Starting Young — How Bring Works Turns Student Filmmakers Into Professionals

The origin of Bring Light & Sound dates back to the days when Luke Lashley produced wedding videos with student filmmakers in Austin, Texas. This small collective of collegiate-level filmmakers called themselves “University Film Productions”, and used the wedding video industry as a means to hone their craft, learn the fine art of building client relationships, adjust to working on a large team and practice meeting client deadlines.

While the name “University Film Productions” may be a relic of the past only nostalgic for a relatively small group of former University of Texas and Texas State University students, the spirit of UFP lives on through Bring Light & Sound’s sister company, Bring Works.

Bring Works is a student led company. It’s not a club, it’s not an organization, it’s a real business. The company is managed and led entirely by a student film crew that exclusively produces wedding videos for newlyweds across Texas. Bring Works gives student filmmakers a parttime job where they are encouraged to think for themselves, be leaders, and are well paid for their work— all very uncommon elements in the student film community which is notorious for unpaid internships and makeshift student films.

Teaching collegiate level filmmakers what it means to be a professional is where traditional film school can often fall short. It is not uncommon for educational institutions to place a lot of weight on the talent of an individual and very little weight on the individual’s reliability, consistency, and professionalism. In the commercial film world, no amount of artistic ability can make up for the inability to meet deadlines, arrive to set on time, collaborate productively, and behave appropriately in front of clients. Unfortunately, film schools are notorious for having loosely enforced project deadlines, call times and behavioral guidelines. While internships are usually the prescribed remedy for this, unpaid internships at production companies are not a real cure because they rarely encourage leadership, autonomy, and independent thinking. Instead, aspiring cinematographers, directors, producers and editors are tasked with menial tasks that have little educational value.

Students accepted onto the Bring Works crew are pushed to hone their craft as a professional. The crew members are hired as contractors, where their value to the crew is judged less on natural talent and more significance is placed their punctuality, leadership, and ability to work well on a team. If a specific contractor cannot keep up with the expectations of the Bring Works crew, the company may elect to no longer hire them for future projects. This gives students a taste for what it is like working as a freelancer in the commercial film space, while providing them with a fun part-time job with their peers. Bring Works has a unique ranking system for shooters and editors that allows team members to work their way up into leadership roles. The company is led by a select group of students serving as production, post production and scheduling department directors titled “Excellence Council”. When students first join Bring Works they are taught everything from how to invoice a client or production company for their time, to how to receive client feedback and what it means to truly meet a deadline.

Bring Works is equipped with a similar equipment and software that Bring Light & Sound uses on larger commercial projects as well. Shooters at Bring Works are instructed on similar Sony cameras to the ones that Bring Light & Sound uses, and editors are required to use the same Adobe Creative Suite that BL&S uses on each project. Bring Works even utilizes the same post production collaboration and client review tool that BL&S uses, Frame.IO.

The goal of Bring Works is to be a rigorous training ground to transform collegiate level filmmakers, into business-minded film professionals ready for full time employment at a commercial production company or a successful freelance career— whether it be with Bring Light & Sound or elsewhere.

Today, Bring Works produces about 30 wedding videos each year and operates with a team of about 20 students. Each year Bring Works successfuly delivers over 100 video deliverables for real world wedding clients and some of the student crew members earn upwards of $5,000 — allowing them to invest in production and editing gear of their own.

Educational value aside, the quality of work that Bring Works is producing is excellent. The students have a fresh take on the notoriously stale and repetitive wedding video and are challenging the norm of what a “traditional” wedding video looks like.

For more information about Bring Works, check out their website here: www.bringworks.com or email maryanne@bringworks.com.

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