Cirina Catania, the host of OWC RADiO, talks with Jem Schofield – producer, DP, educator and the founder of theC47 (a full-service production company that focuses on video production, filmmaking, consulting & education).

Jem now spends most of his time producing content, educating others and otherwise being borderline obsessed with cameras, production, and the craft of lighting.

For over 20 years Jem has produced projects and provided training for an ever-expanding client base. Current and past clients include AbelCine, Apple, Inc., ARRI, Canon, Corus Entertainment, LinkedIn Learning, MAC Group, MZED, NBCUniversal, NPR, PBS, Riverbed Technologies, Scottish Enterprise, Sony, TED, The Vitec Group, Walmart Films, Westcott, YouTube & Zeiss.

Jem is also an equipment design consultant to many manufacturers in the film and television industry. He designed theC47 DP Kit & the C47 Book Light Kit (geared towards corporate, in-house and small to no crew productions), which is based on FJ Westcott’s Scrim Jim Cine system. His in-depth courses “Cinematic Video Lighting”, “Advanced Cinematic Video Lighting” and “Corporate Event Video: Producing Company Meetings and Presentations”, are currently available on the LinkedIn Learning platform.

For more information about Jem & his whereabouts visit his YouTube Channel at www.youtube.com/thec47 where he posts ongoing educational content focused on the tech & craft of video production and filmmaking related to Small to No Crew production.

Visit Jem’s Website: www.thec47.com

Write to us at OWCRADiO@catania.us or comment below.

For more information about our amazing sponsor, Other World Computing, go to MacSales.com or OWCDigital.com, where you’ll find hardware and software solutions and tutorial videos that will get you up and running in no time.

For more about our host, filmmaker, tech maven and co-founder of the Sundance Film Festival, Cirina Catania, visit cirinacatania.com.

If you enjoy our podcast, please subscribe and tell all your friends about us! We love our listeners. And, if you have ideas for segments, write to OWCRadio@catania.us. Cirina is always up for new ideas!


In This Episode

  • 00:28 – Cirina introduces Jem Schofield, a producer, director, DP, product designer, and educator.
  • 05:18 – Jem shares his journey in transitioning theC47 to an educational brand.
  • 09:20 – Jem shares some of his experiences with people reaching out to him sharing stories on how his educational video made an impact on their lives.
  • 15:22 – How the production industry is a growth industry with numerous opportunities despite the crisis happening in the world right now. 
  • 19:55 – Jem and Cirina share their stressful yet unforgettable moments while working with their crews on set. 
  • 26:10 – The type of classes and training offered by Jem on theC47.
  • 31:03 – Jem shares his goal of creating a course in video communication for university and high school students.
  • 34:27 – Jem provides some tips on how to be more comfortable on camera.
  • 42:03 – Jem and his community are working together in creating an effective online conference environment for people to learn and hone their skills.
  • 49:26 – Check out Jem Schofield’s YouTube channel, theC47, and visit his website theC47.com to learn more about video production, filmmaking, and a lot more.

Jump to Links and Resources


Transcript

Jim Schofield is on the line with me. He’s an amazing DP, producer, filmmaker, and educator, and I’ve known him for- I’m not going to tell you how many years I’ve known Jim. How many years? No, we’re not going to tell them how many years we’ve known each other. Welcome!

All right. Thank you, Cirina. It’s good to be here with you even in these strange and uncertain times.

I know it’s a little bit crazy. So I’m at my house, I’m in the corner of my living room, and I actually had to take some pictures off the wall in order to do this. Next time we’ll have the backdrop. You’re at home as well. You’ve got your whole family there, right? 

Yep, I do.

So I won’t keep you too long because I know that when we have family around, it’s hard to keep them quiet.

No, let’s chat for a while. The worst that will happen is you’ll hear a dog walking upstairs, or somebody’s yelling. I’m hoping it’s not gonna happen. Everybody, except for the dog, understands that we’re doing this. So let’s have a conversation. And I don’t have to leave in five minutes, so I’d love to chat with you.

Thank you for doing this during these weird times. I just really wanted to share you with the people who watch and listen to OWC Radio because you’re doing such amazing things. And you’re a really good educator, but I think a lot of people may not realize that you still have a very active production company, and you’re hired to do a lot of corporate videos and a lot of productions. And education stuff is kind of an outcropping of everything that you’ve learned over the years, right? So tell us about your company and what it does.

