Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Three Years in a Row!

Lehigh Valley Video Production

Three years in a row, the Program Photographer Emmy® Award has gone to Rocky Urich of FireRock Productions. Rocky always says it takes an entire team effort... this year is a testament to that and is extra special as he gets to share this honor with Jim Herman and Amy Sheller of Abominable Productions. Their talents have been an invaluable addition to many of our productions over the past few years; collaborating with them is so seamless, and best of all, FUN!

Lehigh Valley Video Production
Amy Sheller of Abominable Productions & Rocky Urich of FireRock Productions

One of those collaborative projects earned three Emmy® nominations this year. In fact, "The World of Roey's Paintbox" involved an entire team of individuals who wholeheartedly gave of their time and talents in order to create something one-of-a-kind, and it is hosted by Roey Ebert of Roey's Paintbox.

This educational series for kids was nominated in the Children/Youth/Teen Program category, the Program Editor category, and the Graphic Arts/Animation category.

Lehigh Valley Video Production
The "World of Roey's Paintbox" team en route to the 2017 Emmy® Awards
In late 2015, the team began the long process of creating a series of videos that might provide a short escape for the patients of Lehigh Valley Children's Hospital. "The World of Roey's Paintbox" was brought to life with the help of so many people and sponsors. From concept to launch, everyone on the team wore multiple hats and put in the extra time to make deadlines without sacrificing the quality of their piece of the project. The result is a whimsical world in which children can learn through the arts... with an original set, theme song, and soundtrack.

We did it all without an Emmy® in mind, but when the series was nominated three times this August, of course we got excited about the possibility of winning one together. We had a wonderful time celebrating with each other at the ceremony this past weekend and congratulate the winners and all of the other nominees. One day, this series will earn an Emmy®, but for now, more importantly, we forge ahead with a new series of segments for the kids!

The World of Roey's Paintbox - FireRock Productions
Reactions from the children as they see the "World of Roey's Paintbox" set for the first time.


Wednesday, January 11, 2017

20 Years in 2017!

20 Years in 2017!
FireRock Productions - 20 Years in 2017!
Happy New Year, everybody! 2017 brings with it reason for us to celebrate beyond the holidays. Believe it or not, it has been 20 years since Rocky first picked up a camera and pushed record! That was the beginning of what is now known as FireRock.

What was once just a high school hobby with friends back in 1997, has become our passion and livelihood today. Together, we've overcome a lot to get where we are now, all while remaining true to ourselves, our values, our standard of excellence, and ethical business practices. The decision for a young, newly married couple to become full-time business owners in 2009 was a risky one, to say the least. AND we made that decision shortly after buying our first home! If you have seen the movie "The Big Short," you know how that turned out...

But our dream was and is big, so we continued to persevere; not just surviving, but thriving in the recession, outlasting bigger production houses and making it through a short-lived partnership with someone who pulled the wool over our eyes and would rather squash us than help raise us up. We learned a lot (we'll never again be so na├»ve!), refocused, and recommitted to our mission which is bigger than ourselves. And that mentality and focus has helped lead us away from negative relationships and toward successes, including two more Emmy® Awards in 2016 - bringing our total to seven.

Lehigh Valley Video Production
Paul Luongo, Rocky Urich, Julia Urich, Liz Keptner, Casey Feinberg, & Carlo Acerra
celebrate an Emmy® Award for "Nazareth: Resonating Through Time."
"Nazareth: Resonating Through Time" received a 2016 Emmy® Award in the Magazine Program/Special category.

This is the second year in a row that a piece we created about a Lehigh Valley city or town has received a prestigious Emmy® Award. It is also the second year in a row that Rocky received a craft achievement Emmy® Award in the Program Photographer category which recognizes excellence in a specific craft discipline demonstrating the skills of an individual.

2016 also brought us the opportunity to revamp an educational series for children. Roey Ebert, artist and author, came to us with her idea for a tv show in which she would help guide viewers - even the most timid beginner - step by step through the painting process. What could have easily turned into another typical, meets-the-status-quo local show, we dreamed into a whimsical new world of children's programming.

The title of this revamped children's educational series is "The World of Roey's Paintbox," and it's the perfect example of what can happen when you make the mission bigger than yourself. Paint and learn in this 6-video series, which was inspired by the patients of Lehigh Valley Children's Hospital and brought to you by Capital Blue Store!

Lehigh Valley Video Production
Roey Ebert, Rocky Urich, Julia Urich, Jenn Natalie, Hillary Carrigan, Carlo Acerra & Kory Burrell
celebrate the launch of "The World of Roey's Paintbox" DVD at the Capital Blue store!
This program was made to entertain, educate, and encourage children of all ages and abilities to create their very own works of art while also teaching about music, nutrition, science, movement and more! Thank you, Roey, for trusting us with your image and brand during the entire evolution of this project!

