We had the good fortune of connecting with Ian Shine and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Ian, do you disagree with some advice that is more or less universally accepted?
From all my years of filmmaking I’ve been told two different sides of the industry. One was to go to school, get a film degree, to then get a job at some sort of media house or production studio, to then have to work your way up the ladder with hopes of one day being able to actually be apart of a project. The other side to that was learning the same set of skills through apprenticeships, workshops, and trial and error. Both of these directions interested me, but with my last year of highschool being online due to covid-19 it didn’t inspire me to continue on the path of going to college. I made the decision to take a gap year in hopes that we would soon be able to go back to school in person. During that year I worked on tons of projects, ended up getting a consistent paycheck through my film work, and learned everything I needed from YouTube videos and online film courses. At this point my rate of success was making me question if going to school would even be beneficial to me. I then decided to start my own business calling it Shine Media. I built my website, portfolio, and service platform from watching YouTube tutorials and soon enough I was up and running. I started getting weekly projects that led to me being able to start charging more for my work and start making some actual money. I learned about business contracts and how to work with clients in a professional way all through the help from people online. I had finally started a successful business without needing a film degree or any college experience. After all that I have accomplished I can say that going to film school is one piece of conventional advice that I disagree with.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
My favorite part of filmmaking is being able to show the world what it looks like from my perspective. Ever since I picked up a camera I discovered the true power of perspective and how everyone sees the world differently. A camera is a unique tool that can help you share exactly how you perceive everything around you. When I first started making films there wasn’t anything special about them. I was just pointing the camera at what I thought looked cool and hoped for the best, but what I thought wasn’t special now holds such importance to me by being able to look back at my life during that period in time. It wasn’t until I started introducing my photography skills into my filming when I started to see more improvement. The first camera I bought was a base model canon camera and as I started taking more pictures I always asked myself how could this have been better. This led me to take more time with my shots to find the best angle and truly find the perfect composition for the subject I was shooting. Not only looking at the subject, but looking at what lies around it. What can I use to make the shot look more pleasant to look at. I soon started learning more photography rules and studied them, persistent to get better at what I loved. As my photography progressed I still felt like there was more to this passion I had. I met someone my freshman year in highschool that was super into making edits. After seeing some of his work I knew that this is what I wanted to be doing. I started by taking my footage and mashing it together with a song I liked. The first year of my filmmaking journey is hard for me to look back on because of how bad these edits truly were. At the time I thought they were amazing and with each one I got a little better and looking back on them now only shows me how far I’ve come. I then ended up buying my first video camera and this was my biggest leap into filmmaking. I started improving my skills in storytelling by making shortfilms of the ideas I would come up with. It wasn’t until my senior year in highschool that I started working professional as a filmmaker. After all the trial and error I went through, the practice and persistence to be better, everything I’ve already created has led me to where I am today. The biggest thing I’ve learned through this journey is you can only keep improving and growing your skills. Filmmaking doesn’t have a limit, your only limitation is your imagination.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
In my hometown of Sebastopol CA, there’s not much of a city. I grew up living in the mountains where the nearest grocery store was almost an hour away. Moving to Sebastopol made it feel huge compared to where I lived previously. After living here for more than 8 years now has shown me just how amazing and special this place is. Sonoma county is and always will be the prettiest place in California. There’s just no other coastline like the one in Sonoma County. So if I had a week to show a friend the place that I call home here’s what I would do.

On the first day we would drive up Hwy 1 and eat oysters on the cliffs looking over the ocean. I would show them the secret beaches with not a single person in sight. On the way home we would eat the most amazing meal at the mouth of the Russian River. And for sunset we would hike to the top of a mountain to watch over the low fog rolling in.

On the second day I would take them to the Russian River and swim at our local swimming holes. We would rent kayaks and paddle up river to have lunch at a small restaurant overlooking the water. After coasting with the current back to our car I would take them through wine country to look at all the beautiful vineyards. Stopping on Sebastopol Rd on the way home to enjoy some authentic Mexican food trucks.

On the third day I would take them south on hwy 1 to explore the beautiful Point Reyes. We would hike down to the incredible alamere falls which is one of the only waterfalls on a beach in California. After our long hike we would enjoy bbq oysters and calamari overlooking the bay.

On the forth day I would take them for a tour of San Francisco. Showing them the Marin headlands abandoned bunkers and take a walk through the golden gate park. After having lunch on Cleveland st we would head back home taking one last stop to walk the golden gate bridge.

The fifth day would be spent exploring our local shops and restaurants showing them a little more of Sebastopol in all its glory.

The weekend would be spent doing hikes by the ocean and swimming at the river. Just enjoying the beautiful county that I get to live in.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I can thank the wonderful world of YouTube for my successes. Ever since I was a kid YouTube would be a place I would go to learn about whatever I was curious about. There was a video for everything. As I grew older I learned that it was a place for creatives like myself to share their own creative process with all their successes and failures that came along the way. It became a place to learn from others mistakes and to gain inspiration from what people were working on. From that I was able to learn the skills I have today and successfully start my business in filmmaking. Through countless tutorials I found ways to present my business professionally as well as improve my video/editing quality to appeal to a wider variety of clients. Everything I am today I can thank the YouTube platform for. Without it I don’t think I would be as successful as I am today.

Website: shinemedia.online

Instagram: @_shinemedia & @_ian.shine_

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCfbeLx-zXyjIUrf52nhr3lA

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