We're getting on a roll with these the "We Are" campaign having just come back from 3 days of filming in and around Muskogee, Oklahoma. "We Are:" is a 'moving the needle' campaign I designed for Georgia-Pacific. GP has amazing individuals all across this great land and "We Are:" aims to introduce them and the places they live, one small town at a time. Muskogee is the largest town we've visited so far with a population over 39,000 people.
First I have to say, there is an honest to goodness World War II Submarine, the USS Batfish on display in Muskogee. I thought the locals were joking, like saying there's oceanfront property in Arizona. But no, they were serious and as I learned, Muskogee is part of a major water traffic system that can sail goods to and from the Gulf of Mexico. Be sure to check it out if you find yourself in Muskogee.
As with the previous two episodes, I had a three man crew, two camera and one audio with one of the camera ops also being a licensed drone pilot. Primary cameras were the Sony FS5, we also had a Panasonic GH4, GoPros and the DJI Phantom 4. Unfortunately the winds were absolutely outrageous the entire time we were in Muskogee so we only got two very short flights in. But this was a completely different type of episode vs. the first two. Instead of focusing on a few individuals, this episode was centered around a community event. The annual Azalea Festival and Chili Cook-off. Especially the cook-off.
Turns out the Chili Cook-off is the largest annual fundraiser in Muskogee each year with the money going towards children's hospital charities. It's also the largest event that GP Muskogee participates in and it turns out they have championship chili cooking team. See, I learn so much on these trips, GP makes amazing products, they have amazing employees AND they have championship cooking teams!
We also learned there are different kinds of chili and different contests. There's the Crowd Pleasin' Chili which has be the best blend of spice and flavor to satisfy the the main crowds. That is a 20+ year old recipe that Barry carries on today. Then there's the CASi chili which is specialized and the only guidelines the chefs are given is usually the color palette. GP has teams that compete in both types of cook-offs. I can tell you for a fact that the Crowd Pleasin Chili is some of the best chili I've ever had, they do a great job.
We ended up filming in a bunch of locations in and around Muskogee and I split the crew for a few segments taking one camera op and the sound tech with me to film a few interviews while the other camera went off to shoot BRoll. We used the Panasonic GH4 as the second camera for those interviews. I tried to get everyone to sing the "Oklahoma" theme song from the play and movie. The results will speak for themselves once this is edited.
I think we've found a new angle for this episode by centering around the community event vs. just the employees and just the mills. It had a really great vibe to this episode and I can't thank the local team enough, especially Public Affairs Manager Megan Herriman who was an absolute joy to work with. Kim O'Neill will take the reigns on the edit and Scott Franklin will once again finish.