SEQUIM — James Castell thought his new video project would be a short-term way to stay busy in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic.
But months later, he’s still at it with “Clallam Corner,” talking with local business owners and nonprofit staff about how they’re handling life in the “new normal.”
“I think it’s cool to hear what people are doing,” said Castell, sales and marketing director with Castell Insurance. “There’s a human element to all relationships; I like the fact (we can) help other people out.”
Castell hosts video chats with locals and posts the “Clallam Corner” sessions online with what he aims to be a weekly show. He gets back stories about how businesses or groups started, what they offer and some of the twists and turns of the past few COVID-19 affected weeks and months.
The process is pretty simple: After a 10- to 20-minute recording, Castell drops the recording into a template and adds some titles, and it’s ready to air.
It’s a project Castell said he’d always wanted to pursue but rarely seemed to have time in his daily schedule — until the late spring.
“All of a sudden I was at home, no one was knocking on the door,” he said. “That first month (in April, we had about) 30 percent call volume. I had the time.”
Now he has nearly 20 “Clallam Corner” episodes recorded and posted, and he’s ready to tell even more stories.
“I never imagined I’d be doing this for this long,” Castell said.
Among his interviews were Sean Johnson and Dawn Mason of The Coffee Box talking about #projectlattelove that provides coffee and more for local first responders and businesses.
Castell has also connected with Sean O’Neil of Peninsula Taproom, Kyla Rigg from Sequim’s Sweet Spot, Christy Rookard of First Federal, Natalie Martin of Pour Sip Paint, Charla Wright of Assured Hospice of Clallam and Jefferson counties, Jordan Schiefen of Jardin du Soliel and Angee Conklin-Garcia of Jose’s Famous Salsa, among others.
He said he’s ready to record local stories of any variety. The episodes are conversational, Castell said, with little editing.
“I’m not a professional, not a trained interviewer,” he said. “I’m open to any and everything. If I make 10 people smile because I’m telling your story, that’s great.”