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Closed for Business

Big news — I’m closing Moore Story, and its sister company Moore Consulting to take up a new role handling communications for non-profit research organization Architecture 2030, which works to reduce the amount of greenhouse gas emissions for which the building sector is responsible.

I’ve enjoyed helping all my clients over the years, but it’s time to move on and try something different.

(If you’re an existing client in need of some help with your site, I’ll still be available for emergencies and advice — the email address still works).

Moore Consulting

How a micro-budget video series caught the mood of an international event — part 2

In part 1 we looked at the requirements and constraints for the creation of video pieces for the non-profit International Folk Art Market | Santa Fe, as well as how two of them came together.

In this final part, we’ll look at the making of the final three, explore their impact, and look at some lessons everyone can apply to creating low budget video pieces with impact

3) Dubreus Lherisson, Haiti

With Dubreus we faced the toughest technical challenges. Internet connectivity is patchy in Dubreus’ town in Haiti, and while he had an email address, he couldn’t check it regularly and the language barrier made communication hard. So a Skype video chat was out, and even getting hold of him on the phone was tricky. Eventually, Marie St Comé, a Haitian woman who lives in Santa Fe and has worked with many of the Haitian artists at the Market came to our rescue. She tracked Dubreus down through her network of connections in the country, and came into my office where we could record our phone conversation with him (with Marie doing most of the talking — in Creole). Then she reviewed the recording, picking out the most telling quotes for direct translation, and paraphrasing the rest for me to use as background for my voiceover script. Without her, the video wouldn’t have been possible.

With this material, and other content and picture research, I could write the script for the piece, including some of Dubreus’ direct quotes from the recording. Since we had no video and Dubreus was a first- time artist, tracking down enough photographs that we could use with permission but without paying a licensing fee was particularly tricky (once artists have been to Santa Fe once, we normally have lots of good images of them and their work).

4) Blaise Cayol, France

If Dubreus’ was the most challenging video to put together, the next one was perhaps the easiest. Blaise Cayol, the master basket maker from the south of France speaks good English, and has a computer with a fast internet connection (in his great cottage that looked good on the Skype session). As I’d done with al lthe other artists, I drafted some questions in advance to give Blaise the chance to prepare, so when we recorded the interview, all went well (even when one of his daughters came into the room to see who he was talking to in English). It was a pleasure to talk to him, and his answers were so good that it seemed to me we didn’t need a voiceover to explain anything in his video.

It’s my preference to let the artists speak for themselves as much as possible, and this time we had the luxury of being able to do that. I still wrote a script (from his words) so a I knew how I wanted to edit and rearrange his answers, but building the piece went well, with the images that Blaise supplied combining with some background images of his area that helped put them in context.

5) La Mega Cooperativa de Saraguros, Ecuador

When you have limited budget and time, sometimes a volunteer can be a savior. Cailyn Kilcup is an American who works in Ecuador with the women of La Mega Cooperativa — artisans who create amazing beadwork pieces. She videoed an interview with Flor Maria Cartuche Andrade, President of La Mega Cooperativa de Los Saraguros, asking her to explain the impact of the co-op’s association with the Market. She then sent me the video file, photographs and a translation. I edited the tape and built the package, but again it would have been impossible without Megan’s help.

Impact of the videos

Everyone loved the videos — Market employees showed them at fundraising events, and showed some of them to Board members. They made people cry — which is about the best reaction you could look for. If people made rational decisions on who they volunteered for or donated money to, you’d have to make a rational case with charts and tables. But most often they don’t, so telling an authentic story that moves people is crucial.

The videos appeared on the Market’s blog — highlighted on the homepage — and were also featured in the Market’s social media efforts. The blog received nearly 7000 page views in the months leading up to the Market in July, and the videos were also highlighted in the printed guide to the Market and on posters during the event itself.

The artists featured in the videos enjoyed good sales at the Market, with Blaise Cayol selling out with a day of the Market still to go.

