Erie 'Amazes' in new piece by MenajErie

Category:  News
Friday, October 4th, 2019 at 11:50 AM
Erie 'Amazes' in new piece by MenajErie by Amber Chisholm
A screenshot from Erie Amazes.

With a message that both personal and professional opportunities are practically endless, the 11-minute documentary and advertisement “Erie Amazes” premiered at the Erie Homecoming 2019 event in August. You can watch the piece below. 

Created by MenajErie Studio, the piece highlights city goals, notable professionals, draws for tourists and residents, and more. It highlights nearly 20 professionals, businesses and citizens combined.

Ben Speggen, director of operations for the Jefferson Educational Society, has a strong presence in the film and shared many interesting viewpoints and facts, one from the video being that 20 percent of Erie’s citizens are newly naturalized citizens.

“We have a lot of reasons to be optimistic about Erie,” said Speggen in an interview, and he believes the largest one is the people. He referred to Erie as a region of makers and noted the opportunities that arise from this.

Planning for the piece went back to late May 2019, with the Erie Regional Chamber & Growth Partnership (ERCGP) reaching out to MenajErie.

Everyone involved was and is still focused on pushing Erie to be a better version of itself, according to Nick Taylor, one of the managing partners for MenajErie.

Taylor wanted to do something different, “to show that Erie is a changing place and that it is new and exciting.”

There was a hands-off approach from ERCGP, in that they were very trusting and let the four-member team at MenajErie Studio do their own work without monitoring, according to both Taylor and Brett Wiler, an ERCGP staff member and vice president of the Flagship Opportunity Zone Development Company.

“They were very happy with it,” said Taylor. Wiler agreed, saying that it “had the right emotional appeal” and “left [him] inspired and wanting to do more” in regard to helping the community prosper.

Wiler was born and raised in Erie, as was Jessica Yochim Taylor, fellow managing partner of MenajErie (and wife of Nick Taylor). Taylor considered the documentary to be “another day-in-the-life kind of project” and that its purpose is to “showcase the amazing businesses and people that are here.”

Just over 11 minutes long, the project is divided into three sections, which are: “Renaissance City Rising,” “Investing in Tomorrow” and “Embracing Erie’s Future.” With the first words of the video being, “Erie has come so far,” the piece aims at sharing the positives of the community, including the culture, the people, including those who have returned, and so on.

“Investing in Tomorrow” shares points on the infrastructure, home and job markets, along with Erie’s uniqueness based on its size, location and its potential to gain anything it currently does not have. Finally, “Embracing Erie’s Future” talks about Erie adjusting to changing wants and needs, the high chance of everyone involved succeeding and Erie’s overall future.

Greg Happ, Motion Graphics Editor at MenajErie, and 2016 Edinboro graduate, worked on the third section, finding B-roll, and working with on-screen animation and graphics along with editing. In his own words, Erie Amazes is “a project that allowed us to take full creative direction” and the highlights for him are the individual reviews.

Happ believes that everyone now has an optimistic outlook toward Erie and that it’s warranted.

The responses have been “overwhelmingly positive,” which makes Jessica Yochim Taylor proud of Erie, and she wants people to see the good things it has to offer.

“We really believe in Erie, the Erie that we see and want to be a part of,” she explained.

The hardest part of the entire process was the criticism received for not including other particular businesses and people, which was and is still not possible, she added.

Her favorite part about Erie is the people. She was born and raised here, and after moving away and then returning, “[she’s] only known love and support.”

Despite the potential negative press relating to Erie, Nick Taylor feels that the majority of stories are positive, which leads to another purpose of the film: “helping the image of the city in general.”

Speggen concludes the video with “Cheers, Erie” and would encourage anyone to watch it.

The video can be seen on and on YouTube. Speggen would strongly encourage people to watch, share and comment. MenajErie Studio also created the documentary “Making a Mark: 100 Years of Art,” which premiered on Thursday, Sept. 26 in Louis C. Cole Memorial Auditorium.

Tags: documentary, erie

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