See, below, how our vision for the show evolved from a seemingly wild and unattainable concept into a reality!

As we quoted on Instagram, "If you're not passionate enough from the start, you'll never stick it out." Passion is what drives FireRock forward with every project, every single day! We get regular feedback from the community that they recognize our work. How? Why does it stand out from the rest? We try to self-evaluate regularly, so we've asked ourselves why people see our work as unique, and we've concluded: because we genuinely care; and we put a lot of our own time into the product. And we'll continue to do so.

So, where is FireRock headed in 2017? Well, in order to achieve our goals locally in our hometown of Lehigh Valley, we think it's vital to continue to expand outside the region. Our desire has always been for our work to compete nationally, far beyond the Valley, to the benefit of our clients, especially those clients with the responsibility of growing Lehigh Valley, PA. The fact that we brought home one Mid-Atlantic Emmy® Award each for Lehigh Valley's tourism bureau and the chamber of commerce in 2015, and earned an Emmy® nomination for Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation (LVEDC) in 2014, hopefully tells you a lot about our aspirations. In 2016, our collaboration with LVEDC was awarded the Silver Award for Best Video/Multimedia Promotion by the International Economic Development Council for our video highlighting manufacturing in Lehigh Valley. FireRock always aims to go beyond the status quo, and our client earning recognition from the largest council serving economic developers suggests we succeeded with this one!

The winning video was just one of a 6-part series, which focuses on the four target sectors of LVEDC's strategic plan, as well as Lehigh Valley's entrepreneurial community, and Lehigh Valley Land Recycling Inivtiative's redevelopment projects. Our goal, together with LVEDC, was to answer the question, "Why Lehigh Valley?" Check out the entire series by clicking here!

As we move forward, more of our story will be revealed, but, in the meantime, we'll continue to focus on telling yours! We will forever be grateful to the mentors and supporters who have believed in us since the beginning (you know who you are!), and, to everyone who ever tried squashing, hurting, or discouraging us... good luck with that.

"After climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb"
- Nelson Mandela

We'll keep climbing. Here's to 20 more years!

Thursday, August 11, 2016

FireRock Receives Four 2016 Emmy® Nominations!

Lehigh Valley Video Production
Continuing a great 2016 after six ADDY Awards in March!
"FOCUSED" has been the word around FireRock, lately... so much so that it has been just about a year since we last wrote a blog! We've been busy making videos and not writing blogs, but thanking the support system behind FireRock is extremely important to us... and being that six ADDY awards and another four Emmy® Nominations came our way this year, there are a lot of people to thank!

Lehigh Valley Video Production
Carlo Acerra, Julia Urich, Rocky Urich, & Casey Feinberg celebrate
at the 2016 Mid-Atlantic Emmy® Nomination Party in Philadelphia.
FireRock is not just about the people on the staff. It's about each and every person who contributes to a project! The FireRock culture requires everybody's best, and when industry professionals around the country say that our crew's "best" is worthy of being recognized, we hope a sense of pride and accomplishment fills the hearts of those we collaborated with!

"You are who you surround yourself with." We reiterate that quote often and believe in it wholeheartedly! The smoke and mirrors are oftentimes hard to avoid in the business community, but, for this small business, the genuine, caring, and passionate people we are so blessed to work with every day, who are responsible for the success and longevity of FireRock Productions, continue to lead us to light and opportunity. Clients, colleagues, friends... whatever they may start as... they quickly become family. Thank you to all of you for being the "rock" in FireRock!

This year, we are honored to be nominated with the following Fire"Rocks" -

Paul Luongo, Producer
Liz Keptner, Producer
Casey Feinberg, Writer
Julia Urich, Director
Rocky Urich, Director of Photography
Carlo Acerra, Associate Editor
Hillary Carrigan, Associate Producer

Kyle Elliott, Producer
Julia Urich, Director
Rocky Urich, Director of Photography
Carlo Acerra, Associate Photographer
Hillary Carrigan, Associate Producer

The other two nominations were for craft achievements, excellence in a specific craft discipline demonstrating the skills of individuals.

Editing - Short Form
Carlo Acerra & Rocky Urich

Photography - Program
Rocky Urich

Thank you to Lindsey Knupp and Jon Schaeffer of the Lehigh Valley IronPigs, as well as the borough of Nazareth, for believing in us enough to help you tell your stories!

