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Andrew Bui traveling in Iceland

Traveling with Andrew Bui

Andrew Bui traveling in Iceland
It is always a pleasure chatting with Andrew. He is a great friend, a top-notch shooter and editor, and just an overall amazing artist. We are thrilled to have him back on the blog to discuss his work traveling the world and making stellar video content out of those journeys. Join us as he discusses best practices, gives helpful tips and tricks, and more!
1. Please introduce yourself! Who you are, where you’re from, and what you do.

Hello there, I’m Andrew Bui but some people may know me as Dru or @drubui from Instagram. I’m from Marrero, LA which is located on the Westbank of New Orleans. Currently I’m in the “video” field and do a little bit of everything from directing to shooting, but overall, I am a content creator.

2. Tell us a bit about “Andrew Bui Films.” Where you’re based, how long you’ve been around, what your mission is, etc.

So Andrew Bui Films is actually my “official” business side of things, (somewhat separate from me as a brand) where we produce primarily wedding videos and event videography. We’re based out of New Orleans and the surrounding areas, and our mission is to produce cinematic stylistic event coverage. When I’m not freelancing, traveling for work or creating content for social media, I’m probably out filming a wedding.

Andrew Bui traveling in Iceland

3. So last time we talked, we talked a lot about “sloppy/dangerous” filmmaking vs. “guerrilla” filmmaking. You have clearly continued down the path of strong, powerful guerrilla-like content. In particular, you have been busy over the last few years traveling and showcasing/highlighting the unique cities, cultures, and people you’ve met along the way. Tell us a bit about how you got into doing these projects and how’d you’d describe them.

Haha, yes I’ve definitely held on to those same principals of guerilla filmmaking. I got into doing these kinds of projects through a good friend of mines “David Jones” who brought me into his brand (The Pioneer Collective), we did a ton of projects which involved us traveling all over the country as well as internationally and this is essentially where I would say I was able to hone in on creating content which revolved around travel/day2day stuff. I would definitely consider those videos to be more along the lines of travel vlogs/cultural pieces. However I would love to dive more into being able to really showcase a locations cultural aspects, I feel like that’s an area that I’m currently gearing towards.

4. How do you choose where to go? What is one of your favorite places you’ve traveled to? What are some of the challenges you’ve faced or are constantly keeping tabs on when doing this kind work?

The culture, the landscape, costs & time of year. Those are some of the things that I factor in when choosing a place to visit, I have a few places in mind that I’d like to travel to this year but definitely would prefer to wait for the right time to visit to make the best out of my trip. Iceland, hands-down has been my favorite place to visit, I really did feel like I was on another planet at times, there’s just so much to see, vast & scenic views for miles, with endless possibilities to capture the beauty of it all. Some challenges I’ve faced with this kind of work is, trying to stay consistent in putting out quality work that exceeds the last thing I made in some way, and not falling into the hype or current trendy thing to do.

Andrew Bui flying drones in Iceland

5. How do you decide what to pack? How do you get such high quality content while staying mobile?

If I’m traveling for a client shoot, it really just depends on the job & location. I usually start with the essentials that I know for sure I’ll be using, my primary camera, lens, and my gimbal. From there, everything else I pack is just an additional add-on that may or may not be used. I like to keep things somewhat minimal, with the technology being crammed into these smaller form factors, it just makes sense to want to keep things lightweight without sacrificing on the quality.

6. Do you generally go in with a concept in mind, or do you see where the trip takes you and put it together after?

I do usually try and brainstorm a concept the week leading up to my trips but rarely do I have a flushed out idea until I have all the footage in front of me and start piecing things together.

7. What are some tips you’d give to people considering doing this sort of “travel video” work? How can they keep costs down, best utilize their time, make contacts in new places, etc.?

Some tips I’d give, if you’re already going somewhere new & exciting, document it, don’t be afraid to get away from the touristy places everyone else goes to, show your unique perspective/outlook on the place you’re in (wherever that may be) and than piece it together and share it with the world. I’m not the best at budgeting but I do try to save money in areas where I can, a good example, when we were in Iceland, food was pretty expensive so to keep costs down we would just go to these Gas Stations which sold affordable sandwiches and hotdogs, which we lived off of for a week, you could also keep an eye out on sales throughout the year for flights, my friend was able to snag a round-trip flight to Iceland for around 400 bucks.

