I missed all of the films at the Adventure Film Festival this weekend but I did catch a workshop put on by the Outside Adventure Film School in conjunction with the festival. “Story Telling, Editing, Shooting, and the One Man Band theme of doing it all yourself” by Ryan Van Duzer was just what I hoped for: down to Earth, sound advice by someone who does it all himself and does not get hung up on production technicalities. He calls himself a content creator (that’s me too) rather than a filmmaker. When there is a good story to be told, he puts out online videos, using simple equipment and techniques.

Some specific techniques he mentioned:

  • Keep it simple.
  • Short is better than long.
  • Don’t worry about what people think, just get the footage you need even if people are looking at your strangely. Don’t worry about looking like a dork.
  • Get close, medium and distance shots. Having varied clips gives you more flexiblity when editing.
  • Sound is important. It is OK to have a shaky picture with good sound than vice versa. For the best sound with people, be up close to them, especially if you’re using a built-in mic.
  • When editing, put the most powerful shot first, to hook viewers in so they will watch the rest.
  • When sharing videos, get as close to real-time as you can. If you’re out on a trip, break it up into a series of videos that can be followed.

We got an overview of some of the many video projects Van Duzer has been involved with, starting with his stint in the Peace Corps in South America and his self-created public access show which gained a following in Boulder. He also did long bike tours like a trip with his brother from Vancouver to the southern tip of Baja California, captured on video.

Van Duzer’s upbeat attitude and fun videos opened up doors for him including the Discovery Channel’s Out of the Wild Venezuela and a National Geographic series in the Himalayas. He’s now filming a new reality show, Paradise Hunter, a worldwide search for the world’s most beautiful places.

I was inspired. Van Duzer seems genuinely motivated to make the world a better place. He’s advocated for bicycling and donated his time to non-profits such as Boulder’s Community Cycles. Van Duzer gave me new motivation to try harder and to make sure I continue to give back.