Valentina Vee shot this footage for Michelle Phan's YouTube channel





1. Describe yourself and your work.

I am a filmmaker working in the digital space on branded, charity, beauty, and travel content. I produce, direct, shoot, edit, and sometimes host videos that end up all over your social media feeds. I also consult on digital strategies for brands. I’ve shot for such brands as Sony, National Geographic, Mashable, YouTube, AT&T, and Adobe and consulted for Apple and the Oprah Winfrey Network. For the past two years, I was Michelle Phan’s videographer and editor, and now I create all the content across Aputure’s social media channels. I’m also a frequent collaborator with photographer Benjamin Von Wong and viral video director Karen X. Cheng.

2. How did you get started?

I began editing when I was seven years old, using Windows Movie Maker on my dad’s ancient computer. My father brought his camcorder everywhere to shoot home movies, and I guarantee that’s where my love of filmmaking started.

3. What piece of work best represents you and why?

I’m really proud of a personal project I recently shot when I was invited to Dubai for Gulf Photo Plus as Benjamin Von Wong’s videographer. When I had some free time in-between GPP events, I ventured out on my own and shot clips of the city. I was so excited to edit the video that I got it done in five hours and was up until 3:00 a.m. If you watch the video carefully, you can tell that every clip is motivated by the clip before and after it. This is the closest I’ve gotten to a “perfect edit.” I only posted it to my personal Facebook account, but the artist of the song somehow found it and loved it, reposting it on his Instagram and shouting me out to his fans.

4. What are you into currently?

I am into traveling the world with Von Wong and putting myself out of my comfort zone. Last year, we went to Hawaii and traversed an active volcano to shoot directly on top of a lava flow. I made a mini-documentary of our experience: I currently have three collaborations with Von Wong that will be released in the next several months, including abseiling off cliffs in the Blue Mountains of Australia and getting swept up in a sandstorm in the desert of Dubai.

5. What are three things you’ve learned that young creatives should know?

Number 1: Get it in writing! Even an e-mail confirmation is crucial. I’ve been burned so many times by people who refused to pay me because they “didn’t remember” that they had to.

Number 2: Don’t get wrapped up with numbers on social media. I don’t actively try to promote myself because I know that brands will want to hire me based on my reputation and skill, not on the number of followers I have. It also prevents people from thinking they can only pay you in “exposure” if you don’t care about exposure in the first place.

Number 3: Don’t forget to do your own creative projects. Otherwise you’ll become jaded, burned out, and forget why you started.

5¼. Favorite color? Currently, my hair is blue. So my favorite color is also blue.

5½. Favorite website?, obviously! My favorite YouTube channel is Vox. I love everything about the way they make, present, and market their content.

5¾. Pet peeve? My biggest pet peeve is when I see people not paying for the content they consume. It’s not fair to the artists who created the song/movie/app. If you’re a creative, you should respect other creators and pay them for their work.  

April 3, 2017