Editors Desk (Blog)

Volunteer Spirit

A personal project often comes with zero budget. 

This necessitates finding and training excited people to be actors, newscasters, and camera operators.  I enjoy the challenge of training people on short timelines – convincing them that it’s actually a lot easier than they think.

Hope & Courage is a documentary I made for a non-profit (SafeCity) on sexual exploitation & human trafficking of women.  We had 3 weeks to make it, and we had no footage to cover the jump-cuts in edited interview footage.  Somehow, the idea came into focus of doing silhouetted re-enactments of the events described by the interviewees.  This required finding people who would act out the stories.  We somehow found these people, trained them using a couple of real actors, and taped them – all within 24 hours.  It was quite amazing to see how this project came together on such a short timeline.


Video production trucks have all the gear you need to produce a shoot on location – usually a staged event, like a concert, a play, or a keynote speaker at a conference.  None of my friends are immune to being recruited for these kinds of projects.  I especially enjoy cultural performing arts events.  At one of these, most of the crew had never shot video with serious cameras.  The shoot went so well, though, that the resulting video went on to win an award for “Outstanding Creative Programming.”


B30 was a community news program for Bloomington, MN.  We filled the half-hour with fast-paced stories about community organizations, schools, arts, entertainment, business, city government, and faith-life stories.  We had a crew of around 20 people, most of whom came together for the monthly studio taping – and to eat the fabulous burritos from our sponsors (Pancheros!).



In spite of the challenges of zero-budget productions, I often engage in them for the sheer joy of working with enthusiastic volunteers who want to do something creative and cause-worthy together.

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