More talent than “talent”

More talent than “talent”
One of the great perks of video production is some of the colorful characters one meets when putting together a show. I had the privilege a couple of years ago to meet a throwback from the Gold Rush era.
My company entered into a contract with longtime gold prospector Don Robinson to make a DVD teaching folks the fine art of gold panning. Don’s pretty good at this, in fact he’s a four-time national champion, and has won numerous medals from around the world.
I’ll bet a lot of you didn’t know they even held gold-panning competitions. Well, not only are there such events – they’re worldwide.
Because Robinson is such a fan of this industry he’s created “Don’s Gold World;” visit his site at Don’s Gold World. He’s also president of the Goldhounds club that numbers in the hundreds. The club is one of the reasons he wanted to do the gold-panning instructional video.
Don lives in the heart of the gold country with his lovely wife, Annie. The yellow stuff became their lives almost three decades ago when Don retired and they moved lock-stock-and gold pan into the Sierra Nevada near a town called Iowa Hill. Iowa Hill was once known as the most remote community in the continental United States, and it still doesn’t have electric power or telephone service.
Such an expert at what he does, it took us under a week to shoot the gold-panning video. Our script was simple because Don knew exactly what to say because he teaches the subject all the time. And, if there’s a talent out there easier to work with than him, I want to meet that person.
You can see the trailer of that project either on Don’s site, or visit Timothy Linsdau Productions and catch it there. I’m delighted to say we’ve contracted to do more gold-discovery videos as this industry is more diverse and widespread than I could ever have imagined.
Getting the time has been difficult, though, Don is a busy miner. He spearheads both the U.S. and California gold panning championships each year, and competes in both. In fact, this year he earned a silver medal in the National Mens Skilled division, and a bronze in the Classic division. Not up to his usual standards, but the word is starting to get out – thanks to Don, himself.
“This has been the toughest championships ever,” Don wrote me a couple days ago. “Us old timers are in a fight to survive against some of these new ‘gunfighters.’ The way we win is through experience, technique, and savy.”
For anyone who hasn’t witnessed a gold panning competition I can tell you it’s a marvel that any of them find the gold. It starts with a 5-gallon bucket full of gravel with an undetermined number of gold flakes thrown in. Those flakes are no larger than the head of a pin.
The trick is to pan out that gold in the least amount of time – miss a flake and you’re as good as done for that event. The competition generally runs over two days, except for the Beginner class.
But thanks to Don’s “experience, technique, and savvy,” he’s able to hang in there. But now all that knowledge has been put into Don’s latest DVD and it’s probably one of the reasons those “gunfighters” have gotten so good so fast.
But in spite of it, I’ve made a good friend and delightful partner in Don Robinson. So I say, get to know your talent because there may be a whole lot more to them than meets the camera’s eye.