatever platform I find myself on, I am not my own. I owe it to the people who have shaped me to represent them well.

I’m God’s.
I’m a son.
I’m a brother.
I’m a friend.
I’m black.
I’m from PG County!