Dillon Hoffman is a sophomore studying television and digital media at Montclair State University. He expresses himself creatively by making videos for his YouTube channel, taking photos for the Video Production Club and writing for the sketch comedy show, “Signing Off.” Hoffman also enjoys video editing and making music. Hoffman sat down with staff writer Sharif Hasan to talk about his journey into video.
Q: How did you get into making videos?
A: I’ve always been interesting in video-making for as long as I could remember. I originally tried to emulate what I saw other people doing, and I grew from that. I played around with cameras when I was young, but I didn’t start to legitimately try to do things until I got a Mac in 2011. I eventually got my own cameras and other equipment, but even before, I’ve always found ways to express my thoughts in a visual format.
Q: How do you use your photography/video skills on campus?
A: I’m in the Video Production Club (VPC), so I put a lot of my video and photo efforts into that. More specifically, I’m the historian of the club’s executive board, which means I take behind-the-scenes pictures at all of our events and shoots. This semester is extremely video heavy, mainly due to my involvement in VPC’s late-night style production called, “Signing Off.” I’m also a writer for the show, and I’m involved with a lot of the shoots and edit as well.
Q: Tell me about some new videos and projects you are currently working on.
A: I’m always writing down ideas for sketches when I think or see something interesting. There’s also a video essay I’ve been planning for a while that I haven’t had the time to start working on yet. It’ll pretty much be an analysis/defense of “Pirates of the Caribbean” as a franchise. I’ve got interviews I’d like to incorporate. It’ll be nuts, and hopefully it turns out pretty interesting once I actually get around to it.
Q: How do you incorporate writing and music into your videos?
A: I don’t always go into a video having a written plan of what I want, but I’m constantly thinking about a story, whether it be before writing a script or while filming random clips. I’m always trying to piece things into an interesting story. With music, I try to incorporate things that people don’t always hear so when they hear it in my videos, it sticks out in their minds and stays connected with the people watching much longer than it would if I used generic music that people hear all the time.
Q: Who are some of your inspirations?
A: My biggest creative inspirations are The Muppets and Mel Brooks. They’re wildly different from one another, but they’re similar in a lot of ways, too. Any production that incorporates The Muppets pretty much radiates positivity and fun, and that’s what I try to do. If something is positive, people gravitate toward that and benefit from the positivity. Brooks is a genius in too many ways to name, but I aspire to be as well-versed in as many fields as he is. My family is pretty helpful, too. They’re quite the inspirations.
Q: What are your fondest memories from your projects?
A: This past summer I made a video for the graduating seniors at my swim club. When I finished playing it at the end-of-the-season banquet, multiple people were crying, and I got so much positive feedback from it. It was amazing seeing how something I like to do can connect with people on such a personal level. My senior year of high school was also just an amazing time where my creativity was able to run free. The highlight of that year would probably be the Disney cover album my friends and I made to get everyone excited for the senior trip to Florida.
Q: How has the School of Communication and Media helped you build your craft?
A: The School of Communication and Media has given me countless opportunities for growth. I’ve learned so much already [in] the time I’ve been here. The professors have been nothing but helpful and committed to what they do, and I couldn’t appreciate that more. Everyone, including the students, clearly has a passion for what they do and when you’re surrounded by people like that, there’s nowhere to go but up.
Q: What is your favorite movie?
A: This is the hardest question to answer, but if I had to pick, it would probably be “National Lampoon’s Vacation” and “Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl.” They are classics that I get a lot of inspiration from, especially in terms of writing.
Q: What are your plans after graduating?
A: Eventually, I’d like to be writing for a comedy show, like “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.” In an immediate sense, I’m not entirely sure what my plans are, but I’ve got goals. Once I reach a certain goal, I’ll go for my next one and then my next one after that. I am not sure where life will take me, but it most certainly will be exciting, and I’ll love whatever I’m doing.