Steven Lin, Pianist – A documentary for Performance Today

Last month I joined Performance Today again on the road, this time traveling to Philadelphia to the Curtis Institute of Music. Performance Today is the most listened to classical music radio program in the country, and I have enjoyed working with the team to begin to produce more digital only content. 

For the first time we planned an entire day to produce a digital only project, filming a short documentary on the life of a student at The Curtis Institute. Steven Lin is a pianist, who after receiving a maters degree at Juilliard, is a diploma candidate at Curtis, which is the equivalent of a PhD for performance. We worked to capture a little slice of Steven's whole life at Curtis, rehearsing at home and on campus, but also looking at his whole life in Philadelphia. 

Thanks to audio engineer Craig Thorson and senior producer Suzanne Schaffer for their help on the project. And a huge thanks to The Curtis Institute and Steven Lin for all their help in making this happen.

Find audio and a video from the radio recording session at

Steven Lin - Pianist at home
Steven Lin - Pianist
Behind the scenes
Steven Lin - swimming
Steven Lin - rehearsing at home
Behind the scenes
Chamber Music
Chamber Music

Music Video for Chastity Brown

This summer I had a chance to collaborate with Minneapolis based singer/song writer Chastity Brown to create a new music video to promote an early single from her upcoming album. Chastity recently left her Nashville record label to be an independent artist when recording her new album. I've photographed Chastity for a number of years for projects with The Current, and have been a huge fan of her music and the honest emotions she conveys with her voice.

I was really excited to work with Chastity to concept the music video, then direct, shoot, and edit the piece. Chastity and her band selected the song "Colorado", and the driving drum beat and mountain lyrics, quickly lead me to fill the music video with these moving mountain landscapes. I was already scheduled to travel to Colorado this summer, and was able to add one day to my trip to capture all of the moving landscapes for the video. I filmed the performance portion of the video with Chastity and drummer Greg Schutte performing on the front porch of Chastity's Minneapolis home. Chastity's songs at their core are simple, and we wanted to capture that with the porch front performance.

This month Chastity started a Kickstarter campaign to raise money to finish her new album. The focal point of the kickstarter is this new song and this video for it. I'm sure it will be successful, but if you want to help (or just pre-order the album) Check out her Kickstarter here:



Out and Equal: Diversity at PepsiCo

In November I was contacted by a NYC based production company, about a project here in the Twin Cities. The project was part of a series of videos for PepsiCo around their annual Sustainability report, highlighting various aspects of the report. 

We asked Nate to do a particularly challenging job - to help us tell personal and heartfelt stories from corporate employees at a 3-day conference hosted at a large and bland-looking convention center. Nate’s sensitivity through the lens to the interviewees and their stories imbued our video with a level of authenticity and honest, spontaneous testimony that is rare in corporate videos. His hand-held camera work featured little movements and zooms that were impeccably timed, and although subtle, created a greater connection between subject and viewer. He also employed creative problem-solving to stage the interviews in areas throughout the convention center that made the setting appear visually rich, while balancing the audio needs against a challenging, noisy backdrop. We couldn’t be more enthusiastic about the job that Nate and his team did! - Eli Cane (Normal Life Pictures. NY, NY)

The national Out and Equal convention in the Twin Cities provided the backdrop to visually tell the story of workforce sustainability, focusing on the inclusion of LGBT employees at PepsiCo. With almost 80 employees at the convention, it was great to have PepsiCo employees from all over the world in one place to film this project.  

As director of photography, I worked closely with producer Sarah Amos of Freshwire to interview several employees each day about their experiences at PepsiCo, both as allies and LGBT employees. Hearing these personal stories made it easy to convey the message with passion. Its unfortunate that the finished piece could not include even half of the stories we recorded, but the selected storied have a strong impact in the final short piece.

On location we had just a small crew: Sarah producing and conducting the interviews, myself as director of photography, and Patrick Schaefer as our location audio engineer for the first two days, with Nick Leisenheimer for the final day recording interviews. After the shoot, Normal Life Pictures worked with Freshwire to edit the film.

It was a great project that I was proud to be work on.