How Bosco Stays Creative By Falling On His Face

Sara
December 3, 2021

Bosco has made a name for himself as a video editor and film wizard. Today, we get to know how Bosco started his film journey – from his humble beginnings to a behind-the-scenes look at some of his stunning videos – all the way to his current success.

Photo credit: bosco.edits

Tell us a little bit about who you, where you are are, and how you found yourself in the audio-video industry?

My name is Bosco and I’m originally from Chicago, Illinois. I moved to California when I was 18 because I cold-called Sam Raimi in his production office and asked for an internship. So I dropped out of college and I went there for orientation. They were super sweet and took me in. So I moved to California to work on the movie Drag Me to Hell. It was a very small, indie-like horror film. Sam Raimi’s first movie after Spider-Man.

I had film class in high school for four years so I had some experience. But I wanted to start working right away. I didn’t want to go to college – I wanted to start hustling. That was the start of the journey. Everyone from ADs to producers taught me everything they could.

My first professional editing gig was with Lifetime. I had a small movie which was fun because I was originally a PA on it, and then became the editor of the next film. It was really cool. I kind of kept hoping from TV shows to movies. In between that when I needed extra money, I would do QA for video games for Activision – Call of Duty, Skylanders, all their main games.

That’s how I got into the audio world, as well as a mix of film and video games at the same time. I released a game called Trover Saves the Universe for PlayStation 4 with Justin Roiland, the co-creator, and voice of Rick and Morty. It was all heavy on the audio. We did everything in-house and I was the only editor. So I did over 15k worth of lines by myself in the game across every single character. It was very, very intense for three years.

Then 2020 happened. We were locked inside. Me and my girlfriend share this small office and to get out of her hair, I would just go film little videos in the hallway and keep myself busy. I kept pushing myself to learn how to do VFX versus just saying, “I wish I could do that I wish I knew of VFX artists to help me..” I pushed myself to do it myself. And then here we are somehow, a year later, with the Halloween videos [made] a year ago today

I’m always impressed with your videos because they’re not easy to do. How do you get your visions and how do you get your timing and your follow through when you make your videos?

I try to make them look like just a guy with his camera to make them seem simple – even though a simple one can be the very hair pulling. I’m up to 4:00 in the morning trying to figure out the how’s and why’s. They almost always happen when we’re going to bed. For whatever reason when I close my eyes, it takes me a long time to fall asleep. I kind of start shooting or editing in my head, and the idea will kind of morph into that.

Every night before bed, Michele reads and I just interrupt. “I have this idea. I need to pitch it to you right now” And I’ll start pitching it to her. But instead of pitching it, I start going through all the steps – like “OK, we’ll shoot this first and then I have to shoot this.” I start going all over the place in my brain, trying to bring all the pieces together. By the end of that rant, she’ll go like, “That’s great, I can’t wait to see it.”

The next morning I start tackling it through doing rough tests. Something I didn’t do for a long time was doing a rough concept test. I would just think I could do it; and then fail, which is hard because it becomes discouraging. But now, I do the rough concept first and shoot it in under an hour. And usually it ends up almost being better. So I’m not overthinking anything – like, “Oh my, my fingers look like this or my foot’s angle was wrong or whatever it is”. It’s like you do it and it comes naturally.

So I try to think of the month, that’s where the Halloween stuff came from, because I just love Halloween. I miss seasons. There’s no seasons in California. I think [about] the light theme for the month and how it can apply to the month or just something random like the paper shredder video. I was going to bed and I was like, “Babe what if I pulled a picture of me out of my pocket and then I shredded it – but then I get shredded.” This is like 2 or 3 in the morning. This stuff is just kind of random unless there’s a theme.

It seems to come very naturally to your mind. Has the work you’ve done in the past been a lot of VFX editing? Or is this something that you just enjoyed doing?

It all just started because of 2020. I was bored and burnt out on the professional paid work I was doing. I needed a refresher – when we put off all the layers: why do I do this? Who am I as the artist? I needed to get back to that level. I missed when we were kids making videos for high school. I didn’t have to write papers for English class. I got to make videos with my best friend. We made the silliest thing based off a topic that the teacher would give us. It was just so much fun. There were no rules, just a very punk rock mindset. That’s kind of where I came from. .

The very first video I did was in April. It had only been a month of quarantine. At this point, Michele and I are both working home full time and I was just, I like going out. She’s the introvert who wants to stay in and I want to be around people all day, every day.