Lehigh Valley Video Production
Julia Urich, Rocky Urich, & Casey Feinberg celebrate their six 2016 ADDY Awards.

2016 ADDY Award Winners

Without all of you - the incredible network of people supporting us in various capacities - we would not be able to do the work we do. And we certainly wouldn't have received the accolades that came our way the past few months, so "THANK YOU!" From the bottom of our hearts - the six ADDY awards and four Emmy® nominations we have received are dedicated to all of you!

The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences will present the 34th Annual Mid-Atlantic Emmy® Awards on Saturday, September 24th at the Philadelphia Marriott Downtown. It'll be a big FireRock family gathering!

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Four Mid-Atlantic Emmy® Awards for FireRock!

Lehigh Valley Video Production

The ballroom at the Philadelphia Hilton on Saturday, September 19th, 2015 was packed for the presentation of the 33rd annual National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Mid-Atlantic Emmy® Awards. The energy was contagious. As we walked in, we immediately felt humbled to be in the presence of so many talented media makers. It was an amazing and overwhelming realization: we were standing in a room full of hundreds of Emmy® nominees spanning 77 different categories, and we were lucky enough to be included in 7 of them. Our nerves were only settled by remembering that we already had plenty to celebrate, regardless of what was engraved on the statues lined up backstage. We walked into that room surrounded by more than just our clients and colleagues - we were there with friends.

We know that what we do doesn't exist without the people and groups who ask us to help tell their stories. We are so grateful to have been able to share Saturday's gala with Laughing At My Nightmare, Inc., The Chamber, Discover Lehigh Valley, Countess Communications, and Weller Health Education CenterThe way in which these groups came together to support and celebrate each other and FireRock Productions was nothing short of extraordinary.  

Lehigh Valley Video Production

When "A Will to Survive" and FireRock Productions were called for the Human Interest Program Feature/Segment as the first of what would be four wins that evening, we were shocked. To have won one Emmy® with Shane in 2013 for "Happiness is Always an Option" was unbelievable, but to win a second with him… We have no words. He is one of the most amazing individuals we have ever known, and has taught us so much. Our lives have been immeasurably enriched by Shane, his family, and his non-profit, Laughing At My Nightmare.

Lehigh Valley Video Production

To then have your name called, as an individual, celebrating a craft that you love to do… we're pretty sure by the brevity of his acceptance speech that Rocky was stunned! Rocky celebrated his Craft Achievement Emmy® for Photography by thanking Julia for allowing him to "turn his hobby into a career." This is an award celebrating the skills of an individual, but, according to Rocky, "it takes an entire team around any successful individual to achieve something like this."

Lehigh Valley Video Production

Nobody celebrated in a bigger way that evening than Joe Uliana and Lynn and Don Cunningham. What a fun group to share an evening with! Joe nearly knocked his chair over when "The Bethlehem Story" won for Public/Current/Community Affairs Feature/Segment. The jokes, the hollering, the laughter… Don and Joe kept the mood light all night! And what a wonderful thing to be celebrating - Bethlehem, and all of Lehigh Valley have so much going on and so much to be proud of!

Lehigh Valley Video Production

The fourth and final award we received Saturday was in the Lifestyle Program Feature/Segment category for "DISHcover Lehigh Valley: Porters' Pub," a project created with the help of Countess Communications, and hosted by the indomitable Kim Lilly, Executive Vice President for Discover Lehigh Valley. Kim was, at first, unsure about hosting the series, but, with a little arm-twisting, conquered her nerves and won an Emmy® for it! For this episode and more, visit: 

Lehigh Valley Video Production

Having 20 people on our team that evening, each of them representing the many other individuals who have believed in us and been there for us from the beginning, was quite possibly even more awesome than winning. We could never ask for a better support system. And we never could have predicted or asked for the support that each of those individuals showed to each other.

For us, this is indicative of why and how we achieve the successes that we do. It's about you: all of the people who ever believed in us, and continue to believe in us to this day; everyone who has ever given us an opportunity. We do not create videos for us, we create them for you, your businesses, your families, and your colleagues; and we want to be there for you in return, and give you the best product, which you deserve.

The four Mid-Atlantic Emmy® Awards that FireRock came home with represent not just the accomplishments of FireRock and the other individuals listed on the awards, but also Lehigh Valley, its organizations, and the people who live, work, and play here, as well as the companies that we are lucky enough to consider extensions of our team, just as much as we aim to be an extension of theirs.

We thank you - our friends, families, colleagues, and clients - for these awards!

Lehigh Valley Video Production
"Show me your friends and I'll show you your future."

