*This post is part of a series of blog posts highlighting award winning contributors and supporters of Scribendi.
What was the main inspiration for your piece “Enjoy me as a Snack?”
I was studying abroad at Edge Hill University in England at the time, I was taking film classes, I was a little lonely, and I had access to a nice camera. When I first opened this foreign box of cereal (you can see the “£2” on the box in the video), I think I actually said to the box right then and there, “What?” As I ate my cereal this story started playing out in my head as I imagined what would have happened if I had continued my conversation with the cereal.
Who and/or what inspires, or influences your work?
In general, my work is inspired by everyday occurrences like opening a box of cereal. What-if scenarios and stories are playing in my head all the time. I just started a new video series with some friends called “Would You Still Be My Friend”, based on a game I play with roommate. Maybe these particular videos aren’t very funny to anyone else, but it’s nice to see some of my extended what-if scenarios played out on the screen.
Some of my videos are inspired by a desire to try out a new film trick or editing effect I just learned. “Id 1 and Id 2” (as in id, ego, and superego, mixed with a Dr. Seuss reference) came about because I had just learned how to do split-screen and I wanted to see if I could get 3 of me seamlessly on the screen together.
As far as who inspires my work, I should mention that I’m a big fan of Hitchcock. I’m a minimalist when it comes to effects, music, transitions, etc., and I love that the suspense and storytelling in Hitchcock’s films come almost purely from visuals and writing/dialogue. With the obvious exception of Hermann’s score in Psycho, Hitchcock captured audiences through the work he did before or while filming (not in an editing program in post-production). Even the zooming effect seen in Vertigo was a camera trick, not something created in post. I tend to focus similarly on the writing/scripting and cinematography aspects of filmmaking; editing is necessary but not what I put the most work into compared to what I do before. But I suppose this is running into the last question.
Who do you consider your main audience for your work?
I usually make videos with my family and close friends in mind, and though I can hope that someone else online will like it, I often forget about the larger YouTube audience that may stumble upon my video. I suppose, as I’m becoming more audience-conscious, I’m aiming my videos at people like me: 20-somethings, college students, people with witty, snarky, or sarcastic senses of humor.
I tend toward dialogue-driven videos, and viewers have to be able to engage and listen to understand it. One of my recent videos, “Senioritis (The Stairs),” was aimed at people about to graduate from college or make a life change, or who have done these things before. The video was very dialogue-driven — I was monologue for most of it — but I tried to pair that with some engaging visuals to keep viewers in suspense.
What do you consider the most important part of your creative process?
Like I started saying above, I value the planning that goes into my work. I’m a big believer in winging it, but I think my work gets infinitely better when I take the time to write out a script and make a storyboard. I did this with “Enjoy Me as a Snack” and I think I came away with a tight narrative and some interesting/unusual shots. Editing is an important final step to completing and fine-tuning my work, but I think the majority of the effort comes in the planning and actual filming: I try to tell the story with what I captured on screen rather than with what I can do with it in editing software.
What were the major reasons behind your decision to submit your work to Scribendi, as opposed to another publisher?
It had actually never occurred to me to submit my videos to anything until I received an email from my honors adviser calling attention to the Scribendi publication. It seemed like an interesting opportunity and, since the publication was exclusive to Honors students, I felt that I should take advantage of it. My previous experience with submitting work to publications was limited to fiction and short stories, so I think I probably submitted a couple stories I had on hand. When I saw there was an “Open Media” category, I decided to try my luck with this video I had just made and which I was rather proud of. I promptly forgot about it until I got an email back, many months later, saying that my video had won an award.