Kickin' It with Cameron Gallagher
We connected with Cameron Gallagher early in our Sidekick days and we are so glad we did! Cameron is a seriously talented videographer and filmmaker who owns and operates not one, but two different video production companies. At Black Mountain Visuals he produces everything from music videos to commercials and at Black Tie Visuals he creates STUNNING wedding films. Read on to see how thinking inside the box helped him launch his business and for some tips on how he manages it all!
Sidekick: You’ve turned your passion for video and photography into a full-time career. How did you get here and how did you decide to take the leap to make it your full-time job?
Cameron: As a kid I loved making films on our VHS camera, and as I got older it became more and more of a hobby. I’ve always been a storyteller, so after leaving high school, it became “How can I make this my job?” I searched every possible way to make money in the film and photo world, and reached out to any local companies to try and get some experience. I spent as much time as possible researching and learning every aspect of filmmaking. I shot weddings with a few companies and worked on some freelance video work until I was 19 when I jumped in with both feet.
Making the leap to full-time was even scarier. At that point it was becoming too difficult to balance working somewhere while also shooting commercials, weddings, etc. It’s still scary now, even after three years being full-time. At the same time, as cliche as it sounds, knowing you built something yourself and getting to be your own boss has always been incredibly rewarding.
What do you know now that you wish you knew three years ago?
I really wish I had reached out more and found projects I wanted, instead of letting them come to me. About two years ago I began to seek out projects that I wanted to do, and did them for free, to show others what I was capable of. Everyone always said, “Do free work, if you want to build your portfolio” but I always interpreted that as “Let free work come to me” instead of finding free work that I wanted to do and would benefit me. Once I did that, I began making the films that I wanted to, about things I got excited about.
That excitement really carries over into quality. Obviously starting out, you have to do what you have to do stay afloat. But now, it’s more about putting everything into maybe 15-20 weddings a year, 10-15 big commercial shoots, and maybe only two short films a year, then it is to try and crank out double or triple the amount, only to not be happy with the end product.
What advice would you give to other creatives and entrepreneurs looking to pursue their passion?
I think the best advice is to think “inside” the box. Everyone thinks outside the box, and the infinite amount of possibilities will only end up hindering you in the end. Set parameters (the constraints you already have) and build your business/product inside of them. Some of my best work has really been the product of constraints. If you always put off starting your business or make your product because “I just need this” or “Once I get here” it will never happen!
Once I started thinking and working “inside” the box, I started to realize my work was even better than I wanted, because I was finding creative ways around the obstacles. It’s tough, but always seems to be that secret sauce.
Not only are you your own boss, but you also work a lot of weekends and have to travel a lot for work. How do you keep a routine with your busy and constantly changing schedule and how do you maintain a healthy work/life balance?
I basically work seven days a week…but I love it, and I think thats key. If I didn’t love what I do, I would never be able to do it seven days a week. For me, I try to stay organized daily by using a “To-Do” list. I actually use an app called ToDoist which syncs across my devices, allowing me to have an updated list wherever I am. I organize things based on projects (weddings, commercials, personal, etc.) and I sync that with my Calendar (I use Fantastical, for all of the nerds like me out there) .
That way every morning, I check my calendar & ToDoist, and know what I have to do that day! That way, when those are done…I’m done, and I can enjoy time with my wife or family in general.
What exciting things are on the radar for you in 2019?
2019 is really looking to be an amazing year! We have booked some incredible weddings all over New York & Vermont. We also have a very exciting commercial we worked on coming out very soon. Also, last year, I was lucky enough to have one of my short films “The Forgotten” get some attention, which has now led to some super exciting stuff just on the horizon! I can’t say too much just yet, but there will DEFINITELY be some more short films coming out this year, and maybe even news of something bigger!
Now onto the fun questions!
Favorite movie genre? 110% Horror! I love all movies, but there is something about horror, especially when done right, that is just way too much fun!
Favorite spot to shoot? I love the woods! I used to live basically in the woods, and it always felt like something grand and magical. Beautiful, yet creepy.
Favorite wedding venue? That’s tough! I actually love shooting in Albany, because the Capitol Building, Education Building and parks offer visual contrast, and it always looks awesome!
Early Morning or Late Nights? I love the mornings. Nothing is better than iced coffee & listening to music (usually film scores) while I edit!
If someone gave you unlimited money for you to pursue any type of film project you wanted, what would it be? It would definitely be some type of Horror Feature Film, but with unlimited money I’d also love to do an Action Adventure. Something in the vain of Raiders of the Lost Ark.
How can people see more of your work and get in touch with you?