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Light Up the Lyric!

Posted by on Oct 5, 2013 in Blog | 0 comments

Light Up the Lyric!

If Cecil Whitmire could have been there tonight, his smile would have beamed like the bulbs that flickered on for the first time (officially) to the jovial crowd lining 3rd Avenue North.  Nearly 10 years ago as a young student, I began a documentary about the Lyric Theatre, with dreams of seeing that long-abandoned vaudeville house alive once more.  To witness the new sign flash on tonight was a magical moment that I was so glad to experience.  Now I can only hope that next year, during its centennial celebration, that I will be able to join the same crowd within the newly renovated auditorium, where the magic will really happen.  There is good reason to hope, as the bulk of funding has been raised to launch this highly anticipated theatre restoration.  But there’s still money lacking in the budget before that will happen, and it’s perhaps the most difficult portion of the funds to raise.  Help the Lyric reach its full potential by donating to the cause at lightupthelyric.com.

See the lighting ceremony here.

 

Great Movie Giveaway!

Posted by on Feb 25, 2013 in Blog | 0 comments

Great Movie Giveaway!

We’re celebrating our one-year anniversary, and we want to share the joy with the community by helping out a fellow business in the best way we know how: through storytelling!

 

We recognize the important role our friends, family, and community have had in the growth of our company, and we want to give back by offering our services to a business or non-profit who needs them.

 

If you’re a small business owner or non-profit organization in the state of Alabama who could benefit from a free (that’s right, FREE!) professional video about your company, we are taking applications for this special giveaway.  One deserving winner will be awarded a short video package valued at up to $7,000!

 

Do you have a unique story to tell?  Are you particularly passionate about helping your community?  Let us know why you would be the best candidate!

 

For the full list of Rules and Regulations, click here.

 

Click here for the official contest page and entry form.

 

We hope you’ll spread the word to anyone who could benefit from this prize!  Entries close on March 15, 2013 at 11:59 PM CST.

Reforestation

Posted by on Feb 23, 2013 in Blog | 0 comments

Reforestation

 

Last weekend, I spent my Saturday helping a group of volunteers plant nearly 4,000 trees on a former mine site near Camp McDowell.  The event was organized by Green Forests Work, which is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to reforest surface-mined land throughout Appalachia with native species.  We planted a variety of hardwood trees on several acres of land primarily planted with a monoculture of non-native loblolly pine.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On these old mine sites, the soil is often heavily compacted, which prevents many tree species from naturally taking root.  To prepare the site for planting, they rip through the soil to allow the roots a chance to reach proper depths.
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I was personally glad to see longleaf pine seedlings in the bucket, but of special importance were the disease-resistant American Elms and Restoration Chestnuts that were planted that day.  We were told that this was the first planting of these particular strains, which had been bred to resist the diseases that had previously eradicated the original trees from their natural range.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was a fun day of work, and the resulting body aches were not just a sign of my advancing age, but a token of a day well spent.  I’d love to visit the site again in a few years to see how our efforts pay off.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Moss Point, MS

Posted by on Dec 18, 2012 in Blog | 3 comments

Moss Point, MS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A couple weeks ago, I had the pleasure of visiting Moss Point, Mississippi, where I joined a group of environmental stewards who convened to discuss upcoming projects.  The meeting was held at Grand Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve (NERR) in an impressive facility with LEED Gold certification, an internationally recognized green building rating.  The facility is as beautiful as it is environmentally conscious, and it blends perfectly with its surrounding 18,000-acre coastal habitat.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jennifer, the education coordinator at Grand Bay NERR, graciously showed me around the area and pointed me towards the best spots, given my short time-frame of only a couple days.  Of particular interest were a host of carnivorous plants, which were turning beautiful shades of red and orange due to their deciduous nature.  Though I’m sure their appearance in Spring isn’t to be missed, I thought the resulting colors of their Autumn die-off were beautiful.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

During my stay, I ventured off to visit the Mississippi Sandhill Crane National Wildlife Refuge, which I was told had the best maintained longleaf pine savanna in the area.  “Go for the forest,” they said.  “Birds don’t read signs, so they’re rarely there.”  I’ve heard about such ecosystems for a while now, but I had never taken the time to actually explore one myself.

 

 

 

It wasn’t until I arrived at the refuge that I truly understood what the hype was all about.  It was early morning, and the sunlight filtered magnificently through the foggy landscape.  The scene was so very different from the overgrown loblolly forests that I’m so familiar with in most of Alabama.  There is no wonder why there’s such a huge effort to restore this once prevalent ecosystem in the Southeast.  After snapping some of my favorite photos of the trip, I continued on my way to experience the area from a different perspective: by boat.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The day before, Jennifer had connected me with a boat operator through the Pascagoula River Audubon Center, and I booked a river tour for the following day.  Benny McCoy, who owns the tour business with his brother, was the boat’s captain.  After slowly making our way through the marsh along the bank where the Audubon center sits, Benny opened the throttle once we hit the river.  Every now and then we would slow down to weave in and out of the bayous along the river, looking for birds and alligators, all the while enjoying the beautiful day.  We saw countless ospreys with fish in their grip, as well as Great Blue Herons and Great White Egrets.  We did spot one large gator in the middle of a bayou, but it quickly submerged below the water line before we could get a good look at it (or snap any photos).

