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Meet Anthony Pham

Today we’d like to introduce you to Anthony Pham.

Anthony, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I was never an artistic person. To this day, I still don’t really consider myself artistic or creative. I still can’t cut straight or color within the lines as neatly as the next person. I wanted to change that. I watched this video by Gary Vaynerchuk that inspired me to document my journey. In the video, he said “imagine seeing Lebron James pick up the basketball for the first time. Imagine seeing Vera Wang learning how to sew a dress. Life is long, if you’re in your 20’s…you can do nothing for the next ten years, start in your 30’s and still be young.” That gave me the confidence to think long term. We mostly think success comes overnight and I wanted to change that – so I started documenting my journey by vlogging. My first video was shot on my phone. My second video was shot inside an empty 24-hour fitness classroom at 2am in the morning because I was still getting used to walking around with my camera and getting weird looks.

I continued making videos and vlogging the lessons I was learning. I was vlogging the gear I was buying and why I spent $2400 on a lens. I started to improve after every video and a lot of my friends (both that I know in real life and social media friends) reached out and their support pushed me to keep going. I met with two of my favorite photographers Peter, @V1rility, and Johnny, @dim.slum, and they took me under their wing. I watched a lot of youtube tutorials from Mango Street, Peter Mckinnon, Casey Neistat and offered to take on any project I could find for free. I got linked up as a videographer for a Nickelodean actress, Melissa Carcache and was able to meet Gary Vaynerchuk, the man that inspired me to pick up a camera. I helped Melissa on two videos and couldn’t afford taking days off work to do these free projects (I was working and going to college full-time).

So I kept my head down and when I earned enough paid time off, my friends and I would take a week off to travel. First, we went to Portland and then we went to Banff. On these trips, I was able to strap a camera around my neck and shoot all week. The quality of my work improved ten-fold. Fast forward two years later, I responded to a tweet from Gary Vaynerchuk’s personal trainer and got hired as a full-time videographer and moved to New York. “I made it” So I thought. I spent three months in New York, living on an average of 2.5 hrs of sleep a night, eating one meal a day for most days, cramped in an apartment in Harlem. It wasn’t for me. I moved back and worked with another influencer and lived in Japan for a month and that wasn’t for me either. I slowly realized that client work is something I didn’t want to do. Not that I didn’t enjoy the work with my clients, it’s that I didn’t have as much creative control over what I wanted to produce. I didn’t want to be just another videographer or photographer. I wanted to produce great work.

So I gave up my lifestyle as a full-time creative and got a regular 9-5 job. I got a job so that I didn’t have to worry about picking up just any job to pay the bills. I’ve concluded that the point of being an artist is to be a starving one – at least for me. Although many people would argue that being in the creative industry is that to service others but for me, it’s to create work that resonates with you. Anyone can pick up a camera but not everyone views the world in the same frame. As an artist, I think you owe it to yourself and to the world to display what you view as art. The longer you aren’t doing that, the quicker it is for you to burn out and hate creating altogether. That isn’t a risk I was willing to take. So now I work a regular 9-5 job and bursting at the seams to create. I love that my creative juices are flowing and that I have the creative control to take on projects that I want to create. Now, I travel the world, working with brands, companies and clients that inspire me to bring out my best work.

Has it been a smooth road?
The biggest struggle I have is saying no. I like challenging myself and taking on projects but I have definitely taken on too many projects in the past. Learning how to say no and regaining the creative control of what I produce is something that I am proud of.

We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
I specialize in cinematic storytelling on Instagram stories. Most companies fail to view Instagram stories as a platform in and of itself and that there is more engagement in stories than in the feed. I direct still visual content with a specialty in asset management that drive online social engagement. I use copy writing skills to generate new leads and help boost client retention. I also write, produce, edit, and direct original, exciting digital media and audio content on a daily basis through video logs and micro-content creation.

How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
I am excited to see where this industry goes in the next 5-10 years. Of course, social media and technology is changing the way we consume content. With the development of VR and AI, I’m interested to see what kind of platform that gives photographers and videographers. We’ve also seen the emergence of 360 degree cameras. When you think of it, putting on a virtual reality goggle and being able to immerse yourself into a scene is not that far out of the question. I think that would be really cool to do: taking people from the comfort of their living room to the amazon or whichever destination you’ve traveled to and have captured with your equipment.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
The image of me is by @portraitsbyearl

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