This week on young+creatives we had the opportunity to interview the one and only Justin Coleman Films, Wedding, Elopements & Couples Videographer located in Minneapolis, MN.
In this episode of young+creatives we cover several key topics including:
- How investing into your skills become the biggest opportunity
- How obsession with your work can set a higher standard
- Quality over quantity will always win
- Big Risks = Big Rewards
Connect with Justin!
young+creatives serves as a networking opportunity to tell your story. We strive to curate a space to promote your passion, and we’d love to hear all about it.
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Marley Walters 00:00
Welcome to the young creatives podcast brought to you by revisione marketing group, young creatives podcast will serve as a platform to promote, discuss and give advice on Millennial creatives coexisting in the traditional job market.
Mikayla Anderson 00:16
Yeah, so welcome back to the young creatives podcast with revision marketing group. Today you have my kailyn. Justin, we’re going to be talking a little bit about, well, you just said. So, me and Justin have known each other for a couple years now, I would say, and the biggest thing is that he unknowingly kind of made my career choice for me, actually. Um, but yeah, so he really did, like, have the faith in me as a website designer, and I can’t thank him enough for that. And so I was able to really develop that as a skill and yeah, But enough about me. Let’s go and let’s just get into it. Um, so Justin Coleman, tell me a little bit about yourself.
Justin Coleman 01:10
Yeah, I’m a filmmaker based out of Minnesota. I kind of like to hear people ask me sometimes if I would ever do like traveling videography, and I’m just like, I probably not. So I do mainly weddings. That’s my niche. I been shooting weddings for about two and a half years now. I’ve been making videos for seven, eight years. Nothing good, though, till about a year, year and a half ago. But it’s it’s been a journey, honestly. And it’s been super awesome. So that’s kind of a little bit about me. Okay,
Mikayla Anderson 01:37
awesome. So as far as like your actual intake with film and everything, so how did you start in it? And how did you really like find, like your passion in film? Was it through like, doing different job shadows? Did you see other people in your life really take on film? Yeah.
Justin Coleman 01:58
Yeah, I actually was on a camping trip with three of my friends. And I decided to just vlog the whole camping trip on my smartphone, and then cut it up. And it was just, it was just so much fun. I mean, to the two girls, we went with me my guy, friend, they were really into it. But then I showed them afterwards the fact that like the finished product, and it was like two hours long, but they like loved it. They’re like, Dude, this is actually super sweet. And I just had so much fun doing that. And I was I just ever since then I was like, you know, maybe there’s something more than just storytelling and using video to do that, because I always just love stories. I love good movies. I love good. Just books I love when people like have great oral performances, like all those things on stage and theater like that, like I just love a good story. And so I feel like I just was always fascinated by those. And yeah, I decided to go to call it into the cute couple gap years and they tried to figure out what I really wanted to do, ultimately to be like, you know what, I’m I’ve never picked up an actual video camera before. I’ve never actually edited on anything professional for software, but I was like, You know what, I’m just gonna try. And I thought to like videos, the need is only going to keep growing. As technology keeps progressing. So yeah, I just went to Northwestern University, and after a couple years figured out like, yeah, I want to do full time videography, and just kind of fell into it, honestly. So
Mikayla Anderson 03:18
that’s awesome. So specifically, you talked about, like your camping trip and everything. So from that moment, how did you really see yourself transition into focusing mostly on weddings? And how was that opportunity given to yourself?
