Benjamin Burns believes in DIY
Published: Tuesday, March 20, 2012
Updated: Thursday, July 5, 2012 15:07
Personal expression reveals itself in many different ways for many different people. For some, music is the vessel used to share inner thoughts and feelings, while others look to writing or art. For Fonthill, ON, Benjamin Burns, expression is conveyed through a lens, and with his new independent company Woodnote Productions on the go, he is finally sharing his work and making his own mark in the industry, one project at a time.
“Woodnote Productions offers more than video production; it offers videography, photography, custom logos, web designs, apparel, business cards, band posters and promotional commercials and videos,” said Burns. “I made a conscious decision to provide more than one service so that local bands and clients can get everything they need through one source.”
An interest in the entertainment industry was first sparked when Burns was in high school taking a film class. In the beginning, filming was simply a hobby for Burns. He recalls attending local band shows and shooting footage that he would later post on the Internet to share with friends. Despite his young age, Burns knew that he wanted to steer his future in the direction of filming and production. In order to get there, Burns decided to continue filming footage of local shows and circulating it online.
“It was difficult to get people around me to take me seriously. Your friends are the most important people around you at a young age and they judge you more harshly simply because they can. I don’t think anyone actually thought that my hobby would become a job and a reality one day,” said Burns.
However, Burns’ passion for filming slowly began to develop into something more than a hobby. Eventually, Burns’ work caught the attention of Welland’s own small-town producer and director Peter Guzda, who invited him to his video shoot for the band Street Pharmacy. After meeting and befriending lead singer Ryan Guay, Burns was asked to be Street Pharmacy’s tour manager, which provided him with numerous filming opportunities throughout the next couple of years.
“Touring with Street Pharmacy allowed me to travel across Canada more than four times, as well as provided me with the opportunity to meet people and bands who I looked up to as a kid such as Greg Norri of Treble Charger, Little X — who is a music video director for Kanye West, Jay Z and Nelly Furtado to name a few — Our Lady Peace, Sublime, Hedley and numerous CEO’s of major record labels and recording studios in Canada,” said Burns. “Also, one of the coolest and more surreal experiences thus far has been standing in recording studios that Justin Bieber, Katy Perry, Sum 41, City and Colour and Neil Young have been in.”
Having the chance to explore the entertainment industry and meet many faces of those within it, Burns was more inspired than ever to pursue his dreams and stick with filming.
“It becomes hard to balance what you want to do and what you have to do. My parents always told me to go to school and have an education behind me, so there was always conflict with this,” said Burns. “With being a tour manager and having film projects to focus on, my business and school schedules began to clash. So, at times I had to leave school for business or leave business for school. Whatever I had to do I just made it work because I was so determined to prove that I could.”
After four years of working with local bands in his first company, Sane Productions, Burns teamed up with friend Christian Wiebe and together they started a company called Lexion Productions.
“Most of our work was based on the electronic music scene. Though it was a fun experience, after a while I started to realize that it wasn’t what I wanted to be focusing on creatively because it strayed from my background of local music. So, I parted ways with Christian, and I opened another business on my own, Woodnote Productions,” said Burns.
Since the establishment of Woodnote Productions, Burns has succeeded in returning to the local music scene and has kept close ties with confidant Ryan Guay. It is through him that Burns met and befriended Gianni Luminati, lead singer of the Canadian indie band Walk Off the Earth, and was given the chance to participate in a project that would unknowingly become an overnight success.
“Guay and the members of Walk Off the Earth had a particular project in mind. They wanted to collaborate and cover the song ‘Home’ by Mumford and Sons, and I was given the opportunity to film it for them,” said Burns. “The entire experience was unreal and it felt like the first really big project I was doing, and I knew that it was the closest I had come to the real world and the real industry.”
The video for “Home” currently has over one million views on YouTube, contributing to Walk Off the Earth’s growing popularity and success. In January, the band was featured as musical guests on the Ellen DeGeneres Show, and their cover of the Beatles’ song “From Me to You” was used in a Telus television advertisement, which Burns contributed to.
“Simply knowing that those projects are backed by the name Woodnote Productions is more than gratifying for me, and I am entirely grateful for being able to be a part of the band’s success,” said Burns.
The opportunities that Burns has engaged in since Woodnote Productions began have reassured him that there is a future in what he is doing. Now more than ever before, Burns feels as though he is ready to tackle larger and more difficult projects.
“I wouldn’t call myself successful just yet, but I would say that I have accomplished a lot in the past five years because of my perseverance. I am extremely thankful for those who have helped me and I am forever grateful of Ryan Guay for broadening my contact list with bands, artists and producers, and allowing me to share in so many of his experiences,” said Burns. “It has taught me not to give up on what you really want in life, even if the journey to get there is extremely difficult. I know it will not get easier as time goes on, but nothing can be as rewarding as seeing out a dream. Life is what you make it, right?”
To check out all video production services offered by Woodnote Productions, visit woodnoteproductions.com. Any questions can be directed to Burns at Benjamin.firstname.lastname@example.org.