Lessons learned

Video takes more time than you think — even with our bare bones approach, researching, recording, writing, sourcing pictures and then building the pieces took longer than the 6 hours each we’d budgeted. I’d say 8 hours allowing for revisions and uploading is still a cracking pace, but a bit more realistic for the quality of pieces we produced.

Good audio is more important than good video — with none of the interviews recorded under ideal circumstances (a high-quality camera and microphone set up in person with someone who knows what they’re doing) we had to wrestle with varying quality video and audio quality (and sometimes no video at all). It seems counterintuitive but it was easier to work around poor or no video than work with poor quality audio — especially if one key aim is to have the artists speak for themselves. We had strong photographs and some b-roll video, but nothing gives a worse impression than dodgy audio. (If anyone has suggestions for recording high quality audio over the internet, please let me know.)

The story is the most important thing — despite all the constraints, the key thing we had in our favour was that we were telling good stories that had real impact. These are people from all around the world devoted to their craft, their traditions and their communities, who could talk about what they do with passion. I’d rather have to talk to someone like that down a dodgy phone line to Haiti than shoot a big-budget interview in a high-end studio with someone who’s got nothing real to say. I think we did a good job of putting these pieces together, but a lot of it was just to get out of the way and let the artists speak.

Just do it — it’s not that hard to create pieces like this, and they can have a real impact. I’d love the time to visit these people in their environments, learn more about them and put together much richer and more slick documentaries. But that wasn’t an option, and I’m proud of what we could do with the very limited resources we had.

By David Moore on August 29, 2013.

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Exported from Medium on October 17, 2020.

Moore Consulting

How a micro-budget video series caught the mood of an international non-profit event — part 1

The International Folk Art Market | Santa Fe is a non-profit with a flagship event of an amazing market which sees 20,000 people come to buy the work of 150 folk artists from around the world. The revenue raised by the artists (who often work in co-operatives) helps to preserve folk art traditions and strengthen and support communities in places as diverse as Ecuador and Mozambique, Uzbekistan and Timor Leste.

I’ve worked with the Market on website and content projects for years, and for the tenth anniversary market this year, I suggested we produce a video series about some of the artists, looking at the impact of the Market or introducing artists that were new this year. We wanted to stress the personal success stories that underpin the Market but that can sometimes get lost in the scale of the event. Visitors get the chance to meet and interact with the artists, and take home an object created by hand with skill and passion, while the artists take home money they earned from sales to individual people.

The budget was extremely tight — I could only spend five or six hours on each of the five videos we planned — and the technical constraints were also daunting: we couldn’t go and shoot interviews with the artists. In two of the cases, however, we could source amateur video that Market employees or supporters had shot when they were in-country (those for the SEWA co-operative in India, and La Mega Cooperativa de de Saraguros in Ecuador). That left a co-op in Pakistan, a vodou flag maker in Haiti and a master basket weaver in the south of France with no video footage. I proposed using Skype to record video sessions, supplementing all the videos with lots of still photography.

Language issues were another constraint. Fortuantely the Indian and Pakistani representatives of the co-operatives spoke good English, as did Blaise the French basket maker, and we could find volunteer translators for Haiti and Ecuador. (One of the amazing things about the Market, and why Santa Fe is such a perfect place for it, is that it’s somehow not surprising that there’s a creole speaker in town who wants to help.)

The schedule called for one video a month from March up to the Market in July.

1) Lila Handicrafts

The first video I made featured the Lila Handicrafts cooperative in Pakistan. We arranged the Skype video chat with Surendar Valasai from the co-op and while the quality of the footage wasn’t great, Surendar gave us some great insight the effect the Market had had on the co-op and more broadly on the lives of women and girls in the Sindh province.

