NEPA Scene Staff

VIDEO PREMIERE: ‘NEPA Scene: Behind the Scenes’ offers closer look into the website and its impact

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NEPA Scene launched to the public in September of 2014 and has since grown into the area’s leading independent arts and entertainment website, winning awards and gaining a loyal following earned through perseverance and positive word of mouth.

Founder and editor Rich Howells started the site on his own after he was laid off from his job as the editor of a local newspaper, but he was soon joined by over 20 volunteer contributors who helped turn the small project into a major force in Northeastern Pennsylvania media. He now runs NEPA Scene full-time and holds events like NEPA Scene’s Got Talent to further promote the area’s arts community.

Scranton author and budding videographer Kenny Luck knew Howells and had worked with him in the past, so he reached out to him about making a video together, and the idea to create a behind-the-scenes look at the making of NEPA Scene came about quickly and was shot and edited in just over a week.

“I wanted to work with NEPA Scene because it’s the only arts and entertainment site in the region that not only is pushing the digital medium, but also actually cares about the scene that it’s covering. NEPA Scene has won several awards in the short time it has been around, and that recognition is well-deserved. I’ve witnessed firsthand the hard work Rich and his colleagues put into the site, and I wanted to make my own contribution in some small way,” Luck explained.

While the short documentary is a brief glimpse into the countless hours of work that go into NEPA Scene each week, it does pack quite a bit of information into eight minutes, featuring interviews with local artists affected by the site and the NEPA Scene Podcast co-hosts in addition to music by A Fire With Friends, Esta Coda, Farley, Skip Monday, and Blinded Passenger. NEPA Scene had no hand in the filming or editing process, allowing Luck to make an honest video from an outside perspective rather than a sanctioned promotional piece.

“Throughout the process of making this film, I felt like I was invited into a new world that I didn’t know existed. Over the span of a week or so, I followed Rich to several locations: an open mic talent contest, a recording studio, and his office. As the process unfolded, I felt that it was a privilege to have access to these people and places, and I wanted to do my best to tell these stories, to capture the emotion and honesty that I had witnessed. These artists – the musicians, comedians, poets, and activists – as well as Rich at NEPA Scene had allowed me into their lives, however briefly, to document their talents, and I wanted to live up to that task as best as I could. I also made some new friends throughout the process,” he said.

“When the filming was over, I had to step back and try to make sense of the several hours of video and sound I recorded. As a video producer and editor, it’s your job to create an honest narrative around the events that you captured. That’s the challenge. Whether that objective has been met is up to the audience.”

Luck has been making videos over the past few months with authors, designers, and other artists that can be viewed on his YouTube channel. To inquire about working with him, he can be reached through Facebook or e-mail.

UPDATE, 05/01/15: Luck was kind enough to also provide us with the extended interview with Howells, including tons of footage not seen in the original documentary. Watch the full 31-minute interview below: