It seemed to be the longest drum roll of the night. The nominees were listed on the big screen in front of the ballroom. The envelope was slowly being opened. The only thing that seemed to move quickly was Shane Burcaw, president of Laughing At My Nightmare, Inc., in his motorized wheelchair as he took off toward the stage. Was he overconfident? No. He just wanted to make sure that he wasn't left behind if our collaboration was read aloud as the winner. The words were spoken. "And the winner is... FireRock Productions!"
Shane later said that he was so relieved they won because it would have been embarrassing to turn his wheelchair around when he was already half way to the stage. He was already giving his acceptance speech by the time Rocky caught up. "All I remember is Shane saying that he wanted to take off his clothes for his speech but he only had 30 seconds to talk, so he wouldn't have enough time. Everything after that was a blur. It was so surreal," recalls Rocky.
FireRock's Rocky and Julia Urich, along with Shane Burcaw of LAMN received the Emmy® award in the "Human Interest - Program Feature/Segment" category. It provides a closer look at the Bethlehem, PA native, Shane, who faces his disease, Spinal Muscular Atrophy, with laughter and a smile. Shane and his friend, Shannon O'Connor, brought the idea for the story to Julia in August 2012. The final edited version of the piece, ultimately called "Happiness is Always an Option," was released in February 2013 and immediately went viral, picked up by sites like reddit.com, wimp.com, and upworthy.com, with nearly 150,000 views on FireRock's Vimeo and YouTube pages alone. Since working on this piece, the foursome has produced a number of other videos; some currently viewable at www.FireRockVideo.com and others to be released later this year.
It is the greatest honor to be considered a winner among the likes of Comcast, Eagles Television Network, and WHYY, and we wish all the 2013 award winners and nominees the warmest congratulations! What we remember most about the night, however, is not the Emmy® statues that we took home, rather, all of our family and friends who came along to show their support. We have learned that if you surround yourself with good people and keep a positive, humorous outlook on life, good things will happen. Thank you, Shane, for being an example for us all. When you wrote that first email to us in August of 2012, we never thought this is where it would lead!