In the interests of keeping to the budget, I edited the piece down quickly using Surendar’s quotes only, and while this version was OK, but didn’t really tell as compelling a story as it could have. We decided a voiceover script could give a concise background to the story, with the best of Surendar’s quotes giving us the immediacy we wanted. Surendar’s bare-looking office in the video was a little distracting, so we supplemented the images of the great quilts made by the co-op with Creative Commons-licensed images from Flickr — often from other non-profits and aid agencies.

The revised version was much stronger, and even we went over budget (I did the second edit for free), we had a template for how the others should work.


The second video was built using footage that a Market employee had shot while on a visit to the co-operative in India. She’d interviewed Rena Nanavaty from SEWA in a dark and noisy hotel lobby using a consumer video camera and no external microphone. The answers were great, but the video quality was just about OK, and the sound quality dreadful.

Final Cut Pro X tidied up the audio to an acceptable level, but again we scripted a voiceover to tell most of the story, using Rena’s quotes to add color and show the real people involved. We also sourced a range of images, and (as we’d done with Surendar) added subtitles to make sure Rena’s excellent but heavily accented English was clear for everyone. The edit was quicker this time (although finding appropriate royalty-free music always takes a lot longer than you expect) and we were very happy with the result:

> Join us next week for Part 2 of this piece, where we track down a Haitian artist on his cell phone in a cafe, and look at the lessons we’ve learned from doing these micro-budget high-impact pieces

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Today I got punched in the face by a mad man

And I feel great. A crazy man crashed his truck outside our office and then came at me and my wife when we innocently headed out to the street when we heard the crash.

He was shouting that we was going to kill us while we were backing up along the breezeway past our office, my wife and I with our palms raised in that classic ‘calm down, everything’s OK’ gesture. Our dog — locked inside — was barking in a way she never had before. The man kept coming as I tried to keep in front of my wife, and then he took a swing at me.

He glancingly connected with the left side of my face, leaving a shallow cut on my chin but no other damage to speak of. Behind me, my wife ducked into one of the other offices and they quick-wittedly locked the door behind her before calling the cops. While the crazy man was bellowing at the door, I found myself running out into the parking lot and safety.

The man went back to his truck and got into it with other passers-by who put him to the ground until the police arrived. I gave a statement, still shaken but basically OK.

As the day went on and the adrenaline faded I felt both very tired and strangely happy.

It could have been a lot worse — he could have had a gun, or a wrench, or been a better aim or a bigger guy — but today, for me, nothing worse happened.

I had a brush with the random dangerous side of life that’s always there, but that most of us aren’t exposed to every day because of the things we build and do to shield us from it. And I’m all for that — on another occasion, I might not have been so lucky, and I’m not about to start pursuing extreme sports to repeat the risk.

Instead I came home to the same peaceful house I left this morning, and loved it and the people and pets in it so much more. My life feels suddenly incredibly privileged and full of potential. The ‘scary’ pitching I’m planning to do this week to local non-profits and foundations doesn’t seem so terrifying when I’ve just had an angry unstable man come after me and hit me, and I’ve lived to tell the tale.

So hold your loved ones close, and don’t worry about all the stuff that normally preoccupies you, because for almost all of you reading this, right now, things are fine.

Moore Consulting

New Site for Guest Curator

As part of our ongoing relationship with design firm Firestik Studio, we’re happy to announce the launch of another joint project with them — the Guest Curator website.

GuestCurator Traveling Exhibitions was founded in 2001 and operates as an independent representative and coordinator for traveling exhibits originated by museums, organizations and individuals, and they’ve worked with Firestik on their offline branding and design needs.

When it came time for a new website, Firestik developed the plan and the site’s look and feel, and called me in to make it happen. Given the visually rich nature of the exhibitions Guest Curator represents, the site had lots of slideshows and pop-up images that had to be handled correctly, and each exhibition also had different blocks of text content — including a main description, dates of current shows and a box of practical details about the exhibit.

