Getting Started Yesterday
Denver McQuaid was a Vine star. Not a money-hungry content creator that filmed 6-second loops for cash, but a content creator invested in his craft, discovering new techniques, and pushing himself toward becoming the best he could be.
During the summer after his freshman year at Ball State University, McQuaid challenged himself to create one Vine video every day, for 30 days straight. Jonathan Huer, a professor at Ball State who would eventually move out to Los Angeles, began following Denver for one reason: to see when he would fail.
“You never know who’s quietly watching in the corner and what kind of connections and impact they’ll have on not only on your life, but the kind of connections they have elsewhere that will eventually bring you into it,” McQuaid said.
Denver didn’t fail. Instead, he exceeded his goal and created a Vine, everyday, for 120-days straight.
Huer was impressed with Denver’s work and invited him to Los Angeles to introduce him to Digital Corps alumnus, August Miller, who at the time worked at Los York, a content agency in Santa Monica, CA. Los York is an award-winning agency who have collaborated with Nike, Apple, Michael Jordan, Starbucks, Google and many more.
Denver landed a paid internship by literally doing it for the Vine.
But Denver thrived in the hybrid environment at Los York, producing visual effects as well as filming content.
During the second week of his internship, Denver assisted on a video shoot for Jordan. It turned out to be the biggest video shoot that Jordan has ever had. The day featured 200 crew members, more than 30 extras, and including the Clippers’ power forward, Blake Griffin. While Denver was primarily filming for social media content, some of his shots ended up in the final product.
The shoot was “organized chaos on steroids.” Everything could have gone wrong, but nothing did.
“Between the photographers, the social media, and the main film, we were shooting in three out of four directions at the same time, or trying to frame ourselves behind a tree so we weren’t in the actual film when the cameras were pointed directly at us.”
In addition to The Playground, Denver was also involved in filming a promotional material for a new Jumpman product, again featuring Blake Griffin. While the shoot lasted much longer than expected, it ended with a crisp and clean product.
Throughout the summer, Denver learned more about the evolving industry and discovered what is needed to succeed.
If you’re not doing something now, you’re already behind
Gaining experience on and off campus is essential to success. Finding an organization or employment opportunity on campus to grow your skills is the first step toward becoming a stronger content creator.
Start a YouTube channel, or work on a short film! The possibilities are endless.
“You’re definitely going to hit more roadblocks then you’re going to hit bridges. From everybody I’ve talked to, that’s very standard,” said McQuaid.
“Get started yesterday, and if you didn’t get started yesterday, today is tomorrow’s yesterday.”
Be willing to evolve and change, but if you find something you love, stick to it! Push yourself to see how far you can go without failing but make the decision to never fail.
Denver McQuaid is an employee at the Digital Corps, an on-campus student employment opportunity at Ball State University. The Corps specializes in creating innovative solutions for clients on and off campus. Denver is on the Video Team where he works with the latest video equipment to provide clients with the best possible end-product.