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Making My First Solo Film

Updated: Sep 3, 2021

I got into film because of the stories to tell, and that's a good trade to have in filmmaking. However, I wasn't the most tech savvy person in my class. I never even touched a camera until my first Ethnographic film class. Where I grew up, on Prince of Wales Island, AK, we didn't have real art classes, photography, filming - anything like that.

During my first year as a film major I enjoyed the whole process on what makes a film good and it was simple - story is king. I focused on the three act storyline and then moved onto the eight steps to make a story. With this, I thought the Canon 80D was good enough quality and doing voice over on my phone was better than the mic on the camera. Technically, I was right that it was better, but it wasn't good quality overall.

With my first couple of films, I laid heavily on others to do the technical side, while I focus on the stories. Well, that I had to change when I decided to take a documentary class and I had to make my first solo film. The concept didn't go as planned and half of the semester already passed. Some people were already done with their first class and I had to start all over.

That's when the concept of 'Voices of Our Ancestors' came to mind. With such short time, I briefly outlined on what I want from the film and written out the whole treatment before I pressed record. Again, that was my strong point. This saved me a lot of time so I didn't have to shoot a bunch of material that I wasn't planning on using.

Now, I shouldn't say that this was a total solo film, my Wife helped tremendously. She wasn't just one of the stars in the film, but she watched every single edit that I made and gave me constructive feedback. She had a lot of great ideas along the way of shooting the video and I couldn't done it without her.

With my wife's help, we won multiple awards across the globe. It solidified me that I am making the right decision of switching my career from working with kids to filmmaking.

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