Podcast Guest – Justin McAleece

by | December 21, 2020 | Video Tips

Podcast Guest – Justin McAleece

 

 

James:
All right. So I’ll start off with I guess, career choice. What, what is it that, made you decide to choose this career?

Justin:
I went into filmmaking as originally a mechanical engineering student at Fresno State. And then I switched over to filmmaking because engineering seemed really dull. It, like, I just didn’t really like hanging out with the people in my class. I mean, honestly, and it just, it was sucking the life out of me even in like sophomore year of college. So, and I sucked at higher end math too. Like calculus was not math to me. It was super not my thing. So anyway I was like, I’m having more fun, more fun making movies with my friends. So I’m just gonna switch over and start doing that.

James:
 Or were you doing that like as a hobby, just for fun, like making movies

Justin:
Just started, you know, like pre Jack , not to that level of certainly, but some of that stuff, man, on the street going through drive-throughs that sort of mess around stuff. This is like pre pre any of that. So there wasn’t much to do with it. We would make VHS, we would edit with two VHS players and make little music videos and dumb little clips and then put those up. And you had a little tiny fan base? Uh,ah, so that’s, so I used to do that was fun.

James:

I have a stack of these right here. I’m actually converting a bunch of them. Yeah. High school. There you go. I was cool. Yeah. So when how long ago was that? How long ago did you go to Fresno state?

Justin:

In 1997 to 2001.

James:
Yeah. So about the time I started, I started in, I think 99 was when I was in high school and that’s when I started shooting video. Okay. shooting, video, editing, basically the same thing to a VHS tape decks. We had like the little bit tronics, mixer, but you try. Yeah. Yeah. We mess with that thing for a little bit. That was fun. So that’s good. It’s good. You made that decision that early on. Cause I, I kind of took a detour and started a career, a couple of careers, I guess. And so now, I rally just been like really getting back into editing and shooting my job cause I do, I do marketing right now. And so it’s been like a huge shift of like, Hey, I can do this marketing material or I can just make a video. And I just kinda like, ah, just make a video. And I just ended up doing a ton of videos. Yeah. I mean, it can be, you know, depending on

Justin:
What your market is and who you’re trying to talk to and all those sorts of things, video can be a far superior way to get that message out there and to get actually people to click or watch or whatever it happens to be. I mean, people typically like to watch better than they like to read. So yeah. And then, and then they ended up reading the subtitles on the video that they’re watching while it’s on their phone. So it’s sort of come full circle in a goofy sort of way. Yeah.

James:

Yeah. So what is like what is your job today? Like what’s your exact job today?

Justin:
I mean, I do a variety of different things. I, I write some direct, some DP, a lot do editing, like right now I’m editing a thin, a documentary that we shot called better. And we’ve been working on that for two, three years now. And so I’m working on making promos for that. And so for that sort of thing, I would like to get my hands in there and edit it on premiere and, and pop out something. That’s just exactly how we want it for that sort of thing. So it depends on the client and what they’re looking for, but some, you know, want me to put my specific touch on it?
James:
Is that it here locally in Fresno?

Justin:

Yeah. That’s all in Fresno.

James:
Okay. What do you, what do you, I guess, what would you say if I were to ask, like, what would you like best about your job? Would you say, like getting deep down into the editing or was there something else that you really like enjoy doing?

Justin:
I like, I like a variety of things. I especially like when I get to do something different after a while. So what I mean by that is if I were sitting here editing all the time, getting deep into that 200 days a year, I know that I would want to do something else and that would get old and all that. Or if I’m doing coloring, like I get to do like a coloring on a feature I get to do, couple of times a year maybe. And that’s great for that time. Like I sink into it, I have my, I’ll probably watch some documentaries on the side and I’ll like, just really get into that. And that’s all I do for three weeks or whatever it is. And that’s great. I would, you know, my favorite thing probably is to be on set with like a healthy, big crew, healthy meaning like the amount of people that we need to do a cool job and really being a part of on-set stuff as a DP. I mean, that’s, that’s usually the most fun and I get the most sort of, flo state out of that I would say. And so that’s really great. Uh, bu like traveling, so I like to be able to switch between the things and I think I’m very fortunate to be able to have that sort of advantage in getting to pick and choose a bit of what I want to do and being able to wear different hats in those sorts of roles.

James:

Yeah. So does, does your does your work, you like, do you travel a lot for your work or does a lot of your stuff just here in Fresno every other year?

Justin:
Year, but this one I traveled a lot. Yeah. I think I was gone like, like 120 days or 150 days or something last year. It was quite a bit, so,I felt like I was just constantly either flying or going to LA or maybe going up to Seattle or going to Las Vegas or Phoenix or something like that. And there was a ton of that stuff happening. So, hat, that can be very fun. It can be grueling certainly. And sometimes you just need to stop and catch your breath and be like, Oh man, there’s a bunch of stuff. I just haven’t handled in a while. But in general that’s a very, that’s fun for me. And you get to see new things in NAU. You get, I the I think for me, it’s hard to always stay motivated when no one’s really paying attention to what I’m doing a lot of the time, you know, like I have to wake up in the morning and I have to get to start my day and get working and doing all these things that sometimes when you sort of own your own business, you don’t have a boss breathing down your neck, you can like slack off if you want.

