Not long after I graduated from college in 1975, I ended up moving to California where I still live. I knew Dad wrote books, spoke at a lot of places and won a lot of awards, I wasn’t that involved in his life or know just how popular he had become. (That has all changed.)
One year when I was visiting Dad, he said to me, “If you were to make a video of my talk, I bet you would sell thousands of them.” As an independent videographer, that piqued my interest. It took a while to actually get him in front of my camera and then it took a few years after that to finish it all up. You see, I didn’t just want Dad on camera; I wanted to illustrate what he talked about with images, sounds, music, and video.
Patrick Smith’s Florida: A Sense of Place was finally finished in 2005 and I thought I had done a pretty fine job with it. I decided to enter it into film festivals. I guess other people thought it was good too because I had it accepted in festivals in Florida and Mississippi. It was shown at the Oxford Film Festival and I came away with the top award at the Tupelo Film Festival. It also won a Telly Award. It was even shown on some Florida PBS stations.
And yes, Dad was right. I have sold thousands! And the demand is still going strong. (If you haven’t seen it yet, find out more about it here.)
Not only that, it changed my career.
After he retired from the speaking circuit there was still demand from people to meet him and hear him speak. To my utter surprise, people started asking me to speak to groups. I had never done such a thing and at first was very nervous about it. I didn’t like just standing in front of a group of people and talking and I didn’t want to use notes.
I drew on my background in media production to create a lively, very visual “show” that people watch as I speak. Because there’s always an image on the screen, I always know where I am and what I’m speaking about. That takes the stress out of it for me. Over the last few years it has continually evolved and people apparently love it. I’ve presented this show almost 200 times and I have 22 shows in March.
I use parts of that video to bring Dad into the show. My audiences tell me they feel like they’ve met him and know so much more about his life and his literary contributions. He’s also very funny.
Here’s one of the clips from that video:
I hope you can make it to one of my shows. You can learn more about it here. Just skip to the month of March to see my next speaking schedule.