• Nielsen Studios Inc

Updated: Mar 19

American Faces No. 63

Eighty-seven year old Joe Myles is a man full of stories, wise cracks, and love for his late wife and daughters of more than forty years. Joe is a Korean war vet, which was what I thought would be the backbone of my story. I quickly learned that being in the Army in the 1950’s was a small part of this man’s life. After the Army, Joe spent thirteen years living the rough life of an unmarried man working various jobs while living at the YMCA. However, the love of a woman helped him realize there was more to life; a lot more to life. Like, the love of a woman with four daughters and a life in the city of Chicago, Illinois more to life. That woman was the cleaning lady at the YMCA. Marjorie endeared herself to Joe by banging her cleaning cart against the wall to wake Joe after his long night shifts. Joe, in his early 40’s, married Marjorie in 1972 and became the father to her four girls. He affectionately refers to Marjorie and her four daughters as his "ready-made family.” I could hear in his voice, the heart of a father who didn’t look at these girls as anything less than his very own daughters. Joe went on to work hard to provide for his family and do the best that he could to raise a family in the upper Midwest. Was he perfect? No. But then, no one is. Maybe he is not a war hero, or a man who commanded the very army he served in, but Joe deserves the same respect. This man named Joe left behind who he was in his younger years to become the man Marjorie and her daughters needed.

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So while I went looking for a war-hero story originally, I got the everyday-hero kind of story. The kind of story where the hero has tears rolling down his face because he loves his wife and family so much.

Take time to listen to the stories of your parents and grandparents. The stories you have heard a thousand times might be boring to you, but they mean the world to them. Their stories define who they are and just might influence the kind of person you become.

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  • Nielsen Studios Inc

Updated: Mar 19

American Faces No. 62

The small town of Rockford, MN is where I first met Shawn Hackworth. The setting, I suppose you could say, was the early 1980’s in middle school. I was the Air Supply kind of guy and he was the AC/DC kind of guy. That’s what probably defined us during our formative middle and high school years. But underneath our differences was a similarity waiting to be discovered. We were both artists yet to unlock our latent talents. Since the late 1980’s I have devoted myself to the craft of commercial photography and he, to the incredible art of taxidermy.

What started as a hobby and a way to express his artistic side during his years in the construction industry has become a full-time profession. One can see what his years of working at the intricate details on a fish or the area around the eyes of a deer have done to hone his art to the highest level. It is simply amazing to watch Shawn as he meticulously molds the lips of fish or adds structure to the face and bodies of mammals, fish, and fowl. Shawn’s art gives the gift of a life-like lasting memory of a hunting or fishing trip with a loved one or some crazy adventurous trip with friends or family.

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Life has a funny way of reminding us we are not all that different. While the two Shawns from Rockford, MN were two different people growing up, we now can look at our similarities and laugh. We are two artists in our early fifties with a love for the outdoors. Take time to get to know people from your past, you might be surprised what you have in common. And meet new people; you will likely realize that you have many similarities if you give them a chance.

Email me for a 10% dayrate discount off a future/new project.

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  • Nielsen Studios Inc

American Faces No. 61

Independent filmmaker and editor, Trent Hilborn, knows what it takes to tell a good story.

“Every story, no matter the topic, is about someone pursuing something, about something they need to conquer” says Trent, “That doesn’t mean it involves a sword and shield – it can be about anything, but at the end of the day, every story is about a challenge someone is trying to overcome.”

Trent’s no stranger to challenge. After studying filmmaking in New York and Wisconsin, he launched a video production company with two buddies from college.

“I didn’t want to go to LA and serve coffee for 10 years. I wanted to start making films right away, so we formed a company and found some clients who wanted to make stuff.”

In 2018, after a fun but exhausting run, they decided to break up the band.

Now working independently under his own banner, Trent does it all – writing, directing and editing.

We first connected through our mutual friend and creative collaborator, Scott Regan, pulling Trent in to edit videos for both AgriLife Studios and Nielsen Studios productions. Early on, we discovered he has a near-magical ability to absorb video content, see the threads of a story – the setup, the hook, the payoff – and weave them together into a compelling narrative.

Trent says whether it’s about a revolutionary new corn hybrid, a precision manufacturing company creating great local jobs or a Skywalker fighting the evil Empire, every good story must somehow help the audience connect with our common humanity.

“Someone tells a story and it shows us something about life, about ourselves,” says Trent. “It gives us renewed purpose. You think, I may not want to climb the same mountain, but I’m inspired to take on a bigger challenge, to push myself.”

Trent shares a cool little house in Minneapolis with his wife, Mandy, and his cats, Summit and Biff. When he’s not putting together his latest project, Trent travels the world hiking, climbing, diving, paddling and biking to wherever the adventure – and the epic human story – takes him.

Story by: Scott Whitman

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