I’m not an artist

By Jase Gibbons

Now I know that title is a bold statement for someone who has spent the last 7+ years of their life fully focusing on filmmaking, but there is reasoning behind it. My whole life I have wanted to be an electrical engineer. The idea of working with electronics and modern technology trying to solve different problems was the best thing in my young naive little mind. Even going into high school I had it all planned out that I was going to go to college for electrical engineering and that was that nothing could change my mind. The idea of doing anything artistic was completely out of the question as I had nearly failed my middle school art class just the year before. If you’re thinking, “How is it even possible to fail an art class” I was wondering the same thing. The thought in my mind was always that I was never artistic and that I had no ability to create art and stories that people could connect to and enjoy.

Freshman year of high school that all began to change. I was placed into Communication Technology 1, the introductory video production class at my high school, because I had messed up my schedule and that was the only class that was still available. After completing that class I started to rethink my steadfast idea of just wanting to be an electrical engineer. In that class I was able to make “artistic” products and they were videos that people seemed to have enjoyed. They were the worst things I have ever laid my eyes on but they were videos that I had made and they had a somewhat cohesive story behind them.

That summer I tried to figure out why I liked making videos so much and what about it appealed to me so much because I never liked anything traditionally seen as artistic. I figured that it was because it was a very technologically heavy field and so having that technological connection helped me work better and appreciate filmmaking. I was right, sort of, with this thinking, but I wouldn’t really discover what it was that created that connection until much later.

Recently, as in within a year or so from now, I discovered that I enjoyed filmmaking because to me it wasn’t art, it was engineering. I realized that when I’m making videos I’m not making the stories that are being told, like most art does. My videos are all engineering plans and constructions of stories that already exist. I’m just doing the calculations necessary to take all of the raw materials, labor, and planning needed to put them together in a final product. This in particular explains my affinity towards nonfiction filmmaking and wanting to showcase those in the world around me and make their stories into videos.

For the first three years of my Penn State college career I’ve used the filmmaking tools I’ve collected to create a wide variety of both nonfiction and fiction videos. Everything from concert videos, stories about families dealing with pediatric cancer, to a 30 minute short film with a crew of 15+. The one thing that all of these videos have in common is that the stories are already happening. Each video’s story is a living, breathing, and constantly evolving thing that doesn’t begin the moment a camera is turned on. My role as a filmmaker is simply to use the tools I have, to take the raw materials that are stories and mold them into a format that others can connect with.


This project was created as part of the JTWO [INC]ubator Project. A semester long internship program built from the ground up to give young filmmakers, content creators, and all around hungry for a challenge individuals a place to stretch their creative minds while preparing them for the road ahead.

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