Justin:
Absolutely. And so I find that being on set and, and like having those things break up my week or my month or my day or whatever it is that, that makes me, like, I don’t have a choice. I need to go do this thing and I need to go fly here and I need to get these things done before that happens. So, yeah, I think that’s good for me to stay motivated and on task.

James:
Yeah, I bet. And when you do all that traveling as far as like equipment goes, are you just like renting equipment locally? Or are you like taking stuff with you every time you go somewhere?

Justin:
Yeah. Typically I bring camera lenses, media, that sort of stuff. I may bring a light or two, depending on what it is I’m talking about flying less. You know, and, you’re getting hopefully getting a local group of the local van there and that’s the majority of all our lighting stuff and genie gear. We may, and, you know, I’ll probably like have a tripod waiting for me there that’s a better thing. You know, flying with a tripod is just like more work than it’s worth a lot of times, especially if you’re going to already be getting out of their gear. So it all depends, but yeah, I love going to another place having a grip, they’re ready to take care of us and show us around a bit and all that stuff. It depends on the size of the shoot. If we’re traveling that we can get there by car, then we’re using our grip band and we have another grip band in Phoenix as well, sort of waiting for us. So whenever we go out there, we already have that gear. So that’s nice as well. But, but yeah, anything in California, Las Vegas, anything like that, we’re definitely driving in grit band.

James:
Hmm. Okay. And so how would you say the years have been going with, with everything on lockdown? I mean, are you guys still keeping busy? Like, is there, like post-production work or, or how are you kind of dealing with it?

Justin:
As it has been better than it could have been absolutely for us. And I think we’ve been still making money, still making a profit. We’re still keeping the lights on and all that. Those, some government loan and that stuff, that PPP type stuff that was definitely vital to right when it hit. And when there was like, Oh man, everyone shut down. All their stuff out was crucial to us. Not that we couldn’t have done it without it, but it was, it was great to have that as, sort of a backup to our plant. And, the rest of the stuff we’ve been able to work on things internally, posting, we have a website called shoot stop video. So shoot stop video is our platform for sending people to be on our Rolodex, sort of it’s an internal thing, but it’s so much more than that now to where anyone across the nation, eventually the world.

Justin:
But right now the us has an opportunity to go on there, make a profile. It shows up really well on search engines. And if they get some Rivera, reviews, referrals, that type of thing on there, then they put themselves in a really good position to be able to get jobs from other agencies and other video production companies and all that, and get hired by us and then agencies and production companies can go on there and, you know, make their profiles and get work as well. So that’s getting to be really big and that’s working really well. And we’ve been working on that a lot this year in the lockdown.
James:
And you guys, just, you guys developed that yourself. Yeah.

Justin:
It’s taken a while. It’s seen a couple of different iterations. You know, it’s an idea that we’ve had for a very long time, but as the internet, coding and, and how all those things are built as that’s changed, we’ve gotten a lot better. My partner Blake Barnett’s, you know, 99% of that sort of stuff, I help on the verbiage and making videos for it. And, you know, coming up with ideas of how to him, ow to, how to make it word height, implement it. But, h’s, he’s responsible for getting the coders and making sure that it’s built and, and going through all that process. So it’s a long, arduous thing to build a website from scratch, obviously, or to use, you know, templates where there are templates to be used. But, yeah, that, that has only been able to be realized at this point for us in, in this time technology wise with how website building works, basically.

James:
Yeah, yeah, no, cause I, I work in, I work in tech, so I deal with like engineers all the time, how they’re building a product and how they’re rolling it out and all the different iterations of tastes that actually build the product and actually roll it out and make sure that it doesn’t break when you put out, push out updates. So it’s, it’s quite interesting.

Justin:
There’s a lot to it and you know, what works on paper, I’ll oftentimes doesn’t work when you get users involved. And so there’s all those types of things that we’re always sorta like, yeah, but do this. And they’re like, no one does that. No better. I swear. And they’re like, it doesn’t matter. And you’re like, okay, cool. Well, we’ll do this, then do what you want. So yeah. That’s how I ended up.

James:
Yeah. So what you’re doing today is that what you set out to do at a college? Or did you have like other aspirations and then you kind of got taken down this route or how that?

Justin:
I would say that everyone, not everyone, most filmmakers if they’re going to college probably fancy themselves as a director of a big movie as they’re going through college, not as they’re doing that. I mean, I think that fits a lot of people, so they’re like, I’m going to be the dude I’m going to be, on-set calling all the shots or whether you’re a DP or whatever, you know, you’re, you’re sort of running the show. And so, yeah, cause they clearly, like Clerks was out, hen I was in a freshman in college and all that. And so it was definitely a thing too, where you’re like, I want to go make a movie that a lot of people see that they can go watch in the theater and it’s going to be great. And it’s, you know, I’m going to be this fun comedy.

