On April 11, 1994, I took my ambitious self to Boston City Hall to register my new business, Fade To Black Productions.
I knew my Broadcast & Film degree, from Boston University, would help bring a fresh perspective to the Demonstrative Evidence field. At that time, it consisted mainly of videotaped depositions, site inspections and Day-in-the-Life videos. The advent of video settlement documentaries was still a few years away.
I had no idea what amazing learning experiences lie ahead of me.
Over the next 20+ years, I would hover over a city square in a cherry picker; dangle over the edge of a SkyLift next to a rotted window frame of an abandoned mill; spend a few days in a clean suit inspecting a lab; become educated in traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries; get vetted -and bitten- by a Helping Hands monkey (the only thing hurt that day was my pride); videotape a psych interview of a mass murderer with only a snoring guard to protect me: have curious children and pets sit on my lap while conducting interviews; and stare down the barrel of a shotgun held by a joking (but shaky) client that wanted to give a "City Girl" a scare.
On more typical days, I became comfortable talking and listening to anyone, in any situation, in any part of the country. I discovered the depths of my patience, compassion and empathy. I found out what the activities of daily living are for a quadriplegic. I figured out what the important questions are to ask a life care planner, economist or medical expert. I realized that, sometimes, playing an hour of bad baseball with a child will get them comfortable enough to talk about a deceased parent. I learned the importance of treating people with the dignity I’d like to be treated with if the situation was reversed.
Most of all, I realized what an honor it was to be entrusted with telling someone’s life story. This focus helped me edit interviews and day-in-the-life footage together into powerful video settlement presentations that helped audiences identify with the client.