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My Place: A Short Film

A few months ago, I decided to build a presentation for speaking engagements. I had several booked for the coming year, so I spent a good month, off and on, putting together a Keynote presentation about my childhood as a kid who was really only good at drawing pictures and how that led to a career as an illustrator.

I treated the presentation with the same care and attention I would illustrating or writing a story. My good friend (and behind-the-scenes RR creative contributor) Brannon McAllister recommended I make a short introductory video for the “Speaking” page on my website. I agreed, and my initial goal was to have a shot of my head talking to the camera, saying something like, “Hi, I’m Joe Sutphin, blah blah blah, and I’d love to come speak at your school or library,” paired with clips of my studio and artwork. Nothing too fancy and nothing too exciting.

I started filming clips of the scenery in my studio, and after I had 30 or 40 of these, I dumped them into iMovie, which I had never used before. I’d spent many hours as a kid making movies with my buddies, though, so I had a sense of how get something decent put together. 

As I started editing, I realized I didn’t want to talk to the camera and try to sell my school visits anymore. The images felt more intimate and special than that, and I’m better at telling a story than selling an idea anyway.

The narrative I wanted flowed with the themes of my Keynote presentation—a kid not fitting in until finding a place for his talents. I shot some little action shots to fit with the new direction. It was really organic. After I edited the clips together, I recorded final voiceover, and the hardest part was trying to read the dialogue without sounding like I was reading.

I asked my friend Michael, who leads the band at our church, if he would record a little acoustic song I’d heard him play before. He sent the audio track to me a few days later, and it fit perfectly within each little movement of the film.

It’s been really fun to see how something I intended for the inspiration and uplifting of others has in turn uplifted and inspired me. I hope you enjoy it!


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