This is where working with someone else’s design can really challenge you as a developer. Since I know what’s easier to build, I’ll naturally tend towards those solutions when I’m working on a design. But trying to remain faithful to a design that works for users but it is more difficult to implement forces you to come up with new ways to solve problems.

So the front page slideshow that includes text descriptions of 3 exhibitions at once is definitely a one-off solution, as are the custom fields that allow Guest Curator to keep the different types of information about each show separate for the front-end (as well as in the admin panel).

Even the buttons and colors on the lightbox-style overlay for the larger images in a gallery are custom — and I’m glad I could implement Firestik’s vision for the site.

When it was all done, I trained Cynthia from Guest Curator in how to keep the site up to date (it might not look it, but it’s running WordPress underneath all the custom design and functionality), and they’re very happy with the way it came out. As am I.

By David Moore on June 7, 2013.

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Exported from Medium on October 17, 2020.

Moore Consulting Santa Fe and New Mexico

Revision of International Folk Art Market | Santa Fe site

We’re happy to announce the successful completion of a cosmetic redesign of the site for the International Folk Art Market | Santa Fe, in preparation for this year’s 10th Anniversary Market in July.

Last year, we moved the site from an older content management system to WordPress, knowing that a rebranding was going to take place this year. As we mentioned at the time, we built the site with this in mind, and so the design work we’ve just completed was not a huge undertaking.

Based on the new identity and branding created by design firm VWK, we’ve updated the site’s color palette, logos and typography to match the guidelines, working with VWK to make sure the site is consistent with the rest of the Market’s output.

For 2013, there’s also a new electronic press kit — a separately-designed subsite just for the media. Again, we worked with VWK on this — they designed the new look, and we implemented it.

The work was completed with limited disruption to the site, and we’ve also added this year’s new artists to the Profiles section.

See you at the Market!

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January update — published, published and published

Time for a quick update on what’s been happening at Moore Consulting Towers recently.

It’s partly been the usual unusual mixture of writing, web work and photography — new sites are underway for a graphic design firm I’ve done a lot of work with, and a homeowners’ association where I’m doing some photography as well as the web development.

But I’ve also been lucky enough to have a couple of photographs published recently, one of which shows how good photography can get you better press coverage.

Front Page for the Folk Art Market

The Santa Fe International Folk Art Market (for whom I do lots of work) were holding a fund-raising event to announce the public element of their campaign to raise $6 million, and they asked me to photograph the event. Specifically, Clare Hertel from Clare Hertel Communications — the PR firm that also works with the Market — was keen to have a photograph of co-chair of the campaign Leigh Ann Brown addressing the audience.

I got that shot and a range of others that were used in the Market’s own social media coverage of the event — and Clare did her great work in securing coverage of the event and campaign in the local press.

A couple of days after the event, Journal Santa Fe ran the story (and my photograph of Leigh Ann) on the front page. When you’re approaching the press with a story, being able to offer quality photographs to them really improves your chances of making it into the paper — especially in a prominent position.

Cross-Country Skiing in New Mexico Magazine

Another of my images was published in the December issue of New Mexico Magazine.

A couple of years ago, I’d been asked to shoot and write a story for the magazine on what to do in ski town if you don’t downhill ski — a very nice commission.

But between the story being filed in March and the winter season rolling around later that year, the editor at the magazine had changed, and they didn’t end up using the full article.

The images were kept on file, though, and one appeared as an accompaniment to a new Red River article last month.

It’s nice to see the photography work being thought of as good enough to stand on its own — and be used large on the page — even when it was originally commissioned together with some writing.

Annual New Mexico Vacation Guide

One of my images also made its way into the 2013 New Mexico Vacation Guide, published by the New Mexico state Department of Tourism and New Mexico Magazine. The magazine had put out a call to regular contributors (including me) for photographs that covered the full range of activities and regions across the state. While not primarily a landscape photographer, I reviewed my archives and identified some that matched their requirements.

So page 93 includes a 2-column shot from an autumnal day on the Rio Grande at Embudo.

