Monday, September 8, 2008

Immortalizing Life - My First Camera

I bought my first camera following the birth of our first child, Anne Marie, in 1997. She was named after my older sister who died shortly after birth. Something in there about wanting to immortalize life. Children awaken you in more ways than one! They release you from captivity to a clock, often leaving you bowing before a mystery. Suddenly you feel so small. Suddenly your eyes are opened beyond a mere wave to a vast ocean, where you find yourself aware of an ebb and flow of time. The whole thing captures you. That's when I bought the camera... an attempt capture what was capturing me.

So camera often in hand, I took miles of footage... every step, every word, every event. Anne Marie is as comfortable in front of the camera as Katie Couric, as are our five kids that followed. We would often create our own "on the spot" scripts in unique places, like when we hiked Wintergreen Gorge three years ago, or a family dance or music fest with family friends such as Bob Halligan of Ceili Rain (, or any number of big events I organized while leading a large youth and young adult program.

Any way, our family "video container" became a "video crate," which quickly became "video crates"... learning, learning, learning... and somewhere in there someone recognized I have a real talent for visual story telling, particulary of the inspirational type. Demand grew quickly and six years ago I began my own companies- film/video (Imago Dei Video Productions) along with vision/mission development and marketing (ID Genesys), which got tapped to do some pretty cool things - contributing to Disney/ Walden's Narnia, Warner Brothers Superman Returns and Lady in the Water, A&E's God or the Girl, Catholic Exchange's Champions of Faith.... On the video side I produced a film for Greater NYC Boy Scouts that won a national marketing award, and was the centerpiece to their development campaign which raised over $14 Million. I'm just finishing a film for national Boy Scouts of America that will be distributed nationally.

All of that for me was something like walking on the water, a combination of sinking and believing in something you've never done before, knowing you can't do it by yourself, not quite having proof that it can be done... but looking ahead and being captured by something, believing in something beyond words, that becomes your focus... that keeps you above water... and you keep going.

Looking back now it's amazing that we've been living this way for five years-- without a guaranteed pay check, without taking a dime from anyone. It's become a kind of a mission behind a mission-- a proclamation that we're all called to do something... we need to discover what we're meant to do and go for it, with everything we've got... to stick with it. We have a purpose.

So following the film for National Boy Scouts, I "knew" there was some new direction capturing me... I needed to venture out again. Something compelled me to go to Celebrate Erie (2008) to figure it out. Talk about an ocean! But I took the first step outside my comfortable boat, and again found myself walking! This time my focal point was the amazing beauty of individual lives... I saw a little of myself in just about everyone that passed, but connected with three, unique, very different, very special people.

So here I am, two weeks before billboards hit the City, still tweaking out the site, identifying advertisers... and trusting that the huge investment is worth it, that others will connect with the amazing thing I see... a "big" that has more to do with one person than with a crowd....

Thanks for reading.
Stay tuned.

Greg Schlueter

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