Hello Rochester: Video by Alex
Alex Pakitsas is the owner of Video by Alex, and co-founder of CreativesOf LLC with her fiancé Grant Gariff. Although they are separate businesses, her job is pretty similar for both; and that is to create! With Video by Alex, she takes a couple’s wedding day, and creates a beautiful retelling of it– visually highlighting the missed moments, intimate glances, etc., and condensing them into a short film they can rewatch for years to come! CreativesOf LLC, though completely different from the wedding industry, boils down to the same principle: creating and creativity (hence the name lol). This business focuses on music; as a start-up record label, they work with local artists to create and record music, offering video and marketing services as well to further develop their brand and image as a musician. Although their studios record several different artists, their main artist is the insanely talented Ajay Stevens.
1. How did you get your start in videography?
I originally became interested in videography as a way to help Grant promote his music. He needed someone to make videos to accompany the music he was creating, and didn’t have the time to learn himself. At that point in my life, I was really struggling to figure out what I wanted to do and who I wanted to be. I was a recent college grad who had no desire to work in the field she had chosen, and was just hoping to one day be inspired by something. Lucky for me, I really believed in Grant’s music and the quality he was able to achieve, so it was an easy decision! Plus, I had taken a broadcasting class in high school that taught some basic editing, so I figured I would be somewhat familiar with the process.
As we worked to build our brand, I realized I really enjoyed the process of filming and editing. The more I learned, the more confident I became in pursuing videography as my career. This, ultimately, led me to wedding videography. The wedding industry can be difficult to get into, but I was fortunate enough to receive some guidance from the amazing Chrisom of Chrisom B. Photography. She was kind enough to let me tag along to a few weddings so I could learn the ropes, I cannot thank her enough!
2. What is video storytelling and how important is storytelling when producing a video? Explain.
I like to think of video storytelling as a rollercoaster, and myself as the builder of that coaster. The ride starts and I need to decide how many hills, twists, and loops to create to fit the theme and keep the rider interested. When the ride ends, you should walk away feeling satisfied– like it was worth it. A good video is just that: an experience. Storytelling is fundamental to this because the viewer needs to follow and understand the story to feel that experience. As important as storytelling is, it can be difficult to translate into video. It is something that takes time and genuine understanding of the craft to truly master in my opinion. I am still working towards being a true storyteller through film. I continue to learn and develop my skills so viewers can experience my videos as opposed to just watching them.
3. How do you combine your work as a videographer with CREATIVESOF LLC?
Music and video go hand-in-hand! In the beginning, I handled almost all of the video work. Now, some of our team members have developed enough skill to help with filming and editing. For a while, I was crazy busy with weddings and a part-time job, so my teammates really stepped up. Now I am able to do video and photo work full time, so I have gotten back into the swing of things with CreativesOf– and that means music videos, photoshoots, and social media! I help plan, film, and edit music videos and content for our main artist Ajay Stevens. Video has become even more important to us because of the platform TikTok. We have worked to grow Ajay’s TikTok account to over 3 million followers, all through quality content with both music and video! As his following grows, we push to increase our video quality as much as possible, and it is my job to continue developing my skills to make this happen!
4. Since CREATIVES OF LLC is a record label, do you look for talent? If so, what makes someone a stand out talent?
Yes, we are always looking for talent! We can be pretty selective, however, but probably not for reasons you may think. Most people believe we look for someone with a certain image or a certain level of talent, but that’s not the case. Our basic criteria is as follows: the individual needs to me motivated to work and develop their abilities as an artist, they need to be able to take our direction, they need to be open-minded to trying out different sounds and looks, they must be dedicated and consistent in their work ethic, and they need to be able to work with a team. What is important to us is that this person is willing to grow. So many artists come in, set in their ways and their sounds, and refuse to push their talent to the next level. We would never try to erase who you are as an artist, but we will push you to your full potential!
We really are just a group of people working towards a common goal together. We work, have fun, travel, critique and support each other, all to better ourselves individually and collectively.
5. What do you hope to accomplish with your videography and record label business?
My goals are always evolving with both businesses. One day I want to dominate the wedding video industry, another day I consider transitioning to movies and tv shows. One day we want to build up our record label to compete with the top companies, another day we want to keep it small and work with local artists all around the country. I love that we are still figuring that out because it means we aren’t limiting ourselves; we are willing to adapt to the changing world, and our changing minds. I will say, the only goal that matters to us right now is to continue making a living doing what we love. My hope is that this continues with both businesses and whatever other business ventures we take on in the future!
6. Anything else you would like to add?
Yes! If you are someone who has always been interested in photo or video, it’s never too late to start! I began at 24 and thought I was getting into it too late and that I would never be able to turn it into anything worthwhile, but now at 27, it is my full time job! Just go for it, learn as much as you can, practice as much as you can, and have fun!