We had the good fortune of connecting with Bonnie Keith and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Bonnie, how has your background shaped the person you are today?
I was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1951. My family moved to “the suburbs” of Bayside, Queens when I was in the 1st grade. My father was a tax attorney, my mom was a “homemaker” stay at home mom. I was a bit rebellious and quite a tom-boy when I was a child. I loved sports and disliked playing with dolls. I have an older brother and we got along quite well. He was the quiet one, I was a bit more boisterous. My parents were supportive of any and all of my childhood desires and goals, even when I exclaimed at the age of 10 that I wanted to be a professional actress. They supported me both emotionally and financially. I basically grew up believing in my own power and that I could be and do anything I so desired if I persevered. I was inspired and cheered on by my parents to be proud of greatness and high achievements. They gave me the confidence to stretch, take chances; always learning and growing as both a person and an artist. I auditioned and was accepted into the FAMED High School of Performing Arts in NYC. I majored in drama for three years and graduated as Valedictorian. I always strived to be the best I could, to never settle for less, and yet stay humble and grateful. I grew up in a world of love, and support. My parents were always there to applaud and encourage me in my journey. I had a high school sweetheart. Meeting at New York’s famed High School Performing Arts, Rob and I shared a passion for the Dramatic Arts,. We both majored in Drama and about a decade later, we got married, and relocated to Los Angeles, as I pursued my dream of becoming a professional actress. Being ambitious entrepreneurs, we also started a video production company and then a travel agency (before the likes of Expedia), “Travel Magic.” During this prolific time, we also created two beautiful boys, Randy and Ryan. I continue to employ my expertise as a professional actress to share the power of video. I have now been working in the video industry for over 35 years and was actually a pioneer in that field back in the late 70’s. Even now, every video I work on is filmed, edited and produced “like a movie”, using multi cameras. Each video has a beginning, middle and end and has an emotional impact on the viewer. That is one of my unique abilities and makes me stand out from other videographers. With the experience I have both in front of and behind the camera, I have been perceived as an expert in my field. I have recently been Rated # 1 videographer in Santa Clarita by Threebestrated.com (2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020), am a Yelp award recipient, was voted Ultimate Wedding Videographer in Santa Clarita 2018, and 2019, and recently received an award for The Best of 2020 for Video Production Services in Santa Clarita by Santa Clarita Award Program. My parents, my upbringing, and my background instilled in me a confidence in my talents and abilities, a desire to achieve success by helping others and creating art, a zeal for life and lifting people up though my video creations.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
One thing that sets me apart from many in my field is that I am totally self taught. I learned everything I know from actually “doing it”. I started my first video production company in 1977, BEFORE VHS, the internet, Youtube, Federal Express, Cell phones, anything digital. RBK Color Video was born fulfilling the needs of actors and performers.
As I was a professional actress in those years, those were the people who revolved in my world. We would film performers in LA who were auditioning for a show in Las Vegas. After we filmed them, we handed them their TAPE and they Mailed it to the agent or booker in Vegas. We filmed actors scenes to add to their demo reel. Filmed with one camera but used a movie making technique. Shot the master shot, then the close ups and “over the shoulder” shots. We then edited the different angles “just like in the movies”.
Today, RBK has re-emerged as VideoMagic Productions and we still film everything we do as if it is a movie. I believe that every video I create tells a story, whether it is a business promo, an actors scene, a wedding or a live event. The story is so much more interesting if told with a cinematic feel and our filming and editing style takes all that into account. Each video is custom made from scratch (we do not use any templates), we use multi cameras (from 3-9 cameras have been used), do a multi camera edit and create a moving, engaging, heart felt video which has a beginning, middle and end and has an emotional impact on the viewer. Every video shares a powerful message and is a work of art. I have received several awards for Ultimate Wedding Videographer, Best Video Production Services Santa Clarita by SCV Awards Program, Best of Santa Clarita Video Production Three Best Rated.com several years in a row. Success is never easy, at least NOT for me. When I resurrected RBK Color Video into VideoMagic, my first hurdle was to learn how to take everything I did in the analog world into the digital world. Reinventing myself seemed to happen several times in my life and work.
One of my goals was to become the person and company with such high quality and highest of integrity in the video field, that when people thought of Video, the only sensible company to contact would be VideoMagic Productions. Anbd that is exactly what has happened after 12 years of reinvention and perseverence. Reputation is everything. I offer and deliver a much greater product than promised. I have been know to film a wedding with 4 assistants and 9 cameras, and literally charging the same price other videographers would charge for one cameraman and one camera.
I have learned that no matter how prepare you are for any situation that might arise (especially when filming a live event or occasion), something will undoubtedly go wrong. I try to anticipate every contingency and that is why I use so many cameras, microphones, and back up all my work in as many ways as I possibly can. Better safe than sorry. My perfectionism is my clients gain. The final outcome and final produced video is the only thing that counts in the end. My vision for the end result of the video is to achieve the Client’s vision. Their satisfaction, happiness and gratitude is the greatest payment of all. I love working with video and helping create a work of art with each video. I also love helping and working with people in all walks of life. I understand the power of video more strongly than many.
When my husband passed away in 2003, one of my consolations was the fact that I knew I had hundreds of hours of him on video. Rob with the kids, singing, playing pianos and guitar, playing ball, just being goofy at home. I have it all on video and as a beautiful legacy memory.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
So many places come to mind. Los Angeles is filled with places of interest from Hollywood to Santa Monica, Catalina. Big Bear is peaceful, Lake Tahoe is gorgeous. San Francisco , Chinatown, the Fisherman’s Wharf is fun. Vancouver is incredible. San Diego is a dream and one of the best places to live and visit. The Magic Castle in LA is one of a kind.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Honestly, my role models were my parents They were my mentors and provided me with all the tools I needed for happiness and success. My husband Rob (who passed away too young in 2003) was my soul mate and true encourager. My children, now grown men, deserve credit for bolstering me up when I wasn’t that sure of my next step. The actress Patty Duke (yes, I am dating myself now) was my idol. I saw her portray the role of Helen Keller on Broadway and that was when (at the age of 10) I decided that I wanted to be an Actress.