Justin Eisner, a freshman business management major and digital film minor, wants to start his own film production company.
A few weeks ago, Eisner created a video lookbook, a video showcase of different products offered, for the clothing company Honor Raleigh. He got the job by emailing the company and asking them if they wanted a video made. They had seen his work and welcomed his offer.
“A lot of people who I look up to are always telling me, ‘Don’t wait for luck to come your way. Go out and make your own luck,’” Eisner said.
Eisner helps Apex Community Church with videos for their Anthologies blog. The project catalogs raw stories about people whose lives have been transformed by God.
“(Anthologies) has (helped) me in terms of not only learning a lot more stuff about myself (and) videos, but also challenging my faith by seeing all these different stories,” Eisner said. “(I’ve gained) a broader perspective of people within the church and (an) understanding that not everybody’s perfect.”
Eisner started with photography and film back when he enrolled in high school art classes. He couldn’t draw or paint well, but he needed a creative outlet.
“(Photography) came from my lack of ability to put pen to paper,” Eisner said.
And photography led him to film.
Eisner was working for the school newspaper when a teacher approached him about making videos to post online. During high school Eisner also created a three-part video series for the Panther Creek men’s varsity basketball team featuring a combination of player interviews and game clips.
Eisner’s videos for Panther Creek caught the eye of former actor and athlete Brian Spann.
“I looked at the way he panned in and out with the camera, the way he focused on the guys of the basketball team,” Spann said. “He has this bird’s-eye view of everything.”
Spann said he was surprised when he learned that the basketball videos were the work of a high school student.
“I thought maybe (Justin) was either someone who was majoring in communication in college or maybe some grown guy doing this on the side,” Spann said.
During one game, Spann’s son Nubian claimed a place in Panther Creek basketball lore when his first dunk shattered the backboard. Afterward, Spann contacted Eisner and asked him to create a highlight reel for Nubian.
“He kept a lot of energy in his work (and gave) a lot of suggestions,” Spann said. “He brings you into his world, but he still respects your ideas at the same time.”
Spann was so impressed with the completed highlight reel and with Eisner’s work ethic that he introduced Eisner to NFL free agent Derek Morris. Morris wanted to get back into the league, so he employed Eisner to produce a promotional video.
During the project, Eisner reconciled his own ideas, particularly about music, with those of his employers.
“One of the biggest things in the film industry is your ability to adapt,” Eisner said. “If you get somewhere and it’s not what you (had in mind), you have to be able to mold and transform it.”
Spann said, “Justin was able to take the (acoustic) music he’d brought for his idea and the (hip-hop) music Derrick’s agent had brought and (make them) sync. The sound went from a nice little cub to a ferocious Kodiak bear.”
Eisner developed other valuable skills while making these videos.
“In video, my greatest strength is to surround a video with music and to make the two work very well together,” Eisner said. “I like to build the story around the transitions in the music. That can make an average video go to the next level.”
Eisner came to Cedarville this fall, and though he’s not yet involved with any of the photography or film groups on campus, he said he has befriended people with similar passions and skills.
He said he thrives on giving and receiving feedback on creative work.
“(I want) to help people who have the same passion I do because I know how much I’ve struggled with learning new things because no one’s ever taken me under their wing,” Eisner said.
Next summer, Eisner said he hopes to go to Africa so that he can expand his knowledge of the world’s cultures.
“Traveling allows your horizons to be expanded,” he said, “not only physically but mentally as well.”
Visit http://justineisner.com to see Justin’s work.
Nate Spanos is a senior music major and a reporter for Cedars. He co-authors a blog about growth in Christ called Understory. You can explore it at jesusknife.com.