Spring and Summer Projects Update from the Green Mountain State

It was a busy Spring and Summer here in Montpelier. Finally catching our breath long enough to do an update.

When we moved here last Fall we got in touch with Montpelier Alive to thank them for the great events that they organize and all of the helpful information that they share, which played a role in our researching communities when deciding where to relocate in Vermont. We also wanted to say hello as new neighbors as well as a new small business in the area and were eager to do our part to help celebrate and promote our new home town.

It turns out they had been hoping to make a video for the city, promoting the downtown, local businesses, and culture to prospective visitors and people who might like to move to the area. This seemed like a great chance to help out and also provide a way to meet a lot of our new neighbors, so we jumped at the chance.

#MontpLove

Our concept was centered around the focus of telling the story of the wonderful natural beauty, the vibrant downtown, art, culture, commitment to fresh cuisine, etc. through personal stories and perspectives of the people who live here, because ultimately it is the people who make a community, and make a community unique. Montpelier Alive and the Montpelier Development Corporation loved the idea.

“#MontpLove” Producer: Kristin Cantu,
Director/Camera/Editor: Chad Ervin,
Camera: Brandon Poulin

Because we were looking to make a piece that captures the people of Montpelier, we tried to take a moment in the video with each person to actually get a sense of who they are and what it is about the city that they personally love about their town. Because of this we filmed it with a different feel from many of the city promotion pieces that we’ve seen, opting for a documentary style in order to try to capture more relaxed and un-scripted moments. It was our feeling that a ‘typical’ tourism piece with snappy visuals over talking point sound bites would not be as memorable as getting a chance to connect and empathize with real people in genuine, organic moments.

We created the videos focusing on an audience of not only people who might want to visit the town but also the people who might be considering moving to Vermont and trying to get a sense of the town, we felt we were uniquely qualified, having just gone through the process ourselves. It’s great to hear about proximity to nature, a commitment to community, lots of restaurants and a vibrant arts scene in general but we wanted to show what real life is like for families with young children, retirees, small business owners, artisans and artists, farmers and restaurateurs and employees of larger companies. And we wanted to show that despite the wide amount of differences in peoples’ walks of life, common threads bind the community together and create its unique character.

The biggest challenge of the #MontpLove videos was squeezing all of the filming with the wide variety of residents and editing into a tight time frame. We began filming when the snow melted and there was some green peeking through on the ground and in the trees, and by early June, we delivered the project. We ended up filming more than 22 hours of footage for the project and had more content then we could ever pack into the ten-minute video we were making, so we ended up making a series of videos, three (for now) with a few others in the concept stage.

A big, big shoutout goes to Brandon Poulin. Brandon is a talented young cinematographer who we were lucky to meet through this project. His excellent eye and skillful camerawork increased the quality of the videos by leaps and bounds. Since he lives just a few minutes down the road we think this will just be the first of many collaborations.

Multitasking!

Also this Spring: in time before, after and in-between working on the #MontpLove project, Chad also worked editing and/or consulting on several documentary films that were in various stages in the finishing / pitching / editing process but due to confidentiality during the process of securing distribution and broadcast we’ll have to wait until later to give more info on those but it has been a fun and extremely varied bunch!

The Parade Coordinator on location

Kristin has been juggling an extremely wide variety of tasks, from working for Well Told Films, to working remotely for her employer back in Boston, to coaching a team for the non-profit Girls on the Run, and also serving as the Parade Coordinator for Montpelier’s Independence Day parade! The parade was heavily attended and seemed (in our biased opinion) a rousing success. Independence Day, celebrated here in MontP on July 3, is a massive event with thousands of people traveling into town to take in the parade, the “Family Olympics” on the State House lawn, sample foods and crafts from streets packed with vendors, and take in the fireworks from the comfort of a lawn chair in our idyllic downtown.

All in all it has been a very fun and eventful few months but we made sure to enjoy some of the fun summer activities around town that we’ve been filming, promoting, and coordinating!

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