We all lived through one of the most exciting seasons in Phillies history this year. Thanks to a guy named Video Dan, we can live through it over and over again.
Video Dan is Dan Stephenson, a one-man band, so to speak and our manager of video production.
Baseball superstars are five-tool players. This character is a six-tool superstar – cameraman, interviewer, producer, director, writer, editor.
His newest gem, The Perfect Season, is now out. Seeing it for the first time last night brought a range of emotion, laughter, joy, tears and goosebumps. I’m not sure goosebumps qualify as an emotion but it fits.
How does he do it?
Writing the script can’t begin until the season has ended. Some years, there is plenty of time. Not this year.
“There were so many great games, so many players that contributed, I adjusted the timeline to include more baseball footage. The beauty of DVDs is that we can include extra footage on another disc, bonus footage,” Video Dan explained.
“Scott Palmer did a lot of interviews in spring training for phillies.com. In looking over them, there was a common theme from the players…’we made the playoffs but we’re not satisfied.’ It made me believe we were going to be experiencing something special.”
Footage and interviews came from various sources but much of it is Video Dan’s. He has access that others don’t and that’s what makes his DVDs so special. Generally, 50 percent is game related and 50 percent is projecting the personalities of the players, meaning off-the field stuff.
One hour of the bonus footage features the parade and celebration at Citizens Bank Park. Video Dan rode on a float with players which provided exclusive footage. “Seeing all those smiling faces along the parade route was breathtaking. No matter young or old, black or white, tall or short, fat or skinny… everyone was sharing their joy and love. I’ve never experienced anything like that,” he said shaking his head.
Video Dan has a two-room studio located on the ballpark’s clubhouse level. His quarters are adjacent to a larger studio and the Media Room.
Multiple monitors and various tape and audio systems fill one room. A small desk and computer are in the smaller room. Hundreds of yellow video cassettes decorate both rooms. They are everywhere, except hanging from the ceiling.
This New Jersey resident basically lived in these rooms for the entire month of November, pushing to get the project done for the holiday shopping season. Producing a video yearbook normally requires about 500 hours. This year, it was crammed into something like 350 hours. Late nights, weekends, early mornings. When he needed rest, he headed for the Holiday Inn next door for a few hours of sleep. Baggy eyes? No wonder.
While he is a one-man band, Video Dan is quick to point out that his video department co-workers, Rick Chestnutt, Dave Akers and Kevin Camiscioli, played production roles. They also do an excellent job of keeping him in line.
Part of the annual process is to look over previous video yearbooks. “I started with 2002 and you can see from that video that the seeds were planted for this championship team.
Last year was ‘Goosebumps’ and our story was that we finally got to the postseason.”
The man faced long hours in a short time frame because of the World Series. “I’ll take that any year because there’s no better ending than being World Champions.”