I've been freelancing for Weedmaps since September of 2016. Over the past six or seven months, I've shot a handful of dispensaries in the New England area. It's been a lot fun visiting these dispensaries and meeting the people behind them. It's exciting that I get to document this time in history. It's basically our generations equivalent to prohibition. The one question I get all the time when people find out I freelance for Weedmaps is "do you get free samples?". The answer is NO. This industry is "highly" regulated and guarded. Here are some of the most recent shoots from the last few months.
Late last year, I began working with Maggy London, an "attainable, sophisticated, on-trend dress collection." We shot a series of videos for the 2017 holiday season which varied in style and format. In early 2018 we filmed a brand video for their new "Fit for All" campaign which is their "mission to bring more fashion to more women in petite, missy & curve sizes". Unlike most video projects, I only filmed these videos. I didn't edit. They have an awesome, in-house video editor.
I’m writing with warm wishes as 2017 comes to an end. Here are a few highlights from recent videos I created - I’m grateful to have such talented clients and friends who make these projects worth watching.
I’m closing out the year with great projects in the works via the James Beard Foundation and with Maggy London, and stay tuned for a sneak peek from my next shoot at Carnegie Hall!
I hope you have a wonderful holiday season and I look forward to working with you in 2018.
Stephen R. McFadden
This post is about two months over due. I told myself I was going to try and stay on top of posting when an edit was done but I've neglected it a bit. Better late than never. Anyway, my good friend, Chef Darwin visited NYC for the Peruvian to the World Expo to accept an award for Chef of the year. We got to hang and catch up. He also introduced me to some people here in the city. Darwin and I have been making videos together for at least four years so when we get together we know exactly how to make it happen. Here's what we documented.
The saying goes, "the best camera is the one you have with you". I've mostly neglected the power of my iPhone for video. When I first got it, I just new I would be using the 120fps slow mo and other features a lot more than I actually I use them. Hell, I could even shoot in 4k if I wanted. However, I've been using my iPhone a lot recently to document cool events that I've attended. I've found that it helps my creativity to be able to just reach in my pocket start shooting. This information isn't anything new but I'm rediscovering the power of my phone not just has a social media device but as a professional story telling tool.
Building relationships is the single most important part of building a business. As a freelancer and independent "auteur", I rely on these connections for my next job and next big opportunity. A few months ago, while shooting the campaign video for Faviana, I met Vaughn Stewart, photographer and Editor in Chief of Cool America Magazine. Cool America Magazine is an upstart, mens fashion magazine. Vaughn asked if I could shoot the behind the scenes video for a photo shoot featuring Young Paris, Jay-Z's/Roc Nation's newest artist. I jumped at the opportunity. Shooting this video felt so NYC. Big fancy photo studio, stylist and a rooftop. I moved to NYC to have moments like this. The Cool America Team loved the video. I created something that we could all be proud of.
Nate Jacobs, founder and artistic director of West Coast Black Theater Troupe, reached out to me about shooting a music video. I'm not much of a music video creator but I knew could create something. After he told me the idea, I knew I could pull it off. Essentially, "Heavenly Father" is Nate's, Marvin Gaye's "What's Going On", which is a powerful message about today's problems and social issues. Nate and E.J. Porter recorded the song over a year ago but after what happened in Charlottesville, Nate felt it was time to put visuals to the music. I pulled news scenes of riots, protest and other powerful shots of resistance as cutaways in the video to express the sentiments of the song. Nate was extremely happy with the results and I think we got the songs point across.
Before I moved to NYC from Florida, I began helping my friend Kyle produce content for a show series he had. The idea is a mens, lifestyle driven show centered around fashion, health and food. We used Sarasota as a back drop for the first few episodes but we see the show being filmed is major markets around the country. The last couple of trips I've made back to Florida, we've created a couple of smaller, less produced episodes. Who knows, we may be looking for funding for this idea in the future.
A few years ago, I was having drinks at the Ritz-Carlton and from a distance, I see former McDonalds All-American and Mississippi native, Jerod Ward. I quickly introduced myself as he and his wife walked by. I told him I was from Jackson and that I played basketball at St. Joseph. Jerod graduated from Clinton High School (a neighboring city to Jackson) in 1994 and attended the University of Michigan that fall as the best high school player in the country.
Jerod and I stayed in touch over the next few years and even worked on a video project together. Most recently, we teamed up again to produce his speaking demo reel. Jerod is currently a basketball analyst for ESPN and a motivational speaker, sharing his story of overcoming adversity.
It's been an absolute pleasure connecting with Jerod and building a new relationship with another Mississippi native.
All of the work featured here on McFadden Creative has been produced/shot/edited by me. However, I make most my of living as a video editor and some times videographer for other agencies and companies. I was recently hired by VMGROUPE to shoot the behind the scenes for DL 1961's new campaign featuring Emily Ratajkowski. We filmed at The Plaza Hotel inside of the penthouses. It was a pretty fun shoot. I didn't edit this final video but I shot all the b-roll with the exception of the wide 360 shot. One of my goals upon coming to NYC was to work in fashion. Now, after this shoot, I can say that I've done that in a big way.
