Her Story: Alexandra Tellez

Tell us a little bit more about yourself?

My name is Alexandra Tellez. Some people call me Alex. Some people call me Tellez. I am a senior in university, studying media production. I love telling stories through visuals. Traveling is a top priority of mine. I reside in Dallas, Texas and Tallahassee, Florida. I like Dallas because it’s where my family is. I like Florida because there are a lot of places to explore. 

What are some fun facts about you that people do not know?

 I love sports. I played basketball in high school and soccer for 6 years.

What is a typical day like for you?

I wake up, go to work/class, work out, and then go exploring with my camera. 

If you could relax for a day and not worry about YouTube and school, how would you go about it?

I’d probably spend it taking photos or filming something, to be honest haha. I don’t consider that to be a negative stress or something I don’t enjoy doing. I genuinely love it. So whenever I’m not taking care of adult things like paying bills or cleaning my apartment, I take photos/film.

Do you prefer coffee or tea?

Coffee 100%

What was one new experience you tried that was completely unknown to you at the time you tried it?

I studied abroad my freshman year of college. That was the first time I was ever living on my own and the first time I had ever been to Europe alone, and it was my first year of college. It was terrifying but looking back, that was the best time of my life and I’m so glad I decided to do that. 

What are you most afraid of?

Not performing to the best of my ability, which would result in failure. 

What made you choose to go to Florida State University (FSU)?

FSU has a really good film school and a good program was my top priority when choosing what school I wanted to go to. 

Do you shoot any films or do photography in college? 

That’s all I do. All of my classes are surrounded around film. This last semester I directed my first ever documentary and I had a blast doing it. I love that I’m doing what I love to do in school. If it weren’t possible for me to do filmmaking/photography in school then I probably wouldn’t go. 

Every college has trademark mouth-watering food at affordable prices. What is your favorite place to dine at in FSU?

There’s this really good pizza place called Momos. They have slices of pizza bigger than your face. 

Is there a Greek system in FSU and you attend any college and frat parties?

Yep 

Nope. I don’t go out at all really. I can see how going to parties/clubs/bars can be fun, but personally for me I don’t find it appealing. Going out means staying out really late and not going to bed until 2-4am and probably drinking/eating a lot of things that will not make me feel good the next day. I would then not wake up until the late afternoon the following day and probably not feel good. After assessing all of that, that’s 2 days of non-productivity. I just would rather do something better with my time and something that I would enjoy. I usually spend my Friday and Saturday nights either shooting or editing. That’s fun to me. 

Since you are studying media production at FSU, what are some key points you’ve learnt?

To be honest, I haven’t really learned that much. There’s a certain level of “learning” in this field and once you’ve accomplished that it’s all about experience. The “learning” aspect of film is learning how to use a camera, editing software, technical aspects, writing, etc. After that, it’s all about perfecting your craft and gaining experience. 

You’ve been travelling quite a bit! What is your favorite country?

That’s hard. I really like Italy, just because there are so many beautiful cities there. You have it all in that country. You have the big city, the countryside, the coastal life. You have it all. 

We love all your photographs that showed the beautiful and serene landscapes of Argentina/Chile - especially those glaciers! How did you know about this beautiful location that seems untouched by humans?

The hotel we were staying at provided exclusive guided trips. My family was given 2 guides and they took us there. It was incredible. 

What equipment did you bring along to shoot?

I brought my 5D Mark III, Canon G7x, and Instax 210 polaroid. I only brought my 35 mm 1.4 L series lens.  

Describe your YouTube channel in one sentence.

Capturing moments in life and finding a way to piece them together to tell a visually appealing story. 

How do you go about telling stories through films?

I usually just try to capture a moment as fluidly as I can and then find the story in the editing process. 

What made you start YouTubing?

I just wanted to make films. I wanted to create films for myself and be able to have a space where I can see them. Before I discovered filmmaking I had a strong passion for photography. I would print my photos and put them up on my wall just so I could see them. I wanted a space like that for my videos so I decided to put them on YouTube. I don’t have many subscribers or views but the people who do watch my content, they surprise me. I know I put my content online for everyone to see but I never expected anyone to find it. 

How long is the production required to create a film?

It varies. It could take a day or it could take months. 

Do you find any difficulties ideating for contents?

I think everyone does. I think everyone goes through phases of having several ideas and then through phases of having 0 ideas. That’s the beauty of art. 

Are there any content curators on YouTube that inspire you to curate?

