This week I got to interview a few people outside of Brasserie Les Halles, Anthony Bourdain's former restaurant, to hear what he meant to them. It's been a sad week here in NYC.
It's been three years now that I've been documenting The Bushwick Collective Block Party on behalf of Lot45. I look forward to this event every year. It represents the beginning of summer and the overall creative energy of Brooklyn. I hope to do more videos like this during the summer all over NYC. Here's the video from this past weekend.
While shooting the event, I also got great coverage of the Monster Energy drink booth. They had a full on experience with a DJ, breakdancers and free energy drinks. I met the MC of the party and cut a video specifically centered around the Monster brand. He shared the video on Instagram where it got a lot of love. Here's that video.
Once again, I've found myself working in education. This time I was hired by a coaching and tutoring firm called Marianne's Alpha Kappa. Mak Math provides a unique educational experience tailored to the individual needs of students with a special focus on French speaking students crossing over into an American system of learning. Marianne, the fearless leader of the company, had a very unique vision of what she wanted from the video. Since the classes take place in art galleries, she wanted parts of the video to feel very abstract and artsy. You'll notice the b-roll is black and white and the interviews are in color. This was a fun video to make. This video came together like a mini-doc. Lots of candid interviews, shooting in different environments and an overall inspiring story.
Friday afternoon, I get a text message from my friend Nadia saying there's a Volkswagen event in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. I asked if it was a vintage Volkswagen (we all know I love vintage Volkswagens) show and she says no, it's for the new Jetta. After looking up the show and realizing it would be cool, I decided to go. Luckily, I had my video equipment with me. "Jetta Haus" was a full on interactive experience promoting the release of the 2019 Volkswagen Jetta. The experience included an ambient lighting room, a turbo engine experience, test driving demo, musical performances and a doughnut wall. Spring/Summer is what I like to call "corporate event season". A lot of companies use the warmer season to market new ideas and products. These events lend themselves for great video opportunities. Here's my video from "Jetta Haus".
I got invited to be on the press list for this years Brooklyn Designs. The show is held at the Brooklyn Museum which isn't far from where I live. Brooklyn Designs showcases designers, architects and artist. I was introduced to Hana Getachew, Founder and CEO of Bolé Road Textiles. I asked her a few questions on camera and the rest is history. Here's that interview.
Earlier this year, I spent a few weeks down in Florida working on some video projects. While I was there, I connected with my friends Dale and Jenny. They're both very creative and passionate people. They own and operate a furniture shop, photo studio and art space called Wood Street Studio. I've been wanting to make this video for years but I finally got my time this trip. My favorite line from this video is "I wanted to be self employed so I could take time off to go surfing".
A few weeks ago, I attended the Architectural Digest Design Show 2018. It was a fun afternoon where I got inspired by home furnishings, accessories, lighting, and much more. Attending this event is basically "street dreaming" at it's best. I couldn't afford anything there but it's fascinating to see what other people are designing and buying.
The thing I was most excited about was I got to bring my new camera to the event. I figured it would be the perfect place to bring it since these are the conditions I get asked to shoot in the most. I really wanted to test it out in the natural light of a huge event space. The camera held up pretty well and worked like a charm. I got a couple of interviews and shot lots of b-roll. You can see the Sony HXR-NX80 at work in the videos below.
The icing on the cake of this day was that I got to meet Shantell Martin, who has become a really important artist over the past 5 years or so. She had her own video crew there so I didn't bother asking for an interview. She was very kind for taking this picture with me.
Sometimes, word of mouth is the best marketing. I was introduced to Kali from another client almost two years ago. Kali is a subscription box service delivering chemical-free, organic tampons and all natural feminine essentials every month directly to your door. Fast forward to now and we're still working together. This past winter, we shot a series of videos featuring Chelsea Talmadge from Stranger Things and Alicia Quarles from the Daily Mail. Although, these videos are a lot of fun, we filmed them in the dead of winter. Whatever it takes to achieve greatness. These videos have been rolling out since November. Stay tuned for more.
I've been fortunate and lucky enough that video has allowed me to by a fly on the wall to so many culturally enriching experiences. I can't exactly explain who Decoda is in my own words so I snagged a section from their website that best describes who they are. "Decoda is a New York City-based modular chamber ensemble dedicated to creating meaningful musical experiences through dynamic performances, education, and a quest for social impact."
I've been lucky enough to produce a couple of brand videos about their 2017 South Africa trip and their 2017 Skidmore Chamber Music Institute. These are some of the best chamber musicians in the world and I got to work with them.
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.