Justin Coleman 03:38
Yeah, so I shot a couple weddings, I was actually I was in Japan on a missions trip. helping out with just some with with like, a church there. And a couple reached out to me and said, Hey, Justin, we know you do video, we’ve seen some of that we really like it, we’re wanting to shoot our wedding. And I was like, Yeah, for sure. Let me know what you would want. And they let me know. And we’re kind of talking back and forth. And I was like, you know, 650 bucks, like I would do it for that. And they were like, sure. And I was like well, I was easy and I wouldn’t shot the video I brought someone way better than me who knew what they were doing. And, you know, shot the video edited up, use their footage, and I booked another wedding. And I brought the same guy who’s way better than me. He kept doing that rinse and repeat that like four times. And each time was able to charge a little more. And he was like, you know, I think I could just make this a full time thing. And I threw together a little 32nd reel and put it out there and a guy found me on LinkedIn and he was like, Hey, I really love what you like what you’ve made. I think you make good stuff. I think you charge way too little for the content you’re putting out there, especially in Minnesota, like talk to me about market value and all that stuff. And I was like, okay, like where do I need to sign like if you if you can blow me up like I’ll do whatever it takes. And it just it cost me six grand, but basically he promised me 20 to 30 weddings booked at the price of 15 $100 and more and I said let’s do it. And I also I always knew like I didn’t really want to work for a different, like, I didn’t want to really work for a company, I wanted to be someone who was self employed, I wanted to be somebody who just like I contract out. And basically the day if a company starts getting shady or sketchy, I don’t have to be attached to that brand anymore that name because I can just go and contract for other people. So that’s like, also part of the reason why I wanted to do it. But yeah, that’s like kind of how the journey went along.
Mikayla Anderson 05:26
That’s awesome. Because I think the biggest thing with that is, having somebody who really wants to believe in you, and really does and wants to invest in you as a person is something that a lot of young people unfortunately don’t have. And so the fact that a lot of us are getting that opportunity, whether it be with revision or with your filmography business, it’s crazy, because a lot of it, I’ve noticed specifically out of college now is that people expect a job to come in their lap. And that is such a hard brutal reality to say it does. Unfortunately, like 45 however many k later, but you’re not guaranteed a position unless you really do set yourself up to be a different person or different, like being unique overall. So getting into that, what made you stand out or what currently makes you stand out for potential comm companies to work with or couples or even like partnerships with the Andres and stuff like that?
Justin Coleman 06:47
Yeah, I would say a vague thing about me is I’m obsessive at heart. I’m kind of a freak a little bit and I go I and it plays my benefits is also a weakness. At the same time. I think every strength can also be a weakness. But yeah, I was I just, I remember researching for hours, every day, I would sit down on my computer for two hours, I’d watch Premiere Pro tutorials, I’d watch. I’d watch people who have like, won awards for their wedding films, I would take notes on their like four minute video, I’d watch it three times through trying to look for something different every time I’d be like, Okay, what do they do differently? What do they do differently? Or what do they just even do? And take notes like is their stories or character development is this actually like everybody else. I just compiled lists of what the greats do, and how they separate themselves. Because at the end of the day, whether this is like professional athlete, whether it’s the CEO of a company, all this stuff, like sure there’s people who are dealt a better hand in life, but a lot of it is a lot of people who really make it far they’re doing like 10, small things just a little bit better. And so that’s like, my focus is when it comes to my filmmaking is filmmaking. What separates me from people as I’m trying to do 10 to 12 things every film, so a little bit better than my competition. And also, like, people who hear the word competition, they get a little turned off, right, they’re like, oh, like, you should be helping other people like, and I and I do like, I will give anybody my secrets, who wants to know them, because they’re not even secret, like, I’ve learned from other people. And I’m willing to give those out. Because I want other people to be great around me too, so that I can once again re learn from them, and then hopefully beat them, you know, like, this, I think is like great to have people who are great around you, because you all just keep getting better. And that even like pours over into my friendships in life. I try to surround my people with people who are driven, who want to get better, who have good character, who are generous, like those are the people who I want to have as my best friends. And those are people in like in the industry, who I gravitate towards to there’s some buddies who are really talented, the camera, but at the end of the day, I can’t be bothered to work with them just because I don’t like their attitude, you know. So that’s kind of like a little bit about how that has kind of been for me just trying to elevate myself and stand out.
Mikayla Anderson 08:57
Right? Yeah, I remember when I was learning website design, the first website I did was with the Andres. And so that was like the first thing and I remember sitting on my laptop all day, just moving it like pixel by pixel and just being like, does this look right? Does this look right or not? This actually looks better. And it’s so hard because I personally feel like I’m a perfectionist. Do you ever feel like that? Like,
Justin Coleman 09:26
Mikayla Anderson 09:29
Absolutely. And so I guess the biggest question kind of after that is, I know being so passionate about what you’re doing, I know me, you Michael, everybody in this room can relate. How do you translate that into enjoying it every day rather than being so stressed out because you are enjoying it? So does that make sense?
