Tag: Wolfgang Isenhart
Principal and Director of Photography Tom Hadzor gets a little misty on this nostalgic step back in time to the beginnings of Wide Eye Productions.
My wife, Jennifer and I started Wide Eye Productions in 1996. The worldwide headquarters were housed in our small, handmade office in the middle of our goat pasture in Northwest Boise. Before that we both were happily employed at the NBC affiliate, KTVB working on our own separate travel shows. Jennifer wrote and produced a travel series called “Exploring Idaho” and I shot and edited a wildlife series called “Incredible Idaho”. We even shared the same time slot each and every Saturday night at 6:30 p.m. I worked with a producer from the Department of Fish and Game, Sue Nass and our host was Jack Hemingway. We sure had interesting jobs, to say the least.
Sue and I spent days and days driving around Idaho, swapping stories and looking for wildlife, both of the animal kind and of the human kind. Jennifer worked with several different photographer/editors from KTVB (too many to list here, but one I will mention later in this blog). We both traveled the state, mostly in different directions, shooting interesting stories for television broadcast. We would spend one week traveling and shooting stories, the next week writing, the week after that editing and then one week ramping up to do it all over again. I think I shot and edited almost 100 hundred shows in my run and Jennifer just a few less than that. We both loved what we did and felt very fortunate to have the opportunity to grow as television program producers.
After a good, long run of eight years for my show and six for hers, management called us in one day and informed us both our shows had run their course and would be canceled, immediately. After receiving the news on the same day and suddenly both now unemployed, we decided to start our own business and Wide Eye Productions was born.
Our first endeavor was a wild game cooking series called, “Cooking on the Wild Side.” In that office in the goat pasture we produced 26 half-hour shows that aired nationally on The Outdoor Channel– good credits for the resume, but we didn’t make a dime! However, in the process, we learned a lot. All the while, we continued to build up a corporate clientele (many of whom we continue to work for today). And while the goat pasture had a certain nostalgia, we soon tired of escorting clients into our house because we didn’t have a potty in the office (we did actually have a functioning outhouse behind the garage, but didn’t feel it was appropriate to ask our clients to use it!). I will always have fond memories of those goats and the 60 yard golf pitching green, which was immaculately mowed and maintained by the goats. It was a great distraction for the hours of waiting for video to render in our first of many non-linear editing systems (remember the IMix Videocube? In 1998 ours was smokin’ with render times of an hour for a simple graphic).
I get asked quite a lot why we decided on the name, Wide Eye Productions. I always say, “I guess we both just liked the sound of it.” Plus, we wanted to do world-wide television programming. So Wide Eye Productions just seemed to fit. Around that same time, our longtime friend, Andy Lawless returned back to Boise from working in the movie business in California and inquired about our name too. I told him we called ourselves Wide Eye Productions and he said, “that’s weird, I started a film company and the name of it is Wide Eye Films!” Since Andy was on a cosmic collision with both Jennifer and me, we all decided at that very moment to work together and keep the name Wide Eye. It’s been 13 years and we haven’t looked back… full steam ahead!
I couldn’t think of a better way to make a living than doing what we do. Everyday brings us different challenges, learning opportunities and the chance to meet the most amazing people. Just to give you an example of what we do, last week alone we shot an episode (our sixth total now) for the NBC hit show, “The Biggest Loser.” Two days later we were hired as a camera crew for ABC’s news magazine, “Nightline.” That same week we were editing a long form piece for a corporate client– a hospital in San Francisco, one of many medical clients we service across the West. Whether it’s segments for the Dr. Phil show, NBC, ABC, CBS, ESPN, History Channel, Discovery Channel, we cover the full range of television production and corporate video production and love every minute of it!
Wide Eye has five full time people in our Boise, Idaho office and another two in Seattle. Those people are what make Wide Eye Productions what it is and it wouldn’t exist without them. Along with Andy Lawless, who works as a producer/editor/audio tech/shooter, a man of many talents, we have Bill Krumm. Bill came to work with us about three and a half years ago after a very long and colorful career in the local television market, doing everything from shooting, to editing, to even running a newsroom as the assignment editor, or as I like to say, “babysitting the reporters.” Bill is an exceptionally talented individual with numerous skills. He has an incredible work ethic, one that often has to be monitored so he can get some sleep. He has to be told to go home on occasion and get away from that Final Cut Pro HD editing computer. Bill is also one of the very finest videographers I’ve ever seen. He can shoot our Panasonic Varicam or Sony D-600 Betacam as good or better than the best shooters anywhere in the world. Bill is a perfectionist, which is a good thing in our business and we are honored to have him on our team. He is also the videographer that worked with Jennifer on Exploring Idaho.
Rounding out the Boise Wide Eye team is Lana Tidwell. Lana applied for an office job with us about a year and a half ago. We were so busy with projects that we needed someone around to answer phones and do the typical office duties. It quickly became apparent to us that Lana had other talents up her sleeve. Not only can she type a zillion words a second but she has the uncanny ability to get things done before they actually need to be done. I’ll say, “we need to…” and Lana will say “already done that” That’s the kind of person you want around. And that’s why she’s been promoted, already to full-fledged producer. But if you call Wide Eye, chances are, she’ll be the one answering the phone because she’s the nicest one out of the whole bunch!
We do have one more person at Wide Eye HQ who deserves a mention. Cheryl Reed comes in one day a week to take care of our books. She is a delight to be around and we feel so lucky to have her. So, everyone here at the office has their own special set of talents, and we wouldn’t exist without them.
How lucky are we to do what we do!
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