And now, a blast from the past


One of the fun things about working on a documentary project like this one is the opportunity to come across all kinds of interesting artifacts. Those are not often from the documentarian's personal past but this one is. When I worked for Connie Maxwell Children's Home in the late 1980's and early 1990's, we were preparing to celebrate the children's ministry's 100th anniversary. We did a lot of fun things, including holding celebration events around the state and planning a new campus monument complete with a time capsule to be opened at some point in Connie Maxwell's future. We also made a video, which you should be able to see on your screen associated with this post.

Now I didn't say it was a great video and if you take the time to watch it, you will notice that it is quite dated in style. It was probably one of the first videos the children's home had produced and was most definitely my first.

We were fortunate to have help from the communications team at the South Carolina Baptist Convention. I specifically remember Mark Jeffcoat and at least one other staff member coming to the Greenwood campus to shoot the footage. Then I went to Columbia to assist as Don Carter edited the piece. I'm still grateful for his graciousness in putting up with me as we made our way through the editing process. It was slow both because I didn't quite know what I was doing in terms of how all the pieces were to fit together and because the technology was much more cumbersome in those days.

Without delving too much into the technical details, video in those days used analog systems for editing. That means that creating a video involved taking the original footage and copying snippets to another videotape to create an edited master tape. Everything had to be laid down in order and the only way to make changes without degrading the quality of the video was to go back to the place where a change was needed, make the correction, and then re-edit everything from that point forward. Correcting a mistake discovered near the beginning of the video would therefore require re-editing the entire piece. The ability to add graphics was also quite limited.

The video served its purpose, though. We had a few hundred VHS copies made and distributed them wherever we could to promote the work of the ministry during the centennial celebration.

The video brings back a lot of memories for me, of course, because I remember the children in the video -- some of whom I have met again as adults at alumni reunions -- as well as the staff. Some of those staff members in the video have since gone on to be with the Lord, including then President Heyward Prince. Dr. Prince was involved in an auto accident in February 1991 and passed away from his injuries the following January even as we were in the midst of the celebration planned under his leadership. Even though he's only in the video for a moment, it's enjoyable for me to see him healthy and in his prime.

In some ways, I guess you could say "The Connie Maxwell Story" project brings me full circle as I continue to try to tell the same story I was presenting in this first video more than 25 years ago. The story continues to be an important and engaging one.

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