How I kickstarted my cinematography career

By Edward Martin
March 15, 2022

photo via @n18productions
photo via @n18productions

It was the fourth quarter; I was down to my last battery, and I was losing feeling in my hands. I would then capture a clip that would kickstart my filmmaking career.

My content creation journey began in 2012-13. Vine was the first platform I utilized to create sports highlight content.

Before knowing how to download clips and music online, my process was very straightforward. I would pull up a sports highlight and song on two different tabs on my mac desktop and record the screen on my iPhone.

The rush I would get when syncing the clip and audio perfectly was second to none.

photo via @n18productions

In 2014, I started creating software edits using Final Cut Pro X (FCPX).

Little did I know at the time that this was what would spark a full-on content-creating passion.

Vine was released in Jan. of 2013. Being owned by Twitter, Vine was a platform where creators could upload innovative content, mainly for entertainment purposes. Creators like CodyKo, the Dolan Twins and the Paul brothers made a name for themselves on the app.

Vine brought joy that I hadn’t felt before. The editing community was a very close/tight-knit group. Kids that just enjoyed editing and producing intriguing content.

When Vine shut down in Oct. 2017, I established a following of approximately 10,000 while accumulating over 10 million total loops (views).

I needed to find another platform to create on, so I fell on YouTube.

Since Vine consisted of six-second looping videos, YouTube pushed me to produce more extended content. I started by creating sports highlight videos and documentaries of my favorite athletes and teams.

While I edited many sports, lacrosse was what attracted my target audience. Some of my most-viewed YouTube videos were college lacrosse season hype videos. I would download several clips from different videos and edit them using FCPX.

It wasn’t until winter 2018, my senior year of high school, that I decided to purchase my first camera.

I quit the lacrosse team to take on and focus on my filmmaking passion full-time. Although it was a bummer not being able to take the field was my teammates, I carved out a new role on the team.

I took pride in creating highlight videos for Radnor High School throughout the 2018 season. I would produce/edit full-game highlights and upload them to YouTube.

At first, filming in front of large crowds was nerve-racking. It felt as if the spotlight was on me, which I didn’t like.

After graduation, I decided to attend the University of Arizona (UA) in Tucson, AZ.

My only semester at the UA was eventful, to say the least. I was enjoying the warm weather while making friends from all corners of the U.S.

But something was missing inside.

I had only touched my camera twice throughout the entire fall 2018 semester.

When on the plane back home to PA for winter break, I knew that I would not be returning to UA in the spring.

I decided to enroll at Delaware County Community College (DCCC) in spring 2019. My course load was relatively light while only taking three classes, three days a week.

This allowed me to pursue my filmmaking career.

photo via @n18productions

I spent that spring traveling all over the east coast, producing sports highlight videos for high school/collegiate programs. I initially wasn’t getting paid for the work, but that didn’t bother me. My goal was to get my foot in the door and network as much as I could.

Only a month into the season, I had a clip showcased on SportsCenter’s Top 10 Plays.

I was hired as a freelancer to create highlights for STX Lacrosse’s YouTube of the Penn vs. Princeton men’s lacrosse game at the University of Pennsylvania.

It was the fourth quarter; I was down to my last battery, and I couldn’t feel my hands. I captured a clip of senior, Simon Mathias, assisting senior Alex Roesner behind the back from his knees. When looking at the clip from the camera, I didn’t seem too intrigued.

It wasn’t until I got home that night and pulled up the clip on my laptop that realized that the clip was special.

I quickly edited the clip and posted it on my Instagram. The next day, I got a direct message from House of Highlights, a sports platform with a following of over 20 million, asking if they had permission to post my edit. Of course, I said yes and watched as my following nearly tripled overnight.

It’s crazy looking back and seeing how one clip kickstarted my career as a cinematographer.

Photo via @n18productions

The rest of the spring was spent filming mainly high school along with some college lacrosse. My talents were noticed by some of the guys on Cabrini University’s lacrosse team.

Tyler Kostack, who was a junior at the time, reached out and asked if I were interested in coming out to shoot a home game for the Cavs.

Cabrini’s 2019 roster was stacked with talent across the board. The Cavaliers finished 22-2 on the season with a perfect 6-0 record in the Atlantic East Conference (AEC).

Cabrini got revenge by beating York College in the Quarterfinals and Salisbury University in the Semifinals, the only two teams to which they lost to in the regular season.

Cabrini Sports Information Director (SID), Dave Howell, contacted me asking if I would like to create highlights of their national championship game at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, PA. I accepted the offer in a heartbeat. Cabrini went on to defeat Amherst College 16-12 to claim their first national lacrosse championship in school history.

In June 2019, I had accumulated a following of over 20,000 on Instagram.

Cabrini’s national title victory was the highlight of a surreal filmmaking season. The bond and relationships that I established with the guys on that 2019 team is the main reason behind why I decided to transfer to Cabrini in fall 2020.

From being a college kid out west questioning his future in fall 2018 to a kid who kickstarted his filmmaking career in spring 2019.

I wouldn’t want it any other way.

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Edward Martin

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