Music and Art In Your Backyard


Tell us a little about Justine Spinoza and how you got into videography?

I studied Communications with an emphasis on broadcasting in college. I stuck with that for the most part throughout the years with the exception of taking a couple of years to live overseas in S. Korea to teach and study language there. 

Your work seems to vary from covering events to more recently music videos. How do you go about picking projects or assignments?

I worked mostly in television and live production for years, but moved more towards short films and music videos and such once I moved to Austin. I still mainly work in live production to make dollars, but there is just such a great, rich community of creatives here in Austin. I like that the atmosphere is one that encourages creativity and the ability to take chances on creative endeavors. I've met so many good solid talented folks here.

How did you transition into music videos? Was it a hard transition?

Another huge plus about the artistic community in Austin is the prevalence of talented, like-minded folks who completely lack the pretentiousness you can run into in other cities in the States. People who are patiently willing to teach me new terms or help me see things with a different eye. It's been more of a feeling of learning it together (which has been awesome) and has made the slow transition, to helping out with projects like that, easier and more natural feeling. 

Director of Photography: Justine Spinoza | Video Edit: Maurice Barrett



How would you describe your style of videography?

Messy. haha. 

I have more of a run and gun, docu-drama or "The Office" kind of style. A lot of abrupt movements and focus racks. I've been slowly trying to finesse it and make it a little more smooth and pleasing, but I tend toward more of a raw look when it comes to shooting and editing. 

What would you say is the most challenging part of creating a short or long visual?

I would say one of the most difficult parts is getting a bunch of creative minds to get on the same page and agree on the look or feel of something. In the past I've worked as an editor and this is especially frustrating in that position. If you aren't super close with a director or you're working with someone who doesn't really want your creative input, you can start to feel like a button pusher and not much more. So I think mainly the most challenging part is finding a team of creatives that work well together. Nothing can replace that. 

Are there other genres of videos or styles of music videos you want to explore in the future? What are they and why?

hmmm....thinking about this one

Out of Place music: Director of Photography: Justine Spinoza


How has Austin influenced your work and what type of projects you choose to work on?

The caliber of creativity and the culture here, which really cultivates and encourages creativity, has been invaluable in instilling my interest in trying new things and taking chances creatively. There can be less of an emphasis put on success and more time spent on honest expression, honing the craft for a specified audience or sometimes for the pure joy of personal creative expression. 

Can you give us some insider tips of some of the best locations for filming either a short project or a music video? What is it about these locations that make them worthwhile?

The fun thing about working with Twofour Seven is a lot times he will find a location that interests him first and then we'll just show up, run and gun style, and shoot until we get it or get kicked out, which ever happens first, haha. Austin is pretty open in that way and even when we get asked to leave it's usual by someone who is apologetic about having to ask us to do so. We recently shot in an empty lot near a school campus that had an abandoned patrol car parked on it. We shot for a good hour or two before a security guard slowly made his way over to us and reluctantly told us he had to ask us to go, but then he went on to say that all we had to do was call and ask next time and they would have no problem with us shooting there. That's the climate of creativity and lack of pretentiousness that I mentioned earlier. It's prevalent even in places you wouldn't expect it to be.

It seems as if making any video, even a short one is time consuming and tedious. How do you motivate yourself or continue being inspired while working on a project.

Official music video for 'New Times' off the Second Blood EP Download 'New Times' for free: Director: John Valley, DP: Cordelaine Kline, Camera: Justine Spinoza PA: Andy Olson & Caleb Hey The Valley Forge is: John Valley - Vocals & Drums Tyler Speicher - Guitar Sarah German - Bass © 2014, The Valley Forge


This is a great question and the source of a lot of my laziness. haha. I think that the biggest motivator is having a project that you are actually passionate about and people that you actually enjoy working with/for. Without those two things motivation can be super hard to come by. When it is subject material that moves you or music that has a powerful message that you believe should be out there, it makes the tedious process of making the vision become a reality a whole lot less tedious. Working with others who feel the same passion is what helps keep that vision in focus. Energy levels will ebb and flow, but with a team of good people, ideally there is always someone who can pep talk the rest of the crew and keep people focused on the end goal. 

What videos or visuals are currently inspiring you or driving you creatively right now.

One of my favorite ways to discover new music videos lately has been to let youtube do its autoplay thing. Usually I'll google a song or video I want to see and when that one finishes YouTube/google in its infinite wisdom will load another video by another artist that I may also enjoy. I've discovered some really creative music videos and artists this way. 

More recently, the political and social climate around us has created a lot of energy and frustration that I am really hoping to use for good and turn into a creative energy. It's easy to get tunnel vision and start feeling helpless against the system and defeated, but if we can just start small with the abilities and sphere of influence that we have, I think we can make a difference. If a creative project with a positive or poignant political message can speak to even one person with a different perspective and then in turn that person takes that message with them and maybe it becomes a talking point for them among friends, that can spark change. Change happens so slowly, but I constantly have to remind myself that that doesn't mean that it's not happening.