Eva Sollberger produces, shoots, and edits Stuck in Vermont — a video series which is published online every Wednesday. The 5-10 minute videos feature Vermont artists, events, and passions. Eva is a full-time staff member at Seven Days, an alternative weekly newspaper in Burlington, Vermont with a circulation of 36,000 and 50+ staff.
Stuck in Vermont (SIV) started in February 2007. Seven Days contracted Eva on a freelance basis starting with Episode 4. In June of 2007, Seven Days hired Eva to produce SIV full-time.
"If you feel so stuck here, why not just leave?"
Some people wonder if the name "Stuck in Vermont" is a negative comment about Vermont. Eva advises these curious people to watch the hundreds of SIV videos and see for themselves. Every year we get stuck in the snow and the mud (literally) but we stay nonetheless. We choose to remain stuck in Vermont and maybe that has something to do with the unique, independent spirit of Vermonters, our beautiful landscapes, lake and green mountains. The real question is, why aren't YOU stuck in Vermont?
The name comes from a Smittens song called "I Hate Vermont" (they are happily stuck here too, so don't worry). The chorus goes, "We're trapped in, trapped in Vermont, can't get out, trapped in, trapped in Vermont."
Eva was singing this song to Seven Days online editor Cathy Resmer who was helping her brainstorm title ideas ("VT Vlog" wasn't clicking). Eva remembered the song wrong and sang, "We're stuck in, stuck in Vermont, can't get out, stuck in, stuck in Vermont."
"There!" said Cathy, "That is your title!" And so it is, 372+ episodes later.
And a special thanks to local rock stars The Smittens for recording the SIV theme song. YOW!
Eva edits with a lot of really good local music in Stuck in Vermont. Part of the videos' success has always been the high quality of the tunes. The bands are always credited at the end of the video and linked to on the SIV posts. If you would like Eva to use some of your music in her videos, please send her aiff files or a link to where the music can be downloaded:
Some of the best ideas come from the most random places so go ahead, give it a shot! But please note that all pitches go through Seven Days as well so if they have covered you recently, chances are that Eva can't visit for a while.
Got a video idea? Please email Eva to tell her all about it.
Stuck in Vermont operates like the local TV news in that we do not get signed releases from the people appearing in the videos. We do get your full name and if you appear in the video, we will note your name and title (if it is relevant). SIV only uses first names for younger children and always makes sure parents are okay with children appearing on camera.
Eva likes to talk to college and high school classes and conferences about internet video and she does so quite often. Her schedule can be tight so please email her well in advance.
Seven Days will provide a DVD of your show or event for a pre-arranged fee (to cover the extra effort involved). Discuss the details BEFORE your event to ensure delivery. Please contact Eva to learn more.
Anyone is free to embed the Stuck in Vermont videos on their website. If possible, please credit: Eva Sollberger, Seven Days
This is Eva's current job title and yes, she made it up. Her former title was Videographer, but that makes people think of weddings, so she changed it. At the bigger dailies, most video staff are called Video Journalists or Multimedia Journalists, but that didn't fit either.
Eva shoots about two hours of footage for every 5-10 minute SIV. She thinks of it like whittling or weaving. Distilling down a great deal of images and words into a condensed bite-sized video. And to be frank, she hates doing it. There is a lot of heavy lifting involved and every week she thinks of Sisyphus endlessly pushing his rock up the hill. Luckily, she has an awesome editing assistant who has been helping her for the past year. Thanks Ashley DeLucco! Here is a blog post in which she complains a great deal about editing.
Some people think the Stucks should be longer and some people think they should be shorter. Care to add your opinion?
Stuck in Vermont is proud to be sponsored by Hotel Vermont and Vermont Tourism. In the past SIV has been sponsored by Cabot Creamery Cooperative, Burlington College and Coldwell Banker Hickok and Boardman Realty.
Seven Days is one of the only alt-weeklies to have a staff member devoted entirely to producing video content. Eva currently works with an assistant editor who also shoots second camera on occasion. In the past, Seven Days has hired additional people to produce videos on a freelance basis. If you would like to learn more, please contact Associate Publisher Cathy Resmer.
Eva works pretty strange hours and has never figured out how to work regularly with an intern as students work odd hours too. But maybe you'll be the exception. Email her if you want to give it a try.
A 2-3 minute version of Stuck in Vermont plays on WCAX Channel 3 (local CBS affiliate) every Thursday between 5:30-6 p.m. during "The :30". Eva also does a live on-air interview following the video. SIV plays on VCAM Channel 15 Thursdays at 9:30 a.m., Fridays at 6 p.m. and Monday at 5:30 p.m.
Got a question about places to visit in Vermont? Eva can certainly try to answer it but she spends a lot of time editing and does not get out as much as she should. Here are some other good sources for info about Vermont:
VCAM is a great local source for community members who would like to learn how to make videos. They will train you, rent you the equipment for free and answer your questions if you get stuck. They know their stuff and are nice enough to share their knowledge, give them a try!
Before Eva started making Stuck in Vermont, she produced a cable access show called The Deadbeat Club which featured her mother and sister and played on VCAM. DBC aired every month for 3 years and totaled 31 episodes. Eva started making SIV so she could interview members of the community but she got her start on cable access, just like Wayne's World.
When speaking to students about internet video, Eva usually mentions the story of Peter King, the builder featured in Tiny Houses. Peter's life changed after being featured in an episode of Stuck in Vermont and neither Peter nor Eva expected it.
It all started when Paula Routly, one of the two co-founders of Seven Days, told Eva about her friend Peter King who builds small houses. Seven Days was doing a Tiny theme issue so it seemed like a good SIV topic. Eva met Peter King on a snowy day in the middle of nowhere and it took them an hour to find one another as he had no cell phone (still doesn't despite his internet fame) and she has a bad sense of direction.
Eva and her mom followed Peter around the rural terrain looking at his tiny houses and listening to his philosophizing. She shot about 2 hours of footage which she edited down to a 5 minute video. She posted it and assumed that was that.
The next day her email was full of requests for Peter's contact info. He has no email or cell, so she became his social secretary, handing out his land line digits to the slew of people who wanted to get in touch with him. The video got posted on a couple of tiny house blogs (which is a bigger movement than you may realize) and before you know it, the video was on the Huffington Post in the Top 5 Tiny Houses.
Peter initially told Eva that he wanted to teach everyone how to build tiny houses but he didn't know how to find people who wanted to learn. The fliers he was posting all over town were not bringing many people to his workshops. As the video grew in popularity, Peter got his wish and built about 10 tiny houses during workshops held across the country. That immediate connection to an audience is the power of internet video.