Sunday, September 8, 2013

FireRock Receives 2013 Mid-Atlantic Emmy® Award!

Lehigh Valley Video Production

It seemed to be the longest drumroll of the night. The nominees were listed on the big screen in front of the ballroom. The envelope was slowly being opened. The only thing that seemed to move quickly was Shane Burcaw, president of Laughing At My Nightmare, Inc., in his motorized wheelchair as he took off toward the stage. Was he overconfident? No. He just wanted to make sure that he wasn't left behind if our collaboration was read aloud as the winner. The words were spoken. "And the winner is... 'Laughing At My Nightmare,' FireRock Productions!"

Lehigh Valley Video Production
Shane Burcaw, President of Laughing At My Nightmare, Inc. giving his acceptance Speech
Shane later said that he was so relieved they won because it would have been embarrassing to turn his wheelchair around when he was already half way to the stage.  He was already giving his acceptance speech by the time Rocky caught up. "All I remember is Shane saying that he wanted to take off his clothes for his speech but he only had 30 seconds to talk, so he wouldn't have enough time. Everything after that was a blur. It was so surreal," recalls Rocky.

Lehigh Valley Video Production
FireRock & LAMN with their Emmy® Awards
(Shane Burcaw, Rocky Urich, Julia Urich, & Shannon O'Connor)
FireRock's Rocky and Julia Urich, along with Shane Burcaw of LAMN received the Emmy® award in the "Human Interest - Program Feature/Segment" category. It provides a closer look at the Bethlehem, PA native, Shane, who faces his disease, Spinal Muscular Atrophy, with laughter and a smile. Shane and his friend, Shannon O'Connor, brought the idea for the story to Julia in August 2012. The final edited version of the piece, ultimately called "Happiness is Always an Option," was released in February 2013 and immediately went viral, picked up by sites like reddit.com, wimp.com, and upworthy.com, with nearly 150,000 views on FireRock's Vimeo and YouTube pages alone. Since working on this piece, the foursome has produced a number of other videos; some currently viewable at www.FireRockVideo.com and others to be released later this year.

Lehigh Valley Video Production
Thank you to everyone who accompanied us to the ceremony! We love all of you!
(David Lischner, Carol Ritter, Elizabeth Lischner, Chuck Gloman, Linda Gloman, Shannon O'Connor,
Shane Burcaw, Julia Urich, Jon Burcaw, Rocky Urich, Debbie Urich, George Urich
Marlyn Kissner, Liz Keptner, Laurel Mikovits, & Scott Babashak)
It is the greatest honor to be considered a winner among the likes of Comcast, Eagles Television Network, and WHYY, and we wish all the 2013 award winners and nominees the warmest congratulations! What we remember most about the night, however, is not the Emmy® statues that we took home, rather, all of our family and friends who came along to show their support! We have learned that if you surround yourself with good people and keep a positive, humorous outlook on life, good things will happen! Thank you, Shane, for being an example for us all!

Lehigh Valley Video Production
Rocky & Julia Urich of FireRock Productions


Monday, August 5, 2013

FireRock Thanks Friends & Supporters in the Lehigh Valley for Emmy® Nominations!

Lehigh Valley Video Production

FireRock Productions received four 2013 Mid-Atlantic Regional Emmy® Award nominations from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (NATAS) on August 1, 2013. One nomination was in the human interest category for excellence in a segment that covers subject matter that appeals to the human spirit. The other three nominations were for craft achievements - excellence in a specific craft discipline demonstrating the skills of an individual - for Rocky Urich as an editor and a photographer.

The human interest segment that was nominated is a story about Shane Burcaw. Despite living with spinal muscular atrophy, he is determined to spread hope, share laughter, and inspire people across the world. Shane, Founder and President of Laughing At My Nightmare, Inc. emailed us just about a year ago looking for a production company to help him with a short documentary. Learn more about Shane and LAMN in this video that has earned a 2013 Emmy nomination by clicking here. Since then, it has been an honor getting to know him, his family, and the LAMN team. We are looking forward to many more laughs and video collaborations with them in the future.

