Who are you and what do you do?
My name is Jeff Wisniewski. I am a local video and film producer. I create video content for businesses and companies, as well as work in the ever growing film scene in Chicago and the surrounding areas.
Where are you from?
I am from Dyer, Indiana.
How did you get started?
I got started in my late high school years when I started writing scripts for television series I wanted to someday make. I went to film school and graduated with a degree in Film and Broadcast, and have been working ever since.
Do you have a side hustle or hobbies?
In my off time I like to collect and listen to vinyl records, I occasionally take my camera and equipment out to places I travel and make short atmospheric pieces for my social media accounts to showcase my work. Apart from that I also have a part time job as a server at Rosati’s Pizza in Crown Point, IN.
What was one of your biggest mistakes and what did you learn from it?
I think one of the biggest mistakes I have made was not being organized. I have learned through my years or doing video work is to always have things planned out and put together before you even set up your camera. Without a plan – even if it’s just a plan in your head – your production can go off the rails. Take the pre-production time that you have and utilize it. You will be amazed how well your production will run if there is a plan for everything. And don’t forget about contingency plans!
What are the top tools you need to do your job?
I would say there are three things that help me with my job:
1.) A Pen and Paper: Anyone who knows me well knows that I keep a Moleskine notebook on me AT ALL TIMES. Doesn’t matter if I’m on a job, watching TV in bed at night, or serving tables, I have my notebook next to me. I write everything in my notebook. Anything from scripts I want to write to pre-production notes for a shoot I am doing to things in my environment that inspire me. I have been in more situations where I have an amazing idea and I need a notebook and don’t have one. Trust me, it’s the worst feeling ever.
2.) My Camera: Having a camera you trust is essential for my work. I use a Panasonic Lumix GH5. This camera is a workhorse! It shoots 4K, 60 frames per second, and I have installed the picture profile Vlog-L which gives me the capability to do extensive color correction with my footage. Knowing how to properly use your camera is essential to any person making films and videos. I am a person who thinks about the editing process as I am shooting, so I plan my shots for what I want to see in the edit. I know that when I use this camera I am getting the best result possible.
3.) My Own Creativity: The best tool you can possibly have is your own creativity. No one else in the world has the creativity you have in your own head. Use it, and use all your other tools to get what’s in your head out into the world for everyone to see.
Who or what inspires you and why?
One thing that really inspires me is other peoples work. Fore example, I am constantly blown away by the creativity expressed in the show “Master of None” which is currently on Netflix. It’s the brainchild of former “Parks and Recreation” star Aziz Ansari, and this series has so many incredible moments of creativity, from the lighting to the writing to the way its shot. A dream of mine is to create something just as amazing as this show.
What do you love about Northwest Indiana?
I think what I love most about Northwest Indiana is the sense of community that certain areas have. Crown Point for example. Everyone knows everyone, and businesses benefit and work with each other to do things FOR the community and their customers. It’s an amazing feeling going to your local bar and knowing that you are walking into a room of your friends.
What resources are you finding to educate yourself?
As crazy as it sounds, I get a lot of my current education on YouTube of all places. I am constantly learning new editing effects and techniques from different channels and video. The best part about it is most people are making these videos because they want to share knowledge and wisdom with the people in the industry. From software tutorials to history lessons you can find just about anything you can think of and learn to your hearts extent.
What advice would you give to someone starting out in your industry?
1.) Network: One thing I didn’t do that much starting out was network with people. Talk to people, get to know them. You never know who is in need of a video for their company or who is looking to fill crew positions for their next project. And keep your business cards with you at all times! I went to a party recently with about five or six on hand – not even expecting to network with anyone – and I ended up leaving the party having passed out four of the six cards. All because I talked to people and got to know what they do.
2.) Nobody’s Looking For You: This loosely goes along with the whole networking thing, but what this basically means is no one is out there right now saying “I need so-and-so to do this thing for me.” Especially when you are starting out. They have no idea who you are, and they won’t for a while. Work hard, do great things, and eventually someone will notice and give you the chance you need to prove yourself.
3.) DON’T STOP!: This means exactly what it says. Don’t stop. Ever. The moment you stop you could be missing out on the opportunity to put yourself on the map. Keep working. The more you commit yourself to your goal, the faster it will come.
What’s next for you?
What’s next for me is to keep creating and to keep working, in whatever way I can.
Where can we find you?