Justin Coleman 09:57
Yeah, it’s not good. You know? Even if you work something that you love there’s gonna be those days that are tough and I guess basically what it boils down to self discipline it’s I don’t want to let my couples down because I have deadlines in the contract and when I need to get these videos out when I get these gift boxes out with their raw footage and all this stuff and I don’t know having I’m having pieces of paper and basically working by calendars super helpful not working. Just like when I feel like a buddy Okay, these are some deadlines, I need to hit those and also just having a roadmap for my brand and for my business and I really feel like you know what, I’ve been posted on Instagram for a while I was talking about to Michaela, this before we went live, I was like, Yeah, I need to post on Instagram more. I need to post better content need to post more often and just, just things like that. So yeah, it’s just operating by calendar in the roadmap. And I feel like that’s really what keeps things phonic. It’s what keeps things fresh. And I mean, I don’t feel like always. I mean, every day, I always try to work to a little bit, I try to be like, I guess my boy, Elon Musk, you know, hello, Mimi. But every day, I do try to work a little bit, even if it’s like an hour, because it just kind of doesn’t feel like work, first of all. And also, if I instill that habit, then I’m always going to be one step closer to my goal every single day. Because it’s like, it’s it goes back to, if there’s somebody who works on their business five days a week, and they have the weekend off. It’s like, I’m going to be 52 weekends ahead of them. Even if I’m only putting in an extra hour or two on on on the weekends. You know, that’s still like days, I’m going ahead. So I just think it’s important to work a little bit every day, too. But yeah, I don’t know, I just, I see burnout is not an option. And I just try if I get bored with one thing with video, I was edited something else. So there’s so much variety I like, I’ll be like, Oh, I kind of just I feel a little burnt right now I’ll go and I’ll learn like there’s so much you can do to just keep bettering yourself. And so that’s kind of what I try to do.
Mikayla Anderson 11:46
Absolutely. And with that, well, we’ll have to have a creative session about that. Because when you’re not editing or learning, I want to push you to be able to own your brand, personally. And Coach you in that way, I guess. So with that I guest, this is just a very, very intense question. So as far as like, going off of burnout, burnout, like how do you really find yourself, like either on shoot days, or even when like you’re sitting where you are now. Just being able to channel that creativity and maintain that throughout the entire process? And have you ever had a moment where you feel like, this is a coming together? Like kind of panic mode? And how did you get through that?
Justin Coleman 12:41
Yeah, I was definitely in projects where I shoot something, and I think everything looks good, and bring it back to the studio and I throw it on a timeline and like, you know, how am I going to tell a story with this footage, and I’m like, Oh, this isn’t the this isn’t really what I thought it would be. And I guess what it all boils down to is people nowadays anyways, they’d rather watch 15 seconds of something amazing than one minute of just mediocre. And and it’s pretty easy to do really be able to sit down with a client and be like, Hey, this is gonna be as long as you want. But I still promise it’s gonna be really good. And people are gonna like, and it’s gonna get you engagement. And I feel like at the end of the day, that’s you just always got to try to find the nuggets when it comes to like videography, and filmmaking, being creative, like, hey, just always try, even if it’s rare, even if it’s like a little bit, just put your best out there and always keep putting your best out there. And it’s just as you keep striving for that too, then you’re then you’re like, your low end stuff is going to become average, your average stuff is going to become good. And you just keep moving up this chain to where you just keep going. You just keep going. You keep practicing and keep practicing. It’s like anything and you just naturally, everything you have will sooner or later just become really good. And I think that’s part of the thing with like, why to gone, I took on 40 weddings this year, because I knew like, not every wedding video is going to be a banger. Not every shoot is going to be the best shoot, but getting 40 weddings of experience. Like even if I shoot 10 next year, they’re gonna all be just way better than anything I’ve done this year, you know, so I think it’s just important to keep that mentality.
Mikayla Anderson 14:16
Absolutely. And I was gonna
Justin Coleman 14:19
say Is there anything similar like that for like website design for you?
