For those of you who know me from my childhood know that I’ve always loved making movies. This love began when my older brothers would borrowed my dad’s camcorder and make silly short films. I made my first cameo in a rendition of Jack and the Beanstalk. I was the main antagonist in the film as the giant. They used clever camera angles and sound effects to bring to life a not-so-classic version of a fairy tale.
From that point forward I begged my dad to borrow his camera to create my own films with my cousins and friends. I was usually turned down (probably because I have the tendency to lose or break things.) But when I was around 14 I received my own used camcorder. That us when I really began creating my not-so-masterpieces. I didn’t have editing software and my camera wasn’t high-tech but I think that just pushed me to be even more creative with my methods. Many of my movies were intended to be horror flicks but they always ended up being comedies.
When I didn’t have a cast to work with I would use a dry-erase board and markers, my action figures or a brick of clay to do stop-action animations. I spent hours upon hours drawing, sculpting, posing, and recording then pleading for viewers to critique my work. Most of these films are still on hi-8 tapes somewhere in a basement or attic collecting dust.
In high school I made a short film with my brother for my Motion Picture class. He had bought a new digital camcorder with much higher resolution than our previous cameras and it had the ability transfer video to a computer. He also had editing software that he had learned to use. Along with my little sister we made a Star Wars fan film that earned me an A.
After that I was able to get some of my old movies on the computer and using a much simpler editing program (Windows Movie Maker) I edited them with mediocre results. But this was a stepping stone on my path to better video production.
I started using Photoshop in high school, I learned how to use it well in college and I now use it everyday at work. This was another important step in learning how to use more advanced editing software. Another step was learning photography. Just like with Photoshop, I started Photography in high school. And (you’ve guess it) I got a lot better at it in college with multiple classes. It was towards the end of my schooling that a friend asked me to film and edit a commercial he needed for a business class. I hadn’t used my DSLR for video yet so I was eager to utilize its HD capabilities. At this time Photoshop had just introduced video editing into its program so I taught myself how to put together a fun commercial.
Fast forward a few years and another friend of mine asked me to film some informational videos for his business. I was happy to do it. I didn’t edit these but it got me interested in doing more video production.
About the same time as this my nephews and I were playing with my phone camera (which has HD slow-mo.) and we started making short clips of them running through walls and stop motion Lego animation etc…
After getting bored with just making clips I told the boys if they wanted to continue making movies they had to come up with a story and make a storyboard illustrating the movie. They came up with our first film Crimson Blade.
Between the time I started helping my friend with his Youtube videos and making films with my nephews I started watching online Adobe Premiere classes (supplied by Lynda.com, which is free if you have a Nashville Library Card.) Which really help my editing knowledge.
We have continued making movies almost every Sunday afternoon at my in-laws house. As their stories have gotten better the more tutorials I have watched. I became increasingly interested in Visual Special Effects (VFX) and started watching Youtube tutorials that emphasized such effects. The Youtube channel I have found most useful (and entertaining) is Surface Studio’s channel. He has short, concise videos that get great results.
The great thing about this new hobby is it actually helps my resume. Many companies are looking for Graphic designers with video editing knowledge. So with every video I make (no matter how silly) the better I become at using the software. It is also fun to flex my creative muscles outside of work. I encourage my nephews to take turns coming up with movie plots and taking the lead roles in the movies. One of my youngest nephews ironically came up with the story and directed our most violent movie so far “Gunshot.” Since then we’ve toned down the violence a bit…
We are part way through filming our second heist film “White Diamond” This is the first film that we’ve utilized a green screen. (I bought a pop-up one for a good deal on Amazon.) And so far the edits look pretty good.
If we can get more views we could actually start making some money off these videos. Currently we stand at 3,428 total views on the channel. In order to start earning money you have to reach the 10k mark. I don’t expect to become Youtube millionaires (yes, that is really a thing.) But it would be a nice way to monetize our films. So if you have read this far do yourself a favor (or just us) and watch and subscribe to our entertaining channel and leave any comments or critiques you have.