That’s true. The word active is in quotes right now, because we’re all dealing with what’s going on. The whole industry has sort of shut down. But that’s true. I really started in production, and it was the education that came after that. Even to this day, the majority of what I do as a company is production-related services, post-production, complete sort of pre-production through post solutions for clients. And while I’m not producing episodic television, I’m not doing feature films. I am in a space that many people are in, creating content for the corporate world. And corporate doesn’t mean conservative all the time. It doesn’t mean boring. There can be really exciting projects out there that you’re producing for the corporate industry. Because it’s so diverse and I in particular, at least for the last seven/eight years, have been creating the majority of my content for people within our industry- in video production, filmmaking, the manufacturers- but I’m still doing a lot of work outside of that for technology companies and other companies in the industry. So I consider myself somebody who is very much an educator, but that came out of having this experience in production, being a producer, being a director, not narrative or episodic but corporate and documentary-style types of projects. And I was a teacher when I was younger. 

Corporate doesn't mean conservative or boring all the time. There are really exciting projects that can be produced for the corporate industry. Click To Tweet

I actually taught ESL when I was in high school, and I caught this bug of teaching for a summer. And then about a decade later, which is a long time ago, a friend of mine was actually opening up an Apple authorized training center. I was already using a lot of Apple’s solutions, especially for DVD authoring, eventually motion graphics, nonlinear editing. And I said, “could I maybe teach at your training center?” and then I got into Apple’s whole program, and I became a certified trainer, and I started teaching quite a bit. And it was really post-production that I taught for many, many years. So when I started teaching a long time ago, it was really post. I was teaching DVD Studio Pro, Motion, Final Cut Pro, Soundtrack Pro – all of those things. I started working on the Peachpit Press books and working with that whole team from Apple and Peachpit.

That seems so long ago, doesn’t it?

It was so long ago, and we’re all still here.

It’s like a different generation.

I was really the black sheep because everybody was teaching Final Cut Pro. And I was one of the only DVD Studio Pro certified trainers in the country. So I remember when I got certified, I called up all of these training centers from- I was on the East Coast at the time- Maine to Miami and I said I’m a certified trainer, and everybody was sort of like, “okay.” And then all of these government, nonprofits, military- all of these different segments of the markets out there- all wanted to create DVDs of the content they were creating. And all of a sudden, I found myself traveling up and down the eastern seaboard constantly teaching DVD Studio Pro, which was crazy. And the thing that a lot of people who were in that world didn’t understand was what I was really doing for my day job was production. I was actually producing corporate videos. I was doing production work. 

So when everything crashed in 2008, that whole thing happened, I had really been getting tired of teaching post-production. It wasn’t really where my heart was, production was always where it was. And I took the opportunity to start TheC47 as an educational brand, but I was still doing production work. And I also took the opportunity because I had relationships with Future Media Concepts and all these people to transition my education from post-production to production-based training. So that’s kind of when that all happened 12 years ago. I’d still say about 15-20% of what I do is as an educator, but all of the stuff that most people see me do- all the Canon videos things for Zeiss, all these companies- I am very much in front of the camera a lot of times because I can teach those things, but I’m producing those projects for them. So it’s a regular production, hiring the crews securing locations, pulling permits, all that kind of stuff. And production is really where my love is, in terms of what I do. And then my second love is education. So being able to combine those two a lot of the time is really the best of both worlds for me. So it’s great. And you’re an educator as well, which is great.

Well, you are at a whole different level than I am. You know what I have trouble with as an educator? It’s really hard to do what my daughter calls the step system, the ladders. It’s hard because sometimes, when you’ve done something for so many years, you take it for granted. And I don’t know really where to start with it because I think, oh surely people already know that. And sometimes they do, sometimes they don’t. But I mean, you have kept your enthusiasm all these years. What keeps it fresh for you?

That’s a good question. 

I know that there’s always new gear coming out, right?

That’s for sure I mean, I do love gear, and I love to problem solve. I think what keeps me enthusiastic about everything, Cirina, is that I really love to teach. And it didn’t take me long to figure out that I really loved teaching. But the satisfaction is the same that you get as an educator, which is either in the class or as a response to something that you’ve done to teach somebody something, you find out that they can actually do it. So there’s a practical application to it. But for a small percentage of people that you hear from, it’s actually made a big impact. I remember the first time I realized this happened because I was doing these daily videos on my website, never on YouTube in the beginning, and I had somebody who was following the videos. It was actually a team that was working together, and they finally created a feature-length documentary film called Indie Game, which was a great movie. 

