We moved to Ambridge, Pennsylvania in 1997 for Jack to go to seminary. As we settled into the blue collar neighborhood I picked up several newspapers to get to know the area. Nearby Pittsburgh was a quick 45 minute drive and had a lot to offer.
“Listen to this!” I squealed to Jack. “There’s a film school that’s offering a beginning Super 8 class in the evenings.”
Before Jack and I met I’d looked into the Film program at the University of Oregon, but ended up moving to Santa Barbara instead. So I was thrilled to discover Pittsburgh Filmmakers offered classes to the general public. They were the technical school for film majors from University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon.
What started out as something fun to do, quickly became a passionate desire to pursue certification as a Videographer. Over the next four years while Jack earned his Masters Degree, I learned all about film, video, editing, lighting and sound. I had classes in directing, screenwriting and acting. I loved every minute, and enjoyed the young film majors even though I was old enough to be their mother. The few older students in the Certification program like me were kindred spirits. Working on projects together was exciting.
I graduated with honors, but had no plans to pursue a career as a professional. I’d achieved my dream and accomplished the goal of being certified, but knew enough about the industry to question the time, energy, and finances it would take to go into business on my own.
We moved to Bakersfield when Jack secured a position with St. Luke’s. Shortly after arriving I ended up working at the Bakersfield City Attorney’s office, first as a temp, then as a Clerk Typist. It was an easy job that paid the bills, and although I enjoyed working with all the attorneys, I was bored with office work. After two years I knew something had to change.
One day setting up the conference room for a deposition I was surprised to find a videographer with equipment. I excitedly asked him what he was doing. He said he was there to film the proceedings.
I had discovered the wonderful world of legal video. After researching the profession I flew to Florida for initial training offered by the National Court Reporters Association (NCRA). It was the perfect combination of videography in the legal environment. I’d finally found my niche.
Over the next year I acquired the necessary equipment, finished the training, was licensed as a Notary Public, and passed both the written and production exams. Though it took a hefty financial investment, by the fall of 2004 I was up and running as an NCRA Certified Legal Video Specialist (CLVS) with my own business.
For the last twelve years I’ve filmed all types of legal depositions, expert witnesses, site inspections, medical evaluations, and day-in-the-life videos that help insurance companies determine financial rewards. I’ve worked for famous people and worldwide corporations, as well as filmed inmate depositions in seven prisons throughout California. The flexible hours and days fit well into my busy life, and being able to schedule vacations according to Jack’s schedule has been an added bonus.
However, all good things must end one day. I’ll be 59 in six weeks, and hefting 100 lbs. of equipment around for every job is getting challenging. With retirement looming sometime in the next four years, I’ve cast my sights on another latent dream: to become a writer.
Finding Writer’s of Kern last year was just as exciting as going to film school. My critique group ladies are kindred spirits and working together on the craft of writing is both challenging and rewarding. I feel like I’m with “my kind of people” around other writers. Attending writing conferences is fun, and I thoroughly enjoy the variety of online classes I’m able to participate in from respected universities.
As my jaunt as Video Queen comes to the end of its reign, I intend to enter a much deserved retirement as a published author. I’ll trade my camera for a pen, and instead of filming others, will find satisfaction in expressing my own thoughts and imagination on the written page.