Collaboration is the Real Spirit of Community

December 2013 Director’s Blog

Working on “Strong” ( with producers Andrew Lane (Drew Right Music) and Christine Berry (Anjou Film & Entertainment) has been an experience of what I believe real collaborative efforts should be.  No ego, no politicking, no angling for leverage.  Just pure sharing and a convergence of ideas and energy to create something bigger than all of us separate parts.

The best way to talk about this type of collaboration is to tell you the story of how “Strong” went from idea to reality, in just a matter of days.

Christine, of Anjou Film & Entertainment, approached us to cover a workshop here in Calgary for young artists and actors.  She had invited Andrew from Los Angeles, who was going to conduct this seminar along with Mariah Parks and Daniel Curtis Lee.  We of course said yes, knowing that Andrew had worked extensively in the music and performing industry, and because Christine is a dear friend.  Meanwhile, the typhoon hit the Philippines on Nov 8, and when Andrew saw the news and when he heard that I am also Filipino, he was moved to produce a song.  Christine took this further and came up with the idea that we produce the video, and we use local Calgary talent to sing the song.  At that moment, the project took off.  

Being a professional cinematographer and producer/filmmaker duo, Candace and I have accumulated quite a few friends in the industry here in Calgary, and Candace immediately went to work recruiting people for this project.  

Days before the workshop, Andrew sent us the demo of the song.  On Saturday December 7th, about 30 singers, along with the seminar participants, came together at The Beach Audio Studios in Inglewood, Calgary, and together we recorded as well as shot all the sequences that made up the song and video.  Andrew was in the studio mixing room, and I was with the talent in the live recording room. 

At about 3 hours into the recording and filming, which was pretty much at the end of our last sequences, I took a moment to ponder how this all came together, and how generous and amazing everyone was, putting self promotion aside and simply coming together for the sake of the project.  We had a huge number of accomplishments assembled in that room, and normally there could have been a sense of competitive jockeying taking place, but none of that was to be found.  You could hear the love and the sense of oneness in how each person sang their line, or sang the choir parts together.  The sense of community was palpable, and there was such pride that each one could use their craft to bring help to someone else in need.  I was almost in tears.

Andrew went home on the 9th, got us the master track in a couple days, and we had the video cut and mastered and online on the 12th.

This showed me, that no matter who we are or what our background is, the power to care and reach out and help is capable of accomplishing amazing things.  We are a global community, we are no longer different cultures to ourselves.  We share this tiny planet and our words (and our songs) resonate throughout, with either the power to destroy or create.  Candace & I, we choose to create.  We choose to love, even though in loving we are vulnerable to pain and hurt.  We have learned, and are teaching our 5 year old daughter, that it is always better to love and share than to take and hold back, that it is better to open up than shut down, and that it is better to step out then to be afraid.

I challenge you, to do the same.  Step out.  Connect with others.  Do something for a cause or person/persons you care about, and find and motivate others around you to do the same.  You will be changed in the process.  And is that not what will change the world, that we change?   

Changing the world, one person at a time.  


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