Going Public, and by that I mean speaking

Wading in the Boone River with Shane and Tiffany.
Over the last couple of weeks I got a chance to dip my toe in a pool I’ve always wanted to swim in but rarely get to enjoy; public speaking. Not saying I want to become a motivational speaker or give weekend classes on video storytelling, but I’ve always enjoyed performing. I’ve acted, sung, played in bands, and now I’ve repped my employer, Iowa Public Television, to audiences five times in three weeks.

For the past two years I’ve been working on a project called “Iowa Land and Sky.” With the assistance of two very generous grants my team as well as a few instructional designers from IPTV’s Education department have been crafting special drone fueled ecological and geological materials for Iowa classrooms and broadcast. Getting my FAA drone pilots license in the process I’ve travelled all over the state to capture unique aerial shots of Iowa’s landscapes as well as tell very specific natural history stories.

With my Education partners, the stories and materials I produced on Iowa’s Freshwater Mussels, Engeldinger Marsh, and Iowa’s geological diversity will now be presented in high school and middle school classrooms across the state for years to come. These stories were some of the coolest work I’ve produced to date.

Audience for my keynote at Iowa Academy of Sciences.
As the project was wrapping up a few unique opportunities sprung up as a result. First, my Education partner Tiffany Morgan and I were invited to present Iowa Land and Sky to the Iowa Academy of Science. The next day I lead a filmmaking workshop with adolescent filmmakers from across the state as spinoff of our program “The Film Lounge.” Next I once again presented Land & Sky to an International Drone Day event put on by  the Des Moines Drone UAV Club. Then finally this past week I shared the entire story of my career thus far at an elementary career day event, and this Saturday I lead a drone flying demonstration at IPTV’s 50 anniversary open house.

Three out of the Five events were related to Land and Sky, and all of them required me to stand in front of audiences and hold court.

Career Day at Four-Mile Elementary.
Now I know public speaking is one of the biggest fears on the planet but it is definitely not a problem for me. I would never be so bold as to claim I am an actor, but I have acted before and I routinely fool around in front lenses when requested. Still I am certain in another plain of the multi-verse 2005 Pat took the advice of several friends and followed the path to a career as a C-grade character actor.

Produce Iowa 📷of Bruce James Bales, Chad Aubrey and myself leading The Film Lounge workshop. 

The frustrated performer in me loves the chance to address a crowd. Talking about subjects i love and revere such as storytelling or nature and the outdoors makes it too easy. The IAS gig went great and following the event, I reveled in post-talk glow of talking with attendees. The workshop was a three-person lift so it felt almost like I was back on stage power trio-ing my way through a set of punk rock. The drone day event was an intimate affair where I wasn’t sure drone lovers were super into the science/education portion of the production, but I enjoyed the experience just the same. Finally the career day was me just going full LeBron James in the world of children’s entertainment, and the open house was the encore.

My International Drone Day presentation.

It’s funny getting machine gunned with speaking opportunities and then descending from that high, back to business as usual. Will I hunt out speaker requests to replicate the experience? No, I’ve got too many hobbies and obligations as it is. Still, if someone does reach out and ask for me to work-up my personal knock-off TED Talk,


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