Perhaps you've heard of "Action Movie Kid," a series of videos of an adorable little tyke doing his thing—playing in a fake boat, swinging from monkey bars, and jumping on couches, pretending the floor is hot lava. At first glance, these 20-second shorts look like run-of-the-mill home videos, but because his dad, Daniel Hashimoto, is a precocious vis-dev animator at DreamWorks Animation, they're anything but.
Not only does Hashimoto make a ton of these awesome videos, but he also makes a ton of tutorials for these awesome videos. On his personal YouTube channel, Action Movie Dad, he walks you through the different steps he takes to pull off the VFX in Adobe After Effects. Here's one he did explaining his process for his "Get in the Boat" video, in which he turns a sunny day at the park into a stormy journey into tempestuous waters:
Not only are these videos funny, entertaining, and cute as hell, but they teach us a huge lesson about being an artist. For Hashimoto, being a filmmaker was something he always wanted to be, and he didn't wait until college or adulthood to get his hands on some professional equipment. As he says in his Reddit AMA:
When I was in first grade, I learned to animate on a commodore Amiga and filmed on our gigantic Betamax camera to make movies for my family. All through high school, I made videos that were just as silly with my small group of friends. But then I decided to "grow up" and get a job at DreamWorks for a decade. Finally, in this age of iPhones, I was shooting tons of footage of my kid playing and doing silly things. So I decided to add a little flair to them, mostly to make some Facebook friends giggle.
What is so inspiring about these videos is that they're a wonderful reminder that you can infuse your art into everything you do. Hashimoto is an animator and VFX artist, so he infused VFX into his home videos. It doesn't matter if you have a pretty, new camera. You can make it happen because creativity is the key to bringing your vision to life. To quote the man—the legend—Jeff Goldblum as Dr. Ian Malcolm: "Life finds a way."
Creators are doing this every day, using what they have creatively to make some interesting content. Marcel the Shell comes to mind. Director Dean Fleischer-Camp and comedian/writer Jenny Slate came up with the idea for a mockumentary about a friendly little shell after Slate sat around a cramped hotel room doing what would become Marcel's voice. Fleischer-Camp, who had to come up with a video to show at a comedy show, saw something there. Slate told USA Today:
I just sat on the couch, and Dean recorded me talking as Marcel and then that was it. It was so natural, that's why I love it. It was just a little piece of a little life. I think we were just doing it for fun. We thought maybe 30 people would see it after the show and we'd put it online for our friends to see.
Maybe your work doesn't always have to revolve around a massive feature film—or even a short. You can still be creative with everyday things and make videos that are worth watching.