SPOTLIGHT: Brandon Washington

This spotlight features Brandon Washington, a talented videographer/ creator born in Houston, Texas. Though he wasn’t exclusively raised there because his father’s side of the family was mainly in Los Angeles. As a kid, he traveled back and forth between the two destinations. This started him on a very unique track: even since his childhood, Brandon got exposed to two completely different lifestyles. One was that of a slower-paced, spread-out Houston. The other, hyper-speed downtown LA. “I got to see two different places, and I learned early on that everything’s moving around and changing… there are so many different lifestyles and unique cultures.” This constant change of pace gave him the diverse mindset he would need to explore his creativity in the coming years.


Interestingly, Brandon didn’t come out of the gates straight into the video world. His interest in tinkering and doing what he does today stemmed from an earlier passion of his: Hip-hop and breakdancing. Initially, he would take videos of himself to practice his dancing, but once he picked up the camera and started tinkering with it, a new door opened in Brandon’s mind: videography. He began shooting videos with friends, quickly realizing that he loved being behind the camera more than in front of one. You better believe it didn’t stop there. “Once I got involved in it, I went all in.” From lenses, to the shutter release, aperture, image sensors (believe me the list he gave goes on and on), he learned about every aspect of the tech and the process… all the while making content about his findings on YouTube. “YouTube gave me an outlet to learn about all of this and deliver it as content, and it forced me to make sure I learned it in depth; ‘cause I need to know it well if I’m gonna teach other people about it.”


Brandon saw that this age of technology meant that his art would have to adapt, but that it also had more opportunity. “First, I thought I would have to go into traditional movie making, but now there are things like YouTube and Netflix… There are more places for my art form to live, it’s really just up to me to decide.” While YouTube currently contains two years’ worth of Brandon’s content, it also happens to be home to his favorite way of connecting with people that enjoy his work. Motivational Mondays are videos that Brandon loves putting out for his audience, because they’re a place where he gets to speak his mind about a topic, a part of the process, and sometimes even gives out activities for people to participate in. Brandon even mentioned that he gets DM’ed on Instagram with people asking him questions; Most notably, he had someone message him asking for some last-minute tips and advice for their first wedding shoot. “He told me later that it was big for him and that it was the best shoot of his life… I really just enjoy pushing people forward like that and seeing their excitement.”

Outside of pushing other creators forward, Brandon shared some details about his own creative method. His secret? Avoiding his overthinking. Nine times out of ten, he doesn’t plan ahead. No script, no storyboarding, no concrete concept. He just lets the creativity come to him in the given moment. While this makes it a little harder for other people to work with him, it helps him avoid falling into “Over-analysis Paralysis,” a phrase he heard from someone a long time ago. It’s like a “Hakuna Matata”, except more of a cautionary tale: by being obsessed with planning and preparing, you’ll often get stuck and not get much done. By avoiding that preparation, he also avoids limiting his creative eye. For Brandon, when he comes in with a very specific plan, it feels rigid trying to fulfill the idea rather than just letting the creativity flow through him at the moment. Now when it comes to editing, he says it almost always starts with music. He looks for a song that helps set the tone, mood, or even pace, and will edit his video tailored to that. Nowhere is that more apparent than with his favorite video project: Float Fest ’17. He shot it with his Canon 1dx Mark ii camera, and had a ton of fun shooting and editing it. Honestly, it truly shines through. The cuts are so well-timed with the music, and you just get to feel the energy and excitement of the night, and in Brandon’s craft.

Ultimately, Brandon’s favorite part of the process is directing. “If I were to only have one job in videomaking, it would be directing. Working with talent and helping them… especially leading a team is my absolute favorite. It clicked right away since I love people and I love talking… I don’t even consider it as work.” If he could do short films on YouTube, or even run a show or web series, that would be ideal. Though Brandon is far into his journey, he mentioned that one of his biggest hurdles was knowing his value as an artist. “You look at it as fun, but you have to recognize the value in what you do. Understand that your art and your time is worth something. You gotta learn to say no to offers that devalue you, otherwise, you’re gonna get pushed around.” Once he locked that aspect in, his journey got a lot easier. He never really shied away from feedback, since it would only serve to improve his craft, as well as give him the opportunity to do what he loves doing: making videos for people to enjoy. Even though there’s nothing Brandon said he would really do differently, he wishes it all could have started sooner. He worked a full-time job at Apple for 3 years before becoming a full-time videographer, so his only wish is that he could’ve worked harder on what he loves. Though for Brandon, that’s just it: “Do what you love and let the rest fall where it falls.”

 

Written By: Filip Tabak


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