This week we are featuring an exciting Zooppa winner: user TristanSeabrook (real name Tristan Davis), the winner of three Client Awards in a single, recent contest. Tristan is from Colorado Springs, CO and studied Linguistics at the University of Colorado and he started making movies when he was a just little kid! Tristan was nice enough to share some info about his recent work and approach to videomaking – you might be surprised to find out what kind of camera equipment he used for all three of his winning videos… Enjoy, Zooppers.
Would you say filmmaking is your hobby or your life?
I started out making unedited Lego movies with an old VHS camcorder, but I didn’t seriously start teaching myself film skills until high school. Some friends and I started making films every year for our little school film fest, and I also used to make lighthearted videos for class projects whenever it was allowed. I learned a lot about composition, lighting, editing, and sound, mostly by making rookie filmmaking mistakes and learning how to regret them constructively.
In college I started assembling my first serious set of equipment and became a wedding videographer. I learned a good deal more about film (again, by making mistakes), but although the work was somewhat creative and challenging, it gradually became more and more repetitive and stressful. You can’t just ask couples to do anther take of the entrance or another kiss or to repeat vows if your equipment acts up or you didn’t pull focus very well or the photographer walks into frame at just the wrong moment.
I transitioned from weddings to short promos for local businesses, which was a much better fit for me. I enjoyed meeting new people and collaborating with them to make something punchy and interesting to watch, but at the same time, I was responsible for delivering somewhat formulaic content with a mass-produced, not terribly individualistic feel to it. Again, my creative control was limited.
I only recently stumbled upon Zooppa through an advert on Facebook. I was instantly intrigued; here was an opportunity for furiously creative brainstorming, conceptualization, writing (which I missed terribly), production (which I also missed), editing (which I didn’t miss at all), as well as a simple delivery and peer feedback system. What more could I reasonably ask for as a budding filmmaker? I have to say that I’m thrilled with the results of my first serious Zooppa entries and very much looking forward to new and challenging contests!
Where did you meet the people in your videos?
The main male character was played by my friend Aaron, whom I’ve known since second grade and who has made and written dozens of films and sketches with me over the past decade. Emily (the female character) and Kalen (who only appeared in “Strawberry Daiquiri”, though he graciously crewed for all four videos) are relatively recent friends from college.
What equipment did you use to shoot the videos?
Well, my kit is somewhat scrappy, but at its core is my Canon XL-2 (shooting in on tape in SD — very quaint). My lighting kit is a lightweight, 3 piece tungsten affair really intended for studio photography and not film, and though my shotgun mic is a fairly respectable Sennheiser, my boom pole is actually just a heavy choral microphone stand which is missing its base (both the mic and the “pole” are secondhand eBay acquisitions). It’s not a pretty setup, but that just makes it all the more satisfying when we manage to get good results.
They are definitely great results – a creative mind produces amazing content when it’s surrounded by fantastic supporting friends who are just as talented.
Congratulations again, Tristan. We look forward to seeing what you produce on future contests.