Justin:
And that’s really what I got into it was for a comedy and that’s just a tough road to hoe and that’s tough to like, get your stuff seen and be one of the filmmakers that everyone knows. You know, the, I think that people, the thing that people don’t realize, you know, my mom, for example, a pretty savvy person really knowledgeable about a ton of topics. And the thing is I can ask her, like and her, son’s a director, both of her sons are directors to some extent. My brother works in the film industry as well and is a more of a gaffer these days. But anyway, point being, she knows a lot of things in, she only knows what 10 directors, 20 directors. I mean, she knows more way more football players. And then she knows directors. She knows way more of, you know, basketball or any number of other things.

Justin:
She can like rattle those names off. And so in general, people don’t know you unless you are George Lucas or Steven Spielberg, or, you know, a few other ones it’s Quentin you, whatever it happens to be that, that shortlist, especially DPS, how many people on the street could name a DP. It’s almost impossible. So that idea you have in your head of like, I’m going to be famous or I’m going to be making these movies and all that stuff. And pretty quickly, you’re like, that’s way harder than being in the NBA. That’s way harder than getting a job in the NFL or something like that. Like that list is far shorter of people who actually make it in that field. And so yeah, I’ve been able to do big things and be on sets, you know, there’d be face to face with people that I liked, they were famous. And, but that doesn’t mean you’re anywhere near being like a household name of making things to people actually know.

James:
 Yeah. So is there anything, anything in particular that like kept you here in Fresno?

Justin:
Yeah. I mean, when we started the business, I had no real reason to move. My parents live about 45 minutes up in the mountains, so that definitely helps to stay around for that and just have a lot of family here. It just made more sense. I didn’t have any reason to move anywhere else. And, you know, for instance is a good place, especially for us to, we can go drive to LA, you know, tomorrow, Monday, two days ago had a music video in LA and tomorrow we’re going to have music video in San Francisco or San Jose. So like that’s a great ability. We have to go sort of anywhere within the state and some in Nevada, or a shoot. And it’s not that big of a deal and it’s way cheaper. It’s probably cheaper than living there and 
being able to go to a shoot in a lot of ways. Like it works out really well for us proximity wise, and it’s less expensive here to live anyway. So yeah, it’s pretty great situation for us.

James:
Yeah, that’s good. And I guess, so in the field, what would you say are some good transferable skills? So like for me, for instance, I’m, when I get through kind of like all the school stuff I’m looking at, I’m actually changing careers or like transitioning careers somehow. I haven’t figured it out yet. Okay. So I’m trying to understand, like, what are, what are things that are good skills to have that transition into a career in the industry?

Justin:
I would say it’s a little hard to define that depending on what role you have on set or you have in the industry. So I would say, you know, in a few of the things doing if you’re talking about editing or something like that, like, you know, being meticulous, being able to sit and just crank away on something, being able to keep a lot of ideas in your head and eventually make them all fit. And a lot of problem solving just with computer skills and it, and, and all that stuff. I mean, that’s only getting more and more by the day of, you know, how much, how good you have to be at that sort of stuff, IT stuff. So if you’re an editor, you got a lot of that stuff. And I think you could probably go into anything else, coding or something like that. If you’re interested in and probably find a career as well. If you’re talking about say being a DP or director, it’s like, you gotta have team teamwork, skills, team, building skills, you have to be able to relate to other people. You have to be able to try to, you know, deal with egos and relationships and all that stuff on set. And you have to be able to get across your ideas to people in describe them so that they know what you want without telling them exactly how to do it. And you have to be able to have a good attitude when hopefully when you don’t have a good attitude and you don’t feel like being on set or whatever. And hopefully people don’t know that people are just like, Oh no, this is, you know, we had a normal day and you’re like, I felt like dog crap. And this was awful to me. But as long as you guys don’t know that it’s fine. Hopefully that’s what happens.

James:
Right. That’s funny. That’s interesting you say that because I’ve never had anybody say that, like, it was a good skill, but I’ve always thought it was a good skill because I used to actually edit at case 24. I used to edit, just do news on nights and weekends. And when I started that, e’re doing, lke on a DVC pro system with like decks and then they switched over to, toan IP based system. And I was like, Oh yeah, I know how this is all, all this stuff works. Like I understood the computers, how everything’s networked together and how like your edit leaves the system. And it goes into like a server. But a lot of engineers there at the time, there were like, there were like old school broadcast engineers and you ha you know, equipment and, you know, satellites and all that. But you know, you talk about IP addresses and codex and compression and all that. And they were just like so I always thought it was like interesting to see, like them forcefully have to transition into like computers. But for me it was always natural cause it’s, I started my it career after I got into video and videos, I actually started my it career. Cause I went from, you know, VHS tapes and to, editing on this program called dazzle and I’d had to learn how to like install a PCI card and then that kind of triggered it for it. Yeah. In that forever.

Justin:
Yeah. And I’m, I’m okay at it. I’m not great at it. My man resale right back here is trying to rebuild this computer that we got and you know, I, I am, I definitely know enough to be dangerous and that’s about it. And I usually hand off the heavy lifting to, to hammer some of, the other people that used to work here, that sort of thing. But I’ve always had someone that knew a lot more than me about computers. I know what I need to do to do what I need to do most of the time. And, but then there’s a sharp fall off. I’m like someone else handle it. So, but, but you know, I mean, I think that’s probably the same in any, in any organization and unless you’re going to be the it guy, you need to know enough just to be able to use your programs and accomplish what you need to.

James:
Yeah. Like collaborate and share files, whatnot. So how big is your company or how are like, how big is the staff?

Justin:
Blake and I are the co-owners and then we have a couple of employees right now and other full-time people. So there’s like eight of us or so six of us depending on the type of year. And then we do a lot of, freelancers. So whenever we’re hiring for shoots and any stuff out of, out of state or out of town, we’ll hire some people and, you know, put them on for the day. It’s complicated. And in California right now, u, five that made stuff stupid, maybe five, I think is a thing. That made stuff really dumb. And now you have to be hired as part-time or I mean, a temporary employee is and all that, and that’s been a debacle, so we’ve, we’ve done what we need to do on that. Hopefully, and that’s not going to be a problem at some point too.

Justin:
I hope that gets struck down. But but yeah, we scale up and down and we’ve been like really, sort of, you know, what you would call fat at times, here we had, it was hard to keep everyone busy, with more employees and everything. And then we’re pretty lean right now, which has been a blessing during this time, obviously, because it would have been really tough to be like, yeah, man, we got nothing coming up. We got to cut you loose. Sorry. And he’s like, this is the worst time, you know, I was glad that we weren’t in that position, which we,

James:
Yeah. Where do you do you guys have a studio or do you guys rent studio space where we’re headed?

Justin:
Yeah, so we, we rent studio space down here, downtown Fresno, a place called Broadway studios. So my buddy Reza, who I’ve known for a couple of decades, he owns this, this joint and he’s been our landlord for almost three years. Maybe now we used to be in a studio, with Windsong productions. And then we moved out, from then we were both production companies in the same place and now we split off and they have a big location, just across the tracks right over there, pretty close. So yeah, that works out really well. We can go over there and shoot some times when we need to, we still have a good working relationship and we could use some stuff here. It’s not a real big, but we put all our gear here and we’ve got all our computers here and all that stuff. So it works out really well. And it’s, it’s big enough to be here during COVID time and feel like you got a place to go for sure. But, not s big that we’re like, Oh man, we gotta get shoots in here right now to pay for this pace place. So it’s been good. Yeah.

James:
So what’s what would you say is like one of your most memorable shoots that you’ve done recently?

Justin:
Yeah, we did. We did a thing for a guy Morris Day and the sound right. So anyway this is a dude back in the eighties and he used to play with Prince and everything. Anyway, we, that was a music video we did on Monday, which was fun because, I had, like, I turned on a mega 97.9. I had it on in my, my car, which I don’t usually, but I had that on and I, we did the music video two days ago and then I turned on the radio the next morning or whatever. Hey, I lost you for a second. Hold on. Nope. Anyway, I turned on the radio and his song was on just like happenstance and I was like, yeah, that’s cool. That’s fun. I just was talking to my dad last night. But, anyway do some minor music videos and sometimes those are not, I wouldn’t say high profile, but definitely people that people have heard of. And we did a movie, last year and Malcolm McDowell, from clockwork, orange and many other movies was there. That was really cool. I was happy to meet him. And he was, was, uh important, he was, he was only in for a couple of days or whatever, but he was like a lead during that time. And he was great. So meetings with people like that, has been fun. And that was a cool one because I had, you know, I was DP and I had total control over what we needed to do and we got to shoot on stages and go up to Mendocino and Fort Bragg and shoot up there. And that was fun. And yeah, that was a, that was a good time. And then my movie brick madness, which I’ve been working on for 11 years now is finally kind of out this, this December. Uh, thats a great time at, uh, there were certain shoot days. It was, you know, uh, spread out over a lot of time when we actually shot. But, when we’re shooting here, at Shaghoian theater over at, Clovis North in Fresno. And that was awesome. We had some really good shooting days and that was just like one of the most satisfying things I’ve ever done. Absolutely. And having fun with my friends, which was the best part.

James:
And what would you say is like your guys’ main focus? I guess, in industry sectors, like, would you say you’re more like, entertainment type stuff or music like only music videos or like corporate video? Like what do you guys focus on?

Justin:
You know, the bread and butter is corporate video. So that’s what we make the most of our money off of. We do. Sometimes we are doing everything in terms of, you know, top to bottom. We write it, we produce it, we edit it, we should have, we added it, all that stuff. Sometimes we’re only just going on and being crew, something like that. But, in general, the, the corporate video is, is the lion’s share of what we do. And then we, you know, I stay busy shooting stuff for other production companies, which also, you know, takes up a lot of my time, I would say, and we do commercials and music videos and some other, you know, we work on feature films here and there. So there, we might get one of those a year or something like that, which is really fun. And yeah, that’s the Mo that’s what we do. So we, we have quite a few things that we dip our toes into, but corporate’s the main one, which is good. I enjoy that because you get to, you get to tell a pretty clear story. It’s pretty obvious what your goals are and you get to work with clients that usually have money and they’re not trying to skimp on everything. So that that’s usually satisfying not to feel like you’re constantly being nickeled and dimed. So, so yeah, uh, corporate does well for us.

James:
Let’s see. We, we use the guy because my company is actually based out of San Francisco and we do like a ton of like corporate marketing. And so I’ve had like to work on projects where like, I, I oversaw the project, but I didn’t do any like the video editing, you know, we contracted them, I wrote it, they helped rewrite it, produced it directed and like kind of did it. And, you know, then we’d just pay them afterwards. But yeah, it turned out pretty good. It was like an animation that we did the same guy. Cause we, we sell software. And so we have to do well, there’s a team on the marketing team and what they do is they go and get, customer stories. So it’d be like a customer just implemented our software and they want to get like, Oh, why they choose us? What would the benefits, how did it work? How the rollout go and we’ll go out and we’ll interview them. So I, my area, cause I do product marketing. So I focus on just like this area of the product. And so when we get a customer to say, they’re use my, my area of the product or that’s why they bought our product, it was like for these feature sets that I kind of work on. Yeah. You know, we’ll go out there and we’ll do an interview. So like you were saying like the guy that we hired will go with us, he’ll hire a local crew rent, a bunch of equipment. They’ll bring it onsite to like the customer’s office. They’ll set up everything and then we’ll just do the interview there and then they’ll go and they’ll edit a video and then we’ll drop it on the website. So they do a bunch of those or they’ll do like the animations, like explainer videos. And they usually contract them out. Like, you know, they’ll get a guy that does the voiceover guy does the actual animation script editor and then like we’ll work together and actually get it all up and polish. And then we’ll just throw it on the website.

Justin:
Totally. Yeah. That’s some of that’s what we’re doing too. You know, we’re getting outside VO people, we got a Morgan Freeman sounded like right now that I’m editing the video of that. That was cool. And yeah, there’s so many VO talent out there and we have them go and shoot some video and leave there, you know, make a profile and then they’re easy to find later. So yeah, that’s worked out really well.
James:
Do you guys do a lot of local corporate or is it just corporate from wherever? Wherever. Whenever.

Justin:
Yeah, we do quite a bit of local ag, so that’s really great. We work with AV Thomas, quite a bit. That’s the nation’s world’s, number one, organic sweet potato grower distributor. So we work with them quite a bit. And then a 5150 is, is the brainchild of Carlos. So over there, which is an energy drink and sort of lifestyle brand these days. And so we do that and then we do various pistachios and almonds and all sorts of other nut up as another company we do RBI. So that’s been really great and yeah, they do almond stuff, more than anything else, nuts. It’s cool. So I like working in the ag stuff around here, you know, the things that are good about the corporate stuff. I think they’re even better about the ag stuff, because a lot of times the, the ag people we deal with are like pretty chill and they’re, they’re just a little more, uh hat do you mean there’s, they’re very genuine people typically, you know, and there’s not pretentiousness, so I like doing ag stuff. That’s always usually fun. Yeah.

James:
And in your time at school, what, is there anything that like stuck out in school? Like, Hey, this is the thing that I learned in school, and this is like something I use every day. I mean, there’s

Justin:
Basic stuff that informs just how you photograph things. Absolutely. And I think I, you know, it wasn’t a film school per se. It was a video production. I mean, it was a broadcast production as part of mass comm journalism. Yeah. so, so it’s not like quite as in-depth as a film school period would be, but there’s just a lot of basic stuff that you have to learn rule of thirds and light, dark, and contrast, and just general ideas of how you should frame things and how you should set up shots and you know, what good practices are. So, yeah, absolutely. There’s, I think it’s important to have a bedrock of those things, because a lot of that stuff, if you don’t, I always say filmmaking is one of those things where if you don’t see someone else do it, it’s, it’s very hard to know what you don’t know. A lot of times it’s, maybe it’s a little bit different now that YouTube is around, but like, there’s just a million things. You’re like what, that’s, how you do that. That’s way better than how I would have ever done it. That’s a good idea until you’re like, actually on set or actually dealing with people that do it that way. You can be doing something wrong your whole life basically. So I think, it’s good to get a good basis of understanding, and that can probably come from YouTube these days, but, t just really go through all the, the fundamentals, I think it’s important. And I definitely got that from Fresno State. And, and more importantly, like I always thought the film score, you know, that the, any video production or film school scenario is like, it’s probably less rigorous than say engineering. It was definitely easier than that for me. And I was, felt like that’s my opportunity to go make stuff. So I definitely made a lot of things and worked on a lot of projects all throughout school and had a decent amount of stuff to show when I got out of school, it wasn’t corporate or anything like that. Like, it wasn’t stuff that people would hire me for, but at least I had some experience, you know, and I knew what I liked in general of what I was doing.

James:
Would you say that then, like, as far as advice goes to like aspiring students today, would you say to that, would that be like the one piece of advice you would give is to like, do stuff so that you have something to show when you graduate?

