From Bootstraps to Big Crews: Get the Right Gear

From Bootstraps to Big Crews: Get the Right Gear
Budgets or broke, we all know what it is to hustle as an independent filmmaker.  Two time national Emmy award winning filmmaker Stephen McGee talks real life film experiences; from making little money to following his dreams year after year and how the hardest years developed his unique style that commercial clients are now wanting. He shares when he invested into new gear, the generations of the gear he’s had, what trends he followed, the highs and many lows, the importance of the world of lights, gimbals and tripods and finishes with an in-depth look at the gear behind his winning Shotover entry.  BIO: Stephen McGee is a two time Emmy awarding winning Director/DP/Editor and has worked for nonprofit groups, journalism outlets, foundations and commercial clients. Stephen started doing video and photo work for nonprofit groups in Africa and Southeast Asia. They could afford a plane ticket and a small stipend but not much else. He had a simple goal; pursue high end production to NGOs who couldn't normally afford it, to make the most impact possible for the most amount of good. In order to achieve a greater level of production value, he had to push the limits of the gear he had. With the ultimate goal of creating a great story and frame, he began to pursue mastering the power contained in a fixed shot from a tripod. He mounted the tripod on everything from Landrovers to planes to elephants. Since then, his films have contributed to raising over a million dollars for the groups he worked for in areas such as: education, mentorship, food, and housing. His roots as a photojournalist taught him integrity and respect to his frame, his subjects, and clients. His clients have diversified from his humble beginnings but his goals remain the same. His work ranges from short form ads to long form documentary films and his list of locations spans the 30 countries including China with The Obama Administration, four trips to Vietnam for non-profit groups and Canon cameras, Africa with the United Nations and clean energy companies. While travel work propels his mind and creativity, most of his work is in Detroit and around the US.  A 2016 film he made went viral and helped Detroit win a UNESCO City of Design Award, He has collaborated with Big Sean, Kidd Rock and Shepard Fairey, has done hundreds of films for artists, freelances for CNN, Al Jazeera, Time, New York Times, created films for the Empire State Building, Ford, Chevy and Intel. He has licensed footage to JJ Abrams, shot for award winning documentaries, is really involved in his local film scene and does all he can to support, mentor, and bring up those working hard around him speaking at events, classes, and keynotes ranging including TedX.

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