Filmmaker Al Amin Talks Creative Process and Tips on Telling Stories Through Videos

Words by Lori Dumaligan
Photos by Lorraine Giron

Think of that video that makes you want to pack a suitcase and travel around the world. You’ve probably seen them online. Videos that show people, religion, food, and ways of life so different from the ones we know. They’re mesmerizing to watch, but have you ever wondered what really goes on behind the scenes to create these beautiful splices of life?

Al Amin India 2 500Holi Festival, India. Photo by Al Amin @altaniameen

In one of the free workshops conducted under our WIMternship (the When In Manila Internship Program), we heard from Al Amin, a young talented photographer and filmmaker. Through his young career, Al has already been commissioned by brands to make videos for them. One of his biggest clients is AirAsia, with whom he makes travel videos with that capture the beauty of places and the richness of the world.

ALSO READ: Up-and-Coming Filipino Photographers to Watch Out For in 2019

Al ShanghaiAl Amin on a travel assignment in Shanghai, China

Once a basketball player, it was Al’s life changing injury that led him to take the risk in pursuing his dream of becoming a filmmaker. He says that he feels lucky to be doing what he loves and to be able to shoot around our beautiful country and outside, while honing his skills as an artist.

During his talk, Al shared with us the process behind making impactful videos. If you’re an aspiring filmmaker or just want some tips on making effective videos, read more below to find out how important the creative process is.

The 4 Stages of a Videographer’s Creative Process

1. Preparation

Before even turning on your camera and filming anything, preparation is the first thing that Al recommends. It includes everything from research, finding inspiration, brainstorming, or just freely writing ideas. This is the time when you can imagine and start forming that story you want to tell. For Al, he said music is the first thing he considers. He explores the emotions he is feeling to find the right fit.

If working with brands, Al says it’s also important to find the music or vibe that fits the branding of your client, whether it is inspirational, sad, or compelling. Once all this is in your pocket are you ready for the next stage of creating your visual story.

Watch one of Al’s demo reels here:


2. Experiment

This is the time for you to play with all of the ideas you’ve come up with during the preparation stage. For Al, he suggests creating a storyboard before you even start shooting a single frame. Print out pictures or create a digital mood board that will help you visualize each frame. This gives you direction during the shooting process. It is so that when you are shooting on location, the work is more efficient and each shot is intentional to the story you are creating.

After this, you can then unleash your creativity by exploring layering, color grading, and experimenting on cool transitions!

Check out this video from Al Amin that showcases his creativity:

This is: Japan

3. Evaluation

But the creative process doesn’t end there! It is now time for you take a step back from the frame and ask for feedback. Al Amin encourages you to ask feedback not only from peers and professionals in the field, but even your friends and family about what you have created so far. This simple habit can help you gauge whether your storytelling has clarity and whether the music hits them just right.

Al shares he even sometimes asks the most unlikely of people—strangers, security guards, even the Grab driver. He said it’s important to get a wide range of comments as much as you can.

In this video he created with Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray, no less, you can observe and evaluate how storytelling was executed:

Miss Universe

4. Execution

Finally, after all those stages, you can now ask yourself: Is it doable? Can you actually make it come to life? If the answer is no, go back to stage one. If your answer is yes, then do it!

As with all creative work though, what process that works for one person might not perfectly fit another, but hearing from a professional makes a difference and can help aspiring creatives get started. Al encourages starting videographers to try these steps—after all, if it worked for him, it might work for you, too.

Challenge yourself in applying and committing to the creative process. After all, creativity takes time. But if you really love what you do, you’ll find ways to always push yourself.

Al Amin ends his talk with some parting words that struck a cord with us interns. He said, “Numbers don’t determine your value as a creator. It’s the value of your work.”

Watch Al’s travel video below that applies his four stages of creative process:

Iridescence of India

Are you an aspiring filmmaker as well? Tell us what you think in the comments.

Al Amin Films