I was really struggling in the beginning, so I needed an outlet to express that too. So my very first video was me going down the stairs and my outfits would change, but I wanted to look and be in the same position. But that’s how it felt, right? Every morning it was like: wake up, go straight to the office, back to the living room, a repeat over and over. So I really struggled at the beginning, and that’s where it started. I was like, “OK I want to keep doing this.” It was fun and people enjoyed it. They reached out to me and were like, “Hey, thank you. I’m also struggling with this.” So I set a small goal like making a new video every Wednesday. I did that for a solid three months.

So what kind of changes in your life did you see once you started putting your work out there more? Did people connect with you about this stuff? Do you find others on Instagram doing the same kind of thing as you are? What has shifted since you started doing these posts?

Paper Shredder

People have reached out. It’s really hard to get people to engage with anything on social media. I find myself doing it too – not commenting or liking something. I’m better about it now because when I started doing it people would text me or message me separately like, “I love this thing.” It was nice because I would get some who would say, “I’m going to try to make my own video. Can I kind of try to make the exact video?” And I’m like, yes please try.

It was cool to see them get recharged, excited, and hyped to make their own content because it’s hard for any art form. It’s so much fun to do blue sky and pitch ideas. But to actually follow through is really hard. If I could give any advice: Always finish. Even if you think it’s bad, which can be hard on you, your ego, your ride, and your creative side. I have so many videos that I’ve never put out but I finish them. They didn’t need x y z standard or just didn’t hit the way I thought it would fit. Even so, they’re still finished. They’re in the archives and I can go look at it and hopefully come back to it later.

It comes down to resources. You know how you lose your socks all the time somehow after you wash them? So I wanted to dive into my washer, into the bottom one, and then come flying out of the top and that’s where I found the sock. But I don’t have a set. I can’t remove the backs of my washer and dryer so I can’t do that.

It just looks like your personality really comes through in these videos, like your playfulness and good nature. It just looks like a fun environment

That’s great to hear because that’s really what it comes down to right? It comes down to when you were young and made fun stuff just for the hell of it. I think it’s changed me as an artist in terms of seeing what’s important. I think I got lost for a second, focusing on the wrong things and becoming a little jaded, and not realizing we have cool lives as artists. Like, you can forget that feeling.

Just recently I was at a wedding and I was the best man. I put together a video of our really old work like, I have archives from 2007 of all our videos. So as part of my speech, I played a little five-minute video. It really helped bring down some of the ego and jadedness. Because people would come up to me and say “I used to be a filmmaker, and I don’t do it anymore. Now I want to,” and that’s the process. You can’t beat that.

I really feel, for me, you’re authentically know how to enjoy your art form, which I feel like coming from a musician background. Girl musicians get really burnt out quickly because it’s a lot. And you have to really know how to come back to who you are and why, and why do you do what you do. You are inspiring – it does bring good vibes and karma to your life because you send them out and you get them back.

Falling Flat on My Face

Let’s focus on one of my favorite videos that you’ve done, and kind of break it down. Did you ever fall on the stairs or why did you choose to do that one?

It goes back to the Halloween video, the one where I fall flat on my face and turn into a skeleton and candy. I originally wanted to fall down the stairs and turn into pumpkins and candy. I wanted to fall flat on my face down the stairs and slowly morph. The camera would pan down and it’s like a small pile of candy and I’d become candy. But I couldn’t crack the code on that one.

I couldn’t find the stairs safely. I would try to just fall in the first two steps, but it would look too rehearsed and planned but it just didn’t look good. So I nixed the idea and just fell flat on my face instead. But it haunted me every night. I needed to fall down the stairs, and convincingly without getting hurt. And randomly, it hit me. We had an old iPhone just sitting there and I’m going to throw the phone down the stairs. That’s going to work but how do I get the phone to tumble like a body?

I just found a tape roll and I put the phone in there and it fit perfectly. And I like bowled the phone down the stairs and I knew I can match that in post if I had the phone like that when I’m looking at the art prints. I’d fake fall and whipped panned down. I knew I could jump cut between those two and it would look like I just fell on the stairs.

I just laid at on the bottom of the stairs holding the phone. Then just bounced and you put it all together. It actually goes back to what I was saying about overthinking. It was super simple. It’s three cuts total and then sound effects. I still want to fall on the stairs without you seeing me do it. I needed to get that part out.

So when I wanted to fall down the stairs and couldn’t, I thought it’d be so much easier to just fall flat on my face. That’s like super easy. I’m athletic, I skateboard. I can do this. No problem. It ended up being two weeks of torture because I kept putting my hands out.

Behind the Magic

Obviously, if I put my hands out, the effects are not going to work the same. Part of the illusion is like, “whoa this person