What eventually became Wall Digital Media began in the old Macon Mall Quad 4 Movie Theater. It was May 1977 and a wide eyed 5 year old boy watched as a Star Destroyer, the size of the entire movie screen soared into view. The movie of course was Star Wars, the boy of course me, and things would never be the same.
That fall, CBS aired a "Making Of Star Wars" documentary and right then and there I knew I wanted to make movies. My parents had an old Bell and Howell Super 8mm movie camera and I spent time making movies with action figures. It took several days for the film to be developed to see the fruits of my labor. The camera did not have a way to record audio so I made my own soundtracks with an audio cassette recorder. I never quite got it to match up but I didn't care.
As I got a little older, I got more adventurous with model airplanes and bottle rockets simulating the aerial dogfights of World War II. The flame always melted my fishing line that the planes were zooming down and they crashed to the ground in the most unrealistic ways, but again, I didn't care. I was a film maker.
In 1984, for an elementary school graduation gift, my parents bought me a VHS video camera system. No small purchase back then. They had always supported my creativity and I am eternally grateful for that gift. It was a camera with a cord that went to a deck you carried with a strap on your shoulder. I think I got an extra battery for it for Christmas that year. No longer did you have to wait days to see what you shot! For the next 5 years I made so many videos with my friends. Music videos, fake commercials, short films for school projects. I even managed to get a few paying gigs shooting video for the high school drama department and lead outs for proms. Back then I did not have any way to edit other than as you shot, which meant you recorded over the last take. So many hilarious bloopers lost. I eventually did get a second VCR and was finally able to edit although very crudely with no precise control.
Every school year we planned an epic movie to be shot the next summer. We never finished a single one, but I treasure those times. I learned a lot about the craft, about costuming, makeup, special effects, etc. It was not unusual for my mom to look out the kitchen window to see a fireball and lots of smoke as I learned how to create pyrotechnics out of ground up fireworks, model rocket engines, electrical cable and a 9 volt battery. Its amazing that I still have all my appendages and eyes.
After high school, I attended the Savannah College of Art and Design. I learned a great deal there about lighting and preproduction. Some of the other classes, I probably could have taught as I had gained so much knowledge over the years from magazines like Cinemagic and others. It was amazing to finally have access to real production equipment, especially an A/B roll edit suite with Jog and shuttle controls. Editers over 40 know what I'm talking about. My professors thought I was a natural at editing, and that is still what I enjoy most.
Another student in my lighting class was the program director for the local public access channel. We became friends and he hired me as a production assistant and studio camera operator at Cablevision of Savannah. I still have a tape of the first show my name ran in the credits.
I also did a little freelance work for a local production company and wrote, shot and directed my first commercial for the Fox affiliate in Hardeeville South Carolina. I was 19 and on my way. It was for a comic book store which was another love of mine. I watched that commercial air for weeks during Saturday morning cartoons.
Things hit a snag at college with some issues with the video department and a company who was providing the school with equipment. So I took a break for awhile. I moved back to Macon and got married in 1992. That same year I did more freelance work with a production company in Macon. A full time job never panned out with that and a couple of years passed. I shot a few weddings and kept writing down ideas for videos and movies.
In 1996 I was hired by CableRep Advertising as a full-time videographer. I worked on hundreds of commercials and TV shows and made some great friends along the way. Eventually I got promoted to producer. During this time I met a man named Ralph Deen of Deen Advertising who became somewhat of a mentor to me. He strongly supported me in my decision to Jump ship and start Wall Digital Media in 2000. He along with other
clients I had worked with helped build the foundation of the company I have now run for almost 20 years.
Although I never really got into the film business, Wall Digital Media has been a dream come true. I've met so many amazing people, worked on some really cool projects, and made a career out of doing something I love to do. I can't really ask for much more than that.