I like shooting movies, or at least short videos. I’m no Fellini or anything, though I aspire to be a James Rolfe or something similar. As it turns out, the ability to create short movies can be really useful to a library and library programming. Truthfully, you can accomplish something pretty fantastic if you have some help and, thankfully, I do.

There’s an event we do every year called Big Read AZ. This isn’t just a local event. Libraries all over the country do it. Basically, it’s one of those “LET’S ALL READ THE SAME BOOK!” events and then some committee somewhere picks a book. This time around that committee picked The Great Gatsby. So, needless to say there’s been a buzz with the programming folks as to what to do. One of them, a certain Caris O’Malley, suggested “Hey! Ya know what? Gatsby is set in the Roaring Twenties! They had silent films in the Roaring Twenties! We should work with that!”

And thus an idea was born. I did some writing and enlisted some co-workers at my branch to perform various tasks, most of which was to act as cheesy as possible for a book trailer/event promo for The Big Read. I snagged my camera equipment and, in 45 minutes, we shot the entire thing. Another three and half hours later (give or take), I had a finished film.

This video is 100% library produced. It’s done completely in house using our own staff talents. The Evil Librarian is the esteemed Dr. Howard Carron, our Adult Services Supervisor. The Damsel is Sarah Lane, our awesome Youth Paraprofessional. Gatsby is Tony Apodaca, a helluva guitarist and our Adult Paraprofessional. Our random female patron with the hat is Karrie Romero, a Youth Librarian. The other lady patron without the hat is none other than Holly Paxson, the Branch Manager. I make a quick cameo because, quite frankly, someone had to do it.

I did the camera work and editing. I wrote the script, if you can even call it a script. You hear that awesome rendition of Maple Leaf Rag? That’s Holly, playing my baby grand. We recorded that bit at my house. (It’s hard to take a baby grand to work.)

The thing was shot on site at our branch library.

100 PERCENT IN HOUSE. This is what you can do with your own talents and your own people. Watch our video and then, dammit, go make your own!