2013 was a transitional year for my business. Last year I asked myself how I could still create amazing wedding films, spend more time with my clients throughout the process, and also work towards my goal of commercial filmmaking. The answer was doing less, but while that happened to an extent, I still ended up being busier than I ever have. I cut down the number of events I shot, but with that came a really close connection to all my clients. I do not think there was one person that I was not able to meet before their event via phone or in person. A lot of my clients became friends that I regularly keep in touch with and for that I am incredibly grateful. We shot events across the east coast this year and witnessed some beautiful stories.
The commercial side of my business took off like a rocket. September will go down as the most insane month I have ever had. Not only did we have weddings every weekend in NY, CT, & VA, but I flew to Seattle, Washington for a whole week to shoot a film for a nuclear company that is cleaning up nuclear waste (cannot wait to share it). Then I shot two promotional films for companies in northern VA that were both multiple day shoots. It was pretty insane with multiple deadlines to meet, 80+ hour edits, and navigating a completely different world of working (licensing,different contracts, talent, etc). It all led to something that really summed up 2013 for me and that is collaboration.
I worked alongside so many talented people this year in order to create films and images that I could never have made on my own. From stylists, florists, editors, producers, planners, directors, and other photographers, we worked to create art that I am extremely proud of. It really opened my eyes to what is possible and that being a one man band in most cases is often a disadvantage. In the commercial world its critical to collaborate, and I may be working to hire some additional help in the coming year to fill the roles of line producer/studio manager & editor. I want to thank my father, Greg Gooden, Jen Jar, Jodi & Kurt Baier, Ryan Berry, Paul Hairston, Riley Hanlon, Lee Morton, Jeremy Mitchell, Ashley Barnett, Katelyn James, Katie Nesbitt, Gaelan Smith, Jordan Baker, and the countless others that shot, assisted, or edited for me this year.
Beyond collaboration, I also made the choice to reinvest in myself through more education conferences. At the start of the year I attended WPPI and made some incredible friends, who I talk to on an almost daily basis. The connections alone were worth the price of admission and while I won’t go into all the details, it was life changing. Recently, I went to Masters in Motion, which is a conference aimed more at commercial/documentary filmmaking. One of my mentors and main sources of inspiration when I was first starting out, Philip Bloom, was there and it was amazing to reconnect. I also met several filmmakers who I admire greatly and it was amazing to ask questions one on one. My nuclear film was critiqued by Philip and Vincent Laforet, and to my surprise they both thought it was excellent and that I should continue to push in the commercial direction. If there is one thing I can take away from meeting these people, is that they were extremely humble, and were truly passionate about helping others. So many people have come to me this year with questions, and I feel that teaching is something I want to do more of in the future.
2014 will be a year of reinvention. I’m already halfway booked with my events and I have several commercial projects lined up (going to Arkansas to direct a film on Sunday). My focus will be on rebranding for events and commercial filmmaking, as well as to further collaborate with other filmmakers on personal & commercial projects. I am going to travel more if I can..might have to make the Tour de France trip happen this year. Most of all, 2014 will be the year of trying to interact more with you. I’ve been wanting to create personal videos to share here, write more posts from BTS, and try to educate more through my blog. I sincerely thank everyone thats followed me in the last few hours or four years ago when this ship set sail. The friends that like/share our work, and everyone that believes in us, drives us forward. Its been an absolutely mind blowing journey so far, and I have so many things I want to achieve and accomplish in 2014. Sometimes I get ahead of myself and my parents have to tell me that I’m only 22, but I want to keep striving and continuing to evolve + grow. Have a happy New Year, Friends! Cheers to 2014!! I still have quite a few films to share from this year, so stay tuned later this week for a new film.