video, directing, digital media

By Brandon Keller

I would call myself a writer if somebody asked me. Before the internet existed, which hosts a myriad of blogs and various online publications, most writers were probably wordsmiths whose work appeared in printed material like books and newspapers. The spread of information throughout a community back then was reliant on hand-distribution. Imagine somebody standing on a busy street corner yelling EXTRA! EXTRA! Then pedestrians stopped and purchased the new scoop. Why else would somebody yell outside with a stack of newspapers all day?

These days, pretty much everybody can create and consume written texts online, and especially through social media, in an instant. Printed text is by far not the essential medium it used to be, but I’d love to publish a book one day. As for now, my written material exists digitally on web pages of years past and on the MAPC Media Group currently.

I love to write and read online articles from my favorite authors such as Susan Slusser and Shea Serrano. They inspire me to be a better writer and to immerse myself into my interests. Writers like them show me the dedication, passion, and creativity that strong writers possess. My writing will hopefully take me to other exciting opportunities in the future, but I’ll be the first to admit that I lack experience in a crucial field of digital media; Video production.

I recently watched Back to the Future for about the hundredth time, and one scene perfectly described my current experience of producing a video for my Strategic Communication course at the University of San Francisco.

Marty is showing the 1955 Doc a video tape recording of the 1985 Doc describing the maiden voyage of the time-traveling DeLorean and its 1.21 gigawatts of power. Before the revelation of the ridiculous amount of power that’s hard to acquire in 1955, Doc marvels at Marty’s video recorder and says “This is incredible. A portable television studio!” Doc’s technology shock was basically my reaction to the assortment of camcorders, tripods, and microphones that my group and I lugged around for 10 hours of shooting over a few days.

During this semester of grad school, I quickly went from having absolutely no video experience to directing, shooting, and appearing in a short ad project for my strategic communications course. Just like Doc and Marty, I embraced a terrain of technology that was unfamiliar to me. Without the support of my group, I would not have enjoyed this project. Their video experience helped me relax to perform my scenes and voice recordings with ease and enjoyment.

One of the best parts of this experience happened during our filming session near Cupid’s Span with the Bay Bridge over our shoulders (it’s cliche but iconic). Our objective for this video project was to make an advertisement for our Professional Communication graduate program, so we wanted to capture the energy of San Francisco. Luckily, a friendly group of skateboarders agreed to let us feature their California vibes in our video. They gave us precisely the energy we wanted to capture.

This serendipitous interaction reminded me to stay open to new experiences that are interesting and authentic. To be honest, the thought of producing a full-fledged video for the first time gave me some anxiety. Since I’m always open to something different as a writer, I figured it wouldn’t kill me to approach this video project with the same determination that inspired me to write in the first place. My desire to grow brought me to grad school, and my new experiences will surely guide my next adventure in these ever-changing times.

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