By David Fong
TROY — Scott Robinson was not born in Troy and his indoctrination into one of the cities grandest traditions, the Troy Strawberry Festival, did not come until later in life.
In the past seven months, though, Robinson — owner of Take 2 Productions Inc. in Troy — has become one of the leading authorities on the festival.
Sorting through 40 years of taped footage, then spending 100 hours editing that footage, adding new material and distilling the entire production down into a 40-minute documentary tends to have that sort of effect on people.
“(Festival manager) Corie Schweser contacted me back in October and I met with her and Dee Mahan about the possibility of putting together a video about the history of the Strawberry Festival,” Robinson said. “They wanted to put together a 40-minute documentary, because this is the 40th Strawberry Festival.”
That set Robinson on a journey that not only took him back in time in terms of the festival itself, but also in terms of the technology used to document it over the years. Using a combination of footage provided by the Troy Public Access Channel, the Troy High School audio visual club, Time-Warner cable and WHIO Channel 7, Robinson cobbled together roughly 60 hours worth of old footage — along with interviews he recorded himself using modern technology — from 3/4-inch deck tapes, VHS tapes, digital pro tapes.
Then came the hard part — distilling all of that footage down to a 40-minute film.
“When I originally put together just my interviews, it was an hour and 30 minutes,” Robinson said. “I knew we’d still have to have musical interludes go in there and I knew we’d have to have more historical footage going in there. I knew I was going to have to cut some things.”
Even while cutting some things, however, Robinson still wish he could have added more things that simply never were recorded for posterity.
“I wish I could go back in time and re-shoot some of the footage,” he said. “Most of the footage we had was of the parade — obviously we didn’t want to do an entire documentary on just the parade. There were some people who had some great stories, but we just didn’t have the footage to go with it, so we had to stretch out some different things and do some different things with the footage we did have.”
Robinson did get help with the project from assistant editor Joe Weaver and Troy High School student Morgan Lemmon and teacher Jeff Owen. As he delved deeper into the process, Robinson — a Kettering native who now lives in Troy with his wife Lori and their three children — began to learn just how important the festival is to the community.
“The biggest thing I learned in all of this was that this was big from the beginning,” Robinson said of the festival, which was first held June 11 and 12, 1977. “This didn’t start out as some small little thing that grew and grew and grew. A lot of people have a lot of stake in this. So many of the people I talked to got involved in this at an early age and then just kept coming back.”
Because the festival means so much to so many people, Robinson — whose company specializes primarily in tribute videos for funeral homes and corporate safety and promotional videos — said he was nervous at the first private screening several weeks ago. There has been one public screening so far, with five more to take place during festival weekend. Eventually, it will be for sale on DVD, as well.
“I’m very pleased with it,” Robinson said. “I’ll never be completely happy with it — in this business, I think you are always looking at small little things you’d like to go back and do better or do different. But all the people I’ve talked to who have seen said they are thrilled.”