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Dream job

From bike mechanic to working for an international video production company — young Gisborne man Jordan Perry has learned what happens when you follow your dreams. He talks to Debbie Gregory about his journey so far.

Self-taught videographer and photographer Jordan Perry is only 21 and is working the job of his dreams.

A former Central School, Gisborne Intermediate and Gisborne Boys’ High School student, he went to EIT Tairawhiti and completed a one-year diploma in information technology after finishing his schooling.

While attending EIT, and with a strong interest in mountain biking, he was also working part-time at Bikeys fixing bikes.

“Since intermediate, I have been a very keen mountain biker — I love being in the forest riding with my friends.”

But in the background, his interest in cameras and filming kept bubbling away.

“Even when I was at school, I was always interested in how films were made. I spent a lot of time on YouTube looking at the makings of movies which inspired me to start making my own with my friends. While I was at school I took part in my first 48- Hour Film Festival with a group of friends. Since then I have competed each year in the film festival.”

After Jordan finished his course, he was hesitant to enter into the computer world.

“That was my back-up. I always wanted to follow into a career of filming but I was not sure how secure that would be.”

So he left EIT and took up a full-time position with Bikeys setting up his own photography and video business in his spare time. He did not want to end up in debt from doing university study like some of his peers.

“Once I set up Exposure, I started getting into video and photography work and did a lot of weddings. I videoed a lot of free events like the Christmas Parade to get my name out there and get my business up and running.”

Jordan was one of the first people in the district to get into drone video/photography — something he says has been transformational for his work.

“From the start I have been making sure I obey the rules around getting permission which has been complicated because the rules were not very clear at the start.

“It has really been a case of trial and error. I did lose one drone to a river . . . but I have done a few big drone projects and really enjoyed doing them.”

Jordan’s drone videos have also been enjoyed by the public on social media. The first one, The East Coast, released in April 2017, was reached by almost 300,000. A more recent one, for Royster Productions showing even more parts of the East Coast was just as successful.

The best part of making a video is seeing other people’s reactions and comments when they see it on social media, he says.

“I love reading the comments — especially with the one I did along the coast. People who were from different areas really appreciated it.”

Coincidently, his former boss at Bikeys Freddy Salgado, introduced him to Shawn Royster, the owner of international video production company Royster Productions.

“Shawn and his family had just moved here. They specialise in large-scale multiple camera events and had just started up in New Zealand. I said I was into filming as well and from there I started working on some small projects for Royster Productions.

“I think he liked me because I am young, keen and motivated.

“Throughout last year, I worked part time for Royster Productions and from 2019 I have become full-time.”

Coming up, he is excited to be working on a New Frontiers conference in Wellington and live-streaming the Surf Lifesaving Nationals later this month.

Working with drones is one of his favourite parts of the job.

“You can get a view that most people have never seen and it’s such a smooth view. The technology is always changing, so the ability to get great pictures and video is always increasing.”

He says his job with Royster Productions is everything he ever wished for.

“When I was at school I thought I had better do a trade . . . I was worried about having a backstop. But doing the IT course at EIT has given me that and it has also helped me a lot with the filming work.”

The only son of Megan Williams and Brian Perry, he has advice for other young people thinking about a future in film.

“Chase it, grab a camera, film as much as you can and get your name out there.”

Royster Productions specialises in live-event production, audio-visual, projection, live multi-cam video, live streaming, commercials, motion pictures, documentary, seminars, concerts, music videos, broadcast sports, infomercials, promotional videos, instructional videos, host/MC and voice-over. The company does not do weddings. Royster Productions’ mission is to deliver the best-looking and sounding product in the game, whether watching and listening live or at home on any and all devices. The team is comprised of several experienced industry professionals: cinematographers, writers, producers, directors, editors, graphic artists, audio and sound experts and many more wicked, smart kids. It is a tight team of good solid people with many years working together with a strong chemistry and lots of hours perfecting the formula. The international company has its home base in the United States and films all over the world. Jordan Perry is the first employee in the New Zealand arm of the business.

Jordan Perry is pictured here with a camera and stabiliser. Pictures supplied
Jordan Perry doing what he loves at the Mount Maunganui Bay Dreams music festival in January.