And they reached out to me when I was living on the east coast. And they invited me to the premiere in New York to a screening of their film and said that what I had done on the website- they had never been in the workshop and stuff- had a huge impact and actually was a big deal. And that was fantastic, and anytime people reach out to me from my classes, workshops, or from the content I create on the YouTube channel, if they’re learning things, like you have video games and that power up thing, that’s the thing that I really love about it. It’s that people are getting something out of it and they’re able to tell stories, to create something that’s better production value. And the other thing that keeps me excited is that I’ve only scratched the surface of what I actually know. The best thing about being an educator is that I can never stop learning in this industry. And the beautiful thing is that we have these amazing resources available to us now. 

The best thing about being an educator in the post-production industry is that you can never stop learning. And what’s more amazing is that we have all these resources available to us now. Click To Tweet

I always say that the World Wide Web is like Alexandria on steroids, right? You have to know how to sift through all the noise and figure out a lot of stuff, but you wake up at two o’clock in the morning, and you have a question about something, you can actually find an answer, which is amazing. I just love learning. And then it’s so satisfying to be able to learn something and then be able to teach it to other people. The trick is being able to edit yourself like you said, Cirina, which is that you think everybody knows about it, but they may not be ready to learn that particular thing. Everybody has their own journey and their own way that they’re learning. And that’s always the tough thing as an educator is finding that balance.

How did you get started in all of this on the production side?

It goes way back because when I was a kid, my father was in the music industry. And he decided in his midlife to change and become a professional photographer. So it had been a hobby. He became more of an amateur, and then he started to get pretty serious about it. And we went from somebody who would go on the road as a road manager in the music industry to having an enlarger. And when we were done having dinner, and the sun went down, we had trays and chemicals and things sitting on our wood table in the kitchen in our apartment in Manhattan. And so I got into photography, then I got a Pentax K1000, the used one my dad gave me, and I was really interested in it, but I lost interest at a certain point. And then there was always that seed, a little bit of video in high school, then I left. 

I always knew I wanted to do a combination of business and the arts. When I started my own company, pretty quickly I started getting into creating content, oddly enough for people in the music industry, and video came into that pretty quickly as well. So that’s when I started to get into production. I realized very early on that I did not really understand production. I also knew that if I ever wanted to be even a half-decent producer, that I would need to learn something about that. Because in the corporate world, you’re the producer and the director very oftentimes, so it’s this combination. So I started to learn production, and that was like the late 90s. I started getting into that side of things. And then it’s just been a journey ever since. So I didn’t go through the film school route. 

I never know what to tell the students. They always say, “well, do you think I should go to film school?” And I basically tell them, “yeah, if you can afford it, and that’s what you want to do.” It’s great. You’ll make a lot of friends that you will take with you into the world, but I wouldn’t worry about it. Just go intern, volunteer, be a PA, learn everything you can learn. I’ve done everything from loading wood and pickup trucks to budgeting to scheduling to everything in between. And I think it really helps. So, like your production background and all the years you spent in production really has helped you.

I mean the production is the majority of it, but the education, I can’t imagine my life without that part of it as well. But I agree with you 1,000,000% when people ask me, “should I go to film school?”, as somebody who hasn’t gone to film school and probably looking back at the 16 or 17-year-old me, and if I had really known and I could have gotten in, it probably would have been a great experience. But I feel the same way. I look at people who have gone to film school and let’s be honest, if you look at how many film schools there are in this country and the world, almost nobody can get into a practical film program. It doesn’t really exist except for a very, very small percentage of people. And so the vast majority of people who get into production have not gone to film school, the vast majority of people who are on a set did not go to film school. 

Everybody has their own journey and way of learning. As educators, it’s our duty to find balance in teaching what we know and understanding how our students perceive so we can teach them better.

Yes, there is a benefit to people who can create those lifelong relationships, and you see in interviews and things that people who have gone to film school are still very oftentimes working with the people that they met and started collaborating with at that time. But then there’s the rest of us and there’s more opportunity out there, despite what’s going on at this immediate time. There’s more opportunity to become a content creator to become a storyteller than there ever has been in history. This is despite what’s going on, which we will get through this. This is absolutely a growth industry. It may change in terms of its shape and the way we deliver content. It already has in the last five to ten years in huge ways. And the movie theater may not necessarily go away, but it may morph into something very different than even maybe we are experiencing today. We’re content creators, we’re storytellers, and we are never going to have fewer screens in the world. And people have to create that content that’s on those screens. I think it’s a good time despite what we’re dealing with in this industry.

