Connecticut Photographer & Videographer Devon Farquharson discusses his musical background with the Funky Dawgz Brass Band, his love of movie trailers, and how he and his friends founded Media Guys Productions.
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So for all intents and purposes, state your name.
My name is Devon Farquharson.
Where are you from?
Manchester, CT. I was born in Hartford, but I was raised in Manchester for most of my life.
Where is your family originally from?
My family is from Jamaica. Both of my grandparents were from Jamaica, but my mom was born here in America. My last name, the background of it, is actually Scottish. So I must have some type of Scottish origin in my background somehow.
What are your mediums of expertise?
I mainly focus primarily on videography and content creation. What that mostly entails of is: music videos, commercials, and promo videos. With music videos, it’s more so helping artists to share visions for their songs. We work together to create a visual project that best tells the artist’s story of what they are trying to portray to the world. I also create content for clients that is different from “what’s trending.”
Do you also do photography? Which do you prefer?
Yes, I do. However, I do prefer videography. I enjoy creating stories through visual means and I feel I can do that better through videography. Photography is great, because you can capture that moment. But with videos, you are able to record a sequence of time than just the SNAP. I find I can tell better stories through different motions and visuals that way.
So what/who are your inspirations? What inspired you to take up these mediums, well videography? What made you decide, “I want to do this?”
I guess I just figured it out one day in college. I went to UCONN for engineering originally, but that didn’t work at all. My transition to videography came when I started to film the marching band at UCONN. It’s actually the reason why I picked up a camera in the first place. I said to myself that I still want to do this. So I began looking into other avenues of what I can do with video. That’s when I started doing more research on YouTube. A lot of music video directors popped up and I started following them on Instagram. Getting visual ideas and inspiration from different people; such as Rory Kramer and Kid Art, he does a lot of Meek Mill’s music videos. The list is endless; I can’t say I have one specific person I’m inspired by. I would say I am more inspired by creativity and what I find on YouTube. Whatever I see that I like, I don’t copy, but I digest it and create something from that inspiration.
So you said you originally went to school for engineering, did you switch your major? When did you make that switch?
Yeah, so freshman year my major was engineering. Even in high school, I was going to all of these engineering camps and what not. But after my freshman year at UCONN, I realized that this major isn’t going to work out. So I became undecided for sophomore year. Then I picked up a major in economics, I had to pick up economics. I really wanted to do a major in digital media, but by the time it was developed I would be graduating. However, I was able to minor in digital arts at UCONN. Initially, it wasn’t what I planned on going to school for. Looking back at it, I would have probably chosen something different or at least went a different way. But it works out how it all works out.
“Whatever I see that I like, I don’t copy, but I digest it and create something from that inspiration.”
So you mentioned you were in a marching band, are you still involved with making music?
Actually yes, so I do have a musical background. I think it does impact how I create things; I’m very music or rhythmic based with my video editing. But I used to be part of a brass band, the Funky Dawgz Brass Band; I was one of the drummers. We’ve toured all through Spain, played in Madison Square Garden, New Orleans, all over. It’s been fun playing with them, creating music out of nothing. We were literally a band that started in college, a fun thing you know, but now it’s something that is still going and touring. I do still play with them here and there, but I’m more focused on my craft.
Is that why you limited your involvement with Funky Dawgz Brass Band?
Yeah, I mean, I love playing music. Music is great stress relief for me and a great hobby of mine. But I started to see a greater path for me in creating videos and content. Music is still a creative outlet for me; it’s just something I enjoy doing on the side now. I still play with the Dawgz and I love playing with them; I do look forward to playing with them every time. It’s cool though now, because now I’m able to shoot and film the Dawgz at their shows. So at least I can be involved in that way.
In terms of career, you have something you’ve been pushing. Can you tell us about that?
Yes, so I’m one of the founders of a production company. It’s called Media Guys Productions. We have a small team right now. But yeah, it’s something that started out of curiosity and fun. There was no real reason for it at all (laughs). There was no real vision for it at first, but now our goal is to show people a different perspective in terms of visuals.
When did Media Guys start?
It’s hard to say when it officially started. I guess it would have to be when I created the Instagram account. That was about 2 years ago. Literally, I was sitting down with my friends and we wondering what should we call it. Someone said, “Yo, The Media Guys!” And we were like, “That’s a stupid name. Why would we ever name ourselves that. No one is going to take us seriously.” But then we decided, you know, f#%k it, that’s who we are… like we’re authentic or whatever. We’re those Media Guys.