Justin:
Busy, stay busy, actually making projects and because not only that, but there’s a lot of people at film school. In my experience, there’s a lot of people that like to sit around and talk and wax philosophical, there’s this, there’s this Monty Python sketch, which, yeah. I don’t know how many people watch Monty Python anymore, but, t basically, it’s a soccer game, but it’s a soccer game and all the players are famous philosophers. So you get Plato and Aristotle and, and all these people all throughout history. Right. And so basically they like drop the ball and then everyone just starts thinking, and they’re just like walking around, like pondering the ball and pondering what they’re going to do. And you know, the, the idea and they’re like draw little scenarios up within each other. No, one’s touching the ball. There’s no play whatsoever. It’s just thought. Right. And I find that in film school times, a lot of people were pretty much just doing that. Like it was just talking and thinking about it, but it wasn’t even in like practical terms, it was just more like, well, you know, it turned Tino did with blah, blah, blah. And they’re like, yeah, that’s cool, man, go make a thing. I’m like, do your actual work. And then you can find out whether what you’re talking about is BS or not.

James:
Did you notice, like after school did a lot of those talkers just kind of like not do anything in the industry and just kind of…

Justin:
Yeah, yeah. For sure. I mean, there’s, there was definitely doers and they’re still in it and they’re still doing things. And there was the other people that I, you know, I just haven’t kept track of because I don’t think they had anything to do with the industry pretty soon thereafter. Because like, that’ll beat you down, you gotta grind all the time. Like you gotta want to go make new stuff and make it better than the last thing. And that’s an important part of, of any job, but it’s a more important part of this job because you should always be making something that you like or testing your ideas or whatever it happens to be.

James:
When you guys, when you guys are hiring, what is it that you look for in somebody when you’re trying to, like, I either hire someone onto your staff or like a contractor?

Justin:
A variety of things, you know, I want to definitely, I know that I have not in the past been good at being able to explain everything that needs to happen. So for instance,I have often had to go on a shoot across the country or wherever it happens to be. And like, and maybe it comes up right in the middle of when I was supposed to be able to be like walking through a process with someone of how I wanted something to be done or whatever. So point is, I really need people that can figure it out on their own. And that’s one of the most important things to me is like, what have you taken from nothing to like a fully finished project by figuring out what didn’t work and like solving problems. That’s, that’s most of what I need as a problem solver and somebody who can be diligent and, you know, then attention to detail is super important to me just cause that’s my way my brain works. So like, I need you to be able to spell properly. I need you to be able to keep lists and keep track and, and do that stuff better than I can sometimes cause organization, I know how to organize. I’m not always good at organizing. Cause I kind of come in too later or whatever it is sometimes, but, but anyway, hopefully they’re better at that than I am. That’s definitely a, a crucial part of it.

James:
Yeah. Are you how do you gauge that?

Justin:
I think we have sort of a rare thing. Industry-wise where we can have someone come in and work on some stuff sort of tentatively for awhile. So like we’re not gonna hire you full-time but like you can come in and here’s a project here’s X amount of dollars, edit that for us or let’s get you out, set on set and see how it works. Anticipation’s very important thing on set. That’s like honestly, the most important thing I can think of, and that means like paying attention, seeing what’s going to happen next, having an idea of how this whole story goes together, understanding the process because that’s all filmmaking is like doing the same thing a thousand times a day or a thousand times during the course of a feature or whatever it is. Right. So knowing how all those steps go together, whether it’s putting up a C stand or, or dissecting a scene, that’s super important to what we do. Cause I don’t want to have to explain that stuff. And I want you to like get those patterns and be able to recite them back to me because you understand how that stuff’s all made. So, so on set, that’s super important to me. And that’s what I look for is anticipation and understanding the big picture, even if you’re just a PA or whatever, right. PA’s are super important. And I want them to know that

James:
Patient. Right. I think, I think that’s pretty much everything I had written down to ask. Okay. let me see what else.

Justin:
What are you getting into what you’re talking about, maybe transitioning to what, or what’s your, what’s your ideas?

James:
So I started, so again, I started doing this back in like 99. I did it in high school. I kind of wanted to work in news and I chased that for a little bit. And while I was doing that, I started going to school for it kind of started it career. And then like the news thing came back cause they, they called me like three years after I kind of like stopped submitting my resume and they asked me to like, come do an interview to edit. And I was like, Oh yeah, like adamant something I want to do for like 10 years. Yeah. I got there. They gave me, they gave me two tapes, and a script and they’re like, Hey, go edit the story. And so I, I edited the story and then they’re like, Oh cool. Like how long have you been editing on like this, you know, DVC pro system.

James:
And I was like, I don’t know, 30 minutes. I never had a court. Nice. And so they hired me and that’s what it was like, I do it. So like, it is like natural problem solving pattern recognition and knowing like in and out copying and out copy audio comes in here, like, you know how to lay everything down and she just wants you to know the pattern. Just kind of flows. Yeah. So I did that for awhile. 2008 happened and like, you know, everything turned to crap, especially here. I was working for a CAD reseller and they were, they went out of business because nobody was building houses and nobody needed off software to design a house. So they went out. I knew like at that point, like I didn’t have like a four year degree, like an actual degree. I had like an it degree from, Heald college.

