Commercial production impossible? How I’ve survived (thrived?) as a content creator during COVID.

I was a commercial director with a steadily increasing stream of new projects coming in. The clients were getting larger, the budgets were getting bigger, the brands more impressive, and I was excited because this was something that I had been working towards my entire life.

Then COVID-19, the pandemic, and quarantine hit. 

Everything stopped cold. All projects either went away or were delayed indefinitely, and my career, seemingly like the entire advertising industry, was cancelled. After a few solid days of sitting around playing video games and eating pizza, I decided it was time to take matters into my own hands and see what was possible to do just by myself; one man, one camera.

Reel for One Man One Camera

First I took inventory of my resources. Fortunately, I’m a gear hound and basically have every piece of equipment I could possibly need; cameras, drones, sliders, grip equipment, backdrops, surfaces, bits of duvetyne and black wrap I refused to throw away was now all part of a useful artillery. With this I could shoot anything, from fashion, beauty, tabletop, cooking and tech, anything was possible. 

Post-production I had covered as well. I started out as a commercial editor and at this stage in the game I lived and breathed post-production, from color correction, to mixing, and even cleanup in After-Effects. I figured anything outside of my wheelhouse I could always call a friend at a reasonable rate to help me out remotely in a pinch. 

Lastly and possibly most importantly was that I physically lived in a place where the people I was quarantining with brought a lot of assets the table. These were chefs and makers and models and mechanics. A fortunate eclectic mix of super talented and equally driven friends that I knew would bring a uniqueness to every project so that it wouldn’t look like everything else that’s shot in quarantine.

P31: Shot in a day with my neighbor downstairs in my friend’s motorcycle shop.

Once I had these resources in place I reached out to a few brands that I personally liked and presented them an original concept. I made the offer that if they would send the product I would gladly create the media I outlined for them. which everyone was eager to agree to. While I’d like to think that it was because they were excited to work with a director of my caliber, I’m pretty sure it was because everyone was hungry for new media especially when it’s basically free.

Aegis: Fun little camera trickery shot in a day remotely

Regardless, I happily got to work and the resulting content became the foundation for the website www.onemanonecamera.com where I showcase all the commercial production work I do solo in quarantine. Once the site launched brands and companies could easily find me and the request started to come in steadily. Now I’m finding myself working more then before COVID on consistency successful hand-crafted campaigns seen by a targeted social network of highly dedicated audiences. Not only do brands get to have new tailor-made, culturally relevant content at a fraction of the budget, but I also get to continue furthering my career as a director and hone my skills on what I truly love to do.

Allen Brothers: Instagram story series that got our mouth watering.

This obviously has been a very difficult time for everyone across the world, with this new normal not only gravely effecting how we produce content, but how we live in general. While I don’t know if this industry will ever return to what it once was, I think we’ve had the opportunity to discovered what we’re really capable of when we let creatively fill in for ease of access, and that is definitely a silver lining to this dark time. 

Channel Factory: Shot this at actor’s homes while physically in the next room.

Stay creative and stay safe.

-Rs.

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