Lehigh Valley Video Production
FireRock & LAMN With Their Emmy® Nomination Certificates
(Rocky Urich, Julia Urich, Shane Burcaw, Shannon O'Connor)
The final deadline for the 2013 Emmy® submissions was April 26, and, as with any deadline, it quickly approached. We found ourselves uploading our entries to the NATAS website while filming a promotional video for Harcum College. We would like to offer a special thank you to Rachel Bowen, Director of Admissions at Harcum. A hectic day of filming on top of her normal busy schedule had already increased her workload beyond what an individual may be able to accomplish in one day. Despite all that, she stopped at nothing to make sure we had the opportunity to finish our entry submissions in time.

We are lucky to have the clients and colleagues that we have. FireRock Productions and these Emmy® nominations are a result of the relationships we have been building over the years. Pictured below are two of our "rocks." Carol Ritter, President of Caroltalks.com, and her business partner, Laurel Mikovits, were our guests at the Emmy® nominations party. When our name was called for the first time that night, it brought tears to Carol's eyes. Though we already know it, that moment was reassurance that we're surrounding ourselves with the right people. Carol's and Laurel's guidance and positivity have been priceless for FireRock. They have seen us through many ups and downs and we are so grateful they were there to share a very special experience with us.

Lehigh Valley Video Production
Laurel Mikovits, Julia Urich, Rocky Urich, & Carol Ritter
We would also like to thank Marlyn Kissner, Executive Vice President of the Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce, for lighting the spark for FireRock. She is an excellent role model for best business practices here in the Lehigh Valley, and kindly took us under her wing in 2009. Thank you to Stephanie Sigafoos, Scott Babashak, Liz Keptner, and Amy Burkett for believing in us. We are so blessed to have all of you in our lives.

As FireRock Productions entered Mexican Post on Cherry Street in Philadelphia for the Emmy® nomination party, we were a bit timid. It was a first-time event for us, and we did not know what to expect. What happened next was a huge blessing. We received the warmest welcome by Laura McHugh and Grover Silcox of PBS39 WLVT. It settled us down and made us feel at home. Thank you Laura and Grover! Congratulations to you, Amy Burkett, and the rest of the PBS39 family on your Emmy® nominations!

Lehigh Valley Video Production
FireRock Productions & PBS39 WLVT (Julia Urich, Laura McHugh,
Lisa Robinson, Grover Silcox, Brittany Garzillo, & Rocky Urich)
The Emmy® Awards ceremony will be held on September 7th. To see how it all unfolds, check out our Facebook and Twitter pages! Thank you all for your support! It's essential to our growth and development, and it means the world to us! Another thank you to Shannon Sigafoos, Marketing Associate at Northampton Community College, for your constant encouragement and helping with locations for our silly video announcing our nominations! Watch the silliness, below.


Monday, July 8, 2013

It's Time to Get Creative With Video Marketing!




Are you struggling to figure out if video marketing is right for your business?  One of the reasons why video marketing is so successful is that it can be used in so many different ways. 

Here at FireRock Productions, we optimize video for your website, Facebook page, YouTube channel, Vimeo channel, or any other place you’d want to put it.  But free flowing pictures and sound aren’t necessarily a good thing if you don’t have quality content.  If it’s not eye-catching and creative, then it fails to drive home a point and reach potential customers. 

We recently checked out a blog (passed along by our good friend Carol Ritter) that talked about creating a YouTube channel to leverage the free marketing that’s available to your business via the web and social media.  This paragraph was definitely worth noting: 

“Where YouTube pales in comparison to TV is in the quality of content, and without the full backing from brands it is likely to remain this way.

The freedom of YouTube is an opportunity brands would be foolish to ignore, as they can express their brand in whatever way they wish, unlike in traditional broadcast, all at a fraction of the cost of a TV commercial.” 

