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Knope of the Week: Joe Kreml, VOP-TV Manager in Oak Park

Posted on July 18, 2014


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Award-winning videographer. Cult movie aficionado. Standing desk advocate.

Joe Kreml, VOP-TV Manager for the Village of Oak Park, Illinois, took the top honors as this week’s Knope of the Week award winner. We recognized Joe after reading all the fantastic feedback from last week’s ELGL Midwest lunch and learn session, entitled “YouTube on a Budget.” Joe took attendees through the basics of gearing up for YouTube, translating your ideas onto the (small) screen and avoiding common pitfalls. On top of that, he also took the boxed lunch that had the oatmeal raisin cookie, falling on his own sword so that the rest of the attendees could enjoy chocolate chip.

Background Check

Joe studied film and television production at Columbia College in Chicago. Years later he found his way to Oak Park, where he heads up the local government television station (VOP-TV) and chases down story ideas for the Village’s burgeoning YouTube channel. Program topics range from purely government information and municipal programs, to coverage of special events, like annual festivals and parades. But VOP-TV videos also feature recycling tips, public art, small business spotlights and profiles of local personalities (of which Oak Park has many).

In short, Oak Park keeps Joe busy, and if you ask him, his favorite video is the one he’s working on right now.

Word on the Street

Recap: Top 5 YouTube Tips from ELGL Midwest’s Lunch & Learn

We asked the folks who attended last week’s Midwest ELGL seminar to offer a few words about Joe. They took “few” to mean “a few hundred,” so we’ve edited down their responses just a bit. Read on to see what the world (OK, just the Midwest) thinks of VOP-TV’s Joe.

Laura Lake, Intern at Village of Morton Grove

“What I loved was that Joe took a ‘simple’ topic and really explained how to make it successful. He didn’t just describe the end result. He took it  step-by-step: from good equipment, software, “on camera personalities,” to – how to make YouTube work within a government organizational setting to how many times someone viewed the video.  So often elected officials are concerned with “how many people watched it” but Joe reminded us all that a successful video needs to incorporate so much more. Beyond that, he was very engaging! There is nothing quite like learning from a man in flannel! But in all seriousness, I was really glad that he gave this presentation – I feel like he is a great educator because he can bridge intergenerational gaps along with making “tech” understandable to all of us – even the tech newbies.”

Brian Southey, Public Works Management Analyst at Elk Grove Village

BsSi-vtCYAEDdW3“I thought Joe did a tremendous job with his presentation. His passion for the subject matter showed and allowed for those in attendance to stay engaged throughout the afternoon. Joe did a fantastic job explaining the core necessities he believes are needed to be successful at establishing a YouTube or video presence for local municipalities.  While all the subject material was new to me, it was still presented in a manner that was easy to digest and will be a great help to me in the future.”

Stacey Udoni, Strategic Government Resources

“Joe was awesome! He was very engaging, casual and easy to talk to! He was so willing to share his knowledge and help in any way he could. I enjoyed learning about the different equipment needed to make a five-star video. Who would have thought it would cost less than $2,000? I will definitely be taking back a lot of his tidbits back to my organization. A few tips that stood out most were to keep the videos short (even if they are on pertinent information), engage the community, try to cut out the middle and just produce the work!”

Bridget Doyle, Communications Coordinator at Village of Lombard

10431165_645640505521515_271376312492530725_o“Joe is the antithesis of local government employee stereotypes. He’s boisterous, creative and not afraid to push the standards – within reason – in his role as a communicator. It seems to me the reason Joe continues to be recognizes as a leader in government communication is he’s leading the charge with passion. He’s constantly innovating how to communicate to residents and asking important questions about what the audience is actually interested in. Joe’s advice was sound and thoughtful. And, on top of his creativity, he gave the ELGL guests the chocolate chip cookies during lunch and took the oatmeal raisin (bullet) himself. What a host!”

We’re hoping to persuade Joe to do a sequel to this session, focusing perhaps on more technical aspects of digital photography and video editing. Stay tuned for more!

Supplemental Reading

Joe Kreml shoots… and scores

VOP-TV series heading to film festival

Is YouTube for You?

Oak Park TV station wins national awards

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