Meet Jason Harvey

Filmmaker and Founding Principal and Executive Producer of Brooklyn-based Argonaut Films.

Storytelling tip

Creating art can sound like a huge pressure to put something out that is “GOOD” or “ARTISTIC” and that can freeze you up so that you don’t even start. Release yourself of that pressure by just putting something out there that is the idea. It could be a sentence, it could be a drawing, it could be a picture or a shot that you will put in your film. Just get started. Then, if you are inspired, keep going… but if that is enough for the moment, walk away from it and come back later. Look at it, think about it, walk around it and look at it from a different perspective. When you are ready, pick it up and add to it, change it, whatever you want to do. It’s your story, your words, your emotions that you are working on sharing. There is no time constraint and your relationship to what you just started to create will change with who you are at the moment. Go with that and be aware of the changes that are happening and how you are conveying them. Don’t worry about being right or wrong… there is no right or wrong in art! Your relationship to whatever you are creating will help you understand how you are feeling and how that gets transformed into the emotions that can share in your work.

Q: What led you to become a videographer?

A: Photography is my favorite art form – I love seeing things in motion, so that led me to cinematography.

Q: How has your background influenced your work as a videographer?

A: I’ve played a lot of sports and danced a lot in my life. That’s translated into my work – I’m always trying to move the camera and add dynamism to my shots. It’s a lot like strategy and choreography.

Q: How do you think videography/art can impact the world?

A: Honest, real stories affect people in ways we never anticipate. We cannot resist good stories and we can’t help sharing them. You see the impact of these stories every day in formats from viral videos to feature films.

Q: Any cool stories from a project?

A: I once filmed a Kanye West music video on the back of a flat-bed, 18-wheeler truck that drove around the streets of New York City for 23 hours.

Q: What’s the most inspiring or unique project you’ve done?

A: I filmed a project in Guatemala about the difficulty of getting clean water to people. Children had to walk two hours each way to get water from a well and bring it home in water buckets, which they carried on their heads. They were unable to go to school because of this. We made a video about building schools next to the wells so children could study and then go home with water. It was about planning for the next few generations. Something so simple made all the difference in their lives. Of course, in America, we don’t even think about how we use water.

Q: Tell us a fun fact!

A: I was a break dancer and graffiti writer as a kid growing up in Brooklyn. This really helped me get into art and dance which has influenced my life and work for decades.

Q: What advice would you give to aspiring cinematographers or young artists?

A: Go out and film as much as you can, no matter what camera you have in your hands! Always look to see if you can make your shot more interesting. Get closer to your subjects, look up, look down, use a side angle… these are all ideas to help you use imagery to tell your story.

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