In February of 2020, I received a call from someone named Jessica, who worked for a group called Sharecare. They are based out of New York and Atlanta and were in search of a person who had experienced heart failure to be featured in a three video group of 2-3 minute clips. Turns out, Sharecare is a medical advisory group (for the lack of a better laymans definition) affiliated with Dr. Mehmet Oz. And Jessica, who does social media research for Sharecare, found my blog after doing a web search.
Of course, being the blabbermouth that I am, I had written a lot about my heart failure stuff and I guess it was interesting enough to them that they contacted me for an interview. For all of you that regularly read my blogs, I’ll spare you the agony of a re-telling of THAT story, but for those who don’t know what happened, just click on this link to get the original details. And for those who greatly prefer the tl;dr (means too long;didn’t read)(just showing off my mad computer speak skilz) version of this blog post, do the clicky thing here.
After a Skype interview with Jessica, we were eventually hooked up with Allen Hercules, a video producer for Sharecare. Allen is an entirely pleasant man and was the one responsible for coordinating all of the video taping, writing and eventual publication of three videos detailing my experiences with systolic heart failure and the corrective actions taken to make me healthier. Of course, being the professional that he is, Allen quickly realized that he had better get Sheila into the production, too, rather than having people look at my bedraggled mug the whole time! It was the right move, as you can quickly see after watching the vids ….
Allen set us up for a 1 day in-studio taping in their Atlanta facility on March 11th, right before the whole Covid-19 thing kicked into full gear. Then there was a follow-up “live” taping the next day at our home in North Georgia. We had very few instructions other than being sure to wear neutral colors without busy print patterns or any visible logo’s. Allen arranged for a fancy car service to pick us up at our home, and we were transported (almost like famous people!!) to Buckhead in Atlanta.
Our driver Carlos, while not particularly impressed with our “15 minute celebrity” status, was pleasant and efficient and delivered us safely to Allen. Allen took us to the studio where we were brought to makeup to get ready for our taping. A wonderful lady named Rhonda (whose business name is “Help Me Rhonda”) did our hair and makeup and made sure I was presentable for the camera, then helped Sheila be even more presentable than she already was!
Allen did two taping sessions in studio, one with just me and one with Sheila included. As you’ll see when viewing the clips, the first video titled “Ed & Congestive Heart Failure” is just me, with the 2nd video “Why Support Is Important When Living With Heart Failure” primarily from Sheila’s point of view.
In the studio they had us sitting in front of a white backdrop, with lights all around and cameras shooting from different angles. It was really quite easy and non-stressful, especially with Allen’s direction and overall comfortable demeanor. We didn’t try to take any pics from inside the studio, but really there wasn’t much to see except for this mug in front of a white background …
After the taping, Allen arranged for our ride back home and our driver, Carlos, efficiently brought us back to where we started the day. The next day, Allen arrived at our home and did a series of “casual” videos around the house, as well as some of us outside in our yard, working together in the kitchen, walking around the neighborhood and some filming in the music studio. Those videos were used in preparing the 3rd clip, “Living Your Best Life With Heart Failure”. Allen even got Bella some camera time!
Madison, our other dog, maintained her diva-that-doesn’t-want-to-be-bothered attitude and pretty much slept through the whole thing.
The entire experience was actually a whole lot of fun for both of us! It’s been really interesting seeing how all of the videos came together and how Allen used other existing photos from our social media pages and this blog to supplement all of the video he captured over the two days.
For those who have wondered why there was no audibly recognizable music during any of the clips, that was deliberate so as to avoid the need to pay music royalties for anything that wasn’t already in the public domain. The background music you hear throughout the videos is owned or controlled by Sharecare.
This blog post gives me the chance to kind-of celebrate my one year anniversary of getting past the heart failure issues, and makes me realize how very lucky I am to be in relatively good health right now. It is so important to have a strong support system when your life is at risk, and I’ve been very fortunate to have Sheila right by my side through it all!