James:
It doesn’t transfer to state or really anywhere. And so I decided like, yeah, so I decided like, Hey, you know, I need to go back to school. And so I was, at the time I was like really deep into it and I was kind of doing like the editing thing, like, you know, that was just like my night job. And then, went to school, went to state, finished my bachelor’s. And I was like, Hey, I’ll just go get an MBA while I’m here. Cause I was in school mode and you know, like you’re in that mode of like, let’s just get it done. Because a lot of people they’ll they’ll do like a bachelor’s and then wait like 10 years and think about going back to school, but never do. And so I just went for it. Got it, got a master’s and and then I quit KC cause I was kinda like burned out. Cause I was going to schools with two jobs and it was kind of exhausting. Yeah. So yeah. So I quit the KC and I was like, Oh, I guess I’m done. I’m kind of like done with that chapter in my life, I guess, finished up school. And then, was looking for a job and a friend of mine, h was like, Hey, this company I worked for, they need somebody who does email like knows email. And I was like, well I know email. Cause they do it. And I ended up being at Google a lot. So I got to Google and I was like, Oh cool. Like they hired me as a contractor. Nice. And it was like a three month contract that turned into a year and I was like, Oh, this is fun. You know, I was like at Google doing like know stuff and within Google they have like all these different programs for employees, like different like clubs. They give them like clubs, like at, at Fresno state there’s like clubs and fraternities. And so I joined a bunch of those for fun. And they had one like on video, you know, a bunch of people that were worked in video either at Google or like at some point in their career. And like we would just get together and like talk and it was fun. And then, so Google ended needed a job. Then I found my company where I work right now and we do, identity management, but I got a job doing product support, which is what I was doing at Google. It’s like the same job. And so I did that for two years, but this whole time, like ever since I had got my bachelor’s, I kind of was really interested in marketing because I, I really liked the, the, like the psychological part of marketing, like how to convince somebody to buy a product.

James:
Like what’s the story. You tell them to get them to buy your product. And so like since then that was like 2010. I was kinda like plotting this path of like taking my tech experience, taking my degree experience, put them together and figure out what I can do. And I found that at the company I work at because there was a role that was called technical marketing manager, which is technical and marketing, put it together. And you’re talking like, Hey, you know, talking about the product, like how it works, the technicalities of how it works, but you’re also doing the marketing piece that, then transitioned into full on product marketing, which is what I do today. So right now it’s a mix of like the business side of things. Like here’s like our go to market solution for this product. Here’s, you know, when we’re going to sell it, here’s how we talk about it. And then also like, this is how it works. This is like kind of like the deeper down of like, this is how the software developed and sell software functions. And so that’s my job today. But this year, I guess at the beginning of the year, like almost right before COVID hit, I kind of got to the point where I was like, you Fresno and it’s all working well for me. But I was like, what am I doing? Like I came back from like two weeks off at Christmas and I was just like, like, what do I want to do? Like, I don’t want to like do this every day. And really it’s like, you know, writing documents, creating PowerPoint, decks, blogs, stuff like that. It’s kinda like the, the day-to-day stuff in product marketing. Yeah. And, ten that’s when I kind of decided, you know, what, like, I want to take this message that I’m writing about and I’d rather just put it into a video. And so it was like a video happened when I started it. Video happened when I got to Google. And now here it is video again in this new career in project, you just keep finding the same whole thing. I just keep like bringing myself back to it. Like I can do all these other careers and I can, you know, I, I was good at, I I’m going to, well, I still am good at it. You know, I kind of worked my way through product marketing and I’m pretty good at it. And it’s just like everything kind of rolls back to, Hey, do it in video or yeah, I find the opportunity to edit something. It’s like, Oh, well I’d rather edit that. I mean, this is my home office and this is what I’ve turned it into. Oh, there you go. Because you know, I was like, Oh, I can just make a video. And then I built this light board so I can do like diagramming. Cool. that’s, that’s solid. And the thing on the wall is just, flooring that I kind of, u, made like a flat surface in it and hung it from the wall and it’s just boring. And so I was just like, Oh, just keep doing this. And I like built this computer here. I can edit it. So I have down here, like I have my work laptop, which is a Mac. Yeah. It just sits there. Cause I mainly stay on my editing computer. And so, you know, all that kind of like compiled up to it and it was just like, Oh, I don’t know what I’m going to do for the next 10 years. Like, am I going to do product marketing for the next 10 years? I was like, yeah, probably not. And then that’s when I kind of stumbled on,film school, cause I was like, Oh, like I just kinda like stumbled on it. And I was like, well, that’s, that’s probably what I should do. Like go and like learn this officially, just like in like have, like you’re saying like the fundamentals. Cause I’ve always just kinda been like, self-trained like, Oh yeah, I can edit, you know, I kind of do this stuff, but I don’t really know why you do it. It just kind of like, this is just kind of what feels right. God. Now I’m starting to learn like, this is why things happen this way. And this is why scenes are cut this way because you know, the human eye goes this way and like the rule of thirds, like your eyes follow things like that. Yeah. And so,

Justin:
I think it’s important to know the rules before you break them. I mean, me personally, I think that’s a crucial thing to have in your mind what you’re trying to accomplish by doing the opposite of what it usually is. If you don’t, I think you end up with a lot of sort of muddle ideas that are like, well, that one works. That one doesn’t and then the one’s in the middle. Like what these things don’t all go together. I don’t know. That’s the way I look at it at least, but I’m a bit of a traditionalist. Yeah.

