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Sky High

David Cox Takes A Bird’s Eye View of Provincetown

by Steve Desroches

Photos: Courtesy of David Cox

It’s an overcast summer’s day in mid August. It’s not raining, but it’s definitely not a beach day. Those kinds of days for Provincetown reflect the predictability of the masses, as traffic on Conwell Street is backed up to Route 6 and town is already jam packed by noon. What else is there to do on Cape Cod on a cloudy day than stroll around Provincetown? But the crowd coming into town pales in comparison to Carnival Parade day, when close to 100,000 people line Commercial Street to revel in what has become Provincetown’s signature event. It can be hard to wrap your head around the sheer size of the celebration. But on this particular gray day a week before the parade, David Cox is hard at work in his home studio laying out a game plan how to film the day from every angle…including above.

The tech-talented Cox is the man behind Droning Provincetown, a project he started in 2014 using drones and handheld technology to create short musical films capturing Provincetown in completely new and unexpected ways. Home to the oldest continuous art colony in America, Provincetown has been captured in every medium there is for over a century now. But Cox takes to the skies to show us our very familiar town from perspectives previously unavailable. Sure, Provincetown has been captured by NASA satellites and by photographers in airplanes, but the recent availability and affordability of drones allows Cox to capture images no one has taken before.

David Cox

He names all his drones. There’s been Drone Rivers, Patti LuDrone, and Drone of Arc. But it will be Drona Lisa that will take flight on parade day. And he’s been working with local officials to ensure all rules regulating the use of drones in Provincetown are followed and they are aware of his schedule as to when Drona Lisa will take flight. But this is also a land-based endeavor. Cox and his team of friends will hit the streets at 10 a.m. and spend nine hours wearing a cinema flex vest to record not only the day, but also capture those willing to do a little choreographed dance and lip synch to pre-selected songs. They all wear t-shirts identifying themselves as part of Droning Provincetown, but by now Cox is so recognizable he has folks approaching him. All day long it’s smiles, music, and dancing in the streets.

“It’s a total joy to do,” says Cox. “I love getting to do them not only because it’s a joy to do, but because I’m capturing joy itself. People celebrating joy. Total joy.”

Cox’s Carnival videos are eagerly anticipated, as they truly capture the full scale and scope of the event. But he makes videos throughout the year capturing the Fourth of July, Bear Week, the White Party, Holly Folly, Family Week, and his favorite, Halloween. He captures the quiet, beautiful stillness of winter in Provincetown, makes mini-films featuring the town’s performers, and works with writers and poets like Hilde Oleson to collaborate on new artistic visions. YouTube is loaded with videos of Provincetown, but whenever you see one done by Cox its unmistakable with his signature style, voice, and viewpoint. The art comes in with the editing.

Cox puts in a full nine hours filming Carnival, but he’ll be editing for another twelve. Editing is a language, says Cox. When he’s filming, he’s already begun editing in his head. He’s had a passion for the art form since he was 14 years old. He was severely bullied at Natick High School in his hometown, just about 20 miles outside of Boston. He found refuge in his school’s media lab. In his junior year his high school received an anonymous donation of $30,000 worth of editing equipment, but no one on the faculty knew how to use it. With a natural knack for technology he taught himself how to use it all and then went on to attend Emerson College, earning a bachelors degree in digital filmmaking. He then packed up and went west to Los Angeles, but came back east, landing on Cape Cod in 2008, first in Orleans, and then up to Provincetown.

“Hollywood was such a negative experience,” says Cox. “I felt very blessed to get out. My relationship with Hollywood felt like a bad breakup. I felt the urge to create again and started Droning Provincetown. It was mainly a way to regain my passion for storytelling.”

Cox is well known to people as the “Mr. Rogers of Tech,” as he is the founder and host of Tech Talk America, his YouTube channel where he hosts his own tutorials explaining technology to the everyday user. Many consider him a lifesaver when trying to figure out their new iPhone or computer program, and he has over 600,000 followers. Collectively, his 600-some-odd videos have been viewed 70 million times. But that’s his day job. Droning Provincetown is his hobby and the artistic pursuit that keeps his creative light burning. He notes he’s a big fan of the famed documentarian Ken Burns and that, while everyone was moving to Hollywood, Burns moved to New Hampshire. With technology, hard work, and determination, success can happen anywhere.

Cox sighs when he thinks of the planning left to do before parade day, but then smiles contently. How can this be anything but fun? Sure, there are the sore shoulders, a touch of sunburn, and the occasional stumble. But recording a party with 100,000 people is a blast. And presenting Provincetown at its joyous best is something he looks forward to with every project. He works intensely and quickly so as not to hold up foot traffic, so remember he’s focused if you should see him this Carnival. His hope is that the video for the 2019 Carnival Parade will be up no later than around August 27, and then it’s time to plan for autumn’s events.

“None of my videos are simple anymore,” says Cox. “But it’s all worth it.”

To see David Cox’s videos visit

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Ginger Mountain

Ginger Mountain (MS Communications Media, BA Fine Arts/Teaching Certification K-12) has been part of the graphic design team at Provincetown Magazine since 2008. Ginger has worked as a creative director, individual contractor, and freelance designer with clients representing many areas —business software, consumer products, professional services, entertainment, and network hardware to name just a few — providing creative layout and development of a wide range of print media content. Her clients ranged from small local businesses to large corporations and Fortune 500 companies, from New Hampshire to Georgia

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