Mikayla Anderson 14:22
Oh, my goodness. Um, yes. 110%? Yes. Um, yeah, there’s definitely times I am currently going through right now, where I’ll be building out a website and I’ll be like, this doesn’t make sense or it doesn’t. It looks great. But as far as with what I’ve learned here at revision is, it can look amazing, it can look great, but it really does. You have to focus on the content and your perhaps like the couple and so you can have amazing drone shots of like the landscape and I Everything, but if you’re not telling that customers or clients story that they need to be told on that, it’s, it’s really not worth it at the end of the day. And so with that it does make you like, we adjust in that way makes me personally uncomfortable because it’s like, this is in the design I really focused on, but like, you know what I mean, like, this is what I need to do. And so I know that once I do have what they need, I know it’s gonna be okay. And it’s not going to be just like a really great design but poorly executed as far as like the content and everything. Um, but yeah, so that’s like, my personal struggle with it. Just because, yeah, it happens a lot more often than you think. So as far as with yourself, alongside your brand new website. How would you really say that your main point for marketing your business? Do you mostly push people to like your social media? Your website? What kind of stuff do you really do to make sure people know about you?
Justin Coleman 16:19
Yeah, that’s a great question, I think it boils down to is it’s me trying to be as calculated as possible. So I shoot a wedding, right? And there’s, let’s say, nine people in the bridal party and the nine people on the groom’s side, that’s 18 people are absolutely the same age, probably same walks of life. It’s like, okay, for sure, I’m doing a teaser for that wedding, you know, and I’m going to post on my story, they’re all 18, I’m probably gonna reshare they’re at least going to see it, and their friends are going to see it. And so what it boils down to you is just to reach like, sometimes I shoot a wedding, and I go, man, like this wedding. I love the couple, they’re awesome. I don’t offer teasers or something like couples can really buy, I just do my own time, because that’s like a fun thing for me. But I also do it strategically so so I don’t want to sound like oh, I’m not gonna do teaser for every couple. It’s like, I’ve you know, they don’t have time. And I also need to maximize my time. So it’s like weddings like that, where I shoot where there’s nine people on each side. And so I go, okay, like, There’s also 300 people at this wedding, I need to make a teaser for it. And just just being very calculated with that were also there’s, there’s some couples that are just an insane location. I know, okay, if somebody clicks on this video, and they start watching it, they’re just gonna love every moment of it, and the scenery, and it’s gonna feel like a movie. And now it’s like, well, I need to teaser for that video, too, you know. And so it’s just one of those on to is you, you really need to figure out, basically, I guess, the algorithm of what people want to watch and what they want to see, or at least what will really interest them. And I think like every couple of story that I’ve done for wedding video, it’s like I watched, like, I remember a month ago, I was watching through all the wedding videos I made like, it took me like two hours, but I was watching all of them. And I was like, man, I love these couples, they’re all so amazing. And it’s not that any of them are better than anyone else. It’s just sometimes when it comes to marketing standpoint, companies do this themselves, where it’s like, hey, sometimes you have to just focus on what elevates your brand, and what’s going to reach a lot of people. But also it’s like, part of my brand too, is I just love those who I work with. And I will not only work with people who I want to work with, back in the day, I would take whoever So yeah, that’s kind of like a summary of how I I like really marketing for myself. It’s a lot of Instagram, I have a Facebook page, and I use it too much. But I’ve also in the beginning, I ran ads, I don’t think I’ll ever need to add again. A lot of my stuff is word of mouth, and it’s really just, it’s really taking off. So yeah, that’s kind of like how my thought process is with marketing. Absolutely.
