Member Profile: Gary Stone

by Clare Rabe-DeBoever

MCA-I International Membership Director

 
To many of us Gary Stone is known as the Party SIG Evangelist or the caretaker of Whirrly the Sacred Blender. But his clients know Gary as a Director of Photography who can go high and go deep. More on that later.

Gary tells me that in the Orange County/Los Angeles Chapter he’s long been the "poster child" for networking beyond the local community. “I'd estimate I average around $5K-10K annually due to contacts that I've made through the association.” 

I thought it was time we found out a little more about this MCA-I Lifetime Member and the secret to his success.

 

 
 
CRD: What is your company name and job title?
 
GS: How many hyphens can I have?

I am the founder of Gold Standard Productions. To my corporate clients I'm a producer/director. To my MCA-I clients who are producers themselves, I'm a DP that shoots with their needs in mind. I also edit on a Media 100 NLE and do a lot of AfterEffects work. I write scripts, produce corporate meetings & events, & author DVDs. It's all fun in one way or another. About the only area I don't get into doing is VO work and composing music, although I have been known to cross those boundaries in a pinch. And if that's not enough, I'm also the chief corporate pilot.

Lately I've been using the title of "Technical Jester": I do the work, but make it fun (otherwise.... it's all work)! One thing I've come to realize is that people like to work... with people they like. It's important to make a project a fun and enjoyable experience for the clients... to encourage them to come back.

CRD:
How long have you been doing this?
 
GS: My first paid gig was back in (yikes) 1976!  It was a promotional film for a summer camp in Southern California, shot and edited on Super 8mm film. The "career" didn't really begin though until 1978.

CRD: What type of work do you do? Describe the range of projects.

GS: My strengths are in the corporate world; lots of sales and marketing presentations for trade shows and product launches. I also do training and other corporate communications... pretty much anything that a business might use to communicate their message or motivate an audience.

As a DP/Camera Op, I find that I shoot a lot of "talking heads"; each one is a unique experience with different challenges.

I can also go high and go deep. I own and operate a Jimmy Jib, as well as an underwater video package. The DP section of my website has some great clips that feature these areas.










I've also produced over 100 broadcast commercials... mostly local automotive dealerships. The ad agency I work with sends me the script, I get the VO and music via the web from my VO talent, I cut together the spot using original and/or factory footage, and then post the spot on my ftp site for review. If everything's approved, I'll print Beta masters and ship them directly to the broadcast stations; the client never comes to my office, and I never have to go to their office... it's great!

CRD: Do you have a project that you worked on recently that you’re particularly proud of?
GS: Over the years, I've received awards for many projects so it's nice to get that validation from time to time.

One project that came in required us to shoot everything before we could develop a concept and script. Since I was producing, directing, shooting and editing this project, I was able to adapt to this convoluted process. Since we had to shoot something to visually tell the story (the company manufactured custom robotic assembly devices) I concentrated on "creating art"...making the images look great. Afterwards I wrote the script, and edited the piece. It received several local and national awards. It's fun to watch people's reactions as they enjoy the program.

I also like producing on-site video "highlights" or candid shows for corporate events. There's an amazing adrenaline rush when putting these shows together, but at the end it's great to give an audience a fun, high-energy piece on a short turnaround. (And you know the deadline's not going to drag on and on!).

CRD: Does some of your revenue come from your MCA-I contacts or referrals?

GS: You bet!  Because it's seldom that a producer can send a crew across the country to shoot interviews or locations, I've become a resource for many folks that need a crew here in the Southwest. Most of the gigs we get are for the local Southern California area, but since many of my contacts know that I'm a pilot, my service area easily covers Northern California, Las Vegas, and Arizona. I can put a very comprehensive location package in the plane and not have to deal with the TSA!


CRD:
Do you use MCA-I as a resource?

GS: Our local Orange County/Los Angeles Chapter has a wide range of talented folks. When the scope of a project falls outside of my abilities, my first thoughts usually turn to those in the local community.




CRD:
How has MCA-I helped your career?

GS: There are three legs – like a tripod, if you will – that are the foundation of this organization: professional development, networking, and recognition.

- Professional development helps me stay current with emerging trends and technology; many times, I'll learn about these things at a chapter meeting or at our annual conference, MCA-I ProTrack™. This was my first draw to the organization.

- Networking is the activity of getting to know people; your resources as well as possible clients. When I first joined, networking was not very important to me; now I consider it essential.

- Recognition is always a good thing. For clients’ current and future, it helps to have some 3rd party validation. I recently received an MCA-I Media Awards Golden Reel Award in the Training category for a project I did for Black & Decker. The client was thrilled with the news of the award and they gave it some press in their company newsletter. It goes a long way in strengthening the client/vendor bond.

CRD: When and why did you join MCA-I?

GS: 1980. I found myself among people that spoke the same language I did! People that had answers to problems I had, or at least if they had the same problems I had, I could commiserate with them.

When I was a new member, I didn't get particularly active until another colleague invited me to sit on a preliminary judging panel for the video festival. I met some great folks and got to see some great productions.

CRD: Why did you become a Lifetime Member? (Lifetime members were recognized with Purple Hawaiian Lei's at MCA-I ProTrack '06)

GS: When the Lifetime membership category was first offered in 1996, I rolled my eyes, thinking that it was just for people that wanted to buy some status in the organization. A few months later when it came time for me to renew, I found myself thinking that every year when it's time to send in my dues "there's never been a question of whether or not I would renew...of course I plan on renewing!" I looked again at the Lifetime info and then the economics struck me - it's a great value! Buying a Lifetime was like getting a Costco-sized supply of membership – it's more than you would buy for now, but in the long run, you're going to save money.

CRD: Are you active with your chapter?

GS: Yep. I've held just about every board position at some point, but now I serve as the resident gadfly/curmudgeon. (I get to offer my valuable historical perspective, and reminisce about the old days of crash edits with an RM 440.) Surprisingly, I'm still not the oldest, err...longest member in our chapter.
 
CRD: Are you active internationally?
GS: I travel to the national events with Whirrly the Sacred Blender...need I say more? (Maybe I should explain for those who have not basked in his glow.)

There is a culture within the organization that receives its share of smirks from some...winks and nods from others; I'm talking about the Party SIG! While its name may conjure up visions of revelers gyrating to the pulsing beats of some club or disco, at the core of the Party SIG is one of the organizations fundamental purposes – networking.

As I mentioned before, people like to work with people they like. Networking in a fun social setting has proven to me to be a great venue to get to know people...the first step along the road to a productive business relationship. As the Party SIG Evangelist, I believe I have found my raison d'etre with this group, so I make it my mission to find a good place to come together and make it happen. And if you want to know more about Whirrly, I'll share that with you over a margarita some time.



Samples of Gary’s work (and an animated Whirrly) are available on his website. For more information on how to reach Gary go to http://www.mca-i.org/en/dir/?1146. To contact Clare Rabe-DeBoever go to http://www.mca-i.org/en/dir/?1207.

Would you like us to shine the spotlight on you or your business? Just email Clare for more information, and if you’re reading this and not an MCA-International member...why not join in on all the fun?

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