Versatile. Experienced. Multi-talented. All of those terms fit StoryTeller's new Swiss Army Knife of a video producer, Matt Bjur. Think I'm exaggerating? He started out studying computer programing and used to sing in a punk rock band, but after focusing on video production, he built quite a reputation for quality and versatility over more than 12-years working as a videographer, editor, and producer here in the Twin Cities.
"I've never seen anyone work harder than Matt," says StoryTeller's Todd Vaske, who worked with Matt during most of his 12-year-stint at Mastcom. "Whether the budget is $0 or $50,000, Matt gives 110%. His attention to detail is unmatched."
In fact, Todd's recommendation helped lure Matt to StoryTeller after a one-year stint in Arizona, where he produced videos for Grand Canyon University. "Add his creative skills to his producing skills and our customers benefit because they're getting a creative director to go along with a producer all in one."
For his part, Matt's passion for video mirrors his skill set. He loves video's versatility. "The combination of the visual, the audio, and the story," he says, "I just love that mix."
Discovering Video Production
Matt actually started his career as a videographer, adding extra depth to his love of visual storytelling. "Anything that you might think is mundane and kind of boring, the videographer really has the ability to bring that item to life and allow you to see it in a new way," he explains. Yet the producer, who's known for painstakingly planning every detail of his video shoots, actually needed a little luck to discover video production in the first place.
It happened back when he was studying computer programming at a college in Florida. "I just could not stand computer science," he recalls, "but my roommate in college had a little video camera, and I started finding I would borrow that camera in all my free time. I'd go film anything I could, and I'd edit these little montages in my dorm room."
The video seed was planted, and it blossomed at Hennepin Technical College in Brooklyn Park, where he soon transferred. Matt later got a BA in Communications from Bethel University in St. Paul but considers Hennepin Tech's Rich Oxley one of his most important mentors. So he was especially excited to produce stories at Hennepin Tech's commencement ceremony as one of his first projects for StoryTeller. "That was fun," he says. "We talked shop for a little bit. He was definitely one of my favorite teachers."
Back to Minnesota
He returns to Minnesota after a year at Grand Canyon University in Phoenix. The move gave his family a chance to experience life in the desert (they loved it), and gave Matt a chance to grow as a producer. "I think it gave me a lot of good practice," he says. "There was definitely a lot of freedom to be able to really sit down and think about what the end video should look like, and really think on the front end about how to put it together."
Still, when Minnesota called him back, he answered. "Our friends knew we'd be back," Matt admits. "Probably not so soon, but we got a lot of folks saying, 'You guys are life-long Minnesotans,' so they didn't think we'd be gone too long."
And he's fit in quickly with the StoryTeller team. "Todd's just a good guy," he says. "But it's not just Todd. It's working with a team of like-minded people and creating together that's so exciting. I think it's just really a good team here. A friendly team, a hard-working team, and everybody kind of looks out for each other."