Sunday, February 18, 2018

The Benefits Of Taking A Leap Of Faith (Hint: It’s More Than Financial Reward)

Perry Lawrence (formerly of AskMrVideo) speaking to the camera

Near the end of September, I treated myself to a hands-on workshop on using the new Canon T2i HD DSLR. This isn’t a report on what I learned about that camera. That’ll come later. This article is about the experience of stepping out of my comfort zone and opening the door to new adventures.

I went to learn more about the T2i and to work on Perry’s upcoming how-to video on using the camera but what I took away from the trip was an unforgettable vacation in a gorgeous lakeside retreat in southern Virginia, a treasured picture that’ll remain in my mind’s eye of walks along quiet country roads, a reminder of why I love video production, several outstanding Southern meals, and some new friends with a potential future business together. How good is that?

When Perry Lawrence of picked me up at my hotel in Raleigh, North Carolina, we clicked right away. It was clear that we are cut out of the same entrepreneurial bolt of cloth and we could easily talk about video technology. Geeks of a feather, I suppose.

Later, when we picked Thomas Roberts of at the airport, I knew I was in for a treat. He was bubbling over with information and enthusiasm for the technology we would spend the next three days exploring. He had great stories of recent video shoots, plus he brought all the camera toys, thanks to his great connections with Jag35!

That evening Perry treated us to one of the best dinners I have ever had at the Traveler’s Tavern, located in Cooper’s Landing Inn. I highly recommend it if you are ever in Clarksville, Virginia.

Lake Kerr at sunrise

We had an ambitious agenda; to shoot a video introduction to the Canon T2i. On the morning of day one, we built a small but functional “studio” in the basement of Perry’s lakeside home at Lake Kerr. Working without a script, we shot a thorough introduction to the innovative Canon T2i, covering everything from menu options to lenses, follow focus adapters, viewfinder magnifiers, and other accessories. I ran camera and Thomas wrangled the equipment and kept us on track.

By late afternoon we were finished … all in one day! Perry is a natural on camera talent and is able to work well without a script or teleprompter. I admire that. That night Perry perfectly grilled some excellent steaks and we shared a bottle of wine.

Elizabeth Grayson

Elizabeth “Liz” Grayson, our beautiful model

The next day we were blessed with the presence of beautiful, professional model, opera star, and performer Elizabeth Grayson. With Liz as our subject, we put the camera through its paces by shooting examples in Clarksville and Boydton, Virginia, two towns stuck in time that could double for Mayberry in the Andy Griffith Show. We had so much fun using our gear including a camera slider, follow focus and viewfinders that the day flew by.

Late in the afternoon had an impromptu mastermind meeting with Perry floating in the lake while Thomas and I relaxed on the dock as fish flopped and the occasional boat motored by. That evening we had excellent southern BBQ, then returned to Cooper’s Landing Inn to shoot an interview in the warm outdoor southern night with Bubba, our colorful waiter from the first night.

Perry Lawrence (AskMrVideo) & Thomas Roberts lining up a Cobra crane shot

The final day came too quickly, yet still had surprises in store. We stopped at the Prestwould Plantation to do some tests with the Cobra Crane jib arm, not knowing that they were having a semi-annual fund raiser luncheon. Prestwould is the most documented plantation in existence and is in immaculate condition. The large gathering was dressed in their Sunday best while we were casual (Thomas had on a chroma green t-shirt), but they allowed us in.

We met the quintessential southern gentleman, Bagley Reed (I loved his name!), we were invited for lunch (we politely declined), and they all made us feel welcome. Southern hospitality is very much alive and well in Virginia. I wish you could bottle and sell it; other parts of the world need it.

Prestwould Plantation in Clarksville, Virginia

That afternoon we leisurely drove to Raleigh and after I was dropped off at my hotel I knew that I had experienced something special, a feeling that hasn’t left me. We have remained in close contact almost daily since then and are exploring ideas for future joint ventures, details to come later.

My point in telling you this? Sure, I could have learned to use the Canon T2i on my own. In fact, I taught my teachers several things about it. But, by breaking out of my routine I had an unforgettable trip, met some fantastic people, formed friendships that could evolve into business partnerships, and awakened my own sense of possibilities.

Would you be interested in attending a training event that sharpened your video production skills, gave you some new business ideas and possible business connections? Please comment on this article and let me know if you are interested (that’s a hint).

The funny thing about this whole adventure is that my wife is usually the frugal one who keeps us on a tight work schedule, but it was purely at her insistence that I signed up, spent the money and took time out from my busy schedule to do this. She seemed to have the intuition that something good would come of it. She was right.


8 Responses to “The Benefits Of Taking A Leap Of Faith (Hint: It’s More Than Financial Reward)”
  1. Bert Grimm says:


    Beautifully written piece and explanation of your time there. You are right about connections and working together with others who share our enthusiasm for video. I had wanted to go but had a shoot that I had been working on getting for almost a year at that same time. Like your experience my shoot has blossomed into another 3 day gig in Pebble Beach in December. You never know what will come out of a decision.


    • Rick Smith says:

      Thanks for that very nice comment, Bert. I truly enjoyed that trip and am looking forward to working with Perry and Thomas more in the future. We may do it again and perhaps you can make it next time. Well worth it, I think.


  2. I think Perry is such an awesome teacher.I wanted to come too but was in the process of packing up and moving.It sounded like an amazing experience.Thanks for sharing.

    • Rick Smith says:

      Beverly, it was an amazing experience. I’m still basking in the memory of it. I’m sorry you couldn’t make it. We’re talking about doing more in the future, so you may have another chance. Perry truly is a special person and I’m proud to count him as a friend and colleague.



Check out what others are saying about this post...
  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Perry Lawrence, Kim Miller, Rick Smith, Jon McKee, Michael and others. Michael said: RT @jonmckee: RT @panoramarick: My writeup of recent Canon T2i DVD shoot just posted at – Featuring @AskMrVideo @TR … […]

  2. […] people in particular have really influenced our business (and bottom line) this year: Bill Myers, Perry Lawrence of AskMrVideo, Steve Yankee and Jessica Swanson. Our sales are up 30% over last year, in large part […]

  3. […] him last summer when he flew back east to shoot for a weekend with Perry Lawrence of AskMrVideo. He wrote about the experience last September. Although we’d been Tweeting and Facebooking, I had never met Thomas in […]

  4. […] The Benefits Of Taking A Leap Of Faith: (Hint: It’s More Than Financial Reward […]


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