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Who are you?

    My name is Joe Donato. I grew up in Philadelphia and had a passion the Audio/Visual arts every since childhood. After extensive theater classes in High School I decided to continue my studies from the other side of the camera. I studied Film and Media arts at Temple University where I was encouraged to embrace, explore, and refine my creative talents. I graduated with a Bachelor's in Film and Media arts, and quickly discovered how few jobs there really were in that field, despite the overwhelming abundance of film schools! I decided to continue to exercise my creative talents, by creating my own job.
    My first act was looking for a name. I had always heard that the name should begin with a letter high in the alphabet so that you get listed early in the phone book. (that was of course back when people used phone books) So I grabbed an encyclopedia off the shelf and opened to the first page. The very first entry was "A Cappella", which literally translates "unaccompanied". I stopped reading right there and have been going "unaccompanied" ever since.

I have lived and worked in Delaware County, Pennsylvania (Just on the outskirts of Philadelphia) for the past 15 years, and have recently married and relocated to the Hudson Valley NY where my wife resided. We live just outside of Poughkeepsie, about an hour and a half north of downtown Manhattan. I regularly travel back and forth between Philadelphia, Manhattan and the Hudson Valley, and all points in-between in service to my clients.

What are your qualifications/experience/credentials/skill-set?

My personal experience over the past 15 years has pushed me to learn about all the above aspects of video, audio, film and multimedia technologies. while working to satisfy the needs of all different types of clients. I’ve worked on an independent documentary involving archival researching in the National Archives. I've spent some time in Hollywood learning from professionals in the business about the craft of scriptwriting. I have several years of theater production both as a technical director as well as an actor. Iíve traveled abroad and locally, working on all types of shooting scenarios. Some highlights include interviews on a mountaintop in Peru, a reality show filmed in a stadium arena during pro-lacrosse tournaments, an Ironman triathalon in Canada, an all-night 35mm motion picture shoot in a mansion for an original release, and a training video for Homeland security teaching Ferry workers on how to spot terrorists. On top of this, I’ve spent extensive hours in front of a computer mastering the skill of non-linear, digital video editing, graphics and web design.  My experience producing and writing my own music has allowed me to expand my services to include audio recording and CD production as well.

How does your fee structure work?

My fees are based on the hour of my time I spend doing the service, which I will tell you ahead of time. I give you a minimum/maximum quote for your project and each section of the production process, along with a clear explanation of everything you can expect to receive for that service. After a brief discussion of your needs, as well as an understanding of the current state of the project, I'll give you three quotes:
1 - the most you could spend giving you the most elaborate (though not necessarily the best) final product
2 - the simplest thing you could do (as far as time, logistics and budget)
3 - something in-between that you have chosen based on wisdom, with options to add-on, revise, duplicate at any time in the future.

I am not sure I even need a professional. How do I know I really need you?

Because of the nature of modern society and the rapid advancement of technology, this issue comes up a lot. For every new innovation made available to the public, a new bridge of technical details needs to be spanned. With every salesmen selling a consumer a new gadget declaring "Look you can bake a cake with your computer!", there is a confused consumer sitting back at his home with a bag of flour and a remote control going "How do you work this thing!". Or maybe he got it to work, but his cookies taste like xerox paper. (You get the idea). Go ahead. Experiment. See what you can do. When you are ready to bring in a professional, you know where to find me.

Am I sacrificing quality at such an affordable price?

As I said before, I eliminate all the middlemen as much as I can. This keeps my overhead significantly lower than the competition. I am passionate about growing and learning new things, and that keeps me continually passionate about your project. My commitment to you is all about solving your technical details so that we can both be free to produce!

What if I need to change something halfway through the process?

This happens all the time. From the very beginning, I am continually conscious of the potential need to have to change/revise footage, edits, interviews, etc. for reasons that are unseen at the beginning of the project. It could be staff changes, it could be a brand new computer program that makes the old footage obsolete, or it could simply be a "eureka moment" you had when playing with your children. With backups of data, and a history of project revisions with clients, I am prepared going into the project, so that what you want to change, will take far less time and money than you may think. I am also conscious of that ever-necessary bridge between the creative wizard with his artistic/technical jargon and the individual who just wants to make his movie. Strong communication skills will serve to empower you so you can make creative decisions with both wisdom and passion.

Any questions? Any more questions? Contact me, or check out the rest of the site...

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