video needed of ypsilanti and water street

The stars could finally be aligned for Ypsilanti. In a few weeks, the National Brownfields Conference will be held in Detroit. Developers from all over the country will be there, looking for sites just like Ypsilanti’s Water Street. I don’t want to say that it’s our last chance to market the property to qualified developers, but it’s probably the only time in the foreseeable future that we’ll have dozens of developers with experience in brownfield remediation close enough to come out and take a look.

Fortunately, the folks in City Hall seem to realize this, and they’re investing what little time and resources they have left in getting ready. They’ve started pulling together all the pertinent information on the project and posting it on a new Water Street website. Word is, they’ll be adding more content, prettying it up, and producing complimentary print materials as well. I’ve also been told that they’re looking into having shuttles run from Detroit to Ypsi, in case any developers want to walk the site themselves. So, if you’re in town between May 5 and 7, and see any strangers, be nice to them… And, for godsakes, try to look like you have money to spend.

When I asked if there was anything more that we in the community could do to help, I was told that it would be great if someone could shoot video of the site, which could be put up on YouTube and imbedded in the Water Street marketing site. Ideally, they’d like a video walkthrough of Water Street to show off the size, riverfront, proximity to downtown, etc. Voiceover narration would be great, but I’m told it’s not necessary at this point. The important thing is that they have good footage to loop on a laptop during the conference. Instead of sound, text could scroll along the bottom of the screen saying… “Michigan Avenue — US-12 Business Route,” “24,000 vehicles daily,” “1/2 mile Huron River frontage,” “home of Iggy Pop,” etc.

In addition to this site-specific footage of the Water Street parcel, the Planning Department would also be interested in having any documentary-ish videos of Ypsilanti that could be burnt onto CDs and handed out at the conference, to help show off the town. Word is that they’ve already gotten permission from Metromode to use the Ypsilanti propaganda piece shot at the last Shadow Art Fair. I can’t say for certain that they’d use everything they’re given, but if you’ve got good footage showing Ypsi at its best, let me know. I may be able to line up volunteers to put it all together into something short and catchy. Even if this event weren’t coming up, I think we’d all agree that our City website could really benefit from a short video in which people talk about why they love it here… So, break out that video camera and start shooting, OK?

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  1. Posted April 11, 2008 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

    If I could get someone to to go with me, I’d be willing to shoot the walk about. This weekend is supposed to be rainy but next would likely work. I have access to a DV camera and I can easily pick up a couple of blank tapes.

  2. Posted April 11, 2008 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

    If I could offer one piece of advice about this – it would be: please don’t put it on YouTube, you want people to “see” the places you are filming, right?

    Go get an account at, their quality is fantastic. YouTube is for ripped excepts from TV shows :P

    I’m excited about this – I wish I could be there to help. I would totally do this – and I have an HD camera :( Argg! Well, I hope you like Vimeo and I hope this works out. Keep us updated!

  3. schutzman
    Posted April 11, 2008 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

    amateur video on youtube.
    they’re really pulling out all the stops to sell this place.

  4. mark
    Posted April 11, 2008 at 8:16 pm | Permalink

    There are actually four people that I know of here in Ypsi that are, or at least have been, professional videographers, Brett. I was kind of hoping that one of them would see this and decide to donate some time. And, I suspect we have a lot of talented people who are self-taught. I’m sure that Edweird has some skills. And I know of another guy who taught video editing at WCC. I’m confident that a team will develop. And, Mike, your point is well taken about Vimeo. The stuff on your site always looks great. Thanks for the tip.

  5. mark
    Posted April 11, 2008 at 8:17 pm | Permalink

    Here’s another thought… We could reach out to the Ann Arbor Film Festival folks as see if they might be aware of people in Ypsi working in video. I’m sure they’ve got a pretty big local mailing list.

  6. schutzman
    Posted April 11, 2008 at 8:32 pm | Permalink

    All I can think of is Ed Koryzno being filmed while shoving mentos into a bottle of diet coke.