 

 

 

 

Benny couldn’t have been any nicer during the ride, and I’d highly recommend booking a tour with him if you’re ever in the area.

I hope to return to the coast during Spring to see everything in bloom and perhaps to get a few more glimpses of some animals.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Posted by on Nov 22, 2012 in Blog | 0 comments

Happy Thanksgiving!

 

Happy Thanksgiving from Franks Global Media!

(And your eyes do not deceive you.  That is, indeed, a hedgehog wearing a pilgrim hat.  And, no, it’s not Photoshopped.)

Operation Migration

Posted by on Nov 16, 2012 in Blog | 0 comments

Operation Migration

I had an early morning today as I joined a crowd of people eager to see the Whooping Cranes continue their migration south.  In Chilton County, AL around dawn, two ultralight aircraft took off, leading a group of juvenile cranes onward towards Florida.  They began the annual migration in Wisconsin at the end of September with the six birds that hatched earlier this year.  To find out more about the people behind the conservation efforts and keep up with their progress, you can visit their website at operationmigration.org.

 

Autumn on the Green

Posted by on Nov 14, 2012 in Blog | 0 comments

Autumn on the Green

Autumn is perhaps my favorite season in Alabama, for with it comes a respite from the summer heat along with a palette of vibrant colors that seem to soothe the soul. With the beautiful foliage beckoning from outside the office window, I couldn’t help but take advantage of the nice light that filtered into the Birmingham Green, so I set out to snap a few photos of our neighborhood.

 

(I should take this opportunity to point out exactly what lies across the street from our office.  For those who know me, they are well aware of my penchant for all things sweet, particularly cupcakes and frozen delicacies, so it should come as no surprise that our office is within a stone’s throw from Paramount, which just so happens to serve both.)

 

Across the corner from Paramount sits the Bromberg building, which once sold jewelry but now strictly serves as the jeweler’s corporate office.  Like many of the buildings downtown, this one has a special memory for me. Back when it still sold jewelry (and I was still in college), I made a short film about a jewel thief.  Despite the film’s premise, the store was very gracious and even let us use their jewelry as movie props.

 

To date, those are still probably the most valuable props I’ve used in a narrative film.  During the whole process, I couldn’t help but think back on an “Andy Griffith Show” episode where bank robbers pose as filmmakers.  In the episode, the town is star-struck from the idea of having a film being made there and is overly accommodating to the “producer’s” requests.  With that in mind, I suppose the recent comparison of downtown Birmingham to Mayberry is quite apt, and perhaps one reason why I feel so drawn to the area.

 

Continuing down the street, you get a glimpse of the “Heaviest Corner on Earth.”  A bit of an exaggeration, to say the least, the moniker was applied to the corner because of the almost simultaneous construction of four of the tallest buildings in the South at the turn of the century. Originally known as the “Heaviest Corner in the South,” the name blossomed into its current version, a token of Southern embellishment.

 

We have a clear view of the corner from our office, including the ornate details atop the Empire Building, one of my favorites downtown.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Looking back towards the north, there’s the Frank Nelson Building, and you can see our office in the photo.  We’re in that corner window on the top floor with the shades drawn.

 

One thing I must note about the Frank Nelson Building is the enormous men’s restroom on our floor.  Containing much of the original marble and quarter-sawn oak stall doors, the room is almost frozen in time.  In comparison, the ladies’ restroom on the same floor is nothing short of a closet.  Though a bit surprising now, it makes sense when you consider the era that the building was constructed, back in 1903.

 

I will set out again soon to take more pictures of the surrounding blocks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wildscreen 2012

Posted by on Oct 19, 2012 in Blog | 0 comments

Wildscreen 2012

Tom Winston, Executive Producer
Grizzly Creek Films

Congratulations are in order for my friends and colleagues at Grizzly Creek Films in Bozeman, MT for their prestigious win at Wildscreen 2012.  Located in Bristol, UK, Wildscreen Festival is internationally acknowledged as the most prestigious and influential event in the wildlife and environmental filmmaking industry.  Grizzly Creek received the Panda Award for New Media for their work on Kinect Nat Geo TV: America The Wild.  I had the pleasure of working on this project during my time at Grizzly Creek this past year, and I’m happy to see them receive this well-deserved award.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dennis Aig, Director of SNHF MFA Program
Montana State University

Kudos are also in order for friends involved with the TRUST series.  They took home the Panda Award for Best Campaign.  Montana State graduates and current students were involved with this series, and the director of our MFA program accepted the award.

Saturday Evening Storm

Posted by on Oct 8, 2012 in Blog | 0 comments

Saturday Evening Storm

 

 

The storm on Saturday evening lit up the skyline downtown.

Fireworks from the Office

Posted by on Oct 8, 2012 in Blog | 0 comments

Fireworks from the Office

 

Working late at the office Saturday evening had its perks.