Will Higley Q&A Session

Meet Will Higley. (He’s the one on the right.)

When I did my very first video (the one for the giveaway with the Seeds of Happiness), needless to say, I was nervous. I’m still not that far into the process, but people like Will are the reason that I’m feeling more and more comfortable with branching out into this area. Will owns a company called A Higley Production, and video editing is among the many things he does there.

During the short time we were working together on the video for the giveaway, he was always encouraging. He gave me some tricks that he has used over the years to get more comfortable in front of the camera – like part of his answer for question number six: name your camera. He said, you want to do your best to act like your talking to an actual person, because you ARE through the video, but naming your camera actually helps it to feel that way instead of feeling like you’re talking to a camera. Since then, he has continued to help me with ideas, technical issues, and learning how to do video editing for myself.

His creativity, his eye for detail, and his attitude about what he does, amazes me. For instance, when I was going through videos, to pick out the best one, I got really tired of hearing the sound of my own voice. I mentioned this to Will, and said, you must get tired of hearing the same things over and over again. His reply was that, he gets to hear some of the most inspirational speakers in the world, he gets to work with some of the most inspirational people, and not only does he get to attend their events, and hear them first hand, he also gets to listen to them again, basically anytime he wants to.

Will was also the main inspiration for my last post (How to Enjoy Being a Beginner). I was talking with him about learning to edit videos and I made a comment about not knowing what I was doing. His reply was, “everyone has to start somewhere, it’s ok to not know what you’re doing”. Those words were exactly what I needed to hear in that moment. They made the lightbulb click on in my head, and I realized that it’s ok to be a beginner; we all are at some point.   

1) When did you start doing video editing? 

I started circus performing, yes circus performing, when I was young, then performed professionally until I was 18 and burnt myself out. After performing, I picked up a camera and fell in love with video. Two big aspects to circus that I value are family, and leaving a powerful impact on people. Because of this, I kept my roots in the entertainment industry working with performers and speakers, helping showcase their impact and creating powerful video. 

2) How did you learn? Were you self-taught, did you take classes, or both? 

I was self-taught. Right when I started, I found things that I liked and tried to recreate them with my own spin to learn different techniques. As I progressed, I added more and more of my own spin on what I created.

3) What was the hardest part of the process for you to learn?

I think the hardest part for me, on a mental level, was realizing that the industry was not what I imagined it to be. It was much more competitive, and much harder to find people to work with. From a technical standpoint, when I started, I had never picked up a camera before in my life, I had no idea what all of the buttons did on a camera, or WHY there had to be so many. I’ve come a long way since I picked up a camera. I’ve met lots of great and amazing people in the industry, and I know what all the buttons on the camera do. But video is an ever-changing industry, and learning to adapt and change will always be important. 

4) What is your favorite part about what you do?

My favorite part about what I do is meeting and collaborating with such inspiring people. And on top of that, being able to capture them and their love for what they do first hand to share with the world. 

5) If you get frustrated because something isn’t working out quite right, do you stop and walk away for a bit or do you push through? 

I’m a big fan of taking creative breaks. When I get stuck on something, I like to go and do something in the moment, something where I can’t think about making a video at all. Sometimes for me this is getting outside and running or hiking. Other times it’s taking a day to come up with new ideas and then dive back in. 

6) Do you have any advice for those who are filming their own videos?

The biggest piece of advice I can give to anyone wanting to film their own videos is to JUST DO IT. We are in an age of learning anything at our fingertips on the internet and having phones that shoot video in 4K. 

In addition to this, here are some helpful tips and tricks that I have picked up along the way. 

  • If you’re speaking to your camera, NAME IT! I know this sounds weird, but a lot of people are scared when it comes to a camera. The trick is to speak and interact with the camera just like it’s another person in the room. 
  • Another great piece of advice when talking to your camera, or directing someone else to do so, is to TURN UP YOUR ENERGY. I have no idea what it is but when you’re on camera it makes everyone look a little less energetic, so turning up that energy is important! 
  • Lighting is something that will make or break a video. A well-lit scene makes a huge difference. Whether you’re shooting a video at home on your phone, or with a nice camera outside on set, make sure your subject is well lit.

7) Do you have any advice for people who want to learn to do video editing?

Again, adding to question number 6, we are in the age of the internet, where everything you could ever want is right there at your fingertips! The biggest thing you will need is editing software. There are tons of free and paid for video editing programs out there. To name a few there is Adobe Premiere, Final Cut Pro, and Davinci Resolve.

8) What video editing software do you use?

I use Adobe Premiere Pro, and the rest of the adobe suite for any other creative needs. 

9) What are some of your favorite projects to work on?

My absolute favorite thing in the whole world is to be standing at my desk editing while just uncontrollably smiling and not being able to help it. It’s an overwhelming happiness that washes over me when I’m editing something powerful and emotional. 

10) How do you keep your work prioritized when life gets crazy?

For me, the environment I work in is very important to my productivity. I have to constantly change up my work environment or rearrange my office so it doesn’t get stale. When I’m traveling, life gets crazy. I like to prioritize sitting outside and working every morning, preferably with a view. 

11) Other than editing videos, what do you do for fun?

I LOVE to travel and experience new things! If I’m not traveling, I like to ride a unicycle, ride a bike, get outside and spend time with friends!

12) If you could do any other thing for a living, what would it be?

I know this is going to sound really wild and out there compared to videography, but I would become a truck driver. Ever since I was a little kid, I would see these giant trucks on the highway during family road trips, and I always imagined what it would be like. 

13) Because The Novel Turtle is all about expanding people’s ideas about creativity, and creating your happiest life, we ask everyone this question: What is your definition of creativity?

This is such a weird question. When I think of creativity, I think about Star Wars. All of the characters and things created in these far-off worlds all started in someone’s brain. They’re all things that nobody has ever seen or heard of before, and if you didn’t see it for yourself, you wouldn’t even be able to comprehend it. The people who created these ideas had to figure out how to make them tangible and bring them to life. Creativity to me is the part of your brain that nobody else can understand, the ideas that are born there, and the ability to bring those ideas to life. 

To see a show reel of Will’s work, click here https://youtu.be/fTwpAXqAMII

You can also follow him on Instagram: @will.higley

Thank you Will, for all of your invaluable advice, for spreading happiness everywhere you go, and for taking the time to answer all of my questions!