I love my job because most days my job doesn’t feel like a job. And I know that’s a blessing most people never experience.
Creating content gives me freedom to explore, collaborate with genius creative minds, and learn new techniques in photography, videography and editing. It’s also a very, very fast paced world. For me, the biggest challenge is to find the balance of creative fun projects and soaking in the adventures life naturally presents.
Enter Staunton Wallcrawler. As the Content Creator and resident photographer and videographer for The American Shakespeare Center, I had the privilege of collaborating with him on a social media project our marketing team envisioned to help hype our new season.
After meeting on an unnamed rooftop (setting is paramount in any story), we set out on our 45 minute journey to deliver window cards to local businesses. For non-theatre people, window cards are posters with a production photo from one of the plays in our season and also lists the show titles and dates.
Our first stop was the iconic steps of our county courthouse. The beloved Staunton Wallcrawler does get quite a bit of attention walking down the street–honks, cheers from passing cars, people stopping for selfies and handshakes. It wasn’t long before he was engaging with the community, waving, giving high fives, and when a three year old celebrating his birthday met our party of two near the steps, our video session came to a screeching halt. Wallcrawler was in no hurry to be filmed as he knelt down and chatted with the shy toddler who was also on their way to the very same toy store we were scheduled to film.
Our now party of five made it to Pufferbellies and while the front counter crew and I were storyboarding our TikTok segment, Wallcrawler disappeared. I found him in the famous crouched position, but not fighting crime. Instead, he was shopping for birthday toys with the birthday toddler. In kindness, he was in no rush to film, but waited until the wee one had picked out his toy.
And so went the rest of our time together. Our planned forty-five minutes stretched into a two hour adventure, chock full of human interaction. When filming in the Beverley Cigar Shop, we paused our project for selfies, videos for grandchildren, and conversations about web slinging. Outside, Wallcrawler took a few minutes to show a neighbor on the street how to climb and strike a famous pose. (I’m gonna try that one when no one is looking).
It took my usual rush-around self a bit to settle into not being concerned with time, but being present with people. I got there because my companion is really skilled at being present. When I slow down to focus on the moment and the people, it is glorious. We all know to do it, but knowing it and doing it are two different things.
As we finished at another Staunton iconic building, I picked up my camera to capture him being him. He simply wasn’t concerned with anything, but bringing a little joy to bystanders as the Staunton Wallcrawler. And, spreading joy he most certainly did.
You can (re)learn a lot from a masked crusader even when you’re chasing content: There's no better gift than the gift of your time.
I think we all need that reminder.
(Fun fact, this season showcases all my production photos for Julius Caesar, Pride and Prejudice, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. I’ve also designed each of the three versions of our window cards. Insert loud squeals of content creator delight).