What was meant to be a 45-minute chat in the middle of my Tuesday night Zoom class turned into a two-hour conversation with Ann Michel and Phil Wilde sharing their excitement and tips for FLEFF. Eager to learn more about their careers and role in the festival, I was excited to learn I would be interviewing Ann Michel for this blog post.
Starting the video production company Insights International Inc. in 1980, Ann Michel and Phil Wilde continue their love for work in the media industry. Their company focuses on non-fiction and documentary work with an emphasis on education.
Joining the FLEFF Team through invitation by Dr. Patricia Zimmerman, the duo began working as producers for the festival when it became associated with Ithaca College in 2005.
During a pandemic-free year, Michel and Wilde focus their work at the festival on live-events showcasing new ways to look at the environment.
Moving to a virtual setting shares more similarities than differences when it comes to navigating new technology. Michel tells me she and Wilde typically work on projects remotely making the transition to the online world a little easier.
“The name of the game in video production has been [learning] the next new technology” Michel emphasizes, “every two to three years you’re obsolete if you don’t keep up.” This adaptable mindset allows for a smooth transition to a 100% virtual few weeks of discussion and learning.
“We at Insights are approaching the zoom platform the same as we would a new theater or stage… you kind of assess the tech of your space,” Michel explains. Although there may be a learning curve, Michel isn’t worried about the outcome.
Zoom is an easy platform to use but can also be somewhat limiting. Michel embraces the new environment saying “that’s a double-edged sword right? There’s only less that can go wrong.”
Besides working the back-end of this year’s programming, Ann Michel and Phil Wilde will be discussing Insights International Inc.’s most recent work on diverse workforces using NASA as a case study.
At the end of the day, it’s people first. Both their colleagues and those they may meet continues to bring Michel and Wilde back for more and excited for each new year.