The Being Group’s Senior Videographer, Aidan Mayrhofer, shares how his childhood passion for film grew into a rewarding career as a professional videographer.
The force is strong
When I think back to childhood, I have a strong memory of playing with my Star Wars LEGO — the theme music playing on a small speaker in the background, recording the action on an old camera. I’ve always loved everything about film and video.
My parents, Anthony and Amanda, are huge movie buffs. (On the whole “A” thing, I married my wife Annie just to keep it going!) My father worked in distribution for a big film company when he was at uni, which at the time had an association with the famous Ritz Theatre in Randwick. He’d get access to free screenings of new releases to make sure the film was working properly. My parents had a lot of first dates there, with the whole cinema to themselves, and we still see films at the Ritz to this day.
My father is now a science teacher, so he’s very thoughtful and logical in the way he does things. He loves the technical side of film, and so do I. He’s interested in things like frame rates and film stock. He’ll even travel to Melbourne to watch something screened on a real film projector, as opposed to digital! My mother is an art teacher, so she’s much more interested in the creative side. Between them, they sparked my lifelong passion for telling stories in a visual medium.
It was at school that I realised film was something I wanted to pursue as a career. I wasn’t very good at music, but I loved Music Tech. One of our assignments was to redo the trailer soundtrack for The Incredibles. All music and effects were wiped and we started from scratch. That was very cool. We recorded sounds created by knocking on wood, rattling keys and flushing toilets, then messed with those to get the audio we wanted. After we finished, we watched a behind-the-scenes with the people who made it and found out how they did it. I found it absolutely compelling.
My school had Film as a subject in the senior years, which was brilliant. At the end, you made your own short film. It was then I knew what I wanted to do with my life.
Experience is everything
Knowing film was it for me, I went to UTS and did a Bachelor of Communication with a major in Media Arts and Production. With the experience I had from school and home, I was already bothering the final year students to be involved in their projects in my first few weeks. I was determined to get on as many film sets as I could.
The first one I did involved travelling from the Blue Mountains to Castle Hill by bus. It was an underwater shoot, and I ended up in a wetsuit, adjusting lights, under freezing water, at night.
I soon learned getting a good mark at uni is not going to find you work in the industry; it’s your practical experience that counts. You meet someone, work on a project, learn from that, then meet someone new, work on a project, learn more, again and again. Each project I worked on somehow naturally led into the next.
The crucible of creativity
I worked for a couple of specialist agencies, one a medical company, one a not-for-profit. I learned a lot, but I was ready to become part of a genuinely multidisciplinary creative business. When I met our Visual Media Director, Josh, we discovered we had a lot in common — including a love of visual media that flowed from our childhoods. I’ve now been at BEING for just over a year and was promoted to Senior Videographer nine months in.
Both the visual media team and the broader agency are crucibles of creativity. We had a planning session for the year recently, and the ideas everyone brought to the table were amazing.
I love that you can walk past the design team and get instant feedback on animating their designs, or ask the copy team to make sure the words on screen are accurate and align with the audio. As a team, we’re a great intersection of ideas, approach and creativity. I think that’s rare. In my experience, great creativity can also mean ginormous egos, but in our team there’s none of that, and I’ve realised how important that is to me.
We’re very organised and our pre-production planning is excellent, but a shoot is always structured chaos. When you get on set, the light might not be there, the talent might require more direction, or a shot might be blocked by something that wasn’t there when you did the recce. You’ve just got to be good at creative problem solving on the fly, and that’s something I really enjoy about my job.
As a videographer, I tend to lean more towards the technical and logistical side than the creative. I’m not obsessed about having my creative vision brought to life, although we do have a lot of freedom in our approach, like shot choice and framing.
For me it’s ultimately about how we’re able to make that creative vision fly. If Josh has a crazy idea for a shot, I’ll work out how we’re going to do it, what equipment we need, and where the camera can move.
To be honest, when I look to the future, my ambition is just to do more of what I’m doing. Every shoot is different. We’re always learning, and that’s exciting. If you think you know everything, that’s when everything falls apart.
There’s a direct line from that kid, making a Star Wars movie with his LEGO, to now. There’s a lot of truth to the saying if you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life.
If Aidan wasn’t a Senior Videographer at The Being Group, he’d be sad and unemployed.