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

FireRock Receives Seven 2015 Mid-Atlantic Emmy® Nominations

Lehigh Valley Video Production

We snapped the photo below as we entered McFadden's at Citizen Bank Park in Philadelphia on August 11, 2015.

FireRock Productions Receives Seven 2015 Emmy Nominations

Maybe it was a sign that we were about to knock one out of the park... but seven? Simply unimaginable. Our hearts stopped the first time we heard our name, and as it was called for that seventh time, one quote instantly came to mind.

"In order for people to succeed, all they need is a little nudge - someone to give them the opportunity."

There are so many of you that have given us - and continue to give us - that "nudge," and we will be forever thankful. The above remark was recently shared with us by Cops 'n' Kids Lehigh Valley President, Beverly Bradley during a memorable and meaningful conversation at The Bethlehem Chamber's 2015 Annual Dinner, and it was like everything came full circle.

A piece which premiered at that same Annual Dinner the year before, The Bethlehem Story, was the first video produced in the qualifying time frame for this year's Emmy® submissions.

FireRock Productions Receives Seven 2015 Emmy Nominations
Host, Liz Kkeptner, in The Bethlehem Story
This story of Bethlehem's renaissance, hosted and narrated by Liz Keptner, ended up being one of our seven nominations! Here are the nominated videos, and all who were recognized for their contributions:

Public/Current/Community Affairs Program Feature/Segment: “The Bethlehem Story”

Joe Uliana - Producer
Lynn Cunningham - Producer
Julia Urich - Director
Rocky Urich - Editor

Human Interest Program Feature/Segment: “A Will to Survive”

A Will to Survive is the second collaboration between FireRock Productions and Shane Burcaw, President of Laughing at My Nightmare, to earn an Emmy® nomination. The first, Happiness is Always an Option, went on to win a 2013 Mid-Atlantic Emmy® Award!

Shane Burcaw - Executive Producer/Writer
Erinn Malone - Producer
Julia Urich - Director
Rocky Urich - Editor

Children/Youth/Teen (19 and under) Program/Special – “Better Start Early”

The above video is a preview of the full length version. Better Start Early is a 17-minute educational piece about early detection and prevention, created for and with Weller Health Education Center. The video is centered around Sarah Trimmer, an inspiring individual who was brave enough to share her experience with cancer.

Melissa Lee - Executive Producer
Erin Postel - Producer
Julia Urich - Director
Rocky urich - Photographer

Lifestyle Program Feature/Segment – Dishcover: Porters’ Pub

Our collaboration with Discover Lehigh Valley and Countess Communications resulted in this nominated episode of DISHcover Lehigh Valley, a series about the best dining and dishes in Lehigh Valley!

Kim Lilly - Executive Producer
Julia Urich - Director
Rocky Urich - Photographer
Marta Countess - Assoc. Producer
Jeff Countess - Assoc. Photographer

Craft achievement awards are presented to individuals for excellence in a specific craft discipline. Rocky has been nominated in three craft categories: Short Form Editor, Program Editor, and Program Photographer.

This is one of the videos submitted for consideration of craft achievement:

The 33rd Mid-Atlantic Emmy® Award presentation will take place at the Philadelphia Hilton on Saturday, September 19th, 2015. Congratulations to all of the nominees - we are humbled to be in the company of so very many talented and deserving individuals.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

The Release of "Crescendo" - FireRock Productions' 48 Hour Film Project

What amazed us each time we embarked on our 48 hour scramble, was the willingness of others, whether lifelong friends or people we've just met in the Lehigh Valley business community, to help in any way possible - that could be fulfilling the role of an actor, providing a filming location, or lending a much-needed prop. It really has been a special community of relationships we've built through the years. Thank you to everyone for making what we do feel so special!

Lehigh Valley Video Production
Team #FireRock48 Wraps Their 48 Hour Film Project 2015
It all started a few months ago when Julia started receiving reminder emails that the 48 Hour Film Project was coming up in New York City. Rocky and Julia began reminiscing about the great time they had during the last 48 hour film project, during which they created a film called BRAINS!, that included blood,  zombies, puppies, bunnies, and one or two laughs.

Of course, Casey couldn't be left out and wanted to experience the craziness for herself!  So, one afternoon, she watched BRAINS! and was hooked. A few days later, while Rocky had his headphones on and didn't have a chance to object, Casey and Julia signed up for this year's 48 Hour Film Project! FireRock was set to compete against 60 other teams, all creating short films in only 48 hours. Well, this should be fun.

