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Making Our New Documentary: “Sweet Rock: The Red Weasel Story”

There’s a famous quote about sculpting that we think applies to storytelling, too:

A bystander asked an equestrian sculptor how
he did it. The sculptor replied: “I just chip away
everything that doesn’t look like a horse.”
(unknown)

Earlier this year, Media Boomtown began chipping away at a slab of raw material collected over late 2010 and 2011. We had over 12 hours of footage and interviews, over 100 photographs, 30 or so music tracks, and a handful of documents that chronicled the story of a band called “Red Weasel”. Today, we are proud to announce to you that we have ourselves a horse: “Sweet Rock: The Red Weasel Story”.

Red Weasel was a band in Salisbury, MD from about 1988 to 1991. The 5 members of Red Weasel were in tune with a very different set of influences than what was around them at the time. Adam Robinson (vocals), Scott Hedeen and Dean Cartwright (guitars), Chet Cornman (bass), and Steve Messick (drums) served up a stew of punk and metal that was not always polished, and not always well received at the time. There was a small, solid core of loyal friends and fans, but mainstream success eluded them. Time would prove them right, however. A scant few months after their breakup, an album from a band called Nirvana would change the entire musical landscape forever.

For years, the band’s home-recorded tapes and one professionally recorded demo tape were traded and copied among the Salisbury faithful. After CD recorders and mp3s gave analog recordings new life and portability, the Red Weasel tracks were digitized and traded again.

In 2010, Benn Ray (one of the original Salisbury Red Weasel fans and co-owner of Atomic Books in Baltimore) did some talking and twisted some arms to get Red Weasel back together again for a one-off show. Enter Media Boomtown.

We recorded the band practicing again in Salisbury a few days before the Baltimore show. We also interviewed everyone in the band, original friends and fans, and the producer of their 1991, 7-song demo EP. Then the supporting material started to trickle in: videotapes of gigs, cassette recordings, the original EP master tapes, photographs, and poster designs. Suddenly we were staring at a big slab of raw material that had to be carved into an interesting narrative; one that would be engaging even to someone who wasn’t there at the time, and didn’t know these people. We were chipping away at everything that wasn’t the horse.

With so much raw material, covering a variety of subjects, there are many rabbit holes you can crawl down when drafting a story. Our first edit of “Sweet Rock” was about 50 minutes long. After taking a serious look at repeated thoughts and stray tangents, we did what a lot of filmmakers call “killing the babies”: hacking things out (even if we liked them) because they didn’t serve the story that was unfolding. After some hemming and hawing (and a few passionate discussions, we must admit), the length of the film came down to about 33 minutes. We had no preconceived notion as to how long this film should be, so telling the best story we could with the materials at hand (and no narrator) kind of naturally brought us to that timing.

We think you’ll really enjoy it.

Now that the film is done, we could use your help. Please “like” Sweet Rock: The Red Weasel Story on facebook, and visit sweetrockdoc.com for updates on screenings near you. We’ve also started a Kickstarter profile to help us finance the duplication of the film and recordings. Please share the links. Tell a few friends.

The 1990’s are coming back. With the 20th Anniversary of both Nirvana’s “Nevermind” album and Pearl Jam’s forming (and all of the related re-issues, documentaries, and press), it seems that America is poised to revisit grunge music again. Red Weasel just barely missed the first wave in 1991. Hopefully, thanks to “Sweet Rock”, we’ll be able to give them some of the attention that they deserve.

Roger Ebert Ain’t Got Nothin’ On Us…

It takes a lot of work to produce a film. Whether it’s a Hollywood Blockbuster with a large cast and crew, or a small documentary executed entirely by one person, it’s a BIG undertaking. It takes commitment and passion for the subject matter to bring a project from idea to paper to screen.

In addition to a love of the subject, a filmmaker also needs to enjoy the actual process (the “nitty gritty” involved) to see a project through to completion. Between costs, coordination, and content, we always appreciate the effort involved in getting that message or story in front of us, or into our hands.

That’s why we were so honored to be judges for this year’s Prometheus Film Festival. The festival is in its second year. Originally started as a showcase for South-Central PA filmmakers, it has grown to include all of Pennsylvania, Maryland and beyond.

If the name “Prometheus Film Festival” sounds familiar in the Boomtown, it’s because our first documentary, “Pure Imagination: The Secrets of Comics Creation” took the honor of best short documentary at the inaugural festival. Proud of the win, and impressed at the dedication of the festival organizers, we volunteered to judge this year as a way to give back.

We saw a lot of well-produced film in a wide range of genres and styles. We are not at liberty to discuss which films we actually judged, but trust us there are a lot of great, passionate storytellers out there. And while we believe some of the work was better than others (hey that’s what judging is, right?), each filmmaker and their film are to be celebrated for reaching an audience, because that’s what it’s all about!

If you’re a film buff, and would like to see what your neighbors and friends are up to, come out to the 2nd annual Prometheus Film Festival. It’s being held this Friday and Saturday, August 19th and 20th at York Little Theatre. You just may see Ed or Dan there, so come by and say hello. For more information, visit www.2011prometheusfilmfestival.org.

And one last note…we won’t be judging for the festival next year, because we’ll be entrants again! In fact, we took some of the lessons we learned from these films and applied them to our own. We’ll talk more about that as we put the finishing touches on our 2nd documentary! We’ll tell you all about it soon…VERY SOON!

Media Boomtown – Little League Champions!

Wow, what a crazy spring it was! Here in the Boomtown, the constant rain kept the little league schedule up in the air. When combined with our production schedule, it really made it hard to get out to the games the way we would have liked. We didn’t know that we were going to have such trouble getting out. We didn’t know these kids would be so good!