I agree. I’m finding that we are all reconnecting with people we haven’t seen in ages. We’re spending more time with others. If you’re home with your family, you’re having dinner with your family. How many times have we worked through dinner and worked well into the night? I’m reconnecting with people I haven’t talked to in years from all over the world. I love that. And I think we are finding, as a country, that we are part of the global initiative, right? We are part of a huge world. And I think in the past, Americans have had a tendency to think of themselves as we’re kind of in isolation in a way we think about ourselves. And in the last few years, we’ve become more globalists, but this is really pushing us out into the world and connecting us with people that we don’t even know in countries everywhere. And I don’t want to get into the politics of it but I tell you, there’s some positive aspects to this too. I’m gardening, I’m cooking, I’m spending time recording wonderful people that I might not have had time to do before.

We’re reconnecting because of this. Absolutely.

I think the last time I saw you, weren’t we sitting on the floor outside of some suite of NAB, and I think I was interviewing you for the Digital Production BuZZ? I think that’s the last time and that was probably ten years ago maybe?

It was a long time ago.

Oh my gosh. But you know I got you off track. You were talking about how you got into photography, and you quickly became bored, and then you wanted to move into something else. What was it about video that kind of reeled you in?

I think I love the collaborative side of it. I still love photography now that has been rekindled, but it’s not a job. It’s like cooking for me and gardening for you or for some people or photography for you.

I don’t go anywhere without my cameras. I don’t even go to the grocery store without my camera.

But I don’t want to take photographs for work. I just want to take photographs because I enjoy it. It’s like cooking is an escape for me, that’s when I forget about everything. And even though I do what I love for a living, I still get to do something different every single day. What I loved about video production is collaboration. There are two things that I love about what we do for a living. Number one is collaboration, and number two, which is the thing that I love more than anything else, is problem solving. 

If you’re prepared for production, you’ve done your homework, and you’re ready for what you’re getting yourself into, you’re always gonna have problems show up, right? The worst combination is you’re not prepared, and then you go in and then you can’t really handle the problems that come up on set or on location. But when you prepare for a project, and when you get there, it’s like a puzzle, right? It’s like, okay, so this is a problem, and then do you run into the bag and get that little adapter. Or you cheat a picture with some gaff tape, or what is it that’s going on because you were supposed to get that shot off three hours ago and now the sun has moved and it’s completely different. And you’re sending somebody off to go get a roll of a Vendi, whatever it’s going to be. Those are stressful but I get so much creative satisfaction out of saying, we solved that problem and we got through today. And there’s nothing better at the end of the day sitting down with your crew, and just talking out the day. I love it. That’s so fun. Have a good meal, talk out all the things that happened. And even when things go really wrong, we have an innate ability if we’ve been doing it for a while to somehow make it right, we can solve the problem. So I think I love that probably more than anything else.

Think back and see if you can think of a moment that’s one of those memories that you’re gonna carry with you for a while. Can you think of something that resonates? I mean, you just made me think about when we were working on Flipper. I don’t know what made me think of it. We’re in the Bahamas on Flipper, and it’s hurricane season. Tony asked me why Universal just canceled the film in the Bahamas. We literally had a hurricane come through. So for a few days, I was in the condo that I was renting with the windows boarded up and walked out in the bathtub with chlorine in it with a little bit of bleach in it, in case we didn’t have water. We talked about the mosquitoes being as big as TheC47.

So funny. 

The road was so thick that we couldn’t drive our production vehicles to the set. We had to get almost the equivalent of I don’t know what they are. They’re these big, all-terrain vehicles with those monstrous tires. We would ferry the crew a few at a time on to the location through the jungle. That’s crazy.

So you got through your days, you made it. 

We got through it. Actually, my assistant and I, and I wish I could find this; we kept a list of everything that went wrong. It just got bigger and bigger and bigger and bigger. But at the end of it, you feel like you’ve been through the war together and got close. Everybody becomes friends because you’ve lived through it.

I’ve had different but similar situations. And I think that all comes back to the collaboration and the community part of it. We did a crazy production last summer with a small group of people and those days were really long, and they were really hard. At the end of the day, we got what we needed, and we created the content we were supposed to create in the end. What made it hard was I can’t talk about that, but we made it through. I think the crew is always still friends, right? So what you have to get through are the hurdles of production when it comes to insurmountable things. That there’s a certain amount of time that you have, and you know that you have to get a certain product. 

One time I had to create an educational course, and we were there for four or five days, and I wasn’t on camera. This is just me behind the camera, producer, director, creating an entire educational series. And I realized that when we got to day three, we weren’t going to get the content that we needed for this course. Because the person that was on camera, the educator, was more interested in doing what they do for a living than actually being on board with creating the educational content. They were incredibly enthusiastic about it, and it was sort of infectious in terms of what they did and how well they did it, but I wasn’t going to get a course. And so I had to negotiate with the person and basically acknowledge that what they wanted to do was just create that content. 

