There is nothing like a child or grandchild to keep you young at heart. Watching them discover something new is a wonderful experience. Their excitement is often a reminder to us not to take the things around us for granted—but to rediscover the joy of life itself.Likewise, it’s exciting to see videography through the eyes of a person just beginning his or her career. That’s the best remedy I know of to keep my work fresh and to not get into a rut.This past year I had the privilege of introducing event videography to a young man and watching his excitement as he discovered the wonderful world of video. Scott Leake (www.makingmagicmemories.com) is a talented young man who has been working with me since Aug. 1, 2007. Recently, I asked him to share his thoughts about his first year as a professional videographer.
Scott began by telling me that he was excited about his future in video because he saw so much potential for using video in different types of jobs and projects. He observed that wedding videography seemed to be the only area that was oversaturated, and that there was much potential in practically any area a person wanted to get involved in.
Scott is very intuitive when it comes to video technology, but he also recognizes that the person using the technology, and not the technology itself, is the key to being successful. In his opinion, having people skills is an absolute must in order to succeed in the business of video. He says, "People skills matter because people are what you’re capturing, and you need to have people feel comfortable around you. A smile can go a long way." I agree with him. Being able to handle people is the key to handling almost any situation you might face.
Scott tends to be a perfectionist and was hard on himself for not accomplishing all he wanted in the first year—yet I think what he’s accomplished so far is remarkable. The counsel I give to him and to others is to not be too hard on yourself. Do your best and be patient; it takes time to build a solid foundation in this business.
Scott has already discovered the importance of having a solid business plan. He sees the need of developing a core, niche market to specialize in so that he won’t have to do a lot of additional marketing but will always have steady work from regular clients. Scott has specialized in funeral videography but is not limited to just working in that field. Because he is open to doing a variety of other types of work, he has already had opportunities for shooting weddings and doing montages, and he will even be going to Israel this summer as the official videographer of a tour group.
Scott is having the time of his life because of video. He feels that having variety in your work is important so you don’t get burned out doing just one thing. I agree. The one thing I have tried to do is "reinvent" myself every couple of years so things don’t get stale. There is excitement when starting out on a new venture.
The thing Scott enjoys most is the fact that he is helping people capture memories on video that will be cherished for generations to come. In my opinion, Scott has really discovered the key to having fulfillment in video. When we realize that we have the privilege of impacting people’s lives through video—and actually getting paid for it—well, it doesn’t get any better than that!
Scott enjoys editing (he is using NewTek’s SpeedEDIT), especially the creative aspect of editing. In all of this, his advice is to "have fun. If you are not having fun, it will show in the product. Video is very emotional—and that is the advantage video has over any other type of media—but you need to be having fun to convey the emotions properly. Have fun, and let the emotions show!"
In offering advice to new videographers, Scott sees the need to connect with seasoned veterans in order to learn from them and not repeat their mistakes. He also says that because of all the many opportunities in event videography, it is easy to find a niche to fill, learn all you can about that industry, and pursue it seriously.
To established videographers, he also encourages us to look at the field of videography with fresh eyes, to try new things, and, more importantly, be willing to help someone else. This way the industry as a whole will grow and get the professional recognition that it needs so that anyone who wants a career in video can have one.
Alan Naumann (alan at memoryvision.tv) recently published The Complete Course on Funeral Videography, an updated and expanded version of his popular Business Everlasting training DVD. A featured speaker at WEVA Expo 2004–2007 and a 2006 & 2007 EventDV 25 honoree, he is based in Minneapolis.