Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Welcome Storytrack!

Our new company, Storytrack, launched this summer! I wish I could say there was a momentous ribbon cutting, but instead it was steady work over many months.The company's goal is to bring creative vision and technological precision together into a new kind of company.

We'll continue to create the best video productions but we're adding distribution and tracking. It's an exciting time for content creators as we can now provide guaranteed video views--which means our clients are able to demonstrate viewer engagement and ROI. The tracking is real-time with detailed metrics. Go Team.

See our new work here!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Dream Big

Peter H. Daimandis’ new book “Abundance,” co-written with Steven Kotler, is reviewed in today’s New York Times Book review. It’s a delight see his optimism has only grown since I worked with him as Director of Communications for the XPRIZE foundation.

The X PRIZE began in St Louis when a group of philanthropic-minded business folks agreed to become part of the “New Spirit of St. Louis”, modeled after the Orteig Prize, which Charles Lindbergh won in 1927. The X PRIZE was founded to incentivize private space travel.

Our offices were in the basement of the St Louis ScienceCenter. One day my young son was exploring the exhibits in the gallery while waiting for me to finish work. A much older boy began to bully him and he came into our offices, nearly in tears. Peter stood right in front of him, held his shoulders, and said, “One day he’ll be working for you. Don’t forget, you start at the top and work your way up.” He’s a visionary with a heart of gold.  His optimism inspired many of us to grab hold of our dreams and make them into realities.

Check out "Abundance". Happy reading.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Steady Work in Haiti

One of the stories we are following in Cap-Haitian is the effect of consistent employment in a country with a reported 80% unemployment rate.  Gregory, an agronomist, was hired 4 years ago by Meds and Food for Kids (MFK) to work with farmers in the North of Haiti.  He helps small farmers develop better growing conditions for their peanuts. As farmers increase yields and lower contamination, they have a ready buyer with MFK.

Here’s Tim Maupin, DP, riding on the back of Gregory’s Motorcycle through Cap-Haitian.

The footage is fabulous thanks to Tim's daring.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

En Route to Haiti

I arrive at Miami International Airport before dawn, accompanied by Tim Maupin, my director of photography. We’re headed to Cap-Haitian Haiti for the week to document an extraordinary group of Haitian and American social entrepreneurs. 

I’ve had the good fortune to document the group since its inception. Dr. Patricia Wolff, a St. Louis-based pediatrician, founded Meds andFood for Kids (MFK) to slow the staggering rate of malnutrition in that country.  Pat–a truly driven woman–brought Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Food or RUTF to Haiti in 2003. (RUTF is a sort of super-strength peanut butter; it’s ideal for underdeveloped settings because it can’t spoil, because there’s no water in it.) Since then, the Haitian government has adopted RUTF into its national protocols on treating malnutrition, using MFK’s work as inspiration. This is a tremendous accomplishment.

But what draws me to the story of MFK is its unique business model. The group made the decision early on to buy its peanuts locally. But quality was an issue. They began working with local farmers to increase yields and decrease contamination (by aflatoxin). They set up a small factory for production and packaging, which enabled them to hire local staff. The factory added an economic development dimension to their work. Now they are creating new alliances with Nutriset (a French commercial concern) and others, allowing them to break ground on a new 2000 square foot factory, hire a second shift of employees, and work with more farmers–all to keep up with the demand. 

For those who are interested in the gear: we’re shooting on the Cannon D7, 24p We have an assortment of lenses, tripod, and glidecam. We’ll be recording audio offboard …. Doing a redundant backup onto 2 laCie rugged drives.