Asude: Welcome Brendan, we’re beyond excited to have you here! We cannot wait to tell all about you to our readers! So, let’s start! Where and when were you born? Have you started filmmaking at an early age?
Brendan: I was born in Massachusetts, USA on March 22nd 1994.
Around 8 years old, I taught myself how to make claymation videos with the family camcorder. I got such a kick playing the video back and witnessing the clay come to life.
At age 16, I was working as a busboy at a local restaurant in Boston. Eventually, I saved up for a HD camcorder, a cheap slider, and a flight to Mexico to visit my older brother. I decided to create a short travel video. During the trip, we stopped at one of my brother’s favorite coffee shops in Mexico. It had perfect lighting and tropical colors everywhere so I started wandering around with my camera.
Apparently, the owners were watching me get the shots and when we came back the following day, they asked to see some of my footage. They were so impressed of how “smooth and professional my shots looked”, that they asked if I could make them a video… for MONEY. They offered $100 which at the time blew my mind since I’d never considered making money doing something I loved so much.
A: Life is your talents discovered! So, you don’t actually have a “school” background in videography, right?
B: I actually never went to college or film school. When I was in high school, I started posting surf/travel videos on Youtube from a some short trips I took in Mexico. One of my videos ended up getting a decent amount of attention. One morning, I woke up to an email from a tourism company explaining that they saw my work on Youtube and were interested in having me shoot for them in Baja, Mexico. I was completely blown away and responded something like “I wish! Unfortunately, I’m only 17 and I live in Boston, not Mexico.” They told me that didn’t matter. They liked my style and offered to cover for my flights/hotels and pay me to make videos. I took the job and ended up working for them the following year instead of going to film school.
A: That’s like a dream come true! For those who don’t know you and never have seen your work, could you please explain your videography style a bit?
B: Especially in exotic cultures, I like to get up close and capture the intimacy of my subjects. I tend to use wide lenses which really pushes me to make a connection with my subject before recording. It’s often a huge challenge for me to make that initial interaction, but when I do, not only does it give me my most valued shots, it also leads to a new friendship.
A: What more preparations you make before you begin filming?
B: Before shooting in a new environment, I do as much research as possible to learn about the culture and landscapes of where I’m going. If I’m planning to shoot landscapes, often I’ll use Google Maps to find small islands, winding rivers, and dramatic mountains. This is a great way to find spots that are not included in the tourist brochures. If I’m planning to film with non-english speakers, I try to learn key phrases of their language before hand. Even if you can’t pronounce it perfectly, people always light up when they see you putting in effort to participate in their culture.
A: We could actually see it in your Instagram account which is definitely an inspiration board for other filmmakers. Besides above points, do you prefer buying or renting your filmmaking equipment?
B: Both have their pros and cons. One benefit of renting is you can get great experience with higher level equipment. On the other hand, I love owning my own equipment and not have to worry about damaging something that doesn’t belong to me.
A: We’d like to hear your gear list. What do you generally bring to a set?
B: Depending on the set, I like shooting with RED cameras due to the amount of flexibility the files have in post. For stabilization and other equipment, I prefer the natural feel of steadicams over gimbals. I especially love to get creative with sliders, dollies and overhead shots.
For example, at the moment, I’m shooting an ad campaign for a natural multipurpose cleaner. It’s a really cool product and the client wants plenty of product shots. For these shots, I’m planning to use my edelkrone setup to get smooth and precise macro movements around the bottle.
A: Speaking of post, what software do you use for post-production?
B: I use Final Cut Pro X and Adobe After Effects.
"FAKE IT TILL YOU MAKE IT"
A: What is the best piece of advice you could give to other filmmakers?
B: Fake it till you make it! This has been a huge theme of my career. Don’t worry if you don’t have the latest and greatest gear. Don’t worry if you haven’t gone to film school. In my opinion, experience is the most important thing you can have on your resume. It’s also the best form of education!
A: What do you think about the future of filmmaking with the technology is advancing so fast?
B: In my opinion, the advancement of technology makes filmmaking more accessible. Even from an educational standpoint, you’re able to learn almost anything you want through tutorials and online classes. It seems that advancements in equipment and tech lead to more affordable/user friendly gear that allows for more people to dip their toes into the filmmaking/photography realm.