AN INTERVIEW WITH VIDEOGRAPHER JIM RADFORD
PRODUCING "Shoreview Reflections"
- WHAT’S THE GIST OF THIS VIDEO?
“Shoreview Reflections …”
is a companion video to the book by Jack Koblas, to help celebrate the City’s 50th Anniversary in 2007. However, there were residents on this land much earlier, native Americans and immigrant
farmers – so, this early history is included as a foundation. The 60-minute
program includes over 25 interviews, edited as a documentary – using the metaphor of a ‘heritage tour’ from
the City’s southern point of Lake Owasso, to Snail Lake, then Turtle Lake, the Rice Creek Watershed in the far Northwest
… and finishes at the central Shoreview Commons and the Slice of Shoreview.
Producing a documentary is all about
story-telling – with more time-constraints than a book, but with more ‘sensory freedoms’ to capture personalities,
emotions, humor, intensity and other nuances through cinematic pacing, sound effects and music.
DO YOU PERSONALLY IDENTIFY WITH THE
A. I wasn’t born
here. And we’re not one of the pioneer families. But after 30 years of raising our family here, we’ve experienced
some of the important growth years in Shoreview. It’s basically a
small town, where I’m comfortable. While
I grew up in the Chicago
suburbs, all my relatives either lived on the farm in southern Illinois, or
on a lake in upper Wisconsin. So,
I know similar people that appear to those we interviewed for the film … people with history and roots, people who worked
through ‘start-ups,’ and survived the depression and development – people with a sense of community that
gathered in conclaves or family neighborhoods. They also exhibit a sense
of acceptance for newcomers or outsiders who may even have a reputation or celebrity …. Some must be kin-folk to Garrison
Keiler’s strong, good looking and above average characters of Lake Wobegon.
HOW DID YOU INTERVIEW THE SUBJECTS?
About a third of the interviews were done in tandem with Jack Koblas, mostly to use time efficiently
for ourselves, and for the interviewees. We ran cameras. lighting and sound,
while Jack interviewed. Jacci Krebsbach has a very deep knowledge of Shoreview
history and people, and did about 1/3 of the interviews. I did the other third
alone … in-studio or on-location. The only unusual effort came on a very
hot day of summer when we taped the Mayor introducing the program from a moving 1957 Chevy, using four cameras, one attached to the outside of the car, while she drove and talked.
The car kept over-heating, as did the crew. The Mayor was very cool!
- HOW DID YOU GET STARTED ON THIS PROJECT?
A. I first approached with the idea of collaborating on a video with his book. This led me to the Shoreview Historical Society and to City Hall, where I met Tom Simonson and Tammy Schutte. They agreed to submitting a grant-request to CTV-15 to cover the film’s expenses. As a long-time producer at CTV, I was aware of their interest in these historical
video projects, and how grants helped other producers. (Last year I won
the CTV award for Creative Excellence, plus a national cable access award, for another large project, an art-film I produced
with Phil Holt, titled “Living Room Fragile.”) I’m
not sure what the next big project will be … maybe another documentary.
Q. WHAT DID YOU CONSIDER FOR MUSIC?
A. Music is such a key component of a documentary. It totally
sets the tone. I wanted to parallel the 1950’s music genre, with golden-oldies,
like Chuck Berry’s ‘Johnnie B’Good’ – but with the farm influence, it seemed like country music
would also fit. So, it’s a mix … country-rock. There’s also a segment recorded at an outdoor concert of Shoreview’s
own Northern Lights Band. Plus live 50’s music from the Slice. So … it’s all carefully-considered to set the tone for this anniversary.
Q. HOW LONG DID IT TAKE TO PRODUCE THIS DOCUMENTARY?
A. These larger projects, with dozens of interviews, take as much as six months to produce. The shooting started in the Spring at the launch of the 50th anniversary, continuing through
July, and then editing required another two months, with some testing and approvals.
I didn’t work on it continuously, since I have other commercial video work, which pays the bills. Most of that is in ‘Special Events’ videography – ie speaker coverage for businesses,
web commercials, sales training, receptions, family histories, weddings, etc.
At the conclusion of the next few projects, I’ll be investing in
High Definition video, which delivers a stunning image for large projection. I’ve
also given some thought to re-focusing my efforts toward more documentaries and travel films – since my wife is a travel
consultant and we travel extensively.
Q. WHAT WOULD MAKE THIS VIDEO A SUCCESS?
A. Well, it’s already a success for me, even though it hasn’t been officially released. That’s because it’s done. Done is good. It was a labor of love and now it’s history – or a part of it.
I like the idea of being part of Shoreview’s history – of my
grand-kids saying, “Grandpa produced this film.” End of answer. But technically – it also would be great if other families found it interesting
and educational and entertaining. I hope that teachers might use it, families,
and researchers – to appreciate our community roots. It’s a
quick ‘read’ – fun to watch. As a DVD, it’s a keepsake,
and timed for Christmas gift-giving. But, it’s not exhaustive. The book is for that. They’ll be sold together. I believe EVERYBODY has a story to tell…
a slice of life. But, we could never document every good story in Shoreview,
so if we can contribute to a ‘slice’ of local history, an appreciation of it, then it’s a success for me.
Q. WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE STORIES IN THIS VIDEO?
A. Hmmm … that’s like asking which are your favorite kids?
Honestly, everybody has a story. Some people are more emphatic or animated
when they tell a story, but we all have had experiences that have helped build lives and community. Some are just a little more emotional or even notorious. For
example – Shoreview’s brush with the gangsters in the 1930’s
was interesting … I never knew much about this. But it raises even more
questions … which might direct viewers to good books on the subject. For
example, why would law enforcement permit bank robbers to live in the community? Who
did that deal? I also lived through the great tornado of 1998 – which brought
home the power of mother nature. I found the exciting audio trck of two storm chasers on the web. And I loved the story Mayor Bill Farrell told about riding up the Twin
Towers, and his line, “I could
see into tomorrow …” And probably the biggest impression you get
from this video is the transition from rural farm to suburban city told by dairy farmer Bill Lundgren. The price of progress…. the cost of war. The
re-use of land. The fortitude of people.
Change is imminent. “Reflections of Shoreview”
is about change … as we look forward, appreciating the past.