Summit Funding - Commercial Campaign in Chico

I am excited to share a few ads from a campaign I am producing (and shooting and editing) for Summit Funding here in Chico. These are the first two of several upcoming ads. 

"Home" - Summit Funding

"Communication" - Summit Funding

The foundation of my professional career in the video and film industry is commercial work. While I did produce a few corporate videos (for money) when I was still in High School, my first full-time job was making 30 second TV ads for a company called The AdWorks. You can read my thoughts on the future of the 30 second TV ad here.

If you are looking for turnkey short-form advertising – for TV, social, or otherwise – please contact me and let's get the discussion started!

BIG UPDATE - Short Film Project

Hey friends, it's been a busy 2018 and I've been so tied up with projects I haven't been focusing on the blog and social media. Time to bring you up to speed!

Who Will Remember - Short Film

Near the end of 2017 I was contacted about working on a short film project on the Armenian Genocide. The film, "Who Will Remember", is a theatrical short based on the life of an Armenian girl (Alice) who survives and eventually immigrated to America. The film was co-written by Alice's granddaughter, Barbara Erysian. I was immediately interested in the project and was soon attached as cinematographer and editor. The director and co-writer of the film is Max Freedman of MFM Media in Hollywood

Here is the trailer to the film:

This project was an honor to work on, and has consumed much of my time for the past few months. The entire crew and cast was blessed recently to debut the film for two screenings in the Sacramento area on April 24 – the commemoration day for the Armenian Genocide.


When I was first approached about the film, I had very little knowledge of the events surrounding the Armenian Genocide. I encourage everyone to read up on theses events and to gain a deeper understanding of what happened during this time. In addition, stay tuned for ways to watch the film in it's entirety in the near future.


My Favorite Things of 2017

It's almost the new year, which is a great time to plan for what's next while also taking time to reflect on the year that is coming to an end. This year, I decided to make a video about my favorite gear purchases of 2017. Check it out.


Here are the gear highlights from the video. None of this is comprehensive, but I may give more detailed reviews in the future!

Rhino Camera Gear Slider EVO - Motion Bundle

Rhino Camera Gear Slider

This is hands-down my favorite piece of video production gear purchased in 2017. As I mention in the video, I have owned an original GlideTrack slider and a Dana Dolly for years. The GlideTrack was a great intro to sliders when I purchased it, but it was an older model with no bearings, and couldn't handle heavier camera setups without binding. The Dana Dolly is a solid piece of gear – that I still own and use – but as anyone who has a Dana Dolly knows, it is large and cumbersome to travel with and set up. Enter the Rhino Camera Gear Slider EVO. This thing checks all the boxes for me: portable, flexible (I have multiple rail lengths at my disposal), can handle small and large camera setups seamlessly, has motion control, flywheel, locking carriage, and comes with a wonderful case that can expand to allow a tripod head to be mounted on the carriage during transport. All-in-all, a perfect slider in my opinion. My only wish list item is for Rhino to come out with a 2 axis motion controlled head – something I would wager they are already considering.

IntellyTech Light Cannon F-165 Bi-Color

IntellyTech Light Cannon F-165

I am a big fan of lighting equipment and I think it is almost always a great investment. Our cameras do one thing: they capture light. Good lighting equipment not only gives you the tools to shape that light, but it also lasts for years, doesn't become outdated quickly, and can be a timeless addition to your tool chest. I have been a big fan of Kino Flow, Arri, Mole Richardson and many other lighting brands for years, primarily because they make timeless gear that just works. For a while now I have been searching for an LED fresnel to round out my kit. I use mostly Kino Flo lights for my soft fixtures and was in need of a fresnel that was not a hot-light and wanted variable color temperature. The IntellyTech Light is a great fit so far. 

I purchased the light after my friend Aaron Draper had sent me some links to it. He was curious about the light and asked if I had used it. I hadn't, but the specs seemed great. LED, 165 Watts with a 1K equivalent (they also make a 300-watt, 485-watt, and now an 800-watt version). These lights have great output and are very efficient. Variable color temperature from 3000 Kelvin up to 8000 Kelvin, with the brightest setting in the daylight / 5500 range. There is a fan that needs to be on above 50% power, but it is quiet enough. I also have the softbox for this light but haven't used it much. Only downsides are that the light is rather large for its output, and IntellyTech doesn't offer a good case option (I recently saw a two-light flight-case, but it seems impractical for my use). Some other companies offer nice semi-rigid cases for similar lights that would be a nice addition, I modified an older Pelican case to carry my light.

