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Curtain Call: He’s been making videos since the fifth grade

Filmmaker Nick Alexander, right, and production assistant Ali Lyn work on an Ashland Chamber of Commerce project on the livability of the Rogue Valley. Courtesy photo

When Nick Alexander was in the fifth grade, he started “messing around” with his parents’ camcorder, making silly home videos with his sisters. And the seed of a filmmaking career was planted.

It was nourished in middle school when he took a video production class, which inspired him to learn video editing.

“In high school, I continued learning video production and made a few short films,” he said. One of them earned a best film award in his junior year.

It was his passion for storytelling primarily that attracted him to filmmaking. And to this day, it is top of mind when he tackles a project, whether it be a feature length documentary or a 60-second spot for a commercial client.

Alexander, 28, got his first paid gig when he was a junior at Southern Oregon University in 2015, a wedding video. Today, he owns a video production business that employs nine people and is very busy juggling multiple projects at a time.

In the interim, he worked in news for the ABC affiliate in Medford and taught Spanish at Rogue Community College for three years.

He knew it might not be easy in a smaller market to build a filmmaking business, but he was not afraid of hard work.

“That’s what it takes,” he said, “along with developing strong interpersonal skills and determination — the courage to keep trying.”

Alexander uses digital media in his work.

“We film with Red cinema cameras and some mirrorless cameras,” he said. “We fly drones and have a lot of fun with the storytelling toys we utilize. It’s astounding how technology continues to improve and evolve.”

Alexander and his team do a lot of projects for commercial clients.

“There are some seasons when there are no feature film projects. That means we need to find other work to keep the business profitable and sustainable,” he said.

“My video team and I doubled down on commercial jobs at the beginning of the pandemic and have had dozens upon dozens of projects since.”

The increased amount of traffic on social media and the need to work remotely created a big need for high quality video marketing for businesses.

Some of his recent commercial projects include a series on the livability of the Rogue Valley for the Ashland Chamber of Commerce, a video series for Rick Harris Real Estate Group, student testimonials for Klamath Community College, a vaccine campaign for Sky Lakes Medical Center, an internet commercial for T net Broadband, and a Costa Rica destination wedding.

“Even though we love documentaries and making feature films, commercial projects are enjoyable,” he said. “I love to see clients react to our work and see the impact that we make on their businesses.”

It was a feature film that helped Alexander grow his business. Alexander was introduced by a mutual friend to Laz Ayala, a local real estate developer who was working on a presentation for the Rotary Club about his life as an immigrant from El Salvador.

“I was hired to film his presentation,” Alexander said. “Afterward, I spoke with Laz, suggesting that his life could be a movie.”

Later, Ayala warmed to the idea, and he teamed with Alexander to make the feature-length documentary, “Illegal,” based on the book he wrote of the same name.

After a New York City debut, “Illegal” went on to win many awards on the film festival circuit. Now it is available for rent or purchase on Apple TV and is available on other platforms.

A sequel followed, “Path to Prosperity.” Both films were made during the pandemic, which added delays and other challenges to the filmmaking process.

Alexander enjoyed all aspects of making the films — the directing, recording and editing. A highlight was attending the premiere of “Illegal” in New York.

“Seeing my first feature film on the silver screen in the Big Apple was nothing short of incredible,” he said.

Alexander also enjoys the collaborative nature of filmmaking.

“We continue to grow our team because we realize in order to take on more projects and feature films of quality we need many hands and creative minds.”

His team includes three editors, two marketing persons, and several camera operators. He looks for people who share his values, who enjoy being part of a team, and who have excellent skills in filmmaking and storytelling.

Alexander’s goal is to make feature films every year, both documentaries and narrative films. When the pandemic subsides, Nick Alexander Films will be ready to hit the ground running.

Reach Ashland writer Jim Flint at jimflint.ashland@yahoo.com.