Deadlines mean a lot in this business. Once when I was working in news, I was racing to finish editing a story. I could hear the newscaster introducing the story I was working on. The tape took about 800 minutes to eject but once it finally did I snatched it and ran for the control room thru the studio. The anchor saw me running and quite gracefully padded the intro until we got it cued.

I got a call a few weeks ago from a company needing me to fill in for a good client/partner. The only catch was the video would need to be completed in 2 weeks. The words “sure, no problem” slipped from my lips. The video was to be around 6 minutes and tell the story of Staley High School. Staley is a new high school and they needed a “Brag and swag” piece for an upcoming meeting.

I set up a meeting with Principal Mershon to figure it out.The thought of meeting with a principal filled me with quiet dread. You see, when I attended my high school, I was a terror to Mr. Brown, the principal of Abilene high. I have some issues to work thru. Oddly enough, we hit it off very well. To save out having to type Principal Mershon, I will now refer to him as Clark. Clark was uncomfortable with “brag and swag”, it was not his term. His vision was to simply tell the story of what Staley is and dreams to become. He took me on a tour of the school to make his points. I felt like Staley was a High School version of “The Stepford Wives”. Teachers seemed to genuinely  care about students who  seamed equally excited to learn. They had to be hiding something.

We scheduled three shoots, one for a basketball game, a day of interviews and b-roll, and a half day pick up for anything we might miss. At the end of the interview day, the piece was done in my head. On certain jobs you know you have something good in the can. As soon as I got home from shooting, I jumped into the edit. By 1 am the rough cut was done. I mentioned earlier, that I had a skepticism about how real Staley is. I am pretty confident that it is a great model of what our school system can be. I wish all schools could have the same passion and level of care. The process also let me feel like in some sort of small way I paid penance for being so disruptive during my high school days.  One student did approach Max while he was shooting b-roll and told him everything was not so great. He then held up a cookie and said “Look at how small and sad this cookie is. This is what we have to deal with.”

I directed, produced, edited and did a little of the shooting. Max Jolley and Jordan Marable did the main videography. And we finished 5 days before our deadline. Here’s what we came up with. I feel it tells the Staley story.


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