Scouting for Soul Food

Road to heaven near Petersburg NE Treated Jamie Vesay WM IMG_1818 - Version 2
Some times, you just have to get in your vehicle and drive…

As part of my job, I am often asked to scout for locations that reside in the country. Some call it rural, others assume the middle of nowhere.  I say, I could do this scout every day.  The metaphors about roads and getting-away-from-it-all are too plentiful. Perhaps another case of over-thinking the simplest of things.  Ironic, that many of us are so busy driving everywhere except where we want to go, we have little time left over to drive where we want to go, for ourselves, with ourselves.

Then there are days when I don’t have anything specific to find but a drive is in order. In most cases, curiosity will literally take me down that road where I always wondered “What is down there?”  Or it could be on the way to somewhere else but I’ve seen that same route too many times.  Always opt for the scenic route or go the other way.

Just get in your vehicle and drive.  Yes, keep an eye on the road but discover the sky and creativity of the clouds.  Pause randomly and look as if you were the widest of camera lenses.  Wave back to the passing farmer because he’s going to wave at you.


A little life location scout of your own will do good.  Think of it as inspiration.  Imprint it to your soul.  Enjoy the journey.  Relish the stops.  Call it back and rediscover it another day.  Make the time – even if you’re going tomorrow.Sun beams from the clouds over AG Treated Jamie Vesay WM IMG_1849 - Version 2

COPYRIGHT Jamie Vesay  USE requires permission.

More Collaboration Please

Stone steps at Pedernales SP TX Jamie Vesay IMG_0264 - Version 2 treated and WMWM

I work with independent creative minds. Most days, it’s a blessing. Other times, a curse.

Think about all the flavors you would need to combine when trying to come up with a next new flavor. When it works, it feels like it happened relatively easy. When it tastes like crap or isn’t happening or you’re at it alone – once again, you wonder ‘Why is this so difficult?”

All of us have a slightly different definition of Collaboration. I like the Merriam-Webster added value of “Especially in an intellectual endeavor.”  But what is it?

Here would be a good place for that “I don’t know how to explain it but I know it when I see it” line but I’ll refrain. Truth is, you have already experienced some sort of collaboration in your lifetime. Did you notice? Was it good? Are you now addicted?

I know I am.

Collaboration for me is working on a film set or brainstorming with writers or working out the perfect location for a photograph. Within my business, when it works well, I call it Production Nirvana. If this genuinely raw, exhilarating collaboration happens to you – trust me, you will indeed want more – and soon.

Surrounding yourself with genuine collaborators can be challenging. If you work within a non-creative environment it can be non-existent. If you think a staff meeting to review the weekly plan or to get caught up with the latest greatest work news and half of the people in the room would rather be checking their social network status (and they are) – then that is not collaborating.

Me?  I am hungry as hell for more of it. If you want to make creative motion pictures within a collaborative environment – I would love to hear from you.

You?  Well if you have already tasted it, you know. If you have not, it might take a bit of hard work to get there. But try.

Climb the steps. Do better than good-enough. I dare you to do it just once.


Words and photo COPYRIGHT Jamie Vesay  USE requires permission.


Edited April 2016

cropped-sunrise-in-trees-and-fog-jamie-vesay-trd-via-cameraplus-iphone-small-wm.jpgWhat if you woke up one day and everything about what you do for a living was different? From tangibles to tools, from processes to people; all have been renamed. The services you use for your work life now mean and do something else. All technical formats you are familiar with have changed. Your crew, titles, and tasks have new names – and definitions.

As a twenty-plus-year working professional within the production of commercial images (new definition) – and more often struggling to find the best match of project, fair wage, and career equity – the answer to What the hell has happened? can be found within the comparison of meanings.

In my opinion, the dictionary has been rewritten.

Most businesses (of any kind) experience change in their lifetimes and as the saying goes, ‘adapt or die.’ But since our industry’s paradigm has been so altered – many of the titles, processes, paperwork, and technology (dressed as latest-greatest meets previously-used hybrids) have become unrecognizable.

Theories aplenty are spewed daily about how the creative industry can be better and how we can ALL thrive – not just survive. Aside from the obvious upside down math of too many cameras for not enough clients, old-school colleagues will still retort the basics of business:

  • “If your product is good, people will find you – and pay.” 
  • “If your process is consistently smooth, clients will return.” 
  • “Bring and build value.”
  • “Provide a return on investment.”

I agree with these practices in an industry where the buyer knows the definition of these things. But in a business cycle of good-enough, project award decision-making reflecting nepotism, and race to the lowest price (even FREE!) – words such as skills, experience, craft (?), mindset, and client services are rarely part of conversations.

It wasn’t always like this.

I try to remain idealistic about the latter elements still hanging on and in some circles, still being required. Yet I continue to experience their decline and disinterest on new projects. Embarrassingly, I find myself pining for the basics of a worker; loyalty, dress code, safety, communication, and being on time.

Yes, this post is a subjective to marketplace. Some of you may be so busy with work, you couldn’t give a flying about any of this. If you are crazy busy, you’re not even reading this…  Perhaps some of the big picture answers are located near the fact that standard operating procedures in our industry were never ever defined and effectively enforced.

As the questions continue to waste more of our time, one thing I know for sure. Nobody knows the definition of the future.


Photos & words are COPYRIGHT Jamie Vesay USE requires permission.