Mikayla Anderson 18:41
I remember you telling me how many ads that you put out there. And I was just like, That’s crazy. And you’re like, yeah, I booked 40 weddings this summer and I was like Oh, yeah. With that, Justin, so I think you’re doing it right. I honestly can see your passion behind it and I can see your purpose behind it. And I really admire you as that as a person, specifically a young person just being able to see how put together you are especially as taught together I like professionally you really do like just seeing the videos that you put out there knowing that I eloped. I was like dang I wish I didn’t a low BAFTA. I was just like yeah, like making your website I was like sobbing looking at these wedding videos. I was like oh my goodness, like anybody in the Midwest looking for a filmography for videographer called Justin redkite. Now like everybody, raise
Justin Coleman 19:58
Mikayla Anderson 20:00
Hey guys that’s funny. Um So I guess the biggest question now is what’s next for you
Team RMG 20:14
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Justin Coleman 20:47
yeah I was just saying that’s so funny because I feel like I was just talking either yesterday two days ago with one of my film buddies and Mayor like Justin like yeah what’s next I said I want to get an award for for my wedding film so like I need I want something because I go to these websites and I’m talking like just the not like best not or whatever you know it’s like that’s pretty generic I see a lot of studios get that thing and I watch their videos and I go you know they’re like okay, and that’s not like a me I never wanted to come off as prideful it’s just like I’ve done so much research and do so many videos now it’s like the only videos I try to watch that are wedding videos are great so then I see something that’s that’s not that level and I go Yeah, it’s okay and it’s and there’s nothing wrong with making okay videos honestly if that’s what’s selling and that’s what makes you happy and that’s your passion like that’s awesome first off so I never want to like ever knock on somebody because some people are just happy with it it’s like at the end of day a big important life is having variety you know having happiness and so but yeah I’d say what’s next is I want to get an award I want to get one of those it’s like best in the Midwest or like best in the country best in the world like something where it actually means more than just like they’re not 2021 you know one of one of the best videographers like I just want I want something where I can put on my website and people are like wow this guy knows what he’s doing he knows his stuff like he’s done you know he’s putting the time to really do that so that’s like I think would be super cool is to have that to elevate and then I think are in that just like I want to post more on Instagram like my little 62nd teasers I want to do more giveaways i want to i might I’m still I don’t know this is I need to explore if I want to open up a studio you know, have like four creatives on that we all just work together we do this together we make an awesome brand and kind of refine what I already have going but yeah, I don’t know it’s as far as what’s next I don’t really know so whatever whatever God has there falls in my lap a little bit and I’m just gonna kind of keep hard and keep working hard and see what happens.
Mikayla Anderson 22:38
Absolutely. I think that’s great though because I think if you plan too much things like COVID happened right? I know. I sad as it is to say I think COVID was one of the best things that happened to me career wise say
Justin Coleman 22:54
I you we make websites Yeah, yeah,
Mikayla Anderson 22:57
exactly. And so like, I had no idea what I wanted to do or where I wanted to go and giving the opportunity to work with Brandon imati with Andre film company and then opening up to you Justin it’s like that possibilities are seriously unless and having somebody who like cheers you on through every step of the way is so so important to have people like our age, especially because everything’s a competition right now. Like everybody wants to do like 40 under 40 or different things like that, like yeah, best like GPA XYZ like that’s always it was growing up but I think right now going into our career we really want to focus on just making other people in different industries like know that they’re valued and know that you’re better than me at that and that’s okay. Cuz I think that’s just like something people like have to swallow their one their pride and just be okay with it. Like, if somebody asked me to do a video for for them, I’d be like, call Justin back. I have no idea and being okay with that, and being super happy for them that you can do that. So, as far as giving advice to future filmmakers, what would you have to say to them?