I look up to Jack Harries and Casey Niestat. I really respect what Jack Harries is doing with his channel. His aesthetic and style is simple yet complex. Let me explain - At the beginning and end of his videos he has a stop motion animation made with cut out pieces of paper to introduce and conclude each video. It looks very simple and clean-cut but a lot of time was put into doing that. I really like that. I like how high production all of his content is but how fluidly he achieves it. I like Casey Niestat because he has perfected the idea of creating a story in the edit. I respect what Casey does and his outlook on filmmaking. 

What is your favorite film?

I have a lot of Academy-awarded films that I love, but I would have to say that my favorite films of all time are romantic comedies/chick-flicks. I know I know, cheesy. But that’s my guilty pleasure. I fall for it all the time. In that category I really like The Devil Wears Prada 

Your proudest work today is the film – The Instagrammer. Can you give us a brief summary of what it is all about? How long did you take to produce it?

The Instagrammer follows Sofia's journey of a young adult as she tries to find the balance between making her parents proud and doing what makes her happy. A lot of parents aren't supportive of their kids taking the creative route because of the fear of them becoming a "starving artist". Sofie's parents, like many others, were not to keen on the idea of Sofie pursuing fashion and photography but Instagram played a role in changing their mind. 

In total the film took about 3 months to make. I basically invaded Sofie's life for 3 months and we just filmed every chance we could during that time period. 

What sparked this short film idea? 

I see a lot of potential in social media and truly feel like online content is the future. I wanted to make a film that gave insight into how social media is changing traditional media. 

There are so many compelling creative individuals on Instagram, what made you decide to choose Sofia?

A friend of mine introduced me to Sofia and she was the first person I had met in real life that had the same ideas and outlook as me. We both saw Instagram as an opportunity and not as just another app to share silly pictures of my everyday life. 

Did you have anyone helping you out?

Yes of course! Without the help of other people this film would not be what it is. I was introduced to two really talented music producers named Bryan Carnet and TIDUR. Bryan did a majority of the sound for the film. He was really great to work with. I sent him over several different cuts of the film and I gave him full creative control to create a sound that would compliment the different emotions in the film. He was really great to work with. TIDUR did the introduction song of the film which really set the tone for the rest of the film. Roger Young helped out with graphics. He was also a pleasure to work with. I had a general idea of what I wanted and he took that and hit it out of the park. His motion graphics really added a nice touch to the film. 

Since the release of the film on 12 May 2015, you have received many compelling reviews. Are you planning to do a serial continuation? 

I would love to extend this into a series. Maybe not make each one as long as The Instagrammer though. I enjoyed doing this and finding out more about Sofie and shaping her story. I would love to do this with other creatives and share peoples stories. I would love to do one on a painter, a producer, a fashion stylist, a photographer, etc. 

The other popular film – A Beauty of a Second.

Ben Brown has commented on that video, what is it like to have someone of that calibre appreciating your work?

It's cool. Sure he has a larger following than me but I feel like as creatives it doesn't matter how big your following is. Social media has made it seem as though your work isn't good if it doesn't have over 10,000 likes or 100,000 views. And that's just not true. The best film on youtube could only have 100 views. But just because it has 100 views doesn't mean it isn't brilliant. But to have someone with a big following recognize your work is pretty cool considering he knows a thing or two about filmmaking (; 

What is your goal for your YouTube channel?

It’d be cool if I could make a positive impact somehow with my channel. Like a noticeable positive impact. Either work with a charity or start a movement. Something. 

Do you have a theme going on Instagram?

Not really. I understand why Instagrammers have a feed theme. I used to do that. I used to only post pictures of the beach. But then it hit me one day that if I were to look back on my Instagram a year from now, all I’m going to see is pictures of the beach. Which that’s cool and all but that’s not actually what happened in my life. I want my Instagram to reflect me. I want my Instagram to be my visual diary so that in a couple years I can look back and see what I was up to. I also think that by not having a theme it makes Instagram harder. Because it allows you to shoot anything. You don’t have to stick to one color scheme or only one subject. Some would argue otherwise, but I think being able to adapt and shoot anything and everything is a lot more powerful then only being able to shoot one thing 100 different ways. 

What advice would you give to all budding filmmakers and photographers?

I would say, just do it. If you truly believe in yourself and you know that you have a passion and drive to be a filmmaker or photographer, then do it. People will tell you that you’re not talented, that you don’t have what it takes, etc. But you can’t let that get to you. With hard work, anything is possible. If you’re willing to put in the hours then you’ll get results. That’s how life works with anything. 

In the near future, what can we expect from you In terms of photography, filmmaking and your personal goals?

I hope to direct documentaries and hopefully have a photography book that features my work. Those are two goals of mine right now. YouTube wise, I just hope to stay true to myself and make content that I want to make and not change my style or vision because it’s not what will get me views or because I’m getting made fun of for it. I love making the videos I make and I just hope that I continue doing that.