Questions Answered: Creatives React
Production Insight from Ryan Maderic, Creative Producer
What was your very first experience behind the camera?
It was my senior year in high school that I was first handed a professional video camera. With thoughts of going off to college without a degree to pursue, I took a multimedia arts class. It involved photography, design, animation, and videography/editing. When I wasn’t in school, I was usually on a skateboard so that’s what I started filming.
When did you first know you wanted to work in videography?
At the time I wasn’t really watching skate videos yet and the assignments were vague. So, without much knowledge or influence I just took the camera to the skatepark and set it up on a tripod to film me and my friends. Occasionally, I would grab the camera and film different angles or attempt to follow someone. I really fell in love with it. That started my journey and I decided to enroll in the Electronic Media and Film Production program at the college I attended.
How long have you been in this field?
I’m coming up on 13 years of camera holding and storytelling! I usually base this question off the first freelance gig I got that paid me for video work. This would have been in 2008 as a sophomore in college when I produced a video for the Sedona Boys and Girls Club.
What is your most memorable shoot?
My most memorable shoot has to be my first time working with anyone at Cumberland Marketing. To see if we’d both be a good fit for each other, I helped shoot a story that took place in a prison in South Carolina. This became the Academy of Hope documentary we produced. The experience and story were unlike anything else. I got a good feel for the team in a stressful environment. Even though I knew I was surrounded by some of the most dangerous people in that prison, I saw their commitment to leadership and excellence. They treated us with respect and wanted to learn. Instead of the tense environment I was expecting, the mood was much different, light at times and full of laughter. It’s where I earned the nickname “Slim.” After that I joined Cumberland team full-time in October of 2019.
How do you prepare for a shoot?
That’s a big question; but it really is all in the pre-production. The better you plan the better outcome you’ll have on shoot day. Being prepared is key. Have a vision, communicate that to your team, your client, then add some artistic flare and hold on tight for the bumps in the road. Production always has its surprises. You have to be agile, and ready to problem solve. Don’t forget the personal things too. Like, when filming on a snowy mountain all day don’t skimp out on extra layers, goggles or sunglasses and snacks. Chances are you’ll end up being someone’s hero that day by keeping them a little warmer or helping them last till lunch.
What are personal goals you have for yourself in your career?
There are some things that I want to do, like, shoot a project on film (or partially), DP more narrative work, but really, I just want to make sure it stays fun. As long as it continues to feel exciting or even uncomfortable in a way, then I know I’m in the right place. The other part is lifting other people up. This could be through sharing knowledge or giving my time to help someone else succeed.
What is a dream project you would love to be a part of?
If I think through this, I’ve really been fortunate and have had plenty of days of “work” that felt more like play. I’m a lover of the outdoors and pushing boundaries. Anytime I can push myself physically and creatively on the same day is a big win. Right now, I’m really into trail/mountain running. So, maybe a documentary or story on someone in the sport where I can capture the essence of the mountains would be a dream!
What advice do you have for beginning videographers?
I think the best thing you can do when starting out is to film everything and take just about any work that comes your way. This leads to so much learning and experimenting. I’ve filmed so many projects in different styles/genres and it always becomes a learning moment. The other thing is to always film your passion. Even if you don’t end up working in that world, I think it’s just good for your soul. But if you’re starting out and need to find direction, just do what makes you happy and follow the opportunities that come your way.