James:
So, so yeah. So during the film school thing right now, and I’m just trying to figure it out like I did before, like I I’m merged from like an it career into a product marketing careers. Now I’m just trying to figure out how do I go from product marketing, into film or video production. Cause it’s kind of like, I, I think there’s an Avenue there because we do, we do have like a corporate marketing team and they do a lot of video work and then not in-house video work, but like where they hire companies. So it’s like, there could be an Avenue there, like I jumped over to corporate marketing and do more work in that space or do like freelance, you know, on the side, like nights and weekends I can do freelance. Yeah. until I’m ready to like full on say like, okay, I’m going to like quit this job and go do this new thing full time.

Justin:
Yeah. Yeah. I mean, you definitely that’s the tough transition I think, is having enough clients that are willing to spend money and, and, and have ongoing work to be able to say like, when I go do this on my own, I’m going to be able to take them with me and it’s going to be lucrative enough. You definitely want to be in a position, not just like, okay, I’m out. I hope people start showing up on to do this stuff.

James:
Yeah. Yeah. That’s cause I got the, I have a family, so it’s like, I can’t just like up and quit tomorrow and do something new that’s I got, yeah.

Justin:
That’s that’s what age does to you. It makes you in a position where you got less options, but hopefully these are the right options and you can continue going the, I mean, obviously you have a very large base of knowledge. You’ve worked with big companies. You understand how a lot of things work that a lot of people wouldn’t. And so I’m getting into that, you know, could, could work out really well. It’s hard to say. I would say that you want another couple of people involved with you that, maybe you don’t absolutely start the company together, but at least someone you can rely on like, Oh, that’s the guy that does, you know, most of the editing or most of the shooting or most of the directing or most of the writing or something like that because, you know, different people have different strengths and it’s hard to transition on that stuff sometimes. Yeah. You know? So I think that’s a good place to be is to have your people and sometimes you’ll do everything, but I find it very difficult to do anything on any given project, which brings us full circle to Brick MADNESS where I was the writer co-writer, director ran camera, you know, I would, my brother and I, we would be running cameras. I would run the camera on him and he did his lines and then he would pick up the camera and do it on me and I would do my lines and you know, that was a goofy way to run a thing. But sometimes that’s what needed to happen.

James:
Yeah. It’s like all this stuff I’m doing it all myself. Like yeah. Write my own stuff because it’s based on my messaging. So I write my own scripts, I shoot it right here behind me. I edit this sound, color, title, graphics,

Justin:
Days of YouTube type stuff and, and just getting, you know, web videos out there and not to say that they’re lower quality quality by any means. I’m saying like, that’s what people expect. That’s great. You can totally do that. I think it’s more of when you’re getting on set and you need other people to be able to do all these things. Like if I’m the DP I do not want to produce enough, I’m the producer. I do not want to worry about directing, you know, I want to be able to hand some of those duties off because this is not the same stuff that all your, like your brain’s not in the same space. Yeah. Yeah. I get that. If you guys send people on site.

James:
Anyway I guess that brings us almost outta time. It was good chatting with you. I really think, thank you for the insights and to, you know, industry career wise, things that I can kind of, wrk on for my next, you know, transition into the next couple of years. So once I finished school, yeah.

Justin:
I mean, I, I looked at your email and it was like, well written and you clearly had put some thought and effort into it. I got a lot of correspondence there, not a lot, but I definitely get correspondence from people I’m like, you didn’t even take the time to like proofread this. I, the chances that I’m going to respond to you and actually have any time for you are pretty slim because you didn’t have much time for me and I’m probably busier than you are, you know, depending. But so, so like, I really appreciate that you’re being professional in the way you approached me. And I think that’s super important. You know, we get calls even, even for clients, you know, sometimes we’re like we sort of pre fire a client before they’re even a client or like just, I don’t think this is going to work out, you know, Hey, do you guys do music videos? Yeah, we do. How much? And I’m like, I can’t, that’s a weird question out the gate. I mean, is that all you care about? And then so a lot of times that’s probably not the thing we want to be spending our time on. And vice versa, you know, talking to people, giving them my time is, is important if I think they’re going to use it well. And if I have anything to say, you know, who knows, but, yeah, man hit me up anytime. And I can, if you’ve got specific questions that wouldn’t need 45 minutes to dig into, but I can totally help. Yeah.

James:
Yeah. Awesome. And thank you for the insight. Yeah, totally man. Cool. Good talking to you. All right. Good talking to you.