I have always wanted to keep Fresno clean and safe. As the years have gone by, I have seen it get dirtier and dirtier. My son and I clean up a street in our neighborhood that is trashed daily. We go out and clean it up about once a month.
In late 2017, I was on Facebook and came across a page that was dedicated to Shaw Ave. I asked to join. I was welcomed to the group by Jim Jakobs the founder of the group. Jim and I used to work together. The comments that were on the page were very thought provoking and people had enough with the trash and panhandlers they saw daily. I sent Jim a homeless documentary that I worked on a year ago and he was very impressed with what was said in the documentary. He began sharing it on the Facebook page Save Shaw Ave. Many people were interested in it and learned a lot from it.
One day I suggested to Jim that we together should shoot a mini documentary that focuses on homelessness and panhandling that occurs right here in our own backyard…Shaw Ave. We both met for coffee and discussed what our objective was and who we wanted to interview. Jakobs mentioned that he wanted someone from the city to talk about the issue and I knew I wanted Pastor Rob to comment on the topic. I asked Pastor Rob if he could bring a disciple who has gone through being homeless. He brought with him Harley. Harley was once on the streets, and we felt it was necessary to get his perspective. Jim thought it was a good idea to have a business owner to talk on the subject and how it affects their business. Rani who owns Kwik Serv stepped up to the plate.
Our goal was to get not only one persons’ perspective but those who represent the area. We had a person who represents the city, H. Spees, a pastor who reaches out to the homeless, a former homeless individual and a business owner. We used their words to create a very thought provoking video, that we hope will help people re-think giving to those who are on the corners of our streets.
Once we finished the interviews Jim and I headed out to get some (broll) video footage of Shaw. Footage was needed to illustrate what our interviewees were talking about. Jim took it upon himself to log all the footage and write the script. I oversaw the video footage, music, editing, and color grading.
Once the video was done, Jim shared it on Save Shaw Ave Facebook page. It caught fire not too long after. I received emails from the Fresno Bee to do a story, and Jim was approached by ABC30, KMJ and KSEE 24.
This is exactly what we had hoped for. We hoped to spread the word about the panhandling issue here in Fresno. Homeless people are different than panhandlers, and every time you give panhandlers money you are enabling them. Watch the video below.
I have been working in television and media for over 18 years. My experience includes news photojournalist, editor, producer and storyteller.