Today was a double event of cats... and cars. Being International Cat Day, what better way to spend it than with cats. So I headed off to Rock Springs, WI where Wisconsin Big Cat Rescue was holding a fundraiser with a car show in town. Just up the road is the actual sanctuary, so having got to the car show a bit early we headed up to the sanctuary to check out some big cats. All of these cats are rescues from closed zoos or hoarding/breeding situations. It's quite the sight to see all of these very non native species within the Driftless Area of Wisconsin. Before I knew it I had spent 3 hours there photographing them all.
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So circumstances beyond our control didn't allow for The Week in Review with Dane County Friends of Ferals to be an actually weekly show right off the bat. We missed the second week. And the third week. In fact we almost got to the end of the 4th week before we caught up and recorded the news of the two weeks after that first show. What I just ended up posting on Monday, what should have been about last week's news, is actually off by a week for our desired delivery schedule. So hopefully this week soon we can get to last week, otherwise it might end up being a bi-weekly show in the future if the weekly schedule proves to be a bit too demanding for a volunteer based organization.
I've started in on a new project that is going to be quite the ongoing type if it ends up being well received. I proposed to the animal shelter I do most of my work with, Dane County Friends of Ferals, an idea for a YouTube channel where we post weekly, or perhaps even more than that:
- what is going on at the shelter
- promote cats that have been in the program too long or are special needs
- be a vehicle for requests for action and donations
It also leads into other secondary videos to educate the public about certain details of the shelter and organization such as "what is a spay day?", or how to accomplish certain tasks that volunteers or people seeking services may ask, such as "how do I use a live trap?".
So right now we just posted the first video, the first Week in Review. It's short and to the point and gets across the shelter's needs and accomplishments in 3 minutes. If things go as planned, we'll post another one next Monday and eventually the auxiliary videos will start to appear in between them, even being linked to them and mentioned during the Week in Review videos. Within time, it will be one large ongoing YouTube channel to educate the public on feral cats, tame cat adoption as well as help to grow and maintain the shelter.
Every month Dane County Friends of Ferals (DCFoF) puts on a spay day where low cost spays and neuters are performed for the public. A lot of effort goes into putting one of these events on, but every February the task is even bigger as they participate in World Spay Day, an annual campaign of the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and Humane Society International (HSI).
Originally I was there to shoot photos for the event, which I did, but about a week before I had dreamed up a mini documentary for the benefit of DCFoF about what a spay day is and how it is carried out. Seeing as how this would be a larger than normal spay day, what a great time to carry out that idea. So beginning earlier in the week I began shooting scenes to show how the build up to the day progresses, but capturing everything I needed to proved to be too much for such a short time frame and not enough prep work, especially on the day of the event. I kept the footage thinking I'd be able to use some of it at a later date when I could combine it with new footage from another spay day to complete this documentary.
Fast forward to the beginning of May and I was asked if I had any spay day footage that could be used in someone else's project. I said yes and they wanted to know if I could send it to them by tomorrow. Well, my internet connection is not that fast and I said that wasn't possible since the footage totaled over 40 gigs, but what I could do is edit together the footage into little clips, put it on YouTube and you can tell me which clips you'd like and I could get you those.
So that was the beginning of a long night and as I started gathering these clips and trimming them, I realized I actually did have a video in here. It was a video of the spay day itself. Something I hadn't even considered before because it wasn't my intent with those shots. So that night got even longer as I realized my new end goal and soon I had something close to what you see here. To my surprise and some others, it perfectly captures what a spay day is: a learning environment for veterinary students participating in a socially and environmentally well meaning event to control cat populations and better the lives of the cats brought into the event. It highlights people:
- bringing cats in (not necessary theirs)
- checking in
- seeing the students get a small introductory lecture
- seeing vets teach students how to prep for a spay/neuter
- an actual spay
- returning of the cats to their owners or caretakers
Originally this video clocked in at 8 minutes and included a lot more intake, prep and recovery examples, including a bit more continuity in showing the same people checking who are also seen picking them up later in the day, but it did seem a bit too long so 3 minutes was trimmed with the remaining clips properly rearranged into their appropriate position for the day's timeline. Perhaps that one will see the light of day later, but this 5 minute version clips along at a nicer pace and gets the idea across quicker. After all this is a summary of what is usually a 10 hour event and for 5 minutes I think it works.