I was a part-time assistant director at Grassroots television in Aspen in 1990-91. We played over 80 hours of original programming per week, some of it live cast from our studio as well as remote broadcast events. It was just as digital was becoming a consumer medium. The station was the nation’s first public access television station. I first went in there because I heard you could check out a camera and learn the editing equipment and produce your own work for public broadcast. I made about 20 hours of my own material between 88 and 91. Some of it is archived and will eventually end up here. Some of it is embarrassing, but some of it was as satisfying as anything else I’ve attempted in art.
It was also at that time I worked at Sunfire Productions a full service film and video production company in Aspen/Basalt. Sequoia Sun was chief and I got a lot of experience thanks to him. He put me on jobs I might not have had the courage to attempt, if it weren’t for his sure guidance and willingness to take a risk. I’ll never forget skiing backwards down Ajax Mountain with a backpack full of batteries and a couple of cables to wrangle, that were connected to a camera on Sequoia’s shoulder. He too was skiing backwards, directly upslope of me, while videoing a famous mono skier, who was directly upslope of him, doing aerial tricks and a full-tilt mogul boogie, that we had been hired to shoot. Besides wild stunt videos, Sequoia produced commercials, covered conferences, made documentaries and we did occasional weddings, too.
The decision to quit the television station was brought on, like so many of my creative pivots, by a physical need. Public television was notoriously under staffed. I’d go to work before sun up and not leave until sun down. In those days, there was so much equipment and cables, it was throwing off tremendous amounts of electricity that drained my energy. I would go home buzzing from being around all this highly juiced equipment all day. At about that time I was given the opportunity to join Heather and Phoenix on their jewelry line. That turned into a fifteen year detour from video production, but as the jewelry scene peaked, the prospect of making motion pictures became a fascination of mine, once again. By then, the digital revolution had evolved to where we are now. Most importantly, electromagnetic exposure is massively reduced with today’s production tools, so that could no longer discourage me from continuing to pursue that avenue of expression. Then one summer day in 2007, I saw a call for application to the free weekly for The New Mexico Filmmaker’s Intensive.
After film school, my partner and I envisioned opening up a boutique film production studio. It so happened in 2009, there were at least four other similar ventures freshly launched in this market. None of them remain open for business. Despite this, OCC has made some enjoyable videos, over these past dozen years. We have half a dozen brand new short videos for this section recorded, lined up to be edited and posted, as soon as we are able.