Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Thoughts on Escalate Live...

So, I, like the 1200-1800 people I saw online at any given time tuned into the Escalate Live workshop/seminar/experience. It went more or less how I expected it to go. I wasn't expecting much, but there were a few highlights in the mix, notably Jerry Ghionis, and Jeremy Cowert.

Here is the breakdown of what I thought by speaker.

Dane Sanders-There were some technical glitches, both in terms of audio and visual during Dane's talk. I'm wondering if it wasn't tested before to make sure things went smoothly. After about 15 minutes of hearing blips, and clicks, and watching the Ustream buffering wheel spin, I gave up, and went back to the Twitter stream until it resolved itself.

I will say that seeing Dane do a post talk interview with each person after they talked was a little lame. It sorta ruins the flow after seeing someone like Ghionis rock the room, and then Dane has his little question and answer session.

Becker-Becker is Becker. I've said it before, but, I have zero problems with him. He's a straight shooter, and when he spouted off about branding, "Pictage=Spam", he dropped a bomb that is still resonating throughout Twitter/Facebook. I've seen at least 2 or 3 blogs already dedicated to "fixing your brand" "second chances", etc. and I'm sure there will be more in the coming weeks. I still don't share Becker's love for U2, but, other than that, I felt his talk was pretty good and about what I expected.

J*-I've never heard Jasmine speak before. Sweet Jesus-is she always that hyper? It was as if she had 5 Red Bulls and a fat coke rail! Although, I'm not a huge fan of her photography, she does seem to know her way around Social Media, and getting people to talk about you. I believe I saw someone on Twitter say she could sell anything to anyone, and be successful.

Julianne Kost-I had to take care of something, and didn't get a chance to listen.

DAY 2:

Jerry Ghionis-OK, here is where it gets good. I've never heard Jerry speak, and although I knew his name, never really looked at much of his work. Lemme tell you. Ghionis is LEGIT. He pretty much set the bar about 12 notches higher with his talk. I especially liked the part where he was showing a pic, and taking some audience shouted questions. Someone had asked him what lens he used on a particular shot. He replied back with whatever lens it was, then proceeded to tell everyone, "Don't shoot a 50mm 1.2 because Becker, or whoever tells you too. Figure out the right equipment to use at the right time." This has been the cornerstone of what I've been saying all along. No one is educated in how to use their camera, or how to see and deal with light. Ghionis called it. Much respect!

Jessica Claire-I must say, I was less than impressed with Jessica's talk. Maybe it was because she followed Jerry, but it could basically be boiled down to "Show what you want to shoot. Get what you want to shoot, and then shoot what the client wants to appease them." She also went over some basic post-processing talking about using Totally Rad Actions (no knock, I use them too, and they are pretty good, when used properly). TRA should be getting a nice little sales bump this week!

David Jay-Wow. First off, let me talk about the mustache. Not sure if he was trying to channel Burt Reynolds or Ron Jeremy here, but he sort of looked like my dad, circa 1978. That being said, I'm a bit jealous, because I can't quite grow one as nice as that!

Now, onto his talk. I'm not sure if he planned what he was going to say or not. It started with him talking about crabs, rounding second base on some girl he brought up from the audience, and then rambled off a story about a guy that wants to jump from a bridge until people stopped to talk him out of it. Honestly, it was a bit of a downer, and other than the point of reaching out, I'm not really sure I got anything out of it. And from the reactions on Twitter and the Ustream chatroom, neither did many other people.

Jeremy Cowert-Jeremy seemed nervous as all hell up there, but he freakin' rocked it. I had heard his name before, but never really looked at any of his work. It is pretty damn good. He talked a lot of about influence, and looking elsewhere for inspiration. He did make a good point about wedding photographers looking at other wedding photographer's work and how everyone has become clones of each other. Jeremy being the only one on the panel to shoot commercially, and not weddings, it was pretty refreshing to hear, and just backs up what a lot of us have been saying for awhile now.

He talked a lot about how he got to where he is. Traveled in Africa, and had a book. And how the book got him gigs. Just goes to show, that if your work is good, people will hire you. Even if it is for jobs that don't necessarily look like your personal work.

Overall, for free, I can't really complain much. It was about 20% usable info, 70% fluff, and 10% product endorsements. Just about everyone up there also has something to sell, and they didn't disappoint in letting people know.

If I had to grade it, I'd give it a C-. Some decent highlights, but, overall, a little lackluster.

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