Quality video can make a customer’s digital interaction with your brand more engaging.  After all, people often visit YouTube to watch videos that are as entertaining and humorous as they are helpful.  Put it all together and you have the ability to dramatically increase consumer interest.

Just check out these numbers...

A video we did for Coca-Cola Bottling of the Lehigh Valley has 34,892 views on our (Rocky Urich Productions) YouTube Channel...

Laughing at my Nightmare has 78,496 on our FireRock YouTube Channel... 

...and Immaculata University just posted their new commercial on their YouTube Channel on June 25 (less than 2 weeks ago) and they're close to breaking 2,000 views.

These numbers aren't even counting Vimeo views or any other platforms where our clients may have hosted it!  So we need to ask -- are you using YouTube creatively to increase awareness for your business?  If the answer is no, don’t hesitate to reach out and see how we can help!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

We're Celebrating Small Business Week!


Did you know that since President John F. Kennedy first introduced Small Business Week in 1963, every president has signed a proclamation to recognize the entrepreneurial spirit of small business owners all over the country?  We're proud to be part of that group here in the Lehigh Valley from Main Street in Emmaus to Broad Street in Bethlehem.  From  Centre Square in Easton to 7th Street in Allentown and everywhere in between.  We are one of the 30 million or so small businesses here in the United States, and we know we also provide a service that helps other local businesses grow and thrive.

Monday, President Obama declared June 16-22, 2013 as National Small Business Week when he stated, “America’s small businesses reflect the best of who we are as a Nation—daring and innovative, courageous and hopeful, always working hard and looking ahead for the next great idea.”  That describes to a T so many people who live and work in this area.

Now, when most people think of "small business," hopefully they think of businesses like FireRock Productions, and others you would typically find in quiet little towns and big cities all across the country.  We know people turn to us as a way to enhance their business and reach the masses with a particular message, but we also can't help but smile when we see small business owners simply open their doors and help to revitalize an entire area.

One statistic you might be shocked to know is that more than two-thirds of Valley businesses employ nine or fewer people, but the impact they can have is enormous.  With that in mind, here are just a couple of things we're doing to celebrate small business week and help other local businesses in the Lehigh Valley:

Enjoying dinner or dessert in a locally owned and operated restaurant or bakery: Everyone who knows us knows we love to enjoy a great meal or a baked treat.  We also know local businesses don't have the budgets the big chains do to bring traffic in the door and put people at booths and tables.So the next time we walk by a local eatery, we're stopping in!

Buying produce and groceries from the farmer’s market: We know it might cost a little more, but we also know that buying from someplace like the Emmaus Farmer's Market means we're buying from a local business -- and that's putting money back into the pockets of local farmers and food artisans.

Telling a friend about a favorite local business: In the last few months we've ramped up our social media efforts, so we know it's easier than ever to tell friends about other local businesses we love simply by clicking the "Like" on their page or retweeting someone's glowing review about a new place they've shopped, the best cupcake they've eaten or a new bookstore they've discovered.

In short, patronizing and sharing your favorite small businesses with your family and friends will help them celebrate small business week too.  And we should all recognize the role they play in the Lehigh Valley's economic growth.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Check out the debut of "Brains" - A 48 Hour Film Project!

Genre: Wild Card #2 - Zombie
Required Character: Cam/Cat Dean, Ad Executive
Required Prop: Trophy

Required Line: "When do you expect her?"

Entered for The New York 48 Hour Film Project May 31-June 2, 2013. 

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Manic movie-making madness commences

If you see a few zombies wandering around the Lehigh Valley today, don't worry. It's just our film crew on very little sleep.

A hectic Friday night that involved racing to New York City with six of us stretched out in a limousine ended with the realization that we may have jinxed ourselves by telling The Morning Call we weren't sure how we'd tackle making a zombie movie as part of the 48 Hour Film Project


So... guess who's trying to make a zombie movie in just 48 hours (or roughly about 30, in our case. Which is what happens when you endure a brainstorming session on the way home from Manhattan, all the while punching out text messages and calling in favors for cast and locations and equipment. And then you opt to sleep and get a fresh start on Saturday morning before your brain truly enters an apocalyptic world).

