I always wanted to be a director. Like any movie junkie that grew up in the 80s watching big budget adventure films with grandiose sets and exotic locales, I was hooked. So, I took on a film major and considered moving to LA.
But halfway through college, I realized I was more interested in the articles, stories, and films about adventurers, explorers, altruists, and real people dealing with everyday life, whether they were on the open sea, in the Colorado backcountry, or down the block.
The question was how to get the experience, education, and training from the right people; film pros that had in-the-field knowledge and would challenge me to think about every element of the storytelling process, from the philosophy behind the Hero’s Journey, to the logic of creating an intricate scene, to the brass tacks skills it would take to shoot quality footage, edit it, and produce a finished project.
I waited a while to find that combination of experience and education but when I heard that Michael Brown was starting a film school—and an adventure film school at that—I salivated at the idea of learning from the director of Farther than the Eye Can See and so many documentary productions, I can’t count—and I doubt if he can either.
Over the course of three separate schools with Serac Adventure Films, I completed a backcountry expedition to Peru’s Machu Picchu– which I filmed and turned into a 13-minute movie devoted to travel, adventure, and family– got schooled in the basics of editing in Final Cut Pro, and learned the art of creating short, web-ready clips.
Whether we’re creating a two-minute gear review or a five-minute travel film, my staff and I regularly use these tools and teachings on Backpacker.com. We even asked Serac to take our staff on a private, in-the-field training, getting them prepared to shoot in the field on assignment and edit the finished film.
I acquired more practical knowledge of adventure filmmaking with Serac than I did in almost four years of film school. Because of their philosophy of experiential learning combined with practical application, I’ve been able to use those skills both in work and play with great success.