I was in Dover Delaware, doing video work for Bright Ideas Press, when I got the call from Chicago, ”You are being drafted!”
…Okay, it may not have been as intense as all that, but when you are offered video work for a week out in Chicago, but you have to be ready to fly out in two days, it feels like a draft. Though the only thing I’ll be asked to shoot is my camera.
My girlfriend Sheila, it was her sister, Linzy, who did the drafting. She was up against the wall of a deadline. Having scheduled over 60 interviews with students at Trinity, where she works in the Marketing and Creative Service department, and suddenly losing her videographer days before they were scheduled to shoot all of them, she needed someone who could shoot on short notice. I was that guy.
I haven’t talked much about myself in many of my posts, but I’m brand new to being a business owner. Avellino Studios was established in March, a couple months after, I lost my painting job and really felt God calling me to video production (I can write more about that later). So, being new, the company, which I will often refer to as if it were another person, really needs work coming in of any kind, therefor, I was that guy Linzy could call to do video work on a moments notice.
Well, I flew in yesterday morning. My evening prior consisted of waiting for Sheila to arrive in Delaware so that we could drive together to my parents’ home in Philadelphia. A friend was coming in to town, Daniel Hyland, who, the next day, would be taking my little sister to prom. Busy weekend amongst the Avellinos! On our way to my house, Sheila and I picked Daniel up from the airport. By the time the three of us arrived at my parent’s house, it was already 12:30 am and in five hours, I would be leaving again for the airport.
Sheila and I stayed up and talked with Daniel around the fire pit in the backyard about poetic things; Daniel is a true poet, living, breathing, and producing poetry. We also talked about a story he has been developing for over a year. At the ideas conception, he told me about it in the hope of enlisting my service transforming the idea into a movie. A year later, the complex story he had wove together had become more realized in his head and the points he had struggled to convey to me earlier, he did now with more confidence. All that to say, we talked for quite awhile about it and before we knew it, it was 3:00 am and I had 2 hours left before I had to leave for the airport.
We put out our fire and Daniel went to bed while Sheila and I stayed up. I still had some packing to do. I finished, with an hour and a half to spare, which we filled with talk of tumbleweed homes and future video projects, one of which will be a video trailer (I’ve never known what to think of these, any opinions?) promoting her book, Sketch, a project I really can’t wait to start. We talked about long distance relationships and how we couldn’t wait to no longer be long distance. FInally, we talked about when that day would be and what it might possibly look like. Then we left.
At the airport, we pulled out in front of the airline we thought was mine; I would later open my ticket to find out I was one word off and one airline over from the one I’d be flying. At the moment though, I was hugging Sheila just outside her car and despite the car honking behind us (or perhaps in spite of that car) I stayed their, not wanting to leave when I had only gotten to see her for a day in the last couple of weeks. But I did leave, saying ‘goodbye’ and blowing a kiss to the beautiful girl God had blessed me with, as I and my three bags walked through the airline doors. Moments later we ran out from those same doors and down an airline over to the correct airliner.
On the plane I sat next to a man whose size took up his own seat as well as mine. There were only two seat rows on that side of the plane. So, the window and I became well acquainted over the next hour and a half flight. This wasn’t a terrible thing though; I don’t fly often and to see our world from so high up, sailing over clouds, getting a better view of them than what their underbellies had to offer, was an experience.
The flight was quick and so were the sudden dozes I took through out it. With my things claimed from baggage, I walked with excitement through the sliding double doors of the airliner, taking in my first deep breaths of Chicago air. As it happens, Chicago air is much colder than Philadelphia air. The next few moments were spent rummaging my things for a warmer shirt, but after that I was picked up by Linzy, who was so relieved to see her backup plans coming together. Having only a twenty-five minute car ride to the school, Trinity International University, we spent the first 20 minutes of it talking about what we needed to do that day to shoot. The next five minutes were spent, realizing we’d been traveling in the wrong direction and figuring out how to turn around. The forty-five minutes following that, were spent updating each other on the goings on of life.
Primarily, I prefer to shoot all my video with digital single lens reflex (dslr) cameras. But, they have some internal problems that, for this shoot, I would need to find a solution for and I did find that solution. It came in the form of new firmware developed by other (more tech-savy) dslr camera users called, Magic Lantern. In the small space of time between arriving at the Marketing and Creative Services Department building and when we had to do our first shoot, I figured out how to download this firmware…But not how to use it. I went into the shoot and suddenly found myself with more options on my camera than I knew what to do with. It fixed the problem with a million solutions that I didn’t recognize. On no sleep and adrenaline, the days three hours of work went well, but just barely.
When we finished, I was given a time for dinner with Linzy and her husband, Dan, and was dropped off at my hotel, expected to take a nap. I really didn’t want to take a nap. I didn’t want my evening with them to be one where I was still groggy and out of sorts from the short time spent sleeping. So, I showered and cleaned up, which seemed refreshing enough. I grabbed my phone and sat on the couch in my room and spent the next thirty minutes talking to Sheila. I had only thirty minutes after that till Dan would come and bring me to their apartment. So, I spent the next passing moments sleeping for an hour, apparently ignoring Dan who had arrived 20 minutes earlier and had been knocking, calling my cell, and finally resorted to buzzing my room.
Sound of my room phone was definitely one meant to wake the dead and those certain guests who ask for a wake up call to resurrect them. Much like the undead and those guests, I moaned and by unknown means, I animated my body to answer the phone and then the door where Dan politely had been waiting for me. I went looking for my shoes and thankfully found some energy as well before leaving with Dan.
Though I had done the video work for their wedding almost a year earlier, I had not gotten to know Dan and Linzy very well. Through my entire relationship with Sheila to date, they have lived at least a one-and-half-hour plane ride away. So, other than the occasional family get together where they were able to make the flight or drive over to the east coast, I haven’t had much opportunity to spend time with them. This trip is a huge opportunity to build my relationship with them and I was concerned how much we’d be able to connect through out this week. But as we talked over a wonderful dinner that Linzy prepared and laughed over funny stories related to one another, as we moved the conversation to the couches and talked about Dan’s hopes for when he gets through seminary and my odd dream of building a tiny house for me and Sheila, my worries were cast off. I went to sleep that night in my hotel after a long two-day day, but with assurance that an exciting and growth-full weekend was a head of me.
Sorry, my first blog post was such a read. I’ll be concise in the future.
-Arel J. Avellino