He describes himself as a calm, level headed individual who enjoys meeting people and carving friendships with people around him. He developed a love for the camera at an early age, playing around with video cameras and making his own movies. Today, he is an award winning college student in Toronto pursuing a degree in Film and Video Production. He is also the CEO, Director and Founder of First Cut Studio.
Tell us a little bit about yourself
Kendal: My name is Kendal Straughn,throughout my childhood I always enjoyed tinkering with a video camera and creating my own movies. However, I did not immediately realise the strength of my passion for Videography. My career began in Canada as a production assistant in my last year at high school. As fate would have it, I realized my desire to pursue being a videographer as a lifestyle. I left high schools and attended college to obtain a degree in Film and Video Production.
I am a calm, level-headed individual who enjoys meeting new, unique people and finding friendship with all who surround me. I have an interesting sense of humour that often leaves others laughing while at the same time feeling a bit perplexed. I like to challenge myself daily by teaching myself many new things, some of which include, animation, graphic design, web design, and audio. In addition to learning new skills, I enjoy educating my employees and friends on how to create artistic videos.
I get a great sense of purpose and passion through education, so if you want to know anything about video, take a shot and I would be happy to educate. I live in Ontario Canada as the Owner and Lead Videographer you can be certain that your day is important to me, so take comfort in knowing that I will be your personal videographer and friend. Through this friendship, I will be able to craft a video that fits your personality, tells your stories, and connects with you.
What made you decide to choose a career in film?
Kendal: I love telling stories and as a kid I was not the kind that would stand up in front a stage to express myself; I was too shy for that so I used theatre to tell my story, I remember having those dance offs every Friday night and Jelani Paul would come with camera and record us and two days later I will watch the edited video and be amazed by how much additional details that’s can be shown on a camera.
What’s the difference between life in Saint Lucia andCanada with regards to your career?
Kendal: I believe that film is not really supported in Saint Lucia like company’s don’t really value videography like to most people its not really a job,its some kid picking up a camera but with my determination I was able to showcase my talent in a way that even if they don’t value it but they would see its purpose, and in Canada it’s so much of a big platform where there’s millions of dollars invested in film and video production it’s a battle to actually get your foot in the right place because it’s a way bigger country and video production is needed so you get more people doing it on a professional level, but working with all Saint Lucian musicians gave me a head start because I brought something new to Canada.
How did you get your start in the industry and what aresome of the projects you’ve done?
Kendal: I started by trying to connect with people who had already been established. I would message all of the artistes and hope to get one reply. I would attend every free concert and just give out my business cards hoping someone called me. I think that’s what I really did to get my start because a lot of people saw me and saw a kid that even if you told me no, I would still come back and won’t give up. As a result of persistence, I’ve work with mostly everySoca artiste in Saint Lucia, I did three(3) music videos for Kayo,I’ve done a commercial for Gatorade, travelled the world doing commercial and staycation videos for hotels.
Who are some of the film makers and what are someof the films that have influenced your work?
Kendal: Film makers that really influence me I would say locally Jelani Paul, Loggo and Sean Michael Field. Internationally Steven Spielberg. Everyone I mentioned really did have an influence on me; growing up watching Steven Spielberg directing ET opened my mind and had me blown away.
You recently won an award at the Toronto Film Festival—tell us about yourwinning submission and how did you feel when yourname was called.
Kendal: I entered the Toronto Film Festival and was nominated four (4) times: once for best commercial, and best testimonial and twice for best music video. Getting an email from the judges congratulating me on my nominations was one of the best feelings. The competition wasintense but my classmates and teachers would always see me in the hallway and make reassuring comments like this will be the best music video.On the day of the awards I was calm because even if I didn’t win at least I was nominated. I got nervous before the award ceremony when all the projects nominated was screened and just seeing all my projects being played on a big screen made me feel really good about myself. The ceremony began and I could have felt the tension in the room; when they called out the names of the nominees for Best Music Video,I was pumped to get up and run on stage. However, when they called my name as winner of the Best Music Video,my feet couldn’t move,it’s like I couldn’t believe that I hadthe winning music video in the Toronto Film Festival. I was given a cheque and a one year membership at the Canada Academy of Film.
How important is social media to your business andhow do you use it to your benefit?
Kendal: Social media is vital when it comes to me getting work and showcasing my talent. I get to like, comment and meet other film makers. I get to see what’s trending and the work of others. Social media has helped me gain more clients and assisted me in brand development.
We have a lot of budding videographers, directors andactors. What advice would you give them?
Kendal: I would tell every single videographer, actor and directors the job that we do requires consistency long days and many hours it’s not a routine where we have control of what’s the outcome it’s also about stepping out of your comfort zone sometimes so give it all you got grab every opportunity that comes your way study, ask to be around people that’s already in the business and be humble.