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Finding Individuality as a College Filmmaker

Finding Individuality as a College Filmmaker

At 10 years old, Jason Wong found an old camcorder in his closet. He fiddled with it and eventually learned how to use it, bringing it with him on family trips from then on. He would film the trip, edit the footage and add music behind it; his very first music videos. Wong continued making videos, which led him to LMU to pursue making films as a career. 

Wong, whose artist and preferred name is Pada, a spoof of the word padawan, is a sophomore film production major at LMU from Orange County. He spends his time organizing clips for his latest project that released last Friday, a music video for reggaeton artist MatLaFlama. He scours what seems like hundreds of clips on his computer, picking the best ones for the music video. The process is arduous, but Pada says he is having fun, even if he is not being paid for his work, 

“I’m just trying to build up a portfolio,” he says. “Once I get a solid portfolio, then I can start going up to people, or have people come up to me, and have them pay me to make them a video.”   

The videos Pada makes purposefully disregard keeping the camera steady or centering the subject in the center of the frame. Utilizing shifting color schemes and purposeful glitches, the videos reel along with an indifference to normal video making conventions that he is learning in class. 

“I started off copying the coolest editing style I could find, however I couldn’t do it exactly like they did. But through this, I found other things I liked and applied it to what I already knew, creating my own style…. The more I tried to fit into a mold, the more I realized that it wasn’t me. It’s okay to not be in the mold, it’s okay to be different; once I told myself that, I was really able to break away and do my own thing.”   

Pada’s most prominent project is his work with his creative collective, Illusion Hills. A diverse group of artists, graphic designers, photographers, and videographers all between the ages of 18 through 21, illusion Hills specializes in making music, which allows Pada to collaborate with other creatives. 

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Pada has four other projects on his agenda, ranging from music videos to documentaries to a quarterly recap for an artist collective. With projects stacking up constantly, he finds himself with less and less free time. He says balancing his personal projects, classes, friendships, and his own well-being is challenging. 

“It comes down to discipline, a lot of just keeping yourself on track,” he says. “It’s hard, there’s a lot of cool stuff happening in college, a lot of fun stuff, but at the end of the day, it is really hard; you can’t give yourself a lot of free time.”

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