There are more opportunities today in becoming content creators and storytellers than ever.

And then, once I negotiated with them and said, “if we can get this done in X amount of time, then we’ll leave, and you can just do what you do.” It was like a switch, and we went out there. I can’t tell you how fast that content got created. It got created really quickly once they were completely on board. That was the problem that we had to solve in that particular production. But some of those people, one in particular, are somebody that I’m still doing production with all the time. I hire them as a DP on a lot of the projects I do because I’m not always DPing. And that’s the best part of what we were doing. 

You and I were talking about it about a week ago, most of the people that you know are not from your history in terms of feature films and stuff, but are people who are in our circles. Having to do with what we’ve been doing for the last 20 years are people that we both know, and we’re all still doing this because we like doing it. We get a lot of satisfaction doing it, and we’re helping the next generation of content creators or even people who have been in it for a long time. So it’s great. I love that.

I want people to get to know you because you have an incredible service that you provide. For people who haven’t followed you on C47, what are some of the recent classes that you’ve been doing?

So a lot of what I do in the workshop environment now are full-day workshops. I’ve done a lot of content around small to no crew production because that’s kind of my wheelhouse. I’m not on feature film sets with crews of 200 to 300 people. It’s usually 2 to 12 people on the productions that I work on. And that’s pretty typical right now. If you look at in house production, if you look at a lot of the corporate stuff that’s being created, those are very small to no crews. Obviously, there’s a small percentage of narrative that’s also a very small crew. But that probably creeps into double digits and a little bit higher, especially when you add talent into that mix. But a lot of the things I’ve been doing are things that relate to small to no crew production. 

So NAB, unfortunately, it’s not going to happen this year, but we were gonna do a two-day small to no crew production workshop. And we do those off-site, they’re not at the training center. But last year, I did two one-day workshops, I did one on lighting specifically, and then the second one was all-around small to no crew. So we do a little bit of audio, we do camera, a little bit of gripping, gaffing. In my industry, in terms of corporate stuff, it’s very much going to be a producer-director. You’re going to hopefully have a DP who’s also going to be a camera operator. If you have the budget and you can convince a client, absolutely hire a sound recordist and the other people going to be on the crew. 

If I’m lucky, I’m going to get a swing, who’s going to swing between the grip and electric department. So I’m going to basically have somebody who has enough information to be an asset in both of those departments. It can be a trained electrician from a gaffer standpoint where they can go into a house and tie in. But fortunately, they don’t necessarily need to tie in anymore because lighting technology has changed a lot. What we can plug into a 10 amp circuit is very different from what we were dealing with before. A 1K quartz halogen light was a 1K light. You plug one of them in, there’s your 10 amp circuit. Now we can go in, and we can plug in these LED fixtures that have much lower power draw compared to their output. And sure the quality of light, we can have that discussion in another conversation, but it has advanced a lot. And it does allow us to do things right now with smaller crews that were much harder to do without more people in the past.

I’ve got lights out the garage I haven’t used in years, and I think about should I sell them? 

I love my […], and I still love some of my old low lights. Not the Tota, the original Tota that’s a fire hazard, everybody knows it. I still love the Omni light that was always a favorite of mine. You know, the quality of light is beautiful because it’s a quartz halogen, it’s real tungsten light, full-color spectrum, cameras love it, and it looks really good. But there are disadvantages of hot lights too, which is how long they take to cool down, how uncomfortable they are for talent, especially in smaller spaces, and all of that has really changed a lot. So when I teach, I try to focus on small to no crew production. I also try to create content and educational content relevant to the tools that we’re using now. I am actually- for the first time, even though I’ve created a lot of courses for other platforms- finally starting to create my own course platform for theC47. And that’s going to be varied content. It might be very specific to a camera, but it will also be broader in the sense that I can do individual videos on a particular style of lighting, or maybe how people set up for video communication skills. I think you and I started to talk about this on the phone.

Tell everybody about some of the ones that you’ve got planned for the very near future. I think communication skills are very important.

I think we kind of have two buckets of content creators that are starting to develop. There’s us, and that’s a pretty big community, but really it’s a small community. It’s the people who have a very strong interest in video production, filmmaking, and storytelling, and they want to continue to get better at their tech and craft of what they’re doing. They’re lifers. They want to go into this with the idea that the skills that they’re learning are going to basically translate into better stories, but also better production value and all of those things. That’s one segment of the market. The other segment of the market, which is a really interesting one, is all of these people who have absolutely no interest in becoming video production professionals. They don’t want to become filmmakers. They don’t necessarily want to be storytellers, but they have to communicate effectively using video. I’ve really been thinking about this a lot because I talked to some universities and high schools years ago about creating a video communication course or curriculum. 

