58. Alex Sibbison

16 Nov

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Nowadays, it’s rare to hear success stories of people who’ve made it into creative industries. However, Alex Sibbison’s approach to obtaining competitive work could be exactly why you’re reading his story today.

“You should perceive what others perceive as their competition as your friends,” the 26-year-old says.

“They’re doing the same thing, and you’ve got skills that can help each other, particularly when you’re freelancing. It’s really about trying to provide as much value to as many people as you can, and you’ll find that it’s a really supportive environment.”

Alex started his own video production company about four years ago, called Masterworks Media Productions. Since then, Alex has created content for countless people and businesses, and has even begun hiring others to help him.

But he admits that he comes from humble beginnings.

“When I was younger, I always loved creating films and movies. In high school, I created a really exciting movie in film class, and I was like ‘hey, I’m actually pretty good at this’,” he says.

Alex studied film and television at NMIT for two years, and begun volunteering at Jets Studios, which is a local creative arts studio for young people.

“I said to someone at Jets that I wanted to start my own video production business, and he told me that I should collaborate with the Banyule Council and make videos for them.”

He then got a gig with Channel Nine, which he says only came about because he put himself out there.

“The television industry is interesting because it is very close-knit and it’s definitely about who you know to get your foot in the door,” Alex says.

“One of my friends owns a large furniture business and he told me that Channel Nine was coming down to film a TV ad, and offered for me to come down and help out. So I volunteered myself for the day, and passed on my name, and later on I was asked to help out with filming at the Whittlesea Relief Concert.”

While he enjoyed working for Channel Nine, it made him realise that he wanted to create products for people and businesses.

As well as collaborating with local businesses, Alex has worked very closely with the Banyule Council, creating countless videos for them.

“A lot of the videos [I do for the Council] are promotional videos for festivals or events, or videos they use to apply for funding. It’s just really enjoyable because these sorts of videos are so positive, and I like being able to work with people on the ground,” he says.

At the last two Banyule Youth Summits, Alex has been able to film content from the morning, and have a video put together and ready to show the audience by the afternoon.

This, he says, is not a normal timeline for him.

“Filming usually takes half a day or a full day, and then you’d edit for about three quarters of a day, and then you might do some revision. It’s usually about a three-day process.”

One of Alex’s favourite videos he’s created was for the Kids Arty Farty Festival in 2015.

“It was really well thought out. We thought we’d have a young person go through and experience the festival, and with all of the high impact shots of people smiling and having fun, it made you feel like you’d experienced the festival in the one minute the video went for,” he says.

Alex says that as your network grows, you start getting more and more job offers. While he’s clearly got a natural talent for film-making, he’s had to teach himself how to run a business.

“At the start, I didn’t know how to run a business, I just loved film-making. And then after a few years I realised I had to learn the business elements, and how to contact people,” he says.

When I asked Alex how he learnt these skills, his face lit up.

“Through working with really supportive people at the Council and at Jets.”

In 2015, Alex won the Northern Business Young Achiever Award. He says this was an incredible achievement.

“[The award] is about recognising the kind of impact you’ve left on the people you’ve worked with. It was fantastic to be recognised. I do my work because I love film-making, but to be recognised by other people, it was just great,” he says.

He’s also spoken at a local government conference, discussing the benefit of using film to convey messages.

“I did a lot of practice and rehearsal [for the event], and even though there wasn’t a lot of people there, it was a good opportunity to get myself feeling comfortable talking about my own experiences and journey.”

He says his success to date have allowed him to build confidence in not only his film-making abilities, but also in himself.

“It takes time to build confidence in your skill set and how to run a business successfully, and I’m still learning. It’s just a big journey and you always have to grow in order to provide good value,” he says.

Alex’s other passion is documentary making. He filmed a documentary in Japan called Champion to Challenger. It followed his friend, who was travelling the world to compete in karate championships.

“Documentary film-making from all over the world is still my ultimate goal. In the next few years, I hope to be somewhere, maybe back in Japan, filming another documentary,” he says.

Alex’s advice for anyone wanting to follow a similar path?

“For film-makers, you can support yourself by starting to provide your skills to other people. You’ll be surprised how many people would really value video content for their business,” he says.

“For business people, I’d say, just give it a go. There will be a lot of challenges, but there will also be a lot of opportunities to grow.”

Words: Joely Mitchell

Picture: Sean Porter

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