On the Scene with Benjamin Stimson, a Rising Director
An interview with Benjamin Stimson revealed that taking the unconventional path is difficult, but it can lead to success. Benjamin Stimson never received any formal training or education in filming and movie production, but he is the founder of Almost Blue, an up-and-coming production company that specializes in marketing, promoting and connecting his clientele with its targeted demographic using micro-documentaries and film.
Graduating from Green Mountain College in Vermont with a bachelor’s degree in art, he knew he didn’t want to be an artist, but he did know that he wanted to make documentaries. Stimson’s knowledge of film production was very limited, yet with his vision, drive and a Panasonic camera, he developed a superb documentary — his first-ever about New Orleans urban music. “I’ve never done any of those things before, and yet, I was able to accomplish my goal,” said Stimson about his initial venture.
Stimson soon turned his talents towards a sales job at a radio station, and soon after he conducted fundraisers for Isabelpratt, a public relations firm. Strengthening his connections, interpersonal skills and professional portfolio all the while, he began to monetize his passion and developed Almost Blue.
From an early age, Stimson saw things differently — he was a visual thinker. In the sixth grade, he became immersed in an unusual learning experience at the New City School located in St. Louis. In retrospect, the incredibly progressive school altered his entire perception. “I wanted to help students in the same way that I was helped, and not criticize them, but to help them as a mentor,” said Stimson. By teaming up with the Greenwood School in Vermont, Stimson runs an internship program called “Kids with Cameras” that engages students in all aspects of movie production.
“Creativity is key,” emphasized Stimson. “If you want to enter the field, you need to focus, and choose one thing at a time ... you may have to start working for free.” He believes a large investment isn’t needed to begin filming nor an expensive camera. “You can use an iPhone…the camera isn’t that important, it’s as long as you begin recording. You need to get out there and record.”
Stimson also advised nascent videographers to disperse and publish their material on the Internet, utilizing social network sites and video community sites such as YouTube, Dailymotion and especially Vimeo to the fullest extent. They are considered vital resources for film and visual arts majors and others seeking a broad audience. Stimson said Vimeo is the most beneficial because of its “supportive video-making community.” He also recommended using the Internet to help solve remedial problems when filming by visiting online video forums and searching the Web for solutions to technical issues.
“Studying art in college helped inform my skill set,” said Stimson. He remains passionate about his profession and continues to work with local companies in Vermont. He will soon focus his lens on other states. “Filmmaking combines all of my interests: culture, arts, photography, music — that’s why I love it so much.” #
For more information and to view Almost Blue Productions’ videos, visit almostblueproductions.com