And I think that now more than ever, what’s happening with COVID-19 and everything else is people who learned writing skills in school and public speaking skills, now really need to learn video communication skills. That is something. But they don’t know. Sure, they can turn on their smartphone or tablet; they can record video, but what is going to separate them from being an effective communicator using video from somebody else? Whether that’s a job interview or just creating a testimonial video for their company, or it’s effectively using Skype, Zoom, or whatever your platform is going to be, how do you stand out? How do you create some sort of professionalism by doing that? And that’s really what I call video communication skills. Again, it’s not learning a craft, it’s skills that allow you to do it and get a professional result by having enough understanding of things. Sure, a small percentage of those people who learn it may move into the other side of things and may want to move towards becoming video professionals, filmmakers, or storytellers. But I think there’s a huge market for teaching video communication skills, and I think my course platform and my educational platform will address both of them. And I’ll make sure that there’s a clear separation between them. So that’s a long runway, but this is definitely the time to start really putting all of that together and put it into place.

The best type of content out there right now is anything that educates others. Many people nowadays can easily learn a skill online. Click To Tweet

When you have a corporate executive or a client and they have to be on camera, and they’re feeling really nervous about it and uncomfortable, obviously, because it’s not their bailiwick, right? What do you tell them to get them to be more comfortable? How do you get them over that hump?

That’s a great question. I try to approach it very similarly to conducting interviews, which is because when you’re conducting interviews, they’re on camera. So whether it’s them talking to camera or off-camera, it’s getting them to be comfortable in a conversational way. Because we don’t want to receive communication anymore, that’s just marketing messages. I think the best type of content that’s being created right now is selling through education and I don’t mean creating an educational video the way I do a lot of the time. I just mean that you’re educating your customer, whoever that is, who’s your target audience. And if I can get the people who are on camera to communicate in a conversational way, I think that we, as the consumer, business to business, and business to consumer, respond much more effectively. We’re much more likely to respond to that call to action if it’s conversational and educational in tone. 

And I was absolutely horrible, I mean I’m not great now, but I was absolutely horrific on camera when I first started. The first time I did it, it was just a train wreck. I remember that I actually had a physical reaction to being on camera even though I had been behind the camera a lot. I actually started to fall asleep. It was the weirdest thing. It was almost too overwhelming for me and my body started to shut down. And then I went out to do some training videos for Apple. And they had a director who’s still around, he’s a great guy, his name is Chris Fenwick. He works at Slice. Chris has been around forever. He’s amazing. So I shouldn’t even give him this credit because you know, he’s sneaking himself onto all of the live streams now and everything else, so I’m just saying, I’m just teasing.

He’s just out there and irreverent, and he is who he is. 

I was doing these training videos for Apple, which still exists somewhere, and I’m still horrific in them. But I was a lot better, and Chris really directed me. He really helped me understand that there was an audience there. And I had already been teaching for a long time, producing content for a long time, but it was that moment for me where I really started to understand that. It started to allow me to be a little more relaxed and be more conversational and more myself. Like you said, Chris is very irreverent, but he’s also always himself. And it was a big moment for me. I needed to learn a lot more after that had happened and then sort of digest that and take it in. But it was a great learning moment for me for being somebody who was on camera. It was an amazing learning moment for me as a director because it allowed me to be so much more effective with the people I was dealing with when I was creating content, especially those who were not comfortable being on camera. I think a lot of people who were in the narrative world like them also have these moments where they go and take an acting class. And you have a director who’s working with actors all the time, but they don’t really understand what that craft is. And then they go and take acting classes, and then they understand their empathy, their ability to work with actors completely changes. And I think that was kind of the same thing for me, but obviously, not in the same exact space in terms of creating content.

So now that we’re in quarantine and isolation, we’re in our homes. How are you passing most of your time? What are you doing?

I’m trying to keep my morale high and be very productive. It’s not hard to pass the time when you have five people in the house. So that part of it is the challenge of juggling everybody. But first thing I really did was I have a barn here where I do some production but that’s still not a finished studio space. So it’s not a space I can go to all the time. So I took our music room, and I’ve now semi transformed this into an office/home studio. There are sound blankets up now and I have a camera up and it’s a little production space. And what I’ve been doing is a little bit of what I alluded to earlier on, which is really building the foundation for what The C47 3.0 is going to be. It’s sort of the next phase of what I’m doing. So it’s putting a lot of attention on making sure that people understand that I’m a production company and I have production and post-production services. But it’s also building this course platform, which will be both live and recorded content. 

