The Nature of Our Work

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Tree for All Watershed Walk participant

Bruce Roll is the Director of Watershed Management for our client, Clean Water Services (CWS). Last week, he published an essay on The Nature of Cities website. He wrote it without our input. And yet I think it ranks among Sheepscot’s most gratifying accomplishments to date. Here’s why.

I’m constantly impressed by the vision, energy and talent that Bruce and others at CWS bring to their work. Since 2013, we’ve been augmenting their extensive skill sets with our own: communication strategy, multimedia storytelling and asset generation. Bruce is a storyteller, himself. His writing style is lyrical. His passion for the environment shines through.

Three interview pull-quotes bolster Bruce’s case. Did he interview Andy, Carla and Carolyn for this piece? No. He didn’t have to. All three quotes come from on-camera interviews that Sheepscot conducted for past video projects, each of which served an immediate audience and objective. Years later, CWS continues to derive value from those shoots. That’s no accident.

The photos that appear in the essay? We captured them over the past few years as part of a broader, ongoing effort to document Tree for All’s impact. Bruce also links to five videos for readers that want to learn more. We produced them all.

Yes, we produce video and still photography. We also organize and back up digital assets for clients’ retrieval and reuse. But all that work exists in service to maximizing return-on-investment, to using our clients’ time and money as responsibly and productively as possible.

With a growing roster of forward-thinking clients like CWS, we’re plotting all the time to generate both immediate impact and lasting effect. And it’s working.

This Place Called Nuka (Trailer)

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For a year now, we’ve been working on a short documentary: This Place Called Nuka: Courting Adventure in Wild Alaska. Tell me more, you say? Here’s a brief description:

Jeff and Angela wanted to have a camping trip that never ended, and to see if they could live off the land. So they dropped out of college to attend the “school of life.” They hired a boat captain to ferry them—along with kayaks, snowboards and 30,000 pounds of building materials—to a patch of spectacular wilderness tucked between a glacier and the Gulf of Alaska, seventy miles from the nearest outpost. This Place Called Nuka: Courting Adventure in Wild Alaska brings their story to life.

Today, we’re very excited to introduce the trailer.

If you’re in Portland, join us from 6-8pm on Thursday (July 13) at Bazi Bierbrasserie for the 22-minute film’s first public screening.

Follow Sheepscot Creative on Facebook to stay in the loop about screenings. In the meantime, find more information about This Place Called Nuka at NukaFilm.com.

Top Picks from the Adventure Film Festival

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Adventure Film Festival 2016

If you’ve spoken to me in the last few months, you likely know that Sheepscot is working on a documentary about the inspiring and then, suddenly, harrowing adventure of a young couple living in remote Alaska. (Yeah, sorry, I can’t stop talking about it.) A few weeks ago, I flew to Colorado to attend the Adventure Film Festival in Boulder. We wanted to know: What passes for adventure these days? And how are contemporary filmmakers approaching the subject?

Over the course of two days, I watched dozens of short films. Crews and cameras—predictably, lots of GoPros and drones—roamed from Tasmania to the Arctic, documenting the action. Here are the shorts that have stuck with me, the ones I’ve found myself thinking and talking about most.

The Accord
Icelandic surfers reckon with the island nation’s fickle winds. The most surprising, genre-busting film at AFF. With sick surfing footage.

Martin’s Boat
Two things I learned from what might have been my favorite film of the weekend: 1. Martin Litton prevented two dams from being built in the Grand Canyon. 2. In my next life, I want to be a whitewater dory boat captain.

Return to Zanskar
Soon, after centuries of isolation, a monastery in the Himalayas will be connected by road to the city. Thirty years ago, the filmmaker and his friend spent time there; as construction on the road nears completion, they go back to see what the monks make of it.

Douglas Tomkins: A Wild Legacy
An amazing life story and legacy. Douglas Tomkins co-founded North Face and Esprit; famously climbed mountains with the founder of Patagonia; and until his death in 2015 worked tirelessly with his wife to preserve millions of acres of South American wilderness.

The Last Ride
A love story—about a Peace Corps worker and the used mountain bike he buys in Honduras. Their intercontinental adventures over the next 13 years are recounted with a no-fuss production aesthetic, lots of heart and humility.

The End of Snow
Climate change as seen by a snow scientist. Featuring a fabulously eccentric woodsman character.

China: A Skier’s Journey
Juxtaposing the demise in China of centuries-old, sustenance-skiing mountain communities with the nation’s fledgling consumer ski market.

Haywire
Watching one adventure film after another, I couldn’t help wondering about the emotional well-being of their subjects, particularly when they’re not on camera scaling a cliff or mountain biking across the Alps. How well do these people cope with day-to-day life? Or when things go terribly wrong? Haywire begins to explore those questions.

Sheepscot went to Alaska. And it was epic.

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It’s a job that Michael and I will never forget, filming at Granite Point Mountain Lodge. We turned on the cameras at PDX and didn’t put them away for four days. And that was a good decision, because: OMG those four days. We couldn’t help assembling a travelogue. (More from the trip will follow later this summer.)

