I grew up in a little family where often times my way of playing was telling stories. I was quite a lonely child and all I had was really my family. Course I had friends growing up, but often times I just kept to myself. I member I use to make my toys have their own voices and I'd pretend that I was on TV almost all the time! "You do silly things as a kid so give me a break. My family was heavily into music too, which inspired me to be on talent shows, sing, and create music. As I grew older I fell closer into film and the music industry, yet at the time we couldn't afford a camera. So I'd always sketch what was in my head on a piece of paper. “Even though a lot of times it was cartoons, since I was really into anime, again I was a kid” Drawing, creating stories, and writing songs was a way to express myself. To be honest though I never even held a camera until senior year of high school for broadcast and production where we created short films, narrated peoples lives, and school news. Your probably thinking as your reading this, "that's how it all started right?" Actually no it wasn't.
For starters I honestly never knew I'd see myself doing what I am doing right now, it's funny how things turn out right? The thing is it all began one night at IUP, it was the premiere of American Horror Story Hotel. Now for all that don't know about Indiana University of Pennsylvania tradition’s, American Horror Story is a huge thing there. When AHS airs everyone in the dorms gets together in the TV lounge to watch it and I mean everyone! Ours happen to be in the ground floor of my building which was Putt hall. As I walked in I saw a bunch of people gathered in the TV lounge, so at first I thought that this was the get together and was quite surprised on how small it was. As I sat and waited I noticed that, they weren't watching AHS they were watching themselves on TV. So I asked one of the creators of the show named Nick Tyson what this was, he then responded, "Hey buddy this is Back to the Drawing Board!" At that time I didn't even know IUP had a channel, but in all honestly nobody does. The moment eh said that to me though it brought back old memories of me as kid, where I use to pretend I was on TV and in my mind I thought this would be my chance. So immediately I asked them what would it take to be on their show and they responded, "Do you want to be on the show", "YES", "THEN YOUR IN!!!" At that moment I found the people who changed my life, who also taught me everything about cinematography. Plus side was I didn’t even have to pay for this information and to me that was a plus! All starting by just meeting random people in a TV lounge who knew? Just at the right place at the right time as they say.
IUP was the highlight of my life, I got to make great friends, build a network, got to be a star on a TV show, accomplished to be on their website, heck on graduation day I was given the opportunity to design their magazine covers of the commencement and designed all the digital boards for everyone to see. The saddest part to me though, was that I could no longer be in front or behind the camera or see my friends. It was bound to happen sooner or later, but you don’t realize how fast time goes until you reach the end. It was time for a new chapter to start with my degree focused under graphic design. Now you may ask, “So you graduated under graphic design, but now your doing photography and cinematography?” Being on Back to the Drawing Board helped me realize a lot about myself, but it I didn’t realize my purpose until a year later.
After college I tried the whole applying for jobs deal which is what were taught to do when you done with school. The thing is though, 9 times out of 10 it felt like I was trapped. Even though their were jobs opportunities I liked, but I just couldn't see a future in it. As they say money can’t truly buy you happiness, sure you have security, but can you really be happy doing what your doing for the rest of your life? So after IUP I gave myself a year to follow one question which was, “what is an alternative to living life?” This thought gave me the idea to start a podcast called BE UNIQUE to talk to other people in the world who are making living, off of doing things that make them happy. So I dabbled in so many things under graphic design it wasn't even funny. I did photography, logo's, heck I even started a apparel line which was pretty fun by the way. The purpose off all this wasn't really to gain success it was to see what was my main focus as a designer, also to discover what made me happy to do every single day.
As John Muir says,”In every walk in nature one receives far more than he seeks.” So one night as I was walking across town I wondered to myself, what was the last thing that made me happy. I have this degree, but does it really make me happy? Was college worth it? As I walked so far I stopped to sit on a bench listening to nature to calm my mind and think about my purpose? I then had flash backs again of when I was young again creating stories through different perspective, when I was in high school on stage doing music, when I was in talent shows and singing karaoke with my mom, when I was in the studio with a friend of mine named Daniel Blake, meeting all these musicians through my podcast, and most importantly being on Back to the Drawing Board. Remembering all these memories helped me realize what my purpose was and to mix what I loved the most which was film, photography, and music.
If you noticed reading this the word purpose was used a lot, which is a common word we all wonder about at some point in our lives. we all struggle to finding it. Some find it earlier in life and some find it later, but through other peoples stories in my podcast it helped me realize that people have stories to describe how their purpose was discovered, some through pursuing a passion they discovered at an early age and some just out of no where. Through this podcast, the people I’ve met, and the events in my life it helped me realize that I want to tell other peoples stories through photography and cinematography. Plus since I have a close connection with alternatives and music often times you’ll see my niche being focused on musicians. My passion is to show their struggle, how they overcome to become who they are today, their passion, their point of views, and to empower the world with it. Whether it is through music videos, behind the scenes, documentaries, short films, promos, or photography. The best way to do all this is to not only capture it through a lens, but to have a great story to show. To have the ability to tell a story through another person’s perspective and to influence their audience to believe what they believe is the most powerful ability in this world. As Ira Glas says, “Great stories happen to those who can tell them.” Telling your story visually is the best way to capture who you are, and to influence your fans to see and believe what you believe.
That’s how I got here ladies and gentlemen! Now that I told you my story now it's time for me to tell yours. What’s your story?