I don’t think that long term, it’s just going to be my content, I think that there’s going to be other people who I’m going to curate content from and have on that platform. And then the other part of it is sort of dealing with the transition. I am on the road a lot like you are, I travel a lot. And I’m not sure after this last trip that I just took up to Canada where I was teaching Corus Entertainment again, global television. How many of those am I going to do in a year like I have in the past? NBC Universal… I’ve gone to Walmart films and talked to them in all of their stores and how we create content. That may be something that starts to happen again after all of this, and it may not. So the other thing that I’ve really started to put into place is the idea of one-on-one consulting, which I’ve done a little bit of in the past. But now I’ve created a calendar where people can go on my website, and they can book half an hour, an hour, or 90 minutes of actual consulting. 

They go to theC47.com, and then click on Training & Consulting, a calendar there. They say, “oh, I want to learn about my new camera” or “I’m thinking about expanding my studio” or “I want to build something out.” And whether that’s an individual or a company, they can schedule time out with me. But I think that that’s going to expand into broader base stuff too, because the big goal is to build the studio out multi-camera, and if I need to do a training workshop for 10 to 20 people, I’m actually going to be able to do it. So there’s a lot of parts.

Where are you located now? You’re in Oregon?

I’m in Oregon. I’m between Portland and the coast. And I don’t think that studio space is necessarily a studio space that people are going to be coming to, unless I decide to do a workshop there. But it’s really going to be a place where we transition. I don’t want to make it sound like just because this is happening, that wasn’t part of the plan. That was part of the plan, always. But this is accelerating and making it much more real, that the ideas of where I wanted to go are valid, but also may have to be put into place in order for me to continue to survive as a company. I’m not pretending that we’re all wondering how this ends. We don’t know what this is right now that we’re all sitting inside. So I want to be optimistic. 

You’re a very optimistic person, so am I, I’m a glass-half-full type of person, always. But I can’t pretend that we’re not nervous, that we’re not stressed, we’re not questioning where all of this goes, but we will get through this. As a community, I think we will be even stronger, and we’ll also put it into place just like education is doing in the school system successfully, unsuccessfully, somewhere in between. There are new models that are being created right now. I think that Alex Lindsay is doing some amazing stuff right now. And that will have tremendous impact in terms of figuring out how we don’t just translate what we experience in an NAB conference environment, and just create an online version of it. It’s not an online version, it’s a new way of doing something that’s more effective in that platform. And if we don’t have NAB three to five years from now, and I don’t know if we will. I don’t know. Because we are a community. Yes, there’s a huge business side to what we do. And we much prefer going to Cine Gear than we do NAB but we do like going to both of those places, because that’s where our community is. That’s it. 

The business part of it is the business part of it. But really, when it comes down to it, when you’ve been doing it for a long time, you’re there to see your friends, you’re there to communicate, you’re there to be inspired, you’re there to come up with ideas. And we have to figure out ways to use this technology in what we do to hopefully still be in person with each other at certain times of the year. But we’re gonna have to figure out as a community how we do all of this. I want to get out of the house at some point too; it’d be really great. Because I’m gonna go crazy.

Video production is absolutely a growth industry. It may change in terms of its shape and the way we deliver content, but storytelling will always remain.

Do you know what’s funny? I walked outside at six o’clock this morning, the sun hadn’t come up yet but the birds had started to sing. So you knew that the world was going to start waking up around you at any time, but I walked down the walkway, and I stood on the sidewalk, and I looked around at the neighborhood, so quiet, and I thought, “I’m outside!” It felt like a journey. It was a journey to the sidewalk.

Unbelievable. It’s as if you traveled across the world. It’s amazing.

Fresh air.

It’s amazing.

I’m watching the hummingbirds, and I’ve got two little love birds, two doves that are nesting in the bush right outside in the backyard here, and lizards are coming in from everywhere. And I’ve started the little gardening in the kitchen where I have them in little seed pods, and I’m going to cultivate it outside the garden, so I’m going to be planting. My world has become this microcosm around me, but thank heavens for people like you who are willing to go and have a conversation together and share that with other people. It does feel like you’re getting out, it’s not quite the same, but it still feels really good.

It feels great. I think it’s what’s getting us all through this. I do love the family component of it, I’m fortunate that I’m getting to sit down and have dinners with my family that I don’t get to have normally when this is not going on. I think sanity for all of us, I can’t speak for everybody, but for me, for sure, I’m doing the weekly live stream with my friends. We do this thing called Cameron flask, it’s the community of the people who come to that. People are having virtual happy hours, which is crazy. But it’s also doing this with you, and it was being on Joseph Linaschke’s show with Chris. Actually, a couple of weeks ago, Alex was on that and some other people. And Gary Adcock and it’s the fact that this community is a strong community and it will stay intact. 