Just six weeks ago, I visited Alaska for the first time. I spent the last 2 days and nights of my trip at a private wilderness cabin on Resurrection Bay, on the side of a mountain that falls straight into the sea. Through the length of my stay, a pair of humpback whales roamed in front of the beach and bluff, breaching and spouting nonstop, while bald eagles sailed, swooped, and circled in the sky. “This is blowing my mind,” I murmured to myself over and over–speaking loud enough, I hoped, to keep away the local bears.

Imagine my glee, weeks later, when the man who created the lodge (a remarkable story in itself) hired Sheepscot Creative to come back with our cameras.

Thanks, Jeff. First, for the invitation and your incredible hospitality. And also for the boat tour and jet ski rides, for introducing us to your amazing friends, and for trusting us to tell these stories.

David Bowie Tribute

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OK Chorale PDX is a drop-in community chorus in Portland, Oregon. No experience is required; only a desire to sing. We were thrilled when earlier this year they asked us to document the group’s first-ever public performance, inspired by the loss of David Bowie. We were excited all over again when our video of the event garnered 27,000 views and 350 shares on Facebook within the first few days of its posting.

The chorus meets on the second and fourth Monday of each month (mostly) at Martha’s Cafe/Bar at Revolution Hall and sings two songs. Visit the OK Chorale PDX website for more information.

Paul Simon in Conversation

By | Narrative Mechanics, News | No Comments

Paul Simon; photo credit, Myrna Suarez

On a new edition of the All Songs Considered podcast, Paul Simon walks host Bob Boilen through the construction of the opening track on his forthcoming album. It’s a fascinating 40-minute lesson on narrative mechanics, offering a rare and candid glimpse into the process of one of America’s great songwriters.

“What instruments I use and where they sit in the track,” Simon explains, “there must be hundreds of those decisions, or maybe thousands, for all I know, of tiny decisions, about whether there should be some piece of musical information or whether you don’t need it at all.” According to a New York Times preview, four of the album’s first six songs don’t use any guitar.

In so many ways, the conversation is a revelation. Simon discusses line-by-line how the lyrics came together—the song’s first words were changed, for example, because they reminded him too much of “You Can Call Me Al.” (Also on the subject of his back catalog: at 22:20 of the podcast, he calls attention to backing vocals lifted directly “Late in the Evening.”)

The full album, Stranger to Stranger, will be released on June 3rd, with a “first listen” available via NPR beginning on Thursday, May 26th.

Innovations in Sustainability at the Oregon Convention Center

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The Oregon Convention Center has an ambitious goal: To be the most sustainable convention center in the country. From solar panels on the roof to a rain garden that filters water before it drains to the river, OCC is constantly finding new ways to make their LEED Platinum-certified facility even better for the planet.

Sheepscot worked with OCC to create a video telling the story of the Convention Center’s innovative new waste management program, which prohibits non-recyclable materials from showroom floors. Now, shows at the Convention Center must donate, recycle, or remove materials they bring into the building—materials that would otherwise end up in landfills. With policies like these, OCC is changing the way their industry does business. We were thrilled to help them tell that story.

Workshop: Strategies for Arts Marketing Success

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Last year, the Regional Arts and Culture Council invited Sheepscot to host a workshop on a subject that’s near and dear to our hearts: How arts organizations and artists can leverage existing resources to tell their stories more effectively. Time spent on marketing is time spent not making art. We can help make that time as painless and productive as possible.

We got a great response to that sold-out workshop, and we were thrilled to be invited back for another round.

Join us on February 13 for Narrative Mechanics: How to Design and Deploy Strategy for Arts Marketing Success, an interactive workshop from Sheepscot president Dave Weich:

YOU HAVE A GREAT STORY TO TELL, but where do you begin? What’s the best way to frame your narrative to ensure that you’re making an impact with the right audiences? From public events and print materials to social media platforms, how should you allocate resources to best achieve your goals?

Learn to construct a story that will resonate with your audience, inspire actions that benefit your bottom line, and evolve over time as your relationship to fans and consumers changes.”

Narrative Mechanics: Strategies for Arts Marketing Success
Portland Community Media, 2766 NE Martin Luther King Jr Blvd, Portland, OR 97212
Saturday, February 13, 11 am-3pm, $30
Register here.

Beer from Sewage: Pure Water Brew Smackdown

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Earlier this year, Team Sheepscot made our first foray into WWE-style trash-talk videos. (We can only hope it’s not our last.) The occasion? Clean Water Services needed a quick ‘n’ dirty video about Pure Water Brew, a beer brewed with recycled wastewater, to show at an upcoming water conference.

Pure Water Brew is a radical experiment aimed at changing how the public thinks about water reuse. The brew is made with effluent (read: sewer water!) that’s been purified to exacting standards; the purified water is cleaner than the water that comes out of your tap, and perfect for brewing beer.

Searching for a lighthearted way to showcase this project at the water conference WEFTEC, Clean Water Services decided to go toe-to-toe with a similar beer brewed out of another great beer city: Milwaukee, Wisconsin’s Activated Sludge.

We spliced this video together out of a quick afternoon’s shooting at Clean Water Services and some iPhone footage from the team in Milwaukee.

The rivalry is all in good fun, of course, because both teams have the same ultimate goal: Changing the way the public thinks about recycled water. By partnering with Oregon brewers to make beer from wastewater, Clean Water Services hopes to inspire a public conversation about water reuse. And what better way to combat the “ick” factor than by turning recycled sewer water into something so delicious?