As I watched the race at Ironman over the weekend, I scanned through a few of my favorite moto sites, eventually coming around to ol’ faithful, vurbmoto dot com. As I browsed the home page, I caught myself reminiscing about my trip to Utah with the boys, and how weird it still is to me that I’ve got a few articles on the site.
Looking back, I had so much fun being up there in the moto “bubble” with the vurb crew. I met (at a socially responsible distance, of course) several professional motocross racers, team personnel, and lots of industry folks (even a personal hero or two), many whom I’ve looked up to for well over a decade. Each one obviously so dedicated to the sport and to their craft, it made me feel like a newborn child in terms of knowledge and experience in comparison.
I learned something new about myself and my trade everyday on this adventure. On the last day, I left Utah feeling a range of emotions: I was sad for the opportunity to be over, yet happy to be headed home after a month away. Knowing I’d learned so much, but wondering if maybe I could have taken away more? Did I meet the expectations of Wes, Kyle, and the vurb crew? Most important, how will I keep this progress going, now that this is all over? After all, just a few months ago I was working a job I hated, desperate to be part of something just like this. The thought of ever going back to that scares the shit out of me. I figured maybe it’s normal to feel this way, or it could just be the anxiety creeping in as I walk through the automatic glass doors of the airport, towards the line at TSA. I make it through screening and headed to my gate and spent the morning at my terminal browsing the thousands of still photographs I’d shot over the last 28 days.
In the time since I got the call up from our boy Wes, I’ve been staying busy with my movie makin’ friend Kyle Cowling. Geez, big name drop guy, huh? Anyway, I’ve been fortunate to have Kyle take me along to several of his client shoots, where I’ve taken on a semi-formal AC/BTS stills camera guy role. You know those awesome GEICO Honda videos you’ve been watching? I’ve been there helping Kyle, behind the scenes on nearly every one, learning little bits and pieces along the way. It’s funny how it’s worked out, because although I didn’t know that working on a camera crew was a career path I had any interest in a few months ago, I’ve found that it’s actually right up my alley. I’m the type of guy who’d rather earn a living working with my hands and building things, but I also have a serious need to create in a more artistic sense.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m no savant, but simply crafting and creating is seriously soothing for me. Whether it be playing instruments, shooting photos, or writing, the creative process really satisfies the part of my brain that decides if I like something or not. Over the course of the last few months, we’ve figured out together (my brain and I) that we like being an AC, and that we’ll keep working towards doing that. If you’re still reading this and asking yourself “Sooo, what the heck is he talking about, AC?”, fear not. You’re not alone. In fact, recently a friend of mine reached out, who had the same question. He’s pretty much my oldest friend, and I was excited to tell him all about what I’d been up to lately.
As I explained to Knate, on a film production, an AC is Assistant Camera. This entails many things, but the main focus is on building the camera, changing lenses, keeping focus on the subject, and generally assisting the DoP (Director of Photography) with their role. Depending on the size of the crew, this may include more or less responsibilities.
For example, when I work with Kyle (DoP), I’m also setting up lighting and rigging up things like diffusion panels to make things look good, or mic’ing our subject for proper sound. While on a much larger production you’d have a dedicated crew of experts for those jobs. In most cases, Kyle and I pretty much do it all, which has worked out very well for me, as I have learned quite a bit of everything from him. Kyle, who’s been basically a one-man-band for most of his career, has thrown me right into the thick of it, and has graciously let me pick his brain about anything and everything cinematography. Be it the technical aspects of the camera, lighting set up or audio recording, I’ve had an opportunity to gain hands on experience in practically all of it.
Most recently, we wrapped up our No Runners project (coming to vurb Sept. 8) which has taken us right at five months work to come together. It’s been an amazing experience, and I can’t wait to share it with the world. As I messaged with Knate, I couldn’t help but think back to when I originally DM’d Kyle, in hopes to just come shadow him for a day. I didn’t ever expect that he’d actually be interested in my help. Now we’re making a film together, and it’s still sometimes hard to believe. I’m still waiting for that pinch to wake up, for someone to help me snap out of it. But, then I get a message about a shoot day coming up and I try to assure myself that this is where I’m supposed to be.
Unfortunately, I don’t have it in me to complete a two hundred thousand word write-up on how to make a movie. Not yet. Luckily, Kyle is a badass and has done just that for you in his latest FoM blog installment. Rather, this post is here to stand as proof that you actually CAN do it. If I can do it, you can too. Whatever IT is, for you. Whether you want to be an athlete, artist, actor, or a CEO, you can do it.
As the great Michael Scott once said “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” I know, I know. It sounds cliche, but, it’s the real deal. You’ve got it in you to do anything you decide to do, if you really try. You just have to commit and go for it. Put yourself out there and be willing to do whatever it takes to make it happen. When you do get your chance, ask questions, work hard, and be humble. SHOW UP ON TIME. Repeat. Know that failure is ok, and get comfortable with it. No, I’m not sure that this is the answer, nor do I make any claims to success. I’m frankly just a guy who loves dirtbikes, like you. But, if there’s anything I can say I’ve taken away from the last eight months of my life, it’s that if you truly dedicate yourself to a persistent attempt at change in life, that your goals are well within reach. It’s up to you to go for it.
If you want to keep an eye on what I’m up to, give me a follow on IG @bc_261.