Marissa and I are back at it again (while it's still warm). NYC is really happening right now between all the events and warm summer days, its time to make the most of these dog days of summer.
First off, we visited the "Shoe-rendez-vous" hosted by M4D3 Shoes. The evening was in invite only event for bloggers and influencers to get their hands on products from the shoe brand. It was a fantastic evening and I met some really great people.
For the second video, we visited the South Street Seaport District for their Summer Concert Series. This was a great event in what I think is an overlooked area of the city. The Seaport District is very historical, pretty and has a lot to offer in terms of restaurants and bars. Marissa earned her rights as a food host in this episode. She stuffed herself with crab rolls, doughnut grill cheese, beer and two servings of ice cream. I think we really hit our stride with this video. I think its our best yet.
My dear friend Jada and her girlfriends took it upon themselves to organize their equivalent of a TED talk for their closest associates and friends. Jada, Veleta and Svetlana are all upping the stakes in their professional careers and these talk were the stepping stone to doing so. They each gave 20 minute talks about the respective topics. Jada's talk was "Confidence from Your Closet", Veleta, "Do it again! How to Take a set back and make it your Comeback" and Svetlana's, "Wisdom of the Heart". The evening was a roller coaster of emotions not only for these three women but for the 60+ women who were in attendance. I'm truly glad I was able to be a part of such a special event. This video is a pre-show behind the scenes of the night leading up to the talks.
One of the things that makes my life rich are my relationships with friends. My friends come from many different backgrounds and they all do very different things for a living. My friend Petra has been running an online business for worldly home decor goods for a couple of years. She recently opened a retail store, really a retail experience because once you step foot in. you'll feel like you've been transported to a far corner of the world. Her insight, knowledge and passion for these goods are infectious. I really enjoyed interviewing her because I got to know her a little better. Enjoy!
It's been exciting to watch the growth of Amon's brainchild, "New York Said", over the past few years. The idea has evolved from not only a book series but into a podcast, videos and even a community of people who just love to hear the stories of others.
I'm always excited about the book launches because of the array of people it brings out. I never know who I'm going to meet or who I'm going to see that I haven't seen in years. I'm also always excited about the parties because I get to be a fly on the wall and document the night. At this point in my life, I can't help but to make a video about everything I do. So here's my video of this years launch party.
My dear friend E.J. Porter reached out to me a couple of months ago asking if I would be able to share some time with him and his teenage mentee, A.J., who's interested in video. He said they would be visiting NYC and if I could teach him a few things about video production. I said absolutely but I had to figure out and plan a small shoot that I could have him assist on. I decided to plan a shoot with the incredibly funny and beautiful Marissa of "Chopsticks and Stilettos".
Marissa and I have been working together for a couple of years on her vlog but we hadn't yet told her story of who she is and how everything came together for her, so I figured this would be a great time to do so. The plan was to shoot in SoHo, get an heartfelt interview and to shoot some lifestyle shots. Here's the BTS of the video shoot.
The entire shoot and day went perfectly. I think we all had a blast and learned a little. The next day, E.J., A.J., and I sat down to edit the video. I showed A.J. around Adobe Premiere, showed him some pointers and things I use most often. I answered a lot of his questions. Watching someone edit a video isn't the most exciting thing so we wrapped our editing session and I finished editing the video the next morning. Here's the final video for Marissa's story.
After shooting the video, we found ourselves at the Nike store in SoHo. It's five floors of Nike goodness. The fifth floor is rightfully dedicated to Mike where there's a basketball court. It's been a couple of years since I picked up the rock. I had to see if I still had it. I do. What can I say, I was born with it.
I was recently interviewed by Amon Focus on his New York Said podcast. We covered a lot of topics from work to house parties. It'll hopefully entertain and inform.
As Spring comes to an end and Summer approaches, dreams of spending time at the beach is at an all time high. Just a couple of weeks ago, I got to get some early beach time in at Coney Island to shoot a lifestyle fashion video for Faviana. Although it wasn't sunny, the overcast day was perfect for our shoot. Overcast days are like a big, beautiful soft box of light. Shooting fashion videos is beginning to be one of my favorite things to create. Here's what Faviana is calling the "Social Occasion Collection".
Just two years ago, I went to my first Bushwick Collective Block Party. It was great seeing the street art scene transform a community. At the same time, I met, Ramone, owner of Lot45. I got him to speak on camera about the days festivities and I put together a video that he and his team loved. Ever since then, he and Lot45 became friends and clients of mine. Fast forward to this year where we created another video based on the same event.
Lot45 and Abby Hertz have put together another great food and cultural event. This time they produced a Frida Kahlo themed Cinco de Mayo party.
Over the years, Amon Focus has produced a diverse range of media projects. He's created web series, travels videos, podcast and books just to name a few. Howl Happening recently debuted an interview Amon created with Arturo Vega, famed artist who created the Ramones logo. Sadly, shortly after Amon shot the interview, Arturo passed away. Amon sat on the interview for fours years until now. The interview was shown on the last night of "Empire: An Arturo Retrospective". Here's the video recap of the night.