We had the good fortune of connecting with Shelby Baldock and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Shelby, what led you to pursuing a creative path professionally?
Even before my family ever had a camcorder, I was making puppet characters out of my hands and creating whole backstories and worlds for them. Once we did have a camera at home, the M.O. was to shoot with your friends every single day. That’s basically how we hung out. In the midst of that, my friends and I were always drawing cartoons and long form comic books we called “movies.” The point is that an artistic or creative “career” was never in question.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I’m very lucky to have discovered the crossover of art and business very early when I got asked to shoot someone’s wedding in High School. I was less than 2 weeks into working at a movie theater concession stand and realized I’d make the same money in one day of the wedding as two weeks at the theater… So, it was a simple decision. Outside of a handful of jobs, that led me to a life of freelance, where I had control over what I did and did not work on. As the years went by and the work and my skills progressed it led me to finding projects that I truly enjoyed being a part of, projects that were personal, and projects that were strictly business. I’ve been lucky to work in virtual reality, documentary, animation, film, and commercial projects, and it only seems to get more varied and unique as time goes on. I mostly edit these days, but I’m fortunate that I can take the time I want to direct a piece of animation or chase after a story. It’s been a series of stepping stones from internships to friends-of-a-friend to friends wanting to put something together. It was definitely not always easy. Money has… ebbed and flowed, but I’ve always landed on my feet, mostly due to the extreme kindness of friends willing to give me opportunities. I honestly wouldn’t be doing much at all without my friends. But, that’s what led me to becoming a one-man small business. I just fight to do what I want to with my life and I don’t lie to myself about what it takes sometimes.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I’m a massive coffee shop fiend. Pretty much every morning I’m at one and I’m willing to drive across the city to discover a new one. Recently, I’ve really loved Apsara Coffee in San Marino. The atmosphere is great, but the people who work there are lovely and want to chat. I’d take someone there in the morning, and would definitely wind up at a screening somewhere – either American Cinematheque or the New Beverly or Secret Movie Club. We’d have to finish the day at Leo’s Taco Truck at Pico and La Brea. The al pastor is a gift from God.
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?
There really are a lot of people I could mention in this story – friends, family, people I’ve met in school, and so on – but, a moment that fueled me and encouraged me for quite a long while cam from Luther Dickinson, while I was filming a concert of him and the North Mississippi Allstars in Colombia, MO I’d say around 2011. I had been working for them for over a year, traveling the US, and being an active part of their live show’s visual and videos online. I got accepted to Chapman University in Orange, CA for an MFA in film production and I wasn’t sure if walking away from the band was a smart choice or not. I had a lot good going on back home in Memphis and was feeling like things were beginning to happen. His advice to me was “Memphis is a great place to be from and it’ll always be there. You gotta leave and find out what’s out there.” I was in my early 20s and feeling the romance and melancholy of extended trips on the road and life in general. It was good advice. Just go find out. Made it simple, made it feel attainable. I’ll always appreciate his wisdom and encouragement in that moment.
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