Updated: May 2
If you or someone you know are considering getting into the video production space and want to excel, you might want to consider why. What is your "Why?" What drives you to want to pick up a camera?
I think that this applies to all industries and jobs, but(high schoolers and young adults, listen up) finding something interesting in the moment is not enough to take it on as a career. If it is, then maybe you are settling for something.
I recall an afternoon in my latter years of high school when I was gearing up for an on-camera interview with the star lineman and captain of the Lancaster-Lebanon League’s Manheim Township High School football team, Steven McDevitt, whose senior year season was shattered by the braking of his leg in the first game of the season.
I was about to spend the afternoon capturing a handful of interviews with some of the players followed by capturing story-supporting b-roll footage of Steven and his team. The turf football field where we were recording was scorching hot, I forgot to grab a water bottle, and my first interviewee was running late. This couple of minutes was grueling, but I soon learned that it was worth it.
Listening to Steven's story about what had happened, how it affected him and his family, and then learning that it may have halted his play time, but did not impact how he led the team, astonished me. I began to feel gratitude as he let me into his world and his story. I had the honor of capturing it.
I went home and got to work on editing that video immediately. I scrubbed through each of the interviews on the timeline in Adobe Premiere Pro, copied the best clips into a separate sequence, lined them up with an piece of music that matched the mood just right, color-corrected the footage, styled the color grading, adjusted the volume of each audio selection, added graphics, and reviewed it many times over the course of the evening.
Needless to say, I didn't stop editing until the piece was finished. I just felt like I couldn't walk away from the video until it was ready to be shared with the world. I was awake until 3:47 am putting the finishing touches on the mini-film, which would air on the students news the following week. You can find examples of videos like this in my portfolio.
My point is this: Even though I could have spread out the work over the next few days and still had it in on time, I couldn't help but complete it that day. While I have since learned that pushing through a late night to edit a video throws of your sleep cycle and is not an advisable habit, this experience taught me just how much I love video production. And you'll never guess how much money I made on that 5 minute video. Zero. Nil. Zitch. Nada. After an exhausting shoot and a long night of editing, I didn't make a penny as a result of that video. I was okay with that however because I found satisfaction in capturing Steven's story and conveying it in a way that others might find inspirational.
It is true that once I was introduced to the adulting reality of bills piling up, of course I could not continue to volunteer those skills for free if I wanted to focus on them, but realizing how much I loved it before being paid was on the horizon was a good indicator that I could excel in and enjoy this industry in the long term.
I love what I do so much that I get out of bed in the morning and get excited for the opportunity to take on another project and find myself wanting to knock it out of the park right away. That is not to say that I do not get up some days and have to face challenges and tasks that make my job less than desirable; that is to be expected in any job and industry.
When it comes to your search for the right career pick, let me rephrase my original question: What interests you enough to keep you up late to do, even if it's for free?
If you have an answer to that question, that's great! Pursue baby steps towards that. Is the answer to enter the video production industry, that's great too! Pursue that and feel free to reach out with any questions! If you don't know the answer to that question, maybe you have some new activities to try ;)