Shawn's tweets

Emma Morin graduation


Here is a video I did in honor of my niece, Emma Morin, on her graduation from Storm Lake High School, May 22, 2011.


Emily Fletcher graduation

Here is a video I made in honor of the graduation of my niece Emily Fletcher from Fort Dodge High School in May 2006.


A tribute to dead cats

(If unable to view this video on a mobile browser or device, try viewing from a browser on a laptop or desktop. Or try a different web browser, such as Safari. And if that doesn't work, let me know and I'll hum the music while describing the images for you.)

Pets die. And it is sad.

That seems to be the central theme of this video I made in July 2005 after the death of our two cats, Cicely and Roslyn. Looking back on it now (in 2012), this little film goes a little bit over the top for sentimentality and sappiness. But at the time, it reflected the true pain at losing two members of the household who had been around more than a decade and the entire lifetimes of our two sons.

One reason the movie about my dead cats seems so inconsequential now is that about two months after I made the video, in September 2005, my younger brother, Andy, was diagnosed with ALS. He died of the invariably fatal disease in May 2010. (See a tribute to Andy here.) I remember talking to him after the cats died and telling him that it was no different than losing a member of your family. He agreed.

We had no idea at the time that he would be blindsided by the ALS diagnosis in a little over a month. And had the cats deaths occurred while Andy knew he had ALS, I'm sure I never would have made the video—it would have seemed to belittle what Andy was facing.

But in the end, I feel somewhat better about the movie because Andy, in the months before he knew he had ALS, appreciated it. Here is the e-mail he sent me after he watched it:

On Jul 31, 2005, at 10:10 AM, Andrew Plank wrote:

 Are you kidding ME?!?

 OK, I've been a bad brother.  I just now watched the movie.  Actually, Brennan and I watched it.


You can really tell your heart and feelings were put into it.


It's still got me verklempt...

Very good!

Thanks, Andy.