John (left), JJ (right) co-founders of Hello Me Films
It all started with skateboarding videos with my friends. We would borrow our parents' VHS camcorders and shoot footage all day, and all night when we finally upgraded to a camera with a built in light. We were in heaven. Nothing was more satisfying than getting that perfect shot and watching it back on the computer, cutting it to our favorite tracks. I would watch professional skate videos and not only was I looking at the tricks being performed, I was also paying close attention to angles, shots and camera movements. I was hooked.
When I went to high school, they offered a video production class. I was in a class of students that didn’t have a passion for video and were just looking for an “easy” A. I would put my heart and soul into every project that was assigned. In my senior year I was spending most of my free time in front of an editing suite. I would have my video teachers write me passes to get out of other classes just so I could work on my video projects.
The one thing that sticks out in my mind is when I was editing a project and my video teacher, Mrs. Raccuia, walked in and said “If you don’t do this for a living, you’re a f&*king idiot.”
It was time to apply for colleges. As a teen my main goal was to make money. I was applying to business schools and it didn’t feel right. Mrs. Raccuia’s statement still resonated in my head and I made the decision to major in Video Production. I was never into school, but this did not feel like school. I was finally recognized for my work and with others that had the same passions as myself.
I met JJ in 2008, and we started shooting videos together. Hello Me Films was born. We have come along way since then. It is humbling going back and watching old videos and how much we have learned over the years.
I love talking to people that I grew up with and how proud and little bit envious they are of us. We took a passion and turned it into a successful business.
The one word of advice I can give to aspiring creatives: don’t give up. The best thing you can do is talk to people in the same field. It will spark ideas and help you find the path of least resistance.
I’ve always loved creating stories and entertaining the public even since I was a little boy. Before video, I was recording audio stories on an audio recorder with my sister and friends. We would write scripts and act just like it was an actual film. In my junior year of high school I joined a video production class and that was it, I found something I was truly passionate about and wasn’t going to let anything get in my way.
In 2008, I graduated high school and started Hello Me Films with my business partner John. We have made too many videos to count and most of them… went no where and paid nothing. This leads me to an important lesson that I learned and would like to share: take risks and fail as often as you can. There is no better way to gain experience than from learning from your own mistakes. Our first wedding we shot we watched countless YouTube videos and did a ton of Google research but it wasn’t until after we were in the moment of shooting and editing that we learned what we needed for the next wedding. That wedding video was one to remember because the couple actually never saw the video because they got divorced one month after their wedding!
Let your passions guide your success. Set goals and crush them. You have one chance at this life so take the risks because the rewards are worth it.
- John Deptulski & JJ Durand
John and JJ are the founders of Hello Me Films a full-service video production based in Connecticut. For the past 10 years they have making films together including filming weddings, commercials, music video, or creative video project.