Lehigh Valley Video Production
Team #FireRock48 Begins Brainstorming
Fast forward two months to Friday, May 29th at 7p.m. - the official start of the contest. Rocky began the evening by asking - one more time - if we were actually doing this, because, in all reality, he's the one who has to edit the masterpiece, which means way less sleep for him and way more of a reason to want to jump off a bridge before it started. But nope, we were in this for the long haul... the whole 48-hour "long haul!"  ( the lack-of-sleep-hangover we would have after the weekend.) The #FireRock48 team, along with a few close friends, gathered in the office to start brainstorming how the heck we were going to make a Superhero movie (our assigned genre) in only 48 hours. Ideas from sidekick-turned-hero, to villain movies were thrown around, but nothing stuck. Around 3:30a.m., those left standing abandoned the office for bed, set to return in the morning to finish the idea. At 10a.m. we reconvened and we wrote our story... and what a story!

Lehigh Valley Video Production
Our #FireRock48 Superhero Pose
By 2p.m., a rough script was written, the story line was perfected, and phone calls were made. Our cast came together and the team dispersed to gather objects, costumes, materials, equipment, and - of course - some coffee. Somehow, by 2:30a.m. ...yes, just over 12 hours later, filming was wrapped and it was time to edit.  Rocky got a whole three hours of sleep and got right to work!  Here are some behind-the-scenes pictures and, at the bottom, the end of the story of our weekend.

Lehigh Valley Video Production
12-Year-Old is Needed for Lead Character…
Josh Accepts the Challenge!
Lehigh Valley Video Production
Props Department Scrambled to Create this Costume…
After We Scrambled to Create a Props Department
Lehigh Valley Video Production
Preparing to Shoot Scene 2
 Lehigh Valley Video Production
It Got Very LATE Very Quickly!

Last Scene Wraps with Paul Luongo & Valerie Bittner at 2am…
Oh… We Still Need to EDIT!
Luckily, this was not the sign that Rocky and Casey saw when they went to hand in the film... although it was a very close call.

Lehigh Valley Video Production

Rocky, Julia, and Casey left Emmaus at 5:30 p.m. on Sunday night to get to the drop off location in NYC by 7:30 p.m. Nah, we weren't stressing... calm, cool as a cucumber... as we drove through POURING rain and TRAFFIC into the city! At 7:16p.m. our GPS was saying 4 minutes to go and .3 miles away... and the road was BLOCKED where we had to turn to get to the drop-off. Do we get out and run? Yes, we run! Julia drove around Washington Square park, arriving at 7:29p.m. The film would have been late had we all stayed in the car, so, Rocky and Casey jumping out of the car .3 miles away in the rain and running to the drop off venue was the best decision we could have made. "This is what we've been training for," Rocky said, as they jogged along the streets of NYC, looking for a bar that he's pretty sure Casey has no idea how to find ...and there was a good chance they were running the wrong direction and there's no way they will get there in time. Rocky, incredulous that they've made it, jogs with Casey into the bar and hand in the video with less than 5 minutes to spare.  

Lehigh Valley Video Production

Rewind to Rocky asking "Do we really want to do this?" at the beginning... maybe he knew what we were in for? Above is the actual picture we saw, and it was totally worth it. New York City's 48 Hour Film Project consisted of over 60 films this year! Our film made the Top 16 and was included in the Best Of Screening at the Cantor Film Center where it was awarded Best Sound Design! The required elements this year were:

Required Character: Hugh Lawson, Musician
Required Prop: Grapes
Required Line: "He said he'd be here."

We hope you have as much fun watching the film as we had making it! AND who knows… next year, we could be calling you for help!

Sunday, April 26, 2015

FireRock Productions Receives 2015 ADDY Awards!

Lehigh Valley Video Production

On March 6th, the American Advertising Federation - Greater Lehigh Valley chapter presented the 2015 ADDY Awards. FireRock Productions is honored to have received two ADDYs for collaborations with Discover Lehigh Valley, Lehigh Valley Health Network, and Countess Communications.

Lehigh Valley Video Production
Two ADDYs Awarded to FireRock Productions

The first of the two videos honored that night highlights the breadth and scope of Lehigh Valley Health Network in less than 3 minutes.

The second video by FireRock Productions to receive recognition is an episode of "DISHcover Lehigh Valley," a series hosted by the executive vice president of Discover Lehigh Valley, Kim Lilly. Filming these "DISHcover Lehigh Valley" segments usually makes the FireRock crew hungry, but this one really made them THIRSTY! Kim brings along her colleague to compete in a Beer Tasting Challenge in this ADDY Award-winning episode at Porters' Pub & Restaurant! Even the loser wins in this one!

Lehigh Valley Video Production
Our FireRock Team Photo after the Awards Ceremony