The North Island Gazette interviewed local filmmaker Micah Estlin about his experiences this summer shooting a community-oriented North Island video series for the Regional District of Mount Waddington (RDMW).
Tyson Whitney: Hi, Micah. How was the experience overall this summer shooting the short video series?
Micah Estlin: The experience was awesome. I went in thinking I knew exactly what to do and that it would be a breeze, but I ended up facing a lot more unique challenges that I wasn’t expecting. This taught me some very valuable lessons, not only about doing projects for others, but also about myself and what conditions I work best under.
Tyson Whitney: Have you done previous film projects? Micah Estlin: I have done dozens of film projects before, but this was my first official project done for someone that was actually paying me. Despite this, I tried to approach it with the same mindset of my other projects, because I knew if I pandered too much it wouldn’t turn out as well. I wanted to make videos that only Micah Estlin could make, so I tried to ask myself, “what is unique about your process? What can you bring to the table?” This question led me to experiment with the videos. For example, one of the videos is almost completely shot on one lens that was made in the 70s that I adapted to my modern camera, as it gave a unique look that felt like it matched the area I was filming. I won’t say where that is; it’s not something that’s meant to stand out, but just kind of change the vibe.
Tyson Whitney: What was your favourite part about shooting the video series?
Micah Estlin: My favourite part about the whole experience was learning about my home. My job was literally going around talking to people who love where they live, which made me view the place I’ve spent most of my life in a whole new light, so by the time I got to the editing process, I had a completely different mindset than when I started.
Tyson Whitney: What was the most challenging part?
Micah Estlin: The most challenging part was fighting the weather. The reality is, it’s not always sunny here, so I didn’t want to film only on the nicest days. At the same time, it felt like 90 per cent of the time I went out it was raining, and I didn’t want to make the impression that we live in a rain cloud (even though it sometimes feels like we do).
Tyson Whitney: Anyone you want to thank for the opportunity to shoot the series?
Micah Estlin: I want to thank Angela and David at Community Futures Mount Waddington (CFMW) for giving me this opportunity. This is the kind of stuff I want to spend my life doing, so I’m trying to learn as much as I can about filming so that I can get a head start, but I never thought I would find employment opportunities in the North Island that pertained to my interests, as my interests are super niche. You just don’t expect to have these opportunities here, so I just want to thank David and Angela and everyone else at CFMW for giving me this chance to do what I love.
Tyson Whitney: What’s next for you as a filmmaker?
Micah Estlin: Moving forward, I’m just going to keep doing projects, whether personal or professional, as long as they are Micah Estlin videos I’ll be happy. And hopefully, other people will like them just as much as I do.
Tyson Whitney: Anything you want to say to the communities you worked with over the summer?
Micah Estlin: The one thing I would say to everyone in the North Island after this is that each community is very unique and even if you live in Port McNeill, it’s worth visiting Alert Bay, Sointula, etc.
Vancouver Island North Training and Attraction Society will soon be launching the short video series promoting the communities and people living in the Regional District of Mount Waddington. The videos conclude the first portion of a two-year long project on the ‘My Vancouver Island North’ website.