When Bowen & Company took over as producer of the James Beard Awards, we conceived of adding a new video component as one of the tools to elevate the overall Awards Ceremony experience. We especially wanted to “put a face to” the Foundation’s five America’s Classics honorees, small regional “mom and pop” restaurants that hold a special place in their respective community’s histories as well as in their hearts. We chose to collaborate with Linton Media Inc. to create unique, short films that captured the human stories behind these beloved restaurants, always an emotional highlight of the annual Awards Ceremony. Five years later, these videos are still earning rave reviews, and we have incorporated additional videos to highlight other special moments in the Ceremony. Linton Media is a full-service production company that specializes in documentary films for television, event videos, and viral web campaigns. Meet award-winning producer Katherine Linton, who founded the NYC-based company in 2004.
Q: Why should people consider adding a video component to their special events?
KL: Video can streamline messaging in a visually compelling and emotional way, and by bringing people along to see the people we meet and places we go, video can impact the audience in a way that speeches and photo slides cannot. Increasingly, we are also asked to upload the content online to go viral, so even after the event, the video continues to serve a useful purpose.
Q: It’s a common perception that adding video is “too expensive.” What do you say to that?
KL: At Linton Media, we work very closely with all of our clients to keep costs within budget and reason. We are able to keep our costs down, because we have so many event videos under our belt that our systems are in place, streamlining the process to save time and money. That said, I have never had a client say that every penny spent on a video was anything but certainly worth it!
Q: For the JBF Awards, you and your crew travel all over the country to film Award winners and honorees. Being mindful of budgets and busy schedules, it’s not unusual that you meet your subject and wrap filming all on the same day. What is your strategy for capturing their stories?
KL: Typically, it’s just me and my Director of Photography [DP] on these shoots. It’s all about being organized, having done our research and pre-production, and being light on our feet!
Q: What is unique about Linton Media’s approach to filmmaking?
KL: First and foremost, we are a small and extremely tight team, which means that each client and project has all of our attention. We truly care deeply about what we do and work very hard to exceed our clients’ expectations at every turn. Plus, my team is extremely creative and always strives to up the “wow” factor not just for the clients but also for themselves!
Q: You must have some interesting adventures during your travels. Any funny stories to share?
KL: Ha…so many! I guess—off the top of my head—is when my DP and I had to fly home after shooting one of JBF’s America’s Classics in front of a traditional fish smoker for hours. You can only imagine how we smelled, but somehow we didn’t notice until others around us did. I think we both tossed our jackets in the trash as a peace offering.
Q: What is your favorite part of your job?
KL: It’s an honor to be invited with cameras into someone else’s world. And, each time it’s usually a world I didn’t know before, so that experience is really amazing. I love the challenge of creatively telling whatever story we need to tell and then seeing how the audience reacts.