Andrew Bui traveling by rapids in Iceland

It’s definitely a good idea to come up with an itinerary for the place you’re traveling to, to make the best out of your time. Definitely have a few places in mind that you know for sure you’d like to visit but that aren’t too far apart from each other, driving to these locations will eat up the bulk of your time. I think a good way to try to make contacts in new places you’ve never been before is to maybe reach out to some local FB groups or see if that place has an Instagram Community, for example here in New Orleans/Baton Rouge there’s this new and growing community of photographers & videographers (LocalNomadsLA) that have meet-ups almost every weekend where they hang-out, take pictures and network with each other. Their completely open to newcomers and anyone who’s generally interested in learning and connecting with other like-minded individuals.

8. Is there anything else you’d like to add? 

Get out there and make stuff, seriously! I appreciate you guys reaching out again and having me apart of this awesome blog, excited to see what else you guys have in store!

Andrew Bui traveling in Iceland

You can contact Andrew and find more of his awesome work at his website, vimeo, instagram, facebook, and beyond! 

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An Interview with Nate Houghteling of Portal A

nate houghteling

Nate Houghteling runs one of the best content creation operations we’ve seen (and is an incredibly generous host and guest!). If you are on youtube, you most likely have seen Portal A’s handiwork. We are excited about their original series, One Shot, and all the great content they have in store. Check it out! 

1. Please introduce yourself. Who you are, where you’re from, and what you do.

My name’s Nate Houghteling and I’m the Executive Producer at Portal A. We’re a digital studio in San Francisco and Los Angeles (I live in SF). As the Executive Producer, I oversee our slate of branded and original projects at a high level, connecting the various elements that make our projects successful (ideas, talent, writers/directors, production approach, etc).

2. Tell us a bit about Portal A. Where you’re based, how long you’ve been around, what your mission is, etc.

Portal A was founded in 2009 and we have about 40 people in SF and LA. Our mission is pretty simple: to create breakthrough content.

3. Give us a bit of a feel for what it’s like doing work in San Francisco. How is the local film scene and community? How does San Francisco’s videography/film world differ from other cities’?

San Francisco is a great film city with deep roots in both narrative and documentary. In terms of digital video production, the hub of tech means that there’s always plenty of work to go around and dozens of small production outfits have popped up just to service the tech sector. There’s still a scrappy/indie attitude to the film community in SF that differs slightly from LA.

One Shot

4. So you recently launched a series, One Shot, on YouTube Red. Can you tell us a bit about the show? Main plot, the look and feel of the show, the core message(s) and themes, etc.

One Shot was a series we developed with YouTube Red, YouTub’e new SVOD service. It’s an unscripted show about a breakout choreographer, Willdabeast Adams, traveling this country to find undiscovered dance talent and give them their shot at stardom. The series is shot in a cinematic, fluid style to reflect the language of dance.

5. How did One Shot come about? Where did the concept/script(s) come from, what made you decide to produce that show specifically, etc.

With so many “shiny floor” dance shows out there (Dancing with the Stars, SYTYCD, etc.), we wanted to do something that took dance out of the studio and into the streets. That eventually led us to Will, someone we’ve had a relationship with for a while but have never worked with in this way.

6. What’s it like working with YouTube Red? Why did you choose to work with YouTube, specifically? Were there other distribution avenues you considered?

YouTube was a natural fit for us because we do so much work with them and Will himself is a native YouTube creator. We considered other paths in streaming or cable, but ultimately this made the most sense.

7. What are some tips you can give for people considering self-distribution, working with indie distributors, going with “traditional” distribution methods, etc.?

Put something out into the world. We live in a time where creating a show or a feature is easier than ever. Networks and distributors are still important, but there’s no better way to establish your creative voice and build your own audience than putting something out yourself.

Check out One Shot on YouTube Red today and keep an eye out for the awesome work by Nate and the whole Portal A team!