Now here we are, with no Andrew Lincoln or Sarah Wayne Callies to rally our sleep-deprived, near-Walking Dead cast of characters.  But we're going to have fun and make the most of our first-time experience with 48HFP. So follow this blog throughout the day for photos, video and a peek inside our film-making process.  In advance, we'd like to thank everyone for their comments, suggestions, advice, props, equipment and the donation of a large chunk of their Saturday to make this happen.  We've got a great cast of characters involved, so stay with this blog for updates!

8:30am - Meet the star of our first shot of the day!



8:45am - Brains taste better in a rose garden...



10:40am - Drop Me A Line costume shop for zombie makeup



Setting up inside Cantelmi Funeral Home. Because nothing says zombies like death. 



1pm - A zombie in waiting 



Action!



2:30pm - Our real pizza delivery girl just made the movie. Her one word: "Brains?"



4:50pm - Here's our first Vine!

Zombie reveal for our 48 Hour Movie Project: https://vine.co/v/b3zFB5xl1T6
Special thanks to Ray Santoleri for the amazing makeup!!


5:10pm - Zombie sisters?



6pm - Zombie Attack! It's about to get messy!



6:25pm - The Living Dead



7:15pm - End Of Life



8pm - It's a wrap! Time to edit!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

How hard can it be to make a film in two days?


What was that Billy Joel song?  You May Be Right (I May Be Crazy)?  Well, maybe we are … because FireRock Productions is about to get its start in time-limit film competitions, and in a pretty wild sort of way.  Of course, we may struggle with sleep deprivation and getting a quality product out the door, but that’s all the fun of the 48-Hour Film Project, and we’re taking part in the 2013 tour when it hits New York City inside of two weeks.

Wait. Did we say two weeks?  (Deep breath)

For those who aren’t familiar with time-limit film competitions, here’s what we’re up against:  The way the 48-Hour Film Project works is that on the night of the kickoff to the event you are given several unique elements.  They include a genre, character, line of dialogue and a prop.  Then you have two days to include all these elements and make the best movie possible.  

What we’re preparing for is mostly being wide awake from Friday, May 31 through Sunday, June 2.  We’ll be filming in the Lehigh Valley and we’re set on having a good time, feeding off the energy of our team, and making something that can ultimately win the 48-Hour Film Project.

Can we pull it off?  I guess we’re about to find out...

Sunday, May 5, 2013

FireRock finds Room to Grow in Bethlehem

The weather has finally taken a turn for the better, and we’ve been out and about with our cameras in tow to capture some very cool goings-on in the Lehigh Valley.

Coincidentally, this past week saw us spending most of our time at the SteelStacks campus in Bethlehem.  We need to ask -- is there a better place to spend a gorgeous, 70-degree day than walking this amazing 4.5 acres of land?

Our cameras are ready for the Room to Grow Fashion Show

Tuesday, April 30, saw the return of the Room to GrowFashion Show, once again hosted by The Outlets at the Sands and sponsors that included The Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce and Just Born.  A good time for a great cause was had by 400 attendees, each of whom spent $75 for an open bar, gourmet food and a beach-themed Runway Fashion Show that kicked off with America’s most memorable television theme song blaring through the speakers (any guesses what it was?) as models began walking the runway.  One lucky ticket holder also won a beautiful Citrine, Smoky Quartz and White Sapphire Sun Pendant set in Gold-Plated Sterling Silver, and anxiously jumped from her chair in delight when the winning number was called.

As Bethlehem Mayor John Callahan noted, this was “not your grandfather’s library fundraiser.”  The 21-and-over event saw 100% of ticket proceeds go to the Bethlehem Area Public Library’s Room to Grow Project.  With Phase 1 complete at the Main Library, Phase 2 involves the renovation of the historic South Side Branch and is now underway.  You can read more about the project HERE.

