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September 20, 2013

Capturing the Essence of the Drupal Project

Thought by John DeSalvo, Director of Talent Development

Its mid afternoon and I am on my way to spend the weekend at the Gorge kiteboarding. I have never been to the Pacific Northwest and I am excited to see the scenery, hit the water, and get all my gear on the plane. I am carrying two golf club size bags, a suitcase, a bag full of camera gear and my ultimate destination is Drupalcon. My sporting gear is usually easy to carry. This time add tripods, shoulder rig, slider, lighting, it becomes almost unreasonable, but I know the end result will be well worth it.

DrupalCon Portland was my second experience at a big Con having had dozens of camps and meet-ups under my belt back east. Like my first time, Portland was an incredible experience and opportunity to share in such a wonderful community. To make it all that more exciting, I love making documentary films, and at the beginning of the year I offered to make a video for NJ Drupal Camp along with a Training Video to highlight the capabilities of’s newly branded “FFW Institute”. Somewhere along the way the Drupal Association found my work and asked if we might help with a project highlighting Drupalcon Portland and Drupal Association Memberships. I thought, as an amateur filmmaker, that this would be a great opportunity to try my hand at a much larger scale production for an entirely broader audience; while contributing to a substantial cause.

To get the process started we held a number of meetings to identify the core story and messaging we wanted to convey. We then determined our interview questions and process to capture the commentary that would create the “essence” of what a DCon is truly all about. My job was set up these interviews and make sure to capture this essence of the conference. It pushed my creative edge to ensure I captured enough B-side footage to mix in so that I could round out the video. This all sounds easy in practice but Drupalcon is a lot different than filming actions sports. Theres a lot of action - everywhere - and people buzzing with excitement - folks just happy to see each other and share a beer or catch a great session after months apart. In the end, while I feel I made a few mistakes - which is part of the learning process, the end product was pretty spot on. And while the total production was bigger than anticipated, I really enjoyed the process and hope that you do too. After all the lugging, shooting, interviewing great people, and dozens of hours editing, I finally created two videos that I hope will go a long way to help recruit more and more Drupalists for the community. Check out the videos when you can, and I hope you enjoy.

The first - a short two minute film focused on why Drupal "Membership Matters"

The second - this one - is a longer documentary on Drupalcon Portland and why Drupalcons are so important. "What happens when we all get together"

As a member of the FFW team and the Drupal Community, like many of my teammates, I am excited to contribute to a great cause and to help build on what is an incredibly exciting project. See you at DrupalCon Prague for more of the same!

Drupal Face to Face - Portland 2013 on Vimeo.