Erik Soulliard has been in the film industry for a long time, but this is his first experience creating something like his Facebook video project, We Are Lebanon, Pa.
Soulliard was inspired in part working on Pennsylvania Newsmakers with JPL Production, and in part by hearing people down talk Lebanon and finding that a negative view of LebTown didn’t fit with his own experience of moving back after years in New York City.
“When we moved back, I told my wife, I would love to do something to showcase all the neat people working here,” he said in a phone interview this morning. Soulliard noted how he’s been able to pursue fun projects and other professional work, and once he got a space in downtown Lebanon he knew it was time to put a spotlight on people. Soulliard rents the 3rd floor of the Lebanon Valley Arts Council building, and now serves on the board of the council as well.
He jokes about ending up there, with a background as a skateboarder and not seeing himself as much of a “joiner”.
“I always thought these type of organizations had a funding stream, and they totally don’t,” explained Soulliard about the arts council, which has exposed him to a lot of interesting people and businesses that give back to the community in ways that you wouldn’t necessarily realize (such as the number of people who do well but also give well).
Soulliard spends a lot of time on each video, from the actual time of the interview and editing to post-production work you wouldn’t necessarily think of, like adding close captioning files.
“It’s a whole another layer, but it makes sense – there’s a lot of people in that position of reading the video,” say .
Soulliard is a Lebanon County native and a graduate of Millersville. He had previously produced two movies, The Creek and 12 Bells, work covered by the York Daily Record and Lancaster Newspapers. He is also involved with the annual Zombie Shortz festival that takes place on the “First Friday” of November each year.
The Facebook Page is followed by more than 2,000 people, and Erik has posted about 60-70 videos so far with interview subjects including Kenny Montijo, Dr. Robert Wertz, Pastor Dean Cover, Rick Harpel, and even Santa.
Right now Erik is soliciting advertisers who might be interested in supporting the same pace of production for more videos about people “doing the work” in Lebanon. Explained in a Facebook post:
In an effort to avoid having to reduce the amount of videos we’re releasing we’re considering having sponsors for each video. This would enable us to maintain the weekly release we’ve mostly been able to achieve over the past year and a half. Please message us through this page and or contact Erik at email@example.com if you, your organization or business would like to speak about this advertising opportunity.
Soulliard notes that he doesn’t know how the advertising push will go, but if you like his content and have a business in town you should definitely reach out via email. He is working on other projects, including a mock-documentary on suicide, so the additional support would help him continue to allocate the same amount of time to the We Are Lebanon, Pa project.
Soulliard is also open to producing videos like this for local businesses, like say a hospital that wanted to expose its staff to the community.