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How I Got Started

Updated: Sep 3, 2021

Brief overview from the first two blogs, so I can get into more details on how I got here. I attended the University of Alaska Southeast pursuing my degree in Anthropology with an emphasis on the Haida history and culture. I stumbled across an Ethnographic (film on cultures) class. I spent 17+ hours a day working on my first film, Native Oratory 2011 (you can view it on this website). After I was done with school, I worked with kids for three years. During that time, I taught them how to take photography and videography. My wife noticed that I enjoyed that portion of work more than anything else. She brought the idea up for us to go back to school, so she can study business and I can study what I love to do, film.

I studied Film & Photography at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. My first class, Pre-Production, is where I learned the bulk of my knowledge right off the bat. Everything from storyboarding, writing a script, to making a website was in that class. It was hectic and I loved it. Besides that class, the one class that I learned the most from was my Editing class. I didn't learn that much during that class, but the 100s, literally 100s - 1000s, of hours I spent either studying outside of class and editing on my own.

From there I started a vlog with my Canon XSI for a couple of reasons. One, we were expecting our first child and I wanted to document our lives before children to show her how we were. Also, I wanted to extend my learning process on how to make films. I started editing on a 2012 Mac, this was in 2016, so the Mac was already considered old by then. I didn't have the money for Premiere Pro so I had to edit on iMovie. I eventually got an editing job on campus and worked with Premiere Pro and purchased a Canon 80 D (one step up).

After a year or so, I got another job as an editor on campus. Between the two editing jobs and school, I didn't have the time to vlog anymore, but I had hands on learning on what companies want in an editor. Editing at work 5 days a week and making films on the weekends, all outside of class, is really how I got to this point.

During my last year at the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF), I attended a documentary class. In the beginning I had an idea to make a documentary on one of UAF Women's Basketball team from my hometown. During the middle of the semester, things didn't go as planned and I had to make a full documentary in half of the time. My professor asked what do I know is unique. My response,

"There's less than a handful of Alaskan Haidas who speaks our language fluently and my wife's culture is steeply declining and we are both teaching our daughter how to speak both languages."

To skip forward a couple a months, after passing my class, I entered a few film festivals and as you can see, we did well. You can also view this film on this website. I will go more into details on that whole process in a later blog.

While making the documentary, I sold the rights of the script I wrote in my pre-production class from my first year to the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF). They ended up using that script to make a film to teach students how to make a film on set - hands-on training. The film is still in the post-production process.

After making those two films, I applied to be a Fellowship Writer for the PBS Kids Show, Molly of Denali. I used that same script that I sold to the University of Alaska Fairbanks. More on that in the next blog.