Today we’d like to introduce you to Aaron Chapman.
Aaron, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
Growing up as a kid in San Jose, California, I never envisioned myself to be where I am today. My life revolved around sports for as long as I can remember. I began playing football at the age of seven after my father signed me up for pop warner – a local football league in my area. Over the years, my teammates would become my best friends, and when we weren’t practicing or in school, we spent our time creating music in a makeshift studio that I had set up in my bedroom closet. I would then take my father’s camera and my friends and I would travel around filming music videos. As much fun as we had growing up, It never crossed my mind that filmmaking would be something I would fall in love with years later.
In 2015, while attending and playing football at the University of Washington, I made the difficult decision to walk away from the game after suffering my 3rd ACL injury. Feeling lost and looking for a new way to express myself, I decided to pick up a camera again with the intention of taking it seriously. Storytelling through filmmaking and photography quickly consumed my life as it became an outlet for me to express myself in a new way. I fell in love with the challenges of finding creative ways to tell stories while also elevating the identities of my close friends. But, after dedicating much of my life to football, not only was I unsure of how my peers would accept my new hobby, I was scared of failure. Despite these emotions, I dedicated myself to learn continuously and push the boundaries beyond what myself, and others, believed to be possible.
Not wanting to stray too far away from my first passion, sports, I sought to bridge the two. As I continued to grow, I began to use my network in athletics to allow me to highlight the versatility of professional athletes. Unfortunately, athletes are often only seen in the lens of their sport, and it can be easy to remove the human factor. Through filmmaking, it has always been my goal to bridge the human factor of the athlete to fans to give them a better understanding of the person, their perspective and their journey.
The year 2018 proved to be an incredible year as I had the pleasure to work with a handful of professional athletes and teams, including Aaron Gordon, Kevin Durant, the San Francisco 49ers and many more. A lot of doors began to open as my goals started to become more clear, I then decided to act on an idea that I had and created the series, Behind the Jersey.
Launched in 2019, Behind the Jersey, focuses on connecting professional athletes with the world’s most talented individuals to help them build on their passions, away from the game. I worked with the athletes to personally understand their interests and connect them with individuals already prospering in those fields. I believe that one of my strengths is not only having the ability to gain the trust of these individuals but also being able to tell their authentic stories in unique and captivating ways. Diving into my own interests and finding happiness and success after football ultimately inspired me to create this series.
This past year I have been blessed to see the results of my hard work begin to pay off. I have been lucky enough to travel across the world doing what I love with even greater people. I am looking forward to furthering my growth in this space and creating memorable pieces that last lifetime.
Has it been a smooth road?
The road to where I am today has been anything but smooth. As a self-taught filmmaker, this journey has been a constant grind with lots of ups and downs. When I first started, I would often volunteer my services in pursuit of getting more opportunities and building my portfolio. As many artists know, these things don’t come with big pay days – but they can be beneficial in the long term.
Back then, I didn’t have the knowledge or resources to bring the visions that I had to life. I spent most of my time researching equipment and occasionally reaching out to directors and filmmakers who inspired me, asking for tips and in some cases even the possibility of getting the chance to shadow them on set. Those opportunities never came, but I’m thankful for the lessons that I learned and continue to learn.
We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
I am currently in the process of relaunching my company Neuvant, a creative production agency that specializes in visual storytelling for companies, entrepreneurs, and brands of all sizes. Originally launched in 2019, I decided to take a step back to figure out how Neuvant will stand out in such an over-crowded marketplace. I recently partnered with my good friend and now Co-founder, Jarami Bond, as we prepare for our launch in the coming months. Stay tuned!
How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
As technology advances and streaming becomes the new norm, I don’t think there will be too many drastic changes when it comes to film.
In terms of advertising, I believe we are in a pivotal time. Due to COVID-19, everyone will have to adjust and find new ways to reach the consumer. It’s a bittersweet time, but I believe it is also a time of innovation and creativity.
Aaron Chapman, Jarami Bond, Erick Hercules