"Executing a stills shoot of similar scope in many ways would have been more stressful," he says, "in the sense that I would have been the guy lying on the ground, fiddling with camera details and trying to direct talent at the same time. But with video shoots, if the budget allows, the director can be the important bridge between the shooter, the talent and the client. And that's a thrilling place to be. I don't claim it to be more important than any role in the crew because it's not; it just happens to be a wonderful place to be working, right in the heart of the action.
"I'm also not convinced the results would have been as good," he continues, "for the main reason that it would be rare to give that many resources to a photography campaign. It would have been rare to achieve 10 scenes that have that kind of consistency and quality. We had a crew of 12 people we had to bring in and talent and airplane costs and an art department. There's a lot of resources in it."
Before he was trusted with that big budget, though, remember that Stableford quite literally paid his dues of time, money and creative energy on those earlier projects. It's a path that he believes in and one that he encourages other photographers to follow.
If all goes well, you press 'Record' on the camera and call 'Action!' to the talent. It's not rocket science, it's simply a lot of hard work, long in advance of the actual 10-minute sunrise shoot."Like a lot of stories," he says, "there was a mix of magic and luck. But, there were many years of pretty darn heavy investing into this—research, training, and self-funded and volunteer projects—so that I could get up to speed in this arena. I always point people at all levels to do the volunteering thing. Not because you'll make the world a better place—which, of course, you will, which is great, and we all should—but for the purely selfish reason that you'll hear and share stories you simply won't hear in the everyday world. You'll hear stories that deserve to be shown in film and still images. That, to me, has been a big source of inspiration and connection to the community, and to the world.
"Nonprofits, as a rule, have terrible marketing," Stableford adds. "They're trying to save the world; marketing is the last thing they think about. But, photographers or filmmakers can bring something incredibly valuable to them; it's far more helpful than if we're just helping to bring a hammer to a Habitat for Humanity house. We're leveraging our skills many times more, and we get something great in the process—whatever that is. Maybe you want to learn to get closer and shoot tighter portraits. Shoot the best five sunset portraits you've ever shot for a land conservation trust, or whatever it is you want to do. Do it selfishly. Because when you're selfish about it, you'll be a better volunteer. You'll commit yourself with your whole heart, and you won't leave until the job is done."
You can see It's In Your Nature, Shattered and more of Tyler Stableford's still photography and motion work at www.tylerstableford.com.
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