michael-epperson2016 was a great year for the Stokes team as we welcomed several new faces and talent across our four offices to the staff roster. One of the key new players on the team is video guru, Michael Epperson. Today I have the pleasure of helping you get to know one of our finest finds, and learn about what he likes to do when he’s not behind a camera.

NICOLE: Thanks for taking the time to share a bit about yourself today, sir.

MICHAEL: It’s my pleasure, thank you for taking the time to care.

NICOLE: OK, let’s get started with some fun facts because I’ve enjoyed getting to know you over the past several months and I find your background very interesting. Tell me five words that best describe you and a little bit about why those words are fitting.

1. Father: I am father to two boys, who happen to be the coolest people I know.
2. Curious: I love a sense of discovery, and strive to find it as often as I can.
3. Grounded: I tend to not worry about the things I cannot change, but proactively act with the things that I can.
4. Stalwart: I try to be mindful of my thoughts, words, and actions, and how they affect other people … this leads to me sitting back and absorbing a situation in its entirety before I weigh in.
5. Critical: I tend to be very hard on my creative output. It usually takes me a bit of reflection on completed work before I accept it.

NICOLE: Great answers! Shifting gears, how did you get into video? Do you also enjoy photography? Tell us a bit about your entrepreneurial ventures back in Colorado.

MICHAEL: Well I guess if I go all the way back to the beginning, it would have to be around age 12 or 13, when I realized I could use my parents’ camcorder for more than just filming birthdays and Christmas. Once I got started, I couldn’t stop, even convincing my mother to buy our house a second VCR (remember those?) so that I could do tape-to-tape editing of the footage I had shot. The obsession evolved as I grew older, and I gravitated toward people in school who were also consumed with filming (I wasn’t alone!). So, I pulled my friends into the mix. We became a very ragtag group of producers/actors; specializing in zombie gore, mafia short films with teenage gangsters, sketch comedy and stop-motion animation.

I’ve always been interested in photography; I feel like being able to tell a story with a single image is something I hope I’m never a true master at doing, because I so enjoy the pursuit of achieving it. Seems like every time I get closer to it, another layer of technique reveals itself, and the path to mastery just goes on and on.

My videography work in Colorado started when and my brother, Levi (who has one of the most interesting photographic eyes that I have ever seen), and I combined our shared passions for live music with our love of cinematography/photography. We both lived inside the circle of local music, so it was a natural fit that gave us access to capture stories one might never see otherwise. We specialized in capturing multi-angle live performances, as well as scripted music videos for a myriad of local and national acts, and its a part of my life that I cherish greatly.

NICOLE: WOW! Although I’d like to say I’m a bit speechless, I’ll just keep it moving with my next few questions. What do you love about living in Philly? What do you miss most about living in Colorado?

MICHAEL: I love the community surrounding the arts. From street-level up to the philharmonic, creative output is given a haven in Philly, and the result of that level of nurturing incubation is something that isn’t available in such surplus in Denver.

The thing I miss most about Colorado is regular access to the people I love who still live there, and the type of inspiration that only immediate access to the Rocky Mountains can afford.

NICOLE: When you’re not working, what do you enjoy doing? Hobbies? Volunteering? Local groups, etc.?

MICHAEL: Pretty normal things … spending time with family and friends, riding motorcycles, drinking too much coffee, exploring the state, drawing/painting, videogames, filming and volunteering at my children’s school.

NICOLE: What’s one of the most unique things or fun facts about you?

MICHAEL: Hmmm … I spent two years living in Anchorage, Alaska. My time was divided between working on the North Slope, above the arctic circle, on the oilfields of Prudhoe Bay, and enjoying two weeks per month off from work in Anchorage. The amount of wildlife and pure primordial nature I was exposed to was not only compelling, but contributed to my appreciation for the diversity of our world.

NICOLE: That’s pretty interesting! Lastly, tell me, if you were stuck on an island and could only have one food to eat for the rest of your life, one TV show and one piece of technology, what would you pick and why?

MICHAEL: I’ll have to go with steak, as it’s high in protein and would give me the energy I need to get through island survival. TV show: “Parks and Recreation,” because it’s amazing and you should watch it. Technology: A personal teleportation device so that I could occasionally return to civilization for steak sauce replenishment.

NICOLE: Creative and witty answers. I expected nothing less from you! Alright, thanks for your time, Michael.