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When being comfortable becomes uncomfortable – Julian Alexander Interview

Sapola the Movie
In The Mind Of Aleem Bukhari Vol.2 – Sapola Interview
8. December 2018
 

"At least I'm not normal"

What are your goals in life? What do you want to achieve in the next year? Most of the time in order to achieve your goals you have to leave your comfort zone and overcome your fears. I talked to someone who did exactly that. Julian Alexander (22) from Los Angeles. He wanted everything, but just not being normal. Read about his path of becoming a videographer / content creator and how he managed to just follow his dreams.

 
 

Seeing your pictures on Instagram it looks like you are just traveling the world. How did this all start?

Both of my parents traveled a lot at my age. My mother is from the Netherlands and my dad from Iran. So growing up, I always heard stories of traveling adventures and stuff like that. For me, it was clear I'm gonna travel. The question just was: How am I gonna make it happen? It's expensive!

So, my whole trip or all you can see on Instagram pretty much started at freshman year of college. My best friend Mitchel and I decided to make a trip to Europe. We decided that we are gonna use our student loan from college to travel Europe for maybe 6 months. A month before we were supposed to leave my friend Mitchel got an internship offer in Beijing. He took it and I was like: Ok, I probably have to go to Europe by myself. When he was there, he found out that most of the foreigners in Beijing were actually teaching English and that they are making good money there. So Mitchel suggested that I should go to Europe for a week and then come to Beijing instead and work there and make money. I was like ok: It's gonna be China instead of Europe and that was actually my first trip outside of the US on my own and when I left I got my first camera and started shooting.

"Everybody in college was doing the same and I didn’t want to be the same as like everybody else, I wanted to be different"

 

And that's how you got into photo and video?

Yeah, pretty much. My dad is actually a photographer but he never taught me a single thing. When I left the US I was like: Ok, I'm traveling I wanna start taking photos and videos and just documenting my journey. After moving to Beijing I got better and better with the camera and got to the point where I did my teaching job during the day and at night I was just watching YouTube tutorials about video- photography. It was like all night shooting, editing, watching hundreds of hours of tutorials. After shooting a few passion projects my mum and dad told me "Dude you are actually really good, you could probably make money doing this". At first, I was not really sure about it, but eventually, I kinda realized that it might be possible. I then compared my videos with other videos and when I realized, yeah, I could probably do better than these people and these people are making money with it I made my decision that I wanna give it a try.

So going to Beijing was probably one of the best decisions in my life. Leaving the comfort zone and trying something new. Everybody in college was doing the same and I didn’t want to be the same as everybody else, I wanted to be different. Everybody was calling me crazy but I laughed at them and thought "Yeah, cool at least I am not normal”

 

What did you do after you realized you want to focus on videos and photos?

After Bejing I moved back to LA and pretty much worked my ass off. I worked at production assistant jobs, shooting for free, shooting with people on Instagram. I wasn’t really making much money. It was more like getting my name out there. After about two months of that routine, I got connected with some people and through them, I kinda got into that whole content creator scene.

We filmed some projects together, we had a lot of fun and I learned a lot. I developed my own style and was getting better and just getting out there. And that brings me to the state where I am now. It’s a lot of fun and it does not really feel like work even though it is a lot of work. I don’t really have weekends since I'm shooting, editing pretty much every day.

 

Are you more into video or photo?

I started as a photographer but I didn’t really feel like I was good at it. One day I was watching YouTube videos about how to make a cinematic video and afterwards, I shot my first video pretty much like a test and I just instantly loved it. Since then I got more into videos and my photo skills just kinda inherently improved and gotten better as I got better at making videos. Right now, I would say I probably do both. I definitely specialize in video and that’s what most of my work is.

 

" I don’t know what I am gonna be doing next months, all I know is it's gonna be fun"

 

What are the current projects you are working on?

After putting out the Unstoppable video I got contacted by a kid I met in Bali. He is also into video and asked me if I wanted to join him in Mexico. We talked about it and it made sense to me and that’s what I was doing the last months, pretty much just chasing opportunities. We did not really have a huge plan it was more like ok, we are working together, put out a reel together and maybe try to work for some hotels, some artist or stuff like that. Actually, two days before I got to Mexico he told me we were already booked for a tour. We went on tour with this Latin American artist and worked with them for like a few weeks. The thing with photo and video is you never really know what your next project is or when your next project is coming up and that’s what scares a lot of people. They are afraid of not having a certain job security. For us its kinda like I don’t know what I am gonna be doing next months, all I know is it's gonna be fun. I just wanna go with my gut.

 

Are you working full-time as a videographer?

Yeah, I do it full-time. I don’t do any other work. Do I make money solely of my own Instagram? No! I do jobs for other clients. My Instagram helps me to get jobs for new people.When I first started I did like real estate videos, music videos so pretty much whatever people wanted for a good price. Now, I am able to charge a little bit more money and I'm kinda able to pick the jobs I would like to do.

So for example, I recently went to Hawaii with a client. She is like an Influencer in China and we met in Bali. She saw my camera and ask if I am a photographer and we afterwards switched contacts and worked together on a few jobs. She paid me to go on these trips with her and make photos, create content and stuff like that. For me it's a lot of fun. I'm able to travel and even get paid for it and in the meantime I'm also creating my own content, working on my own portfolio. So it's like a win-win situation .

 
 

What's your long-term goal with creating content?

I get this question a lot. For me, I just like to live and have fun, I like to do adventurous stuff and doing videos enables me to work pretty much remotely. I am not tight down to one place I don’t have to go to the same location for work every single day. I can work from anywhere. I started doing it for fun but now, that I got a little bit better at it and put out some videos where I got a good amount of response it is really awesome hearing what I am doing is inspiring people.

At the moment I am just focusing on perfecting my craft. For the future, I would love to maybe have my own production company one day and produce high-level stuff. I probably see myself living in LA in the future. Hollywood Hills is like a special place for me. Having a house in Holl wood Hills with that view is definitely like a goal for me.

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Follow Julian on Instagram.

Julians Instagram

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