DJI Ronin MX

DJI Ronin MX Brushless Gimbal Review

I bought this late in the year, so it's a fairly new piece of gear for me. That said, it makes the list because it works great so far and fills a void in my gear setup. I am a big fan of gimbals and have used them for about three years (Starting with the Freefly Systems Movi M5 - review here). I've rented gimbals or used them on productions, but never owned one. There are several reasons I've put off purchasing a gimbal, but mostly I've just been putting it off as I wasn't sure which gimbal/camera combo I would want to work with long term. In November of this year, I stopped kicking the can down the road and bought the Ronin MX.

So far, I am really liking the purchase. The Ronin MX takes about 5-10 minutes to setup and begin filming with my Canon 5D Mark III. I have used it inside of caves, on city streets, for home interiors, in parks – it's incredibly versatile. You can adjust settings quickly with your smartphone and the DJI Assistant app. I outfitted my setup with the Ronin Ring, Thumbcontroller,  and monitor mounting and cables for my SmallHD Monitor.

My only real complaint was that in order to turn it on the first time you need to use the DJI Assistant app, have an internet connection, and be logged into a DJI account. I don't see the need for this with a gimbal (I get it for drones). DJI says this is only necessary when first initializing the gimbal after purchase, but my concern is what happens if somehow the gimbal resets itself and I am on a shoot? A shoot without an internet connection. I think support gear should work independently of any need to be tethered to an internet connection or a user account.

Runners Up

I didn't cover any runners-up in my video review, so I will add them here:

  • Kessler Quick Release System
  • Canon 24mm 1.4L (This should have been on the favorite things list)
  • Cyclapse TimeLapse Camera System

What gear did you purchase this year that maks your favorite things list? Let me know in the comments. 

Becoming a Creative Idea Machine

Everyone is Creative.

I think we are all born creative. For some of us, this might seem more obvious – musicians, artists, photographers, etc. – but creativity is about having an idea and creating something from it. We see this take place in businesses that were the raw idea of an entrepreneur, a new logistics system inside an industrial facility, or perhaps a different approach to getting your kids to bed at night without having a meltdown (for you or them).

Creativity is linked to the ability to come up with ideas. This post is all about becoming an idea machine, and strengthening your "idea muscle". The foundation of this concept is from James Altucher's blog. I encourage you to read his thoughts on the process as he offers some great insights.


Here is the premise of the Idea Machine exercise:

  1. Come up with a topic
  2. Write down a list of 10 ideas.
  3. Do this every day.

Let me explain.

Every day, get out a piece of paper or the notes on your phone and write down a topic, such as "10 Books I Could Write", then proceed to come up with the titles of 10 books you could write. Come up with a topic and repeat this every day. It only takes a few minutes, and you should be able to easily work it into your morning routine.

When you first try this you will likely pick a topic that might seem easy to you. However, no matter what the topic is, those first 3-4 ideas come pretty quick in my experience. Ideas 5, 6, 7... those are more difficult to come up with for me. Altucher says if coming up with 10 ideas is hard, you should go for 20. Why? Because you will be forced to let go of the notion that your ideas need to be perfect.

This is an exercise in discipline, quantity, and execution - not quality. Often, the search for the perfect ideas leaves us hung up on our first reflexes. When you start to push through those ideas in the middle (which can often be terrible ideas), you may find that some brilliance lies on the other end.

Applying this to Video Production (or other fields).

I think this is a great exercise simply for the brain-bending benefits, but it can have some practical applications as well. I have used this in my production work and business on numerous occasions. Here are some examples:

  • 10 different opening shots for a video.
  • 10 people I can interview for a project.
  • 10 businesses that can use my services.
  • 10 locations within 10 miles that I have never filmed.
  • 10 ways to close out the video.

Now, when I do this I don't always come up with great ideas, but I do come up with new ideas. Often, one of those ideas makes it's way into a video or impacts part of my business. I have used this while writing scripts, on-location, at the beginning of an edit – basically, anytime I want to get a fresh idea. Another practical piece of advice is to use this to create action-steps. Have an idea for a new business? Write down the next 10 steps to make it a reality.


This doesn' have to be all text! You can do something like this while walking around taking photos, working on a storyboard, or looking for 10 different ways to drive home. Being creative and thinking outside the normal, reflexive patterns is the goal here. I think you get the idea.

You: The Idea Machine

If you do this every day you will become an idea machine. By that, I mean that ideas will come faster and easier than they have ever come before. I admit I don't do this every day, but I did for a while and it had a remarkable impact on my ability to come up with ideas on the spot. I was able to walk into a meeting, and in an instant come up with new ideas in rapid succession. This is the big benefit of the exercise. It is as though your brain gets re-wired and the barrier between your creative subconscious and your conscious thinking mind gets out of the way. Ideas will stream from you.

How long will this take? I don't know. I did it every day for about 2 months and noticed a huge difference. I continue doing it regularly (but not every day). I do think the biggest benefit comes from doing it daily.

Try it out. Let me know how your experience is and if you too become an Idea Machine.