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THE FIRSTS OF SUMMER

My first studio, the documentary that got me started, and a new non-profit client!

 

FAVE PHOTO: FIRST POSES

(CLICK THE VIDEO ABOVE TO SEE SOME OF MY FAVE PHOTOS FROM THE SANDBOX)

I opened up a studio in my garage in January. Half way through this first year, I’ve shot dozens of folks. Headshots, artistic portraits, podcast recordings, and even music videos have been produced in this new space I call the Beech (my street’s name) Sandbox Studio...or simply The Sandbox. The aim has been to encourage folks to step outside their comfort zone and play in the Sandbox with me. It has been a great experience to step into a new form of photography. I’m learning to pose subjects, use strobe/flash lighting, and incorporate backdrops. I’m feeling like an artist in a way I’ve never really been able to say with confidence before.


I am working on a new photo series that includes tattoos on my subjects with an aim to have a gallery show with a dozen new images. If you’ve got some ink on you that would make for an interesting photo story - reach out and let’s plot. Or, if you need a new headshot, want a creative photo session, aiming to shoot a music video, looking for a spot to record a podcast, or have something else in mind, I’d love to hear from you.

 

VIEWING RECOMMENDATION: Tell Them You Love Me (on Netflix)

MY RATINGS: SCALE OF 1-4

Intensity: 😮😮😮😮 Comedy: 🫥 Drama: 😢😢😢😢

Writing: 🤔🤔🤔🤔 Originality: 🧐🧐🧐🧐 Cinematography: 😍😍😍


Wow, where to begin. I recently watched this documentary on Netflix and within a few moments I realized what this film was going to be about. I had an immediate flashback to the documentary that started my ambition to become a documentarian. I had watched a Frontline special in 1992 called Prisoners of Silence. The story was about a new type of communication device that helped folks with autism “talk” through something called Facilitated Communication. This film showed me the power of visual story telling. The roller coaster ride of bringing the audience to a high point only to bring it all crashing down was a sobering and somber experience. I had a cathartic cry as the ah-ha moment of the film revealed what was really going on.


Flash forward 32 years later...watching Tell Them You Love Me (such a good title), and I am now a documentary filmmaker. I’ve watched hundreds of doc films and have created many short doc projects over the 20+ years in the industry. But that original Frontline show still captivates me. This new documentary about this same subject held my attention yet again. It was a different experience since I knew what the tension of the story was from the start. Yet, I still held my hand over my mouth in shock throughout the production. If you watch, I’d love to hear your thoughts on it.


Speaking of creating compelling visual stories...I’m focusing my energy over the next year to pursue some longer form documentaries with larger budgets that will likely be funded by individuals and grants. If you have an idea for a story, are interested in helping find funding, or know someone interested in creating a biographical/memoir of their lives--hit me up. My ideal project is one that could be shown at film festivals as a short (under 20 minutes) or a feature (over 60 minutes) and has funding for $25,000 to $100,000.

 

VIDEO PROJECT: St. Ambrose Housing Aid Center

I was thrilled when I received an email requesting a proposal for a short video from St. Ambrose Housing Aid Center. I was unaware of their work before they reached out. As we discussed the project and I heard all they’ve done to help folks find and keep stable housing--I was sure I could help them create a video that would represent their work well. My crew was able to put this together in less than a month. We met some great people who have worked there for years. And we heard two fantastic stories of folks who had battled successfully to keep their homes in the midst of foreclosure proceedings. It’s always a thrill to share sweet stories of people overcoming dire circumstances. I hope to keep working with St. Ambrose and other non-profits who are pursuing social justice.


If you dig what you’ve read...please subscribe (at the top of the page) and send a link to folks you think might enjoy it. Contact me at michaelivan@loud-communications.com with any questions, comments, or if you’d like to have me produce a video or photo for you. Check out my instagram and website.


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