Bethlehem Mayor John Callahan
The following day we met up with Mayor John Callahan in the shadow of the Blast Furnaces.  These towering ‘stacks’ (after which the campus is named) were once used in the iron making process at Bethlehem Steel for decades, and continue to draw the eye of residents, tourists, professional and amateur photographers and videographers venturing into Bethlehem.

If you want to know why we were hanging out John Callahan, you can find out on May 15 at another event that will once again bring us back to Bethlehem.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Our endorsement for Lehigh Valley's "Man of the Year"

Here at FireRock Productions, we've become accustomed to working with some fantastic men and women all around the Lehigh Valley and beyond.  And each year, in communities across the country -- including right here in our own back yard -- folks engage in a spirited ten-week fundraising competition to earn The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's Man & Woman of the Year titles, by raising funds for blood cancer research.


No doubt, the 2013 campaign includes some amazing community and business leaders, but we're throwing our endorsement to one guy -- Billy Kounoupis.  Now, it's not just because he's putting frozen hot chocolate back on the menu at Billy's (though it's a definite incentive ;).  And it's not just because his Mindfreak Burger will actually blow your mind.  It's because Billy isn't just passionate about things like customer service, but also because he's active in the area, highly ambitious, resourceful and can absolutely help to make a difference in the lives of people suffering from blood cancer.

Billy and his fellow candidates will be raising money in honor of Sam Mackaravitz and Madison Arnold (pictured below), two young children from Emmaus who are currently fighting blood cancer and are the 2013 Boy & Girl of the Year.


How can you help Billy help Sam and Madison?

Go to http://www.mwoy.org/pages/lv/lehigh13/bkounoupis and donate through the fundraising page.  In addition, there are other ways to help listed at the bottom of Billy's blog HERE.

In closing, we encourage you all to donate like a mother.  A slogan we're sure that Billy himself would approve of.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Thank You, Amy... For Always Being YOU!

How many people in the Lehigh Valley have been touched, influenced, moved, inspired, educated, and/or led by Amy Burkett? We know we have! We are so grateful to know Amy and we are fortunate enough to have worked with her a number of times. We wish Amy all our best as she makes the move into a new and even greater leadership position at PBS WTVI in Charlotte, NC.  But, Amy, did it have to be so far away!? ;)

Really, though, we are sincerely happy for you and your family – and we know it must be nice for you guys to be closer to Disney! We know you are going to do even better things, Amy – you were born to lead and we admire what you do. Thank you for your support, guidance, encouragement and wisdom – for us and all of the Lehigh Valley; and thank you for always being YOU! Congratulations! Charlotte is gaining much having you as part of its community!

Rocky & Amy at the Chamber's Economic Outlook 2013
Photo by Sherry Clewell Photography
A new chapter begins
Moving on to new opportunities
Yes, change can be challenging
But how else would we grow
Understanding
Reaching for more
Kindness abounds
Embrace it
Teacher and friend
Thank you for everything

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Social Media Weddings: When Your Vows Go Viral


Raise your hand if you've seen it.  Newlyweds saying their vows, leaning in for the first kiss, and finally cutting the cake.  You look around and suddenly you notice your view is fully obstructed by a wave of guests that suddenly look more like a swelling sea of paparazzi -- iPhones, Androids and iPods aloft.  And 20 seconds later...

DING! Someone tagged you in a post.  Ignore the arched eyebrows from all the older family members and add this to your Timeline now.

Like it or not, the social media monster (shall we call him Tweetzilla?) has infiltrated the world of weddings, for better or for worse.  But is it a good idea? A bad idea? A get-you-annexed-from-your-brand-new-family-before-the-wedding's-even-over idea?

We fully admit we're suddenly lost in the crowd of traditional tweeters, enthusiastic iPhone photographers and frantic Facebook posters in and around the greater Lehigh Valley.  (Full confession: We're not on Instagram. Should we be?)  But we also realize some of these happy couples are sharing their first moments together probably wondering how in the world they could've kept their vows from going viral.

