For years, creative film producer Dennis Minor’s passion for storytelling has taken him on journeys around the world.
Now a resident of Gig Harbor, Minor, owner of Blue Highway Productions, is applying his talents in his new hometown. In a new promotional video being produced for the Gig Harbor Chamber of Commerce, Minor features the voices and stories of other residents to explain what it is like to live and work in the city.
Connecting with audiences, Minor said, is essential in video production.
“Filmmakers are storytellers,” he said. “I consider myself a storyteller. Telling a story — putting imagery together — is film.”
In college, Minor studied forestry at Colorado State University, but he was always interested in photography and the ability to tell stories through images. After graduating from CSU, Minor worked for a while in advertising, and later operated cameras at sporting events for both the NBC and ABC networks.
Eventually, Minor turned his attention to video production and moved to Los Angeles.
In 1982, Minor created his own video production company, which he ultimately named Blue Highway Productions, inspired by the autobiographical travel book “Blue Highways: A Journey into America,” by William Least Heat-Moon.
In that book, Heat-Moon describes driving across America’s backroads, and recalls the extraordinary stories of people he encountered along the way, all of which he would have missed had he instead taken major highways.
Minor sees similarities between Heat-Moon’s story and his own personal and professional experiences.
“If you want to get from Point A to Point B, you take the highways,” said Minor. “I follow my own path. I’m heading down backroads that other people don’t get to see. I’ve been invited to different places and have met people I never would have met if I followed the highway.”
Even so, Minor has spent a significant amount of time in the professional fast lane, having worked with high-profile clients such as Mercedes Benz, ESPN, McDonald’s, M&Ms, Lexus, Disney, and many others.
When thinking about his body of work, Minor said he has tried to simply enjoy the opportunities.
“They were all different,” said Minor, “and I look back in appreciation.”
Minor has worked on every continent except Antarctica, and he has lived all over the U.S. and around the globe, from Los Angeles to Portland, and from San Francisco to Malta, a small country in the Mediterranean Sea.
In November 2013, Minor’s odyssey led him to Gig Harbor along with his wife, Donna, and their two pet poodles.
Warren Zimmerman, president of the Gig Harbor Chamber of Commerce, first met Minor in 2015 during an advisory board function of the Gig Harbor Film Festival. The two men talked about the possibility of creating a video for the city that would explore important attributes of Gig Harbor, such as its restaurants and local interests that include improving educational opportunities, environmental awareness and recreation.
“We wanted to put together a video to explain some of that,” said Zimmerman, “but also for people who want to learn more.”
The video, which Minor said he hopes reveals characteristics of the city that even longtime residents might not know, is intended to inform and enlighten individuals and businesses interested in moving to Gig Harbor. The piece is expected to premiere in late March 2016.
Allison Needles, a Covington-based freelance writer and member of MediaLab at Pacific Lutheran University, can be reached at email@example.com.