Behind the camera

MARSHALL – Marshall High School senior Dan West expects to be attending a lot of weddings this summer. No, not because he is so popular, but because he will be the videographer.

Even though he hasn’t even graduated from high school yet, West has his own business, Dan West Film, and plans to make it his life’s work.

West became interested in filmmaking while in grade school.

“I was in the fifth or sixth grade, and me and my friends would make videos for fun in the backyard,” West said. “We would do different things – (pretend) we were robbing a store, gunfights, cool tricks.”

West, the son of Dave and Kim West of Marshall, said he used his dad’s camcorder at the time.

When West was a freshman, he taped announcements to show to his church youth group and would post the videotaped messages on Facebook. He also did the same kind of thing at the high school.

West said it was his connection to the owner of Lifewall, a large format printing business in Marshall, that “things started opening up” for him. West did a promotional video for Lifewall’s website and after that did the same for Marshall Community Services. By this time, West bought his own equipment, a DSLR camera, and by his junior year, was starting to “really build my arsenal,” he said. “I bought audio equipment, lighting, stabilizing rigs. This past summer I started doing weddings, so I invested more for gear suitable for (videotaping) weddings.”

He said he has “quite a few weddings lined up” and recently attended a bridal show as one of the vendors showing products and services.

“I had a table with a (monitor) playing one of my past videos, and I had business cards displayed and informational things,” he said.

West said he offers a unique perspective with his wedding and promotional videos.

“I have a style that sets them apart,” he said. “I don’t want them to be generic but creative and fun, ones that you can watch and re-watch.”

West said he plans to attend college to get a marketing degree so he can get a handle on the business side of his life’s work.

“I want to get a good foundation to grow my business,” he said.

West is looking forward to getting more hands-on experience in marketing with his internship this summer working with the marketing team at Ralco, an animal nutrition company in Marshall.