Free Union Country School
Spring has sprung at Free Union: the sun is shining, filling each outdoor classroom with a welcome feeling of warmth and anticipation, and they can almost hear the gentle lilt of a recorder drifting over the hills. It's time for their annual May Day celebration! In the beginning of Free Union, the whole school fit around just one Maypole. Younger kids were "walkers", steadily winding the colorful ribbons around the pole, while older kids took on the honor and responsibility of being "weavers", their careful choreography creating an intricate over and under pattern. This year, they had four poles spread out across the soccer field, with each class performing their own socially distanced dance. That means kids of all ages will rise to the weaving challenge! Grades 2-5 made a grand entrance to the Maypole dance, frolicking with all the pomp and pageantry befitting the occasion, to the delight and surprise of parents and younger kids alike. We had so much fun, we can't wait to bring this new tradition back next year.
Dear Friends: Let me answer questions that may be on your mind: Who am I? The Free Union rep who oversaw Maxwell Mandell’s video project with us. Am I related to Maxwell Mandell in any way? Categorically No! Would I work with Maxwell Mandell again? Emphatically Yes! Would I recommend him to my closest friends? My mother? Another school? Absolutely! Why? In short, because he did a high quality job on time and was a joy to work with. Can you be more specific? Yes. Maxwell Mandell is: Professional: hardworking, on time, communicative, organized… Maxwell kept close track of each suggestion we made (e.g., “As you film and edit, be sure to think like a parent looking for a school. “Will my child be happy here? Will she be motivated to learn?). He kept in close touch. If he needed more footage, he would return to get it — all during the pandemic when everyone needed to be masked, distant, careful. Able to listen to the client: attentive, wheels always turning, responsive, never defensive… I have had collaborative experiences that were excruciating to manage because the videographer always knew better — like a local TV station that produced for us an unusable video. But if Maxwell has a competing idea, he will express it and explain his rationale. Example: I was convinced the video should open and close one way while Maxwell had another idea. I demurred and the final product is appreciably better. Artistic: sensitive, eye for detail, good camera sense. Maxwell sees the whole project through the eyes of the audience. He could mix long shots with close-ups so the viewer did not tire. Much of his artistry came to the surface through his editing and technical work. Technically a wizard — camera work, editor, lighting, color correction, directing…Maxwell took 20+ hours of footage and edited it into a two minute video that was “of a piece.” He corrected lighting such that it was balanced throughout, whether he filmed indoors, outdoors, cloudy, or sunny. He has shooting and editing tricks that make the product flow and effectively told the story of a school that is open during the pandemic. Maxwell’s interpersonal skills helped him connect with adults and children to complete this project. Whenever he had to stage a scene or interview a student, he always did so with respect. Maxwell Mandell did a superlative job for us and we commend him unequivocally. Feel free to call me if you need more.
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