That’s it for now — back to work for me. Hope you’re doing well.

Blog Moore Consulting Photography

Two and Two: Interview with Environmental Photographer Dave Walsh

Two and Two: Interview with Environmental Photographer Dave Walsh

Two and Two: Interview with Environmental Photographer Dave Walsh

Time for something a little bit different. I’ve been wanting to interview photographers for the site for a while now, and eventually this desire concentrated around getting them to talk about photographs. Not gear, or techniques, but the finished work — both theirs and the work of other photographers that they liked. And we do it on video so you can see the photographer and the images we’re talking about.

The idea is simple: each photographer suggests two of their own images and two by other photographers, and then we have a chat about them.

So recently, I sat down (virtually) with Irish documentary and environmental photographer Dave Walsh — an old friend — to launch this endeavour.

His recent show at the Copper House Gallery in Dublin — The Cold Edge — showcased his polar photography, but his work more broadly looks at humanity’s relationship with wilderness and wildlife, and our use of energy and resources.

In addition to two of his own photos, he chose one by Belgian photographer Stephan Vanfleteren, and US photographer Joel Sternfeld.

As I’m just starting out with this format, I’d love to hear your comments about it, or any suggestions for improvement.

Iceberg from Humboldt Glacier, Kane Basin, Nares Straight, Greenland.

By David Moore on January 7, 2013.

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Exported from Medium on October 17, 2020.

Blog Moore Consulting Photography Santa Fe and New Mexico

Dogs in the office — living history dogs (lots of them)

“When I die, I want to come back as a dog and get to stay here,” Leroy from El Rancho de Las Golondrinas is clear that the dogs in this ‘office’ have a great life.

And so they should, with tons of room to run around in at the living history museum just south of Santa Fe, and a dog-friendly working environment that sees up to nine employees’ dogs on the property some days.

And what a range of dogs they are. There’s Sarge, the sweet lolloping doberman that sometimes gets out and is found heading down the road outside.

And Jax, who was in costume the day I visited because it was Halloween.

They share the main office building with The Mayor (who’s also known as Big Dog, Big Red or just Sir). He was found on the property one day, adopted by one of the employees, and years later, he’s still in charge. He follows school parties around, just to make sure it’s all going well, and while he’s slowed down a bit now, he’s clearly the boss of the place.

Patch is Leroy’s dog, and since Leroy looks after the water resources on the 200-acre site, Patch spends most of the day on Leroy’s four-wheeler, coming into the office for breaks and meetings.

In the historic Pino House next door, Henry and Hannah hang out with their owner, although Hannah can be a little shy, and preferred to keep an eye on me from the security of her person’s desk.

Another couple of four-legged staff weren’t around during my visit, but I met enough happy dogs and their happy owners to confirm Leroy’s assessment — Las Golondrinas is a perfect spot to bring your dog to work.

Thanks to John Berkenfield, Madeline Mrozek and everyone at El Rancho de Las Golondrinas for letting me come and chase after their dogs.

Jax isn’t sure about this one.

Patch rides the four wheeler.

Patch waits for Leroy.

Henry relaxes in the corner

Hannah’s not sure about the photographer

The Mayor installed outside

Blog Moore Consulting Photography Santa Fe and New Mexico

Audio Slideshow: Curbside Cuisine from Le Pod

Audio Slideshow: Curbside Cuisine from Le Pod

Audio Slideshow: Curbside Cuisine from Le Pod

You might recall the photo project I did earlier in the year about Jean-Luc Salles, the French chef who runs Le Pod — a restored 1960s Airstream trailer that serves French street food to go.

I interviewed him recently, and put together this audio slideshow about him and his work.

I think it communicates the unique appeal of Le Pod well (and it makes me hungry). I’d love to talk to you if you think a similar approach would work well for your organization.

Bon Appetit!

By David Moore on November 13, 2012.

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Exported from Medium on October 17, 2020.