Penbrook-Pirates-Picture-Day-Photo1-300x212Penbrook Pirates’ “Majors” (sponsored by Media Boomtown) gave the community a lot to be proud of this season. Since we were having trouble getting to the park, we relied on field reports from coach Lou Hernandez. Game after game, the word came in: ”We won today”. ”Won again.” ”Close one”. Well, before long we were informed that the Pirates were undefeated and heading to the playoffs.

We made time to get to the last couple of games, and we are so glad that we did, because the Penbrook Pirates won the championship game! Here is the video that we put together for the team. Our original intent was to make a “meet the team” video, and then follow up all spring with highlights from a few games. Instead, we combined both concepts for the summary of the last playoff games.

The Pirates Win it All!!

In our earlier blog entry, we mentioned Ed Fox’s grandfather’s regular little league sponorships in Hampden Township, in the 1960′s. Upon telling Ed’s uncle about the Pirates victory, Tom Samuel said, “You know they do that on purpose. They give new sponsors the best team hoping that their success will bring the sponsor back year after year.” Well, maybe they do and maybe they don’t – but I’ll tell you this: it was a great thrill to see the kids enjoying themselves, staying sportsman-like and poised all year, and taking home the hardware for their efforts.

Congratulations, Penbrook Pirates! Have a great summer.

New Featured Video

Hey There. It’s been a while, hasn’t it? Sorry about that. Our Moms wonder why we don’t blog more often, too. Rest assured there are A LOT of very cool things in the works. We just need to keep some details under wraps for a little while longer. We think you’ll be quite pleased when we start to unveil it, though.

In the meantime, make sure you check out the new ‘Featured Video’ on the homepage. It’s for a group of companies based in West Virginia called the T-bird Group. They make lots of cool parts for the hydraulic industry.

That’s one thing about working in video: it really does lead you down some different paths. You get a peek behind the curtain into some really interesting things.

We were so pleased to work with our friends at ADS Creative Strategies to make this multi-platform video. The production was originally shown at an industry trade show as part of the T-bird Group booth, and now serves as a marketing video for them.

In fact, this video demonstrates a few great ways to get more bang for your video buck! As mentioned, planning on several uses upfront makes for a wise investment. Another way to keep costs down is to use some still images in association with moving video content. For more ways to find out how to keep your video costs down, give us a call and let’s talk about your story.

Back to the edit system.

Stay tuned…

A Gift for You

Spring is finally here – time for new life, and new lives together. Yes, along with the bountiful show outside our windows, a warm display of beauty and joy takes place inside so many hearts.

In other words: It’s wedding season!

We LOVE weddings. After all, we love a good story and we love to document important events. In many ways, a wedding is the ultimate emotional story assignment. We cut our teeth on work that demands patience, observation, and quick creativity, so it comes naturally to us.

Frankly, we’d like to be invited to your wedding. And since we know that it’s rude to come empty-handed, we even brought a gift.

Backstory:

l1-300x203Our friend (and client) Brooks West is a singer-songwriter in Fargo, ND. He spent many years in Harrisburg, PA and has a large network of friends and fans throughout several states.

A few years ago, Brooks penned a beautiful song for his sister’s wedding, called “The Pledge.” The song is a touching, folk-y ballad that brought a tear to every eye. For years, people have been commenting on its beauty, and asking where they can get a copy. Brooks never recorded it, and so that tender moment was gone. Until now.

At our special request, Brooks dropped into a studio and laid the song down. One voice. One acoustic guitar. Pure raw honesty. He is letting us share it with you for a brief time. Eventually it will be available on iTunes, but we have it here now: a limited engagement for your forever day.

Just go to our wedding page and look for the link under the header. Click the link to download “The Pledge”, and enjoy.

For more, please go to iTunes and search “Brooks West”. He has 2 full-length albums and an EP that we’re sure you’ll enjoy.

Media Boomtown – Sports Moguls!

Samuel-Little-League-Team1-300x243No egos, no multi-million dollar salaries, no merchandising machine, and no substance abuse issues — just pure sport for the love of sport. This is baseball the way it was meant to be. This season, Media Boomtown is proud to be sponsoring a little league team!

The Penbrook Athletic Association will be home to the Media Boomtown team. One group of lucky young people will catch grounders, steal 2nd, or maybe round the bases with “Media Boomtown” across their shoulders. Opening day is scheduled for Saturday, April 16th.

We wanted to give back to our community, and encourage participation in team sports by sponsoring a team. It also felt a little bit like a family tradition. Co-founder Ed Fox’s grandfather was a regular supporter of little leagues. He was an independent insurance appraiser in Hampden Township, and really enjoyed the publicity…sure, but he also enjoyed fostering camaraderie among young people, and contributing to the quality of life of the community.

So, stay tuned. We’ll let you know where you can see our Boomtown boys, and how their season is going.
So “Bob Samuel” translated to “B.S.” on their hats. That’s pretty funny.

Welcome to the New Site!

Thanks for stopping by and visiting the Brand New mediaboomtown.com. We’d like to thank our friends at Sunken Treasure Design and Marketing for doing such a great job. Please take a few minutes and look around, then come back and make sure you let us know what you think. Feedback is always welcome!

Have a great day!

Glenn Hamilton

“Media Boomtown are true professionals. These guys are artists that happen to run a small business. They have been giving us stellar results. Media Boomtown rocks!”
Glenn Hamilton
“The River” 97.3 FM WRVV
ClearChannel Broadcasting

Tanner Rebeil

“So professional and accommodating. The final video was amazing. More than we had hoped for…………………………………………………………………………….”
Tanner Rebeil

M. Williams

“The video is beautiful, funny and touching. We could not have imagined a more perfect documentary. You captured the emotion of the day in such a way that (we) can relive it for many years to come.”
M. Williams