Justin Coleman 24:35
Master I would say, one, decide if you want to do this long term and if you don’t, that’s okay. Because in order to become great at anything, you really do have to put in the time in the work and sure there’s people who are more naturally gifted, they can pick things up faster. You know, a lot of those kids are the ones that had the high GPA that we competed with and they probably crushed us, you know, But the truth is if you want to be great at something you really got to put in the time you got to commit you got to get you got to go you know what no matter what I am going to do this and that’s that’s I’ve just seen a lot of people who go have fun with videography freelancing that are my buddies and they’re like man yeah maybe I just want to get a corporate job maybe I just like want to get a marketing job where I can do a little bit of video and you know I’m kind of like the jack of all trades company I’m like camp but is that what you really want to do? Like you get my big motors always you get one life to live and why not spend it doing something you love and you’re passionate about and with me it’s the base advices is just decide like decide Are you going to make this year your career? And if you are then go all in like I didn’t have $6,000 when Joseph said hey I can build a website that will kind of hold a place for you and be like pretty pretty solid and run ads for you. He said 6000 bucks I can I can give you your dream in your lap. I said absolutely. I have $6,000 No not at all. I take on business loan for my gear how to take a business loan out for that. But I knew that once I did that there’s no going back it was I have to I have to turn it on. I have to try I have to do it. Like basically if you eliminate um and I feel like there’s just people who’ve done podcasts before they’ve been like yeah, basically if you burn out it’s like the burn the ships or whatever like you burn the ship once you get the island like you there’s no going right back you know and so that’s kind of like something similar mentality is just decide and don’t go happen. I mean, there’s like small details I could give you but I think the most helpful thing for for young people is like, dude, decide and go all in. And if that means an unpaid internship, too. I know a lot of you guys are liking these posts on LinkedIn. Like unpaid internships are evil, like don’t do it. I’m like, dude, I paid I paid to start my business, like an unpaid internship doesn’t even sound that bad. If, if it’s by somebody who’s legit, and going to be able to equip you like the thing is, you have to believe in the person who you’d be taking that unpaid internship from, but it’s not like, necessarily bad. Like, you could give me a 20 year old with all the aspirations of the world. And I after three months, I could not maybe I mean, the thing is I would try to pay him for everything he wants to be okay, you can go do your own thing now, you know, and it’s Oh, so yeah, that’s my thing is just commit fully, what is it? What advice do you think is really important? Okay, like, what advice do you feel like, what’s the journey you have? And looking back? Like, what has been a big step for you?
Mikayla Anderson 27:22
Oh, that’s a heavy question that I wasn’t prepared to answer. I mean, I guess the biggest thing is, be okay with being uncomfortable, is definitely the biggest thing I could say. I’m going into revision on Cindy Jackson, our founder basically handed me 1/3 of the company and put it in my lap. And that was within a month of being here and I like was really scared and so there’s like the fight or flight I’m just being able to Okay, am I gonna do this? Or am I gonna like let myself go kind of in an instance and I think I don’t know if it was just like my anxiety failing or if it was just like Okay, I’m gonna do this. But once I really got into meeting with clients every day and being able to see their process and then get so excited about what you make for them is like, bigger than any paycheck you could get honestly and people always say like go for the bigger jobs or work for a corporate who could where you do get that bigger paycheck but at the end of the day, I say do where you see the most gratitude and so working with people like yourself, Justin and small businesses every day is worth anything to me and just being able to see like that initial reaction of yourself just with me doing your website just be like, Oh, this is so good. Like that’s just like yeah, filled me up and it just makes you want to be better for that person. Like even now I look at websites that I would do in like January and I was like, Okay. And being able to know that that’s fine and know that like, okay, yeah, that was this process of myself learning to be better and I’m okay with that. And yeah, so just be okay with being uncomfortable and learning as much as possible for sure. Um, so, if you could name three resources that helps you the most within the just getting into the film industry or finally getting comfortable like you can be programs, that specific person that helps You with that first step. If you could get three of them, what would you really focus on?
Justin Coleman 30:08
Man? I’d say number number one resources people. I get three names that pop in my head is Spencer soflo. He’s a filmmaker, Minnesota. He’s in my opinion. He’s got to be like top three best in Minnesota like he is. He’s insane. so humble. Like, he’ll make time for people with questions like this dude’s got like, over 5000 followers on Instagram, he’s featured on full time filmmaker, this YouTube thing with over a million subs. Like, he’s kind of a big deal. And the thing is he he’s humble though. And he goes, like, you need to have humility, if you’re going to keep learning if you’re going to make connections if like, you need to be humble, so you can be kind and, and he’s just, he’s just a good dude. And like, he’ll make time for texting, even if it’s like some like this back and forth friendly chat, like, or he’s helped me out with so many things, I need to leave footage. Like he is he so he’s helped me out so many times. And he’s an inspiration. And I know like, if I really want something like mine, like he’s a real life. And other people, you know, even people engaged here, it’s like, clients called Forrest Gump. Everybody want to draw it to them, and they want to drink. And that’s like, that can be applied to us learning knowledge, and just always being like, trying to better yourself. So I pay for a course called full time filmmaker is pretty good. I think it’s definitely more for beginners and novices. And now I’m a little past the point of novice. I mean, when it comes to weddings, I’d say like, I’m professional, for sure. And, and lean, almost expert, hopefully next year, I can call myself like