PRACTICAL makes films and videos that are the culmination of cameras, research, travel, sketchbooks, sleep, screen time, and running wild. Based out of Traverse City and Grand Rapids Michigan, we love sharing our work and process with those around the world.


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written by Paul Genzink  -  Project Release  -  July 18, 2017


Post shoot errands are kind of my favorite. I’m an introvert, so the time alone after a week on set feels like heaven. While returning gear to rental houses, I started thinking about all the things we had just accomplished.

When writing the script there was always this tiny shred of doubt in my mind about being able to pull off filming scenes that will amount to literally a half-second the final edit. Things like someone sailing, or a rock climbing scene that requires a camera mounted at the top of a wall, or a young couple demoing their kitchen. When considering the work it takes to find the right people to fill roles, logistics for work like this, and not to mention the insurance and legal ramifications, it’s hard to resist the voice in your head that says, “this sounds kind of tough to pull off, you know what would be easier and probably still on message? [fill in the blank].”

Ironically enough I kept reminding myself of the words in the script that I had written: “It’s better to try and fail than not try at all.” Granted, I’m ripping off an old saying, but it served as a wonderful reminder throughout this process.


Pushing past the doubt, even when it’s based on a small slice of reality, is what helps me grow not only as a director but as a person as well. It’s really an exercise in trusting the team you’re surrounded by and your cumulative networks. If you never try, you’ll never know what you’re capable of, and if you never reach out, you’ll never know which one of your friends is friends with the guy who owns both rock climbing facilities in town and puts in a good word for you.

There were so many times during this process that I was ready to compromise my creative integrity because the puzzle pieces weren’t falling into place in an organized fashion. But I didn’t, we didn’t. Our team bought into the vision and worked their butts off and we came out the other side with only a few bruises.

And it worked.

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The 2017 Production Reel


The 2017 Production Reel

Written by PAUL GENZINK // Director & Editor

I officially joined Practical at the beginning of the year and my first major task was to spearhead putting together a new production reel. Over the years, Practical has collected a plethora of amazing footage to choose from so when I sat down to take my first crack at the edit, I felt a little overwhelmed by how intimidating this task was proving to be. So I took a step back and asked the question, “if Practical was Practical’s client, then what would Practical make for Practical?” or more simply, “if we were our own client, what would we produce?”

That’s where “This Is” came in. Derived from the Practical URL and usernames on various social media platforms, thisispractical, I began writing a script that coincided with the images that were in front of me. “This is imagination, this is collaboration…” were not only adjectives associated with the action on the screen, but also are associated with our filmmaking process. After all, this reel is to show off who Practical is, and after 90 seconds, you’ll have seen exactly who we are.

In the early stages of the edit, we had talked about how we wanted the voiceover to come across. The overly processed, movie trailer voice just didn’t fit the mood for this piece and we struggled to put into words what we wanted to hear. Until I came across this old iPad Commercial that continually gives me goosebumps. The audio from Dead Poet’s Society is a perfect partner for that piece. As an audience member you don’t focus on the production quality, but you’re focused on the words, the delivery, and the passion that’s driven into each sentence by the late Robin Williams. This put something tangible to the feelings we were unable to express.

Unsure of how to adequately capture this sound, however, we set up 4 different microphones, including an iPhone on my kitchen table to capture the voiceover. This made it easier in the edit to be able to switch between the different microphones to be able to isolate which one suited our needs the best. Again, wanting to avoid the movie trailer voice, we pushed for a simpler, more sincere delivery and allowed for the words to blend in the music and the footage without being an overwhelming force in the piece.


And so, after late night after late night, debate and deliberation, it is with great honor that I, on behalf of the entire Practical team, present to you our 2017 Production Reel.