So remember this:
As wedding cinematographers, we're focused on a wedding video that will not just capture an image, but capture the emotion of your special day.  Why? Because it's the one thing we can control in the no-man's land of social-media wediquette we're still trying to learn.

/ˈwed e quit/
Noun
The customary code of polite behavior in society or among members of a particular group during a wedding.
(Full confession #2: We thought we made this word up. Turns out it's already in the urban dictionary.)

Kidding aside, we've all probably seen the blessing and the curse when it comes to I do's and status updates.  We're still not sure if it adds to the joy of the occasion, or detracts from the big day, so let us know what you think.  And in the meantime, check out this video for more on what we feel is FireRock Productions' high-end creativity, artistic style and the personal perspective we take to capture your special day. 


Full Confession #3: In case you didn't notice, not one electronic device was spotted in the making of this video.  That's because we made the guests watch one of those 'Silence Your Cell Phone' ads before they all took a seat.

Congratulations, Courtney and Adam! Hope you don't mind that what was probably not your first official Facebook wedding status belonged to us ;)

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

A note about Shane Burcaw and Laughing at My Nightmare

By now you may have seen this video about Shane Burcaw, which premiered on www.laughingatmynightmare.com last Friday.


Quite simply, this video is the story of how a positive attitude turned into the non-profit called Laughing at My Nightmare (LAMN). And all because Shane's zeal, his passion for life, and his love for his family and friends are too strong to keep quiet.

But more than that, because spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), a genetic neuromuscular disease, is believed to affect as many as 10,000 to 25,000 children and adults in the United States, and therefore it is one of the most common rare diseases in this country. And through this Shane has chosen to live. He refuses to be defined by this disease. And he continues to look forward to the future with a vision for LAMN that sees far beyond these present days.

Shane Burcaw and friends
What we've learned about Shane, more than anything, is that he is abundantly blessed with family and close friends who have also become part of the journey. But we also realized that because SMA and its effects are part of Shane's story, they are now also part of ours. And we are committed to helping this non-profit venture become as vibrant and awesome as one of Shane's ever-present smiles. Occasionally, we'll be featuring 'bloopers' and outtakes of our time with Shane while shooting this documentary so you can experience his sense of humor and wittiness firsthand. We've also decided to donate $1 (up to $1,000) for every 'Like' of our Facebook page until Friday.

The intent here is not to guilt you into something. Rather, we are trying to provide a vehicle for a massive online community to act — whether you know Shane, whether you have been touched by his story in some way, whether you love someone who knows and loves him — however you stumbled upon this video and the story behind Laughing at My Nightmare, we want you to be able to help if you want to.

We hope that in the creation of this LAMN documentary, this blog post and our Facebook page, we’re able to offer you a very tangible way to support someone we are blessed to know.

Thank you for watching!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Full-Service Video Production Company based in the Lehigh Valley

The Lehigh Valley is a community that is growing and evolving by the second. More and more businesses are making the move into the region, recognizing its value. As natives to the area, we’re excited to have our business here, and we’re grateful for each opportunity we have to promote a piece of the Lehigh Valley with our work.

The Lehigh Valley’s location has allowed us to expand our production to places like Philadelphia, New York, and Washington D.C. and we won’t stop there! With the ever-growing business community and the technologically savvy consumer, video is the x-factor in any marketing campaign. In a time when anybody can pick up a camera and upload content to the Web, it is the progressive thinkers that know hiring the right video professionals will help their video stand out from the rest.

People will absolutely define your business by their first impression of you. Make sure your video is done right. From creative concepts to final product, we, at FireRock Productions, treat your image as our own. We are YOUR personal full-service video production department. Whether your business is looking to make an impact, or you're looking to tell your love story in one of our wedding videos, we look forward to getting to know you and developing a lasting relationship with you.

Spark interest, fuel initiative, and ignite the possibility!

Rocky & Julia Urich of FireRock Productions
Rocky & Julia Urich of FireRock Productions