Thursday, April 12, 2012

Diggable Monkey - Puttin' on the Game Face

Photo by Kyer Wiltshire

I've spent a lot of time behind a video camera over the last 10 years. When it comes to having a staged photo of myself taken, I'm not usually the first one to jump in front of the lens. Beyond the top notch equipment and knowing the technical aspects of getting a good picture, there is the camera operator. What I've observed is that in most cases, having a rapport with your photographer is paramount. This may be an obvious comment to the professional models out there, but for many of you just trying to get a great shot of yourself - for whatever application - the process is often a big pain in the rear. I'll say this: in an age when your mug is all over hells half acre in cyberspace, you might want to partner up with someone who knows how to create good media and get the good shots. There are more talented photographers out there than you can imagine. Once you spot something you like that someone's done, send them a message and give feedback - good or bad. There's nothing more useful to a cameraman in developing his/her skills than random observations from the field. More time than not, you're likely to end up not only effectively engaging the artist, but engaging the artist within yourself. The tools available for communication these days are unprecedented in the entire course of human history. Find your photo/video collaborators, which will help you find your "media self" and leverage the incredible tools now at your disposal. Each of our individual stories are as interesting and compelling as the next persons. When you're ready to put a little thought into how you're presenting yourself to billions of people, challenge your photographer and make that shot count!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Who is this Diggable Monkey character?


When I found out I was going to interview one of the March Fourth Marching Band members I got really excited. M4 is by far one of my favorite music groups in town. Admittedly, even though Kevin has been on my Facebook radar for a while, I am a little star struck. Being part of the Burningman community, and a self proclaimed Portland Socialite, I actually have had the opportunity to meet several of the members and since Portland is such a small town, I am not sure why it seemed like such a big deal. At any rate, I had to remind myself that the purpose of the interview wasn’t to go gush over one of the guys from the band. I found out, Kevin actually has quite a bit on his plate right now!

One of the cool things about Kevin is that I would consider him to be part of Portland’s artistic “Burner” community. (A Burner is a person who has embraced the annual festival’s principals as a general lifestyle.) Kevin is an ideal representation of what makes the community so great. Not just as a Burner but as a Portlander as well, his education and background is in urban planning and development. Kevin currently works with several groups to help plan and promote events in Portland such as Threshold, Howl (supporting the City Repair Project) and The PDX Bridge Festival, his current primary focus is on his digital media company: Diggable Monkey, LLC.

Diggable Monkey provides high quality dynamic videos for online social networking media sites and more.

I had the chance to visit Kevin’s website a few days before our meeting. I have to say, I was impressed with the quality of his work as well as the amount of videos he has done already. There is a huge variety of videos seeming to cover what could be many different client needs. It was fun to see familiar faces and the videos are very up beat and engaging. Great for any client looking to put a custom project together.

Kevin works from his home office in SE Portland. When I arrived he was friendly and inviting. He even made me some tea. His space was clean, efficient looking and cozy. It was filled with all sorts of awesome editing gear that made this photographer just a little jealous. Although I think if he saw my room/home office he would probably laugh. With the exception of the drum set, our rooms look a lot alike.

So the man has got the gear and he’s got the creativity, he certainly has the business sense. What I liked the most about Kevin is his passion for what he is doing. Again, I keep running into these business owners that are like minded professionals who run their businesses on the concept of community. Just like I have made friends through my photography business, Kevin finds himself connecting with his clients. He is not only building a strong client base, he is building a network of people he considers friends. When asking Kevin who he felt was his target clients, he didn’t have a specific group in mind. While he may not be pin pointing his niche, he is certainly developing a solid brand. The cute, easily recognizable monkey logo represents community, creativity, friendship and quality professional videos. Through social media, word of mouth and his creative talents, I am sure Kevin will continue to build a solid video production company in Portland and beyond.

If you want so see some of Kevin’s past projects you can check them out on VIMEO:

Getting Personal:

What is your coffee drink?

Black Stumptown Coffee. I first met Duane Sorensen around the time he moved to Portland from Seattle around 2000. Humble beginnings, to be sure. Watching that tornado form has been interesting.

Favorite video you have made so far? Why?

My favorite videos are the personal ones that showcase the tenacity of the human spirit. I get to work directly with people that are looking to share their stories with the world. They hire me to craft a narrative of some important aspect of their lives, which I consider to be a great honor. I think my latest video for the Joy Now Arts Foundation (mini MarchFourth) is strong.

Oddest thing that you have done for the sake of “art”?

Blown thousands of dollars building theme camps at Burning Man from 2000-2008. And yes, I’m going back for the first time in four years this summer (2012).

Were you born in Portland? If not, what drew you here?

No, but my great grandmother was born on a wagon train in the late 1800‘s. The family homesteaded near Oregon City. I suppose that I was drawn back West for some of the same reasons the pioneers were: clean air, abundant fresh food, the lush landscapes and its more overtly communal aesthetic.

Favorite food that you can only get in Portland?

The miso soup at Zilla Sake House on Alberta Street.

What would you recommend to somebody who has never been here before to do in Portland if you only had a day to visit?

To let me personally take them on a tour. I studied Portland in great detail while completing a graduate-level urban planning degree at PSU. I was also a map data (GIS) analyst building street databases at a freight company for twelve years. Suffice to say, I know my way around this town.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Joy Now Arts Project Summer Camp 2012

Stoked to be supporting the Joy Now Arts Project and Summer Camp. Check out the latest promotional video by Diggable Monkey.