PIVOTING WITH ... RAY BAILEY
Video above: Ray Bailey's video for the new IDEAs Stages.
Video pro happens to be in the one theatre industry that is thriving during the shutdown
"Pivoting With ..." is an ongoing series talking with members of the Colorado theatre community about how they are adapting to changes in their creative and personal lives as the COVID pandemic continues. Today: Ray Bailey. Visit his website here.
At a glance: Ray Bailey, founder and director of Ray Bailey TV, has been making a name for himself helping to promote the local theatre community for the past decade, but particularly over the past two years, when his cinema-quality trailer videos have set a new standard for local theatre marketing. Even since the COVID shutdown, he seems to be about the busiest person in town. Bailey started Guiding Light Productions in 2002 to produce corporate training videos for companies including Furniture Row. But "in 2019, I left the corporate world for reasons out of my control, and almost went bankrupt, he said. "That was when I decided to start marketing theatres by producing trailers and behind-the-scenes videos." He also has given hundreds of hours to non-profit causes including The Denver Actors Fund. All, this year, while helping his wife through chemotherapy and radiation treatments that successfully ended on November 3.
Describe your life B.C. (Before COVID): Before COVID, I was on Cloud 9 working hand-in-hand with some of the best creatives in the Colorado theatre community on a daily basis. There is nothing I am more passionate about than capturing the beauty, brilliance and talent in our local theatre community on camera, and then blasting it all over social media for the world to see. It wasn’t about me. It was about them and their stories. They truly inspired my creativity when I went back to the editing bay. I thoroughly enjoyed making every video I produced completely different from the last. It was a creative challenge that I absolutely loved.
'Create something new, exciting and beautiful … then find out how to make money from it.'
What have you lost, personally or professionally, since COVID? I am no stranger to my job being cut off without a moment's notice. So when COVID happened and all my theatre clients closed their doors, I had to get creative. The recent spike in COVID cases has just yesterday led to the cancellation of "Little Shop of Horrors" at Parker Arts, which is a job I was very much looking forward to in January. On the other hand, my pro-bono work on "Waiting for Obama" directly led to me being hired by Broadway On Demand as an official Trailer Editor. You’d be surprised how much work is available for video editors right now when the world relies on everything being viewed online.
How are you pivoting? The good thing about being involved in video production is that it is the perfect business to be in during a pandemic when everything relies on video. Since COVID, I have done everything from live-streaming the Miners Alley Playhouse's "Quarantine Cabaret" concert series to recording the radio-play version of John Moore's "Waiting for Obama" as a fundraiser for The Denver Actors Fund. I have continued to produce trailers and record full productions (with very small casts, of course). I have filmed music videos, college auditions, weddings, “how-to” videos and edited demo reels.
What is your present workload? I have been very blessed since COVID because my workload really hasn’t let up much. In fact, it has gotten so busy that I am currently not accepting any more work till the end of the year. If there are any videographers and/or editors out there, please reach out to me. I may have some clients that need your expertise.
'Give with your whole heart and things will come around.'
And in the midst of all this, there has been your wife's cancer journey. Yes, by far the biggest challenge during COVID has been that my wife, Jamie, found out she had Stage 2 breast cancer right when it all started. She went through a grueling four months of chemotherapy and another six weeks of radiation therapy. On top of all the side effects that cancer treatment so lovingly provides – nausea, vomiting, fatigue, hair-loss, burning skin and more – we also have two little daughters who were forced out of school. So we accepted the roles of “teachers” on a daily basis as well. Luckily, Jamie is healing quite nicely, and her smile and optimism never left her face.
What are your words of encouragement for other local creatives who are now pivoting their way through 2020? If there is any advice I can give anyone, it’s this: Get creative and find out how to turn what you love into a profession. Study and learn constantly. Be kind. Give with your whole heart and things will come around. The best things in my life have come from my charity work. Also, collaborate with other creatives around town to create something new, exciting and beautiful … then find out how to make money from it. If you have an entrepreneur’s mindset, the sky is the limit, really.
Read more: How COVID is impacting individual artists
Compiled by Senior Arts Journalist John Moore. Are you pivoting? Email John at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Video bonus: Ray Bailey's trailer for 'Waiting for Obama'