isn’t your typical wedding
filmmaker. He isn’t even
your typical teenager.
While most of his peers
spend their weekdays
hitting the books and
their weekends blowing
off steam, Costner is
balancing his budding
working on a degree
in computer science
at Appalachian State
University, where he’s
currently a sophomore.
“Time management is
definitely my biggest skill,”
he says. No kidding.
Though still new to the industry, Chase Costner has already shot several weddings as the principle cinematographer in
and out of his home state of North Carolina.
By February, he told us he was booked for the
next six months—though he limits himself to
two weddings a month to accommodate his
demanding coursework. (He was just completing
some linear algebra homework when we spoke.
We don’t even know what that is.). Here’s what we
learned from the youthful Costner about making a
start in filmmaking.
CONNECT YOUR PASSION WITH YOUR BUSINESS
Costner’s filmmaking foray was the result
of two intersecting passions: creativity and
“Whenever we had a multimedia assignment in
school, I pushed to make videos,” he says. Costner
was also a tinkerer, known for taking gadgets
apart. This pastime led him to start a cellphone
repair business, the proceeds of which helped him
underwrite the purchase of his first camera. After
a methodical search involving blind tests of Vimeo
clips and extensive research, he settled on Sony’s
a6000 with a kit lens.
It wasn’t long before he put his camera to work.
His first assignment was a freebie for the high
school band director, who wanted a recruitment
video. Costner shot it on the a6000 and edited it in
iMovie, “because it was free.”
SOCIAL MEDIA IS A FORCE MULTIPLIER
When the piece was finished, Costner’s mother, like
any proud parent, posted it to her Facebook page.
Then, social media took over. A friend saw
the video and requested Costner’s filmmaking
services for a promotional video—his first paying
gig. Naturally, Costner was “very nervous. I didn’t
want to take control, I wasn’t suggesting any
ideas.” Nonetheless, the finished product was also
posted to Facebook. His first wedding assignment
soon followed—a $300/12-hour affair for a family
friend during Costner’s first semester of his
freshman year in college.
That first shoot was a harrowing experience,
as Costner recounts constantly battling two
rapidly draining batteries that forced him to hover
A 19-year-old’s road to
success as a self-starting
filmmaker. BY GREG SCOBLETE