It may morph in different ways in terms of the way we connect. But I absolutely need this to get through it. And we’re all going through very similar things because most of us are, if we own a company, we’re still self-employed. If there’s anything that I consider myself and most of the people that I know, we are career freelancers, that’s who we are. That’s what we do. So, we’re our best support system, and we all need each other to cope with this situation because none of them are working for money. Okay, there’s a few people who hit the lottery. They happen to be at a particular company that has a certain solution or is going to benefit from what’s happening right now and not in a bad way. They just happen to have a solution, that piece of hardware or software or combination that is really needed. But most of us are just like, holy crap, what are we doing here? And I think the best thing we can do is support each other. But we also have to be productive. 

This is the time to take those ideas that you have, and you develop them. You put them into place because you don’t have an excuse not to except for being motivated. And that’s the hardest thing that we’re dealing with is that there are certain things that I’m dealing with where I’m really motivated to do certain things and other things I’m just completely unmotivated to do them. But sometimes it’s just a conversation with some of our community or somebody in our community that can change your viewpoint about that. And I think that that’s super important for all of us to keep in mind. It’s very strange.

I know, it’s probably getting almost to dinner time, and you have family in the house, I appreciate it, thank them for me. And please everybody listening or watching, go to theC47 on YouTube, go to thec47.com, take advantage of all these educational tutorials that Jem has put up there for us that really help. And also, if you are a client and you’re looking for a production company, you need to hire Jem to do it. He could probably do it in his barn sometime in the next few months, right?

I could definitely. That’s the idea, I can save you the cost of flying me somewhere sometimes, not always, but that’s the whole idea. Is if you want to create content and you want to do it without having, well, if you want to do it now, I can produce that content for sure.

All right. Well, thank you so much. I really appreciate you. You have a nice evening and thanks for being on the show. Appreciate it. Take care.

Thanks for having me. Loved it. Awesome.

Okay.


Important Links


Checklist

  1. Everybody has to start somewhere- experts were once amateurs too. If there’s something you love doing that can be converted into a profession, find ways to make it happen.
  2. Share the knowledge and create more impact in your industry by teaching others. Let your mistakes and lessons serve as a guide for newbies who have the same passion as you. 
  3. When starting out, consider doing cold-calls and outreach. You’ll never know who needs your services if you don’t put yourself out there.
  4. Become well-versed in the technicalities of running a post-production business. Make sure you have a plan and proper documentation for hiring crew, securing locations, pulling permits, etc.
  5. When teaching, be patient with newcomers who are beginning their journey, and never assume that they know what you know, no matter how simple a topic is.
  6. Be kind and compassionate with the people you work with in the production industry. It’s a small world and there’s always a high chance that you will work with the same people on other projects. 
  7. If film school is too expensive, try applying as an intern, volunteer, or a PA. The hands-on experience can give you an edge in developing your skills and knowledge. 
  8. Keep creating and innovating content. The beauty of video production is that it keeps evolving. There’s always new information, gadgets, and innovations. 
  9. Always be prepared when shooting on location. Production equipment tends to be numerous, heavy, and sensitive. Make sure that everything is ready before the scheduled date.
    Check out Jem Schofield’s website, thec47.com, to learn more about his workshops, and theC47 YouTube channel for some post-production educational content.

ABOUT OWC

If you work in tech and haven’t heard about Other World Computing (OWC),  you’ve may have had your head in the sand. OWC, under the leadership of Larry O’Connor since he was 15 years old, has expanded to all corners of the world and works every day to create hardware that makes the lives of creatives and business-oriented companies faster, more efficient and more stable.  Go to OWCDigital.com for more information.

Here’s the company’s official mission statement:

At OWC, we’re committed to constant innovation, exemplary customer service, and American design. 

For more than 25 Years, OWC has had a simple goal. To create innovative DIY solutions to give you the most from your technology.  

Beginning with 100% compatible memory upgrades, reliably exceeding Apple’s maximum RAM specs, OWC’s product offering has grown to encompass the entire spectrum of upgrade and expansion possibilities, all with a focus on easy, DIY setup and installation. 

Our dedication to excellence and sustainable innovation extends beyond our day-to-day business and into the community. We strive for zero waste, both environmentally and strategically. Our outlook is to the long term, and in everything we do, we look for simplicity in action and sustainability in practice.

For us, it’s as much about building exceptional relationships, as it is about building exceptional products.

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