    Other than that, my handlers have advised me that I shouldn’t be sarcastic with the same subject on more than one website at a time. Pity.

  7. egpenet
    Posted April 11, 2008 at 8:34 pm | Permalink

    Schutzman has handlers?

    I take it ALL back.

  8. egpenet
    Posted April 11, 2008 at 8:38 pm | Permalink

    No one in the town … NO ONE … has been willing to pay for professional ANYTHING in the 25+ years I have lived here except consultants and studies. Bragging about volunteerism in Ypsilanti is the pasttime.

    I volunteer a lot myself … but when push comes to survival … we really could’ve used a professionally done video about Ypsilanti many years ago. That was my career in detyroit/NY/LA/Chicago for over 30 years … but there’s was no money here for marketing. So, GO FOR IT on You Tube.

    I’m with Shutzman.

  9. egpenet
    Posted April 11, 2008 at 8:39 pm | Permalink

    I get so p’od I can’t spell Detroit.

  10. mark
    Posted April 11, 2008 at 8:55 pm | Permalink

    I didn’t think this would be all that contentious. If people don’t want to do it, they shouldn’t. As we all know, the city is broke, and the tax base is eroding. I thought that some folks might want to pitch in and help. If they do, then they should. If they don’t, they shouldn’t. That’s not to say that I’m thrilled about the amount of money spent on outside consultants. I’m not. I just think this is pretty straightforward. The bottom line is that if we want city services to continue, we need development on Water Street. If you have skills, and want to help, there’s something you can do.

  11. Dick Cheney's Extending Taint
    Posted April 11, 2008 at 8:57 pm | Permalink

    Lemme know if you need some voice-over recorded.

  12. mark
    Posted April 11, 2008 at 9:10 pm | Permalink

    Lest anyone think he’s kidding, I happen to know the Taint is serious. He has a voice-over studio in Portland.

  13. Mark H.
    Posted April 11, 2008 at 9:27 pm | Permalink

    I’m with Mark on this — if a good video telling the Ypsi and Water Street stories in a way that could interest brownfield developers could be made, that would be terrific, and potentially very influential.

    Yet i gotta wonder….when the cith leaders almost a decade ago decided to bet the city’s future on the Water Street project, where was the marketing then? No video done yet, and we’re nearly ten years down the road of pouring money into what City Hall described as a panacea. It’s been more like a pipe dream.

    That said, bring on the good video! And Mark’s right -there’s talent here to do it.

  14. egpenet
    Posted April 11, 2008 at 9:32 pm | Permalink


  15. Ian Curtis
    Posted April 11, 2008 at 10:05 pm | Permalink

    Here’s a video we can use..

  16. Posted April 11, 2008 at 10:40 pm | Permalink

    If no one else has the talent to do it, I’ll volunteer to take a crash course in video editing, in the event that frames of schutzman or his handlers need to be suppressed.

    Now, while I agree in principle with Brett on getting some professional videography done, I agree more with Mark’s pragmatic views on using whatever volunteer efforts can be engaged.

    Randomly caught video of the site would probably be less useful than something more thought out in advance. Does anyone have ideas for a “script” of the video? What are all the features of Water Street and the rest of Ypsilanti that should be captured? Is there an order that makes sense? Are there any things that should be avoided or suppressed?

  17. Ol' E Cross
    Posted April 11, 2008 at 11:16 pm | Permalink

    One of the things I’ve appreciated as about this town is the mix of folk. A place I once referred to as having “courteously competing visions.”

    Yes, I was naive. I should have written, “viscously competing agendas.”

    Mark H. Without rehashing the whole Water Street thing, how could the city possibly have justified spending money on a videographer 10 years ago to promote what they already had a developer, and then a second, lined up to do? Seriously. Imagine the backlash when various opponents said “The city wasted X on Water Street marketing when there where already X bids on the project?”

    EgP. Thank you for helping realize it is foolish to volunteer to help my community achieve something needed in present if it has been mishandled in the past. Certainly, no one with various talents should volunteer anything unless they are well compensated.

    Schutzman. Please advise your handlers to tighten your leash.

    Videographers. Don’t worry. These dogs don’t bite. But, the ones running loose around Water St. may. I’ll walk with you with a five iron, if needed.

    For me, I intend to follow Mark’s advice and visit one of A2’s Lexus dealers and take something “choice” for a “test drive” up and down Michigan for the duration of the conference. If I see any developers, I’ll pull over and say I’m looking for fondue spa to celebrate my big promotion. I think if a few hundred of us do the same, we may get this watery noose off our necks.

    Of course, once they come to Ypsi and actually try to open a yuppie fondue spa, I will run them out of town on the blunt end of a five iron. Or, what’s left of them anyway.

  18. egpenet
    Posted April 11, 2008 at 11:23 pm | Permalink

    These are some of the very reasons I absolutely HATE Steve Jobs.

    A crash course … for god sakes … John!

    What the miracles of technology have provided us … do NOT necessarily guarantee instant results to anyone who can turn on a computer. What takes producers, writers, shooters and editros years to learn cannot be gleaned from a 35-page manual tucked into a software package from Mac or anyone else.

    I will again maintain that the firing, retiring and screwing of the UAW by the auto companies … the dumping of years of experienced personnel … is what resulted in the demise of the USA’s auto industry. The pros would have solved the engineering, design and ecology challenges.

    The amateurs, neiphytes and pretenders running GM, GE (which took a real beating today in the market) and others … are killing our economy. They have no real expertise. And as a result … the people in charge of our economy are just making thibngs up as they go along … going page by page from some software manual, as it were.

    Go ahead and make the little movie about Ypsilanti. I’m sure it will be OK. I’m sure the city will be OK. It can’t hurt. And by the standards of what audiences will accept today in theaters and broadcast TV … it can’t be any worse than Survivor or Katie Curic or Pet Tricks.

    I think I pinched a nerve.

  19. schutzman
    Posted April 12, 2008 at 1:20 am | Permalink

    ol e’ cross, do you really think that i would glorify them with the title of “Handlers” if i were capable of influencing them, even if it involved asking them to tighten my restraints? Surely, you jest.

    egpenet- you have me all verklempt. i know not what to say.

    john on forest- I think what you’re saying we need is a storyboard.

  20. Posted April 12, 2008 at 2:16 am | Permalink

    I thought this was an interesting urban brownfield developer…(Windmill developments,BC unfortunately and not USA ) “urban developer goes for the green” Cool ideas. You might enjoy the rest of the Peak moment videos collected here also -fun stuff from ‘’.

  21. Posted April 12, 2008 at 9:35 am | Permalink


    Well said. I couldn’t have hoped to articulate those thoughts so well.

  22. egpenet
    Posted April 12, 2008 at 9:40 am | Permalink

    Aha, ha, ha. True. True.

    Seriously, GO for it.

    I can’t BEGIN to explain what it takes to create effective communication that produces measurable results.

    What a locally produced video WILL do is show the love and deep feelings we all have for this city. THAT’S worth a lot.

    And I hope THAT is enough to SELL someone on putting 30-100 million into the city. It very well may be.

  23. egpenet
    Posted April 12, 2008 at 9:46 am | Permalink

    My OTHER point is that in 30 years NOTHING has been done … professionally or volunteer-wise.

    Most people here and elsewhere can only visualize Ypsilanti by the Water Tower. There is NO VISUAL record of what this city really is floating out there in the ether except that tower.

    Your goal, should you chose to accept this assignment, is to create a VISUAL THREAD )like a blog thread) that really depicts in pictures what Ypsilanti and its Water Street dreams are all about. No easy task.

  24. schutzman
    Posted April 12, 2008 at 11:09 am | Permalink

    “There is NO VISUAL record of what this city really is floating out there in the ether.”

    Ed, seriously now: are you incapable of following links, or am I surrounded by some sort of force field?

  25. mark
    Posted April 12, 2008 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for coming back from the dead to leave that comment, Mr. Curtis.

    For what it’s worth, I think you would have liked America.

  26. mark
    Posted April 12, 2008 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

    Your storyboard is lovely, Mr. Schutzman.

    And, I share your consternation concerning the comments left by Mr. Penet. Not to keep harping on this point, but for what we paid these most recent consultants, we could have had an Ed Penet translation device built.

  27. mark
    Posted April 12, 2008 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

    And thank you for the link, Ypsi One Worlder. I’m watching it now, and I agree with you that we need to attract a developer with the same mindset.

  28. Posted April 12, 2008 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

    I go away for a bit and this shit literally explodes.

    Ok. I’m not a videographer. I’m learning. My main bag is audio for those who don’t know. What I do have is access to people who do this regularly (Final Cut Pro not iMovie), some time during a Sunday, a camera, and interest. I think this is a really good idea. I also concur that Youtube is low rent. Streaming from a better site would be great. I’m sure Mike could help out with this.

    What I would really like to see is a walk through of the property with someone who knows the history of the site and can tell the sites story as they walk. Maybe divide up the site into sections and make a few smaller videos of each part of the main site. If someone better came along, I’d step aside in a heartbeat. Seriously, I have no ego here. I just want the eyesore to go away. If this gets us closer to that goal, why not?

  29. Dirtgrain
    Posted April 12, 2008 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

    History? Just don’t tell about the floods.

  30. mark
    Posted April 12, 2008 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

    I think Edwierd has the right idea. And I certainly think it would be worth sitting down with a few folks over a beer to discuss our options. I don’t have a ton of time, and I’m already way behind on another video project that needs to get done, but I’d be happy to contribute ideas, work on the storyboards, organize the shoots, etc (pretty much anything but shooting and editing).

    And I’m convinced now, Dirtgrain, that there never was a flood. I think it was just an April Fools joke perpetrated by the great grandfather of Steve Pierce.

  31. egpenet
    Posted April 12, 2008 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

    A translation device! THAT’S what I need! Great idea. You aren’t the first to suggest that I’m speaking only to myself in the bleachers.

    I love the technospeak, however … ie., storyboard. Sis Boom Ba! That’s a good start.

  32. Posted April 12, 2008 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

    Script or storyboard. Who gives a damn what it’s called. Mr. Schutzman, I looked at your storyboard with disdain. How the hell do you think that would sell Water Street to a developer?!? Obviously, MM was being sarcastic when he said how lovely it was; because, in his next comment, he suggested getting together to discuss, among other things, a storyboard or script or what ever you want to call it.

  33. mark
    Posted April 12, 2008 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

    I really did like Brett’s shots taken on Water Street. I wasn’t being sarcastic. He takes very good photos. He was joking, though, I suspect, when he suggested that they might make good advertising shots for the project.

  34. Posted April 12, 2008 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

    Here are some pics my grandfather took of flooding in Ypsilanti, including floods in Water Street.


    – Steve

  35. schutzman
    Posted April 12, 2008 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

    LOL, John on Forest, LOL.

  36. Posted April 12, 2008 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

    As I walked life, I continually looked down the road I had come and I lamented the wrong turns I took over my life. Soon another fork in the road became visible in my rear vision and I again lamented having taken yet another turn wrongly.

    Or in other words: Keeping a thought towards mistakes we’ve made in our history is only useful if we use that knowledge while looking forward toward our goals.

    All this negative nay saying really gets me down. Why can’t we look forward to the accomplishment of a project with enthusiasm and cooperation? If someone has expertise in videography, maybe they will help produce it. Or if they don’t have enough time to produce it, maybe they can offer some constructive criticism of it as it is produced by someone else. A self-proclaimed expert carpet layer hardly helps me lay my own carpet by coming into my living room and crapping on my new shag.

    OEC, Marlena volunteers to pose for the video as a rich Ypsilantian, wearing expensive clothing and holding cash in her hand. Um, got some cash she can borrow for the day?

  37. Posted April 12, 2008 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

    Apparently I’m no good at sarcasm, nor at recognizing it.

    When I said I’d take a crash course in video editing, I was totally being sarcastic…even if Schutzman and his handlers showed up in some frames of the video.

    And I really thought Schutzman was offering us a storyboard to use for the video.

  38. egpenet
    Posted April 12, 2008 at 5:23 pm | Permalink


    Go for the video. Have gfun. Do what you think is good. You live here, who else to tell the story … someone from City Hall who lives in the Township?

  39. Gretchen Meat-Pants
    Posted April 12, 2008 at 7:12 pm | Permalink

    I’d love to go to this brownfields event, but I have other plans.

  40. Stan Swan
    Posted April 12, 2008 at 7:29 pm | Permalink

    I make amateur adult films in the Romulus area and I’d be happy to help out if you need a really, really well hung narrator.

  41. egpenet
    Posted April 12, 2008 at 8:01 pm | Permalink

    Uh huh.

    Stan’s offer and Brownfield seem somehow to go together.

    I’d make the call if I were the producer.

  42. cra
    Posted April 12, 2008 at 11:50 pm | Permalink

    hey ypsi this is the time you can re define the huron valley by leasing out this property to developer that will build a minor league baseball stadium at water street ! a venture like this has been a huge hit all over michigan via private funds and pro baseball could put ypsi on the map like it has never known before .

  43. mark
    Posted April 12, 2008 at 11:57 pm | Permalink

    If we do have a stadium there, can we call it Brown Field?

  44. egpenet
    Posted April 13, 2008 at 8:17 am | Permalink

    Brown (Sometimes Flooded) Field

  45. Posted April 13, 2008 at 8:41 am | Permalink

    Mud Field?
    Muddy Meadows?
    Annual mud wrestling competitions? Special concessions such as the ‘Mudshake”, “Mud Burger”, “Mud Fudge Brownie”, “mocha Mud Latte” and “Mud Brown Ale”. Something for everyone.

    A golf cart, decorated as the magnificent mudmobile to cart injured wrestlers off the field…

    T-shirts in brown with white bold text…”Muddier than hell and not going to take it no more”

  46. Stan Swan
    Posted April 13, 2008 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

    It just dawned on me as I stood here in the shower this morning that many of you probably don’t work in the adult entertainment industry. By “well hung” I meant that I have a very, very large penis.

  47. egpenet
    Posted April 13, 2008 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

    Ice is good for that. LOTS of ice.

  48. cra
    Posted April 14, 2008 at 7:22 am | Permalink

    the ballpark is a risk but it sure makes more sense than putting in duplicate businesses or homes that no one can pay for

  49. Posted April 17, 2008 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

    As the originator of the request, I think maybe I should clarify a little –

    When I asked Mark about putting me in contact with some videographers, a youtube casting call wasn’t exactly what I had in mind. Thank you, for example, to John on Forest, for the offer to take a crash course in video production, but if that was what I was looking for, I could do it myself. I was specifically looking for contacts with the existing experience / skillset that I could talk to about working on a video, so that we wouldn’t be relying on somebody teaching themselves how to use a camera and editing software. The primary purpose would be to stick it on a cd and send to prospective developers to give a better idea of the site. Because every time I’ve got somebody on the site, they inevitably comment on its size. That shouldn’t be something they have to wait until getting here to realize.

    Of course, I don’t mean to discourage anybody from making videos of Ypsilanti and putting them up on YouTube. As schutzman points out, Ypsi has quite the digital record already, and the more the merrier…

  50. schutzman
    Posted April 20, 2008 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

    with fancy side-stepping like that, murph, you have a promising future as a country line dancer.

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