Tell us more about the Media Guys origin.
So it was started by two friends and myself. We were all involved in the media team for the marching band. That’s really where it came from, we were the media guys for the band. We just wanted to continue that media creation after we graduated. This was an avenue to do that. Actually before we started doing music videos, we did a lot of weddings for band alumni. So that was a good way to get into video production, because we had a solid base of clientele.
“I like telling local stories, because I feel like the artists from this state have a lot to say. There are a lot of powerful stories that just need to be amplified.”
So you’ve done weddings and music videos. What are your favorite things to shoot/projects?
My favorite projects to shoot are actually documentaries, day-in-the-life type projects. I haven’t been able to shoot any through the Media Guys platform. But it is definitely something I want to dive into more... to get stories of different people, like documenting their life. That’s really what I enjoy the most about video creation. The ability to tell other people’s stories and hearing their own experiences. We all experience our own journey in life, so being able to share that visually with other people, that’s what I look forward to doing right there.
But right now, you’re mostly creating music videos, correct? Whom have you worked with?
Yeah, I currently work with local artists in the state of Connecticut. We’ve worked with Ysanne Marshall, Cruelsofeso, Frankie With Da Lisp & Teww Talez, Legacy, and Joey Merritt. But I’ve been able to work with other local artists that I met at this festival in New Britain called “Bam!,” which was put together by Jordan Jones. I just showed up with my camera and was able to capture some great footage. That was a great festival and I was able to meet so many talented artists, such as H.O.T.S. I really enjoy working with artists from Connecticut, specifically in the Greater Hartford area. I like telling local stories, because I feel like the artists from this state have a lot to say. There are a lot of powerful stories that just need to be amplified.
Speaking of music videos, what are your weapons of choice?
I personally shoot on Sony cameras. I love Sony cameras. But a lot of time, equipment can be a restriction. I actually love being restricted on what I can use, because it does spur creativity. I think people can be overwhelmed into thinking that equipment makes the quality. It’s really about what you can create to tell the story. With that being said, I do love all the bells and whistles (laughs).
Of course, so building of that, which Sony cameras do you use?
I use the Sony A6500. It’s a great DSLR Mirrorless camera. It’s very lightweight and shoots in 4K. It films in 120 frames per second (fps). It allows for the capture of slow motion, which dramatizes a lot of visuals. That’s if you want to have that slow-down approach in your content.
And that’s something you like in your music videos?
I love having slow-motion content in my videos. It’s an easier way to capture a fast moment in time. If you can slow it down to 25% speed, you can see people’s emotions… the dramatic effect.
How long is the turnaround time for one music video? From shoot to edit?
I usually give a client a three-week window. Sometimes it can take quicker than that; it does depend on what else is on the agenda/schedule. But when I’m sitting at the editing table, I’d say it can take several hours. I like to split a video into three chunks or phases, with each phase taking a few hours to complete. And of course, I do have to take breaks.
“My favorite part of going to the movies is watching the trailers. The way you can splice a one and a half to two-hour movie into two or three minutes is what excites me; the fast pace cut editing.”
On set, can you describe your process?
In the beginning, I write up a treatment for the artist. It’s to give them my vision for the video after listening to the artist’s song. So we usually have a plan going into shoot, but I hate to be stuck on that plan. I really enjoy going with the flow. So as long as we have a location to start, we kinda like to let the day go. I like getting input from the artists and whomever is on the set; anyone who has creative input. If someone has an idea that may look good, I’m sure it will look good to someone else. I know sometimes I can get close-minded, where I’m solely focused on the end product. But in that moment, someone can see something different that can be really dope and beneficial to the video. So I do encourage spontaneity and fresh ideas in my shoots.
What do you eventually want to do? Your dream projects.
I actually want to make movie trailers. I love trailers. My favorite part of going to the movies is watching the trailers. The way you can splice a one and a half to two-hour movie into two or three minutes is what excites me; the fast pace cut editing.
So you’d rather edit trailers than direct movies..?
I know it sounds weird, like, it’s such a niche thing. But I love trailers. That is something I feel that I can specialize in as a long term goal. I want to be in Hollywood cutting those trailers for different movies and what not. But I do want to get into directing, because you do have to start somewhere. You have to know the whole aspect. I want to get into directing short films with people. I guess where I’m at currently is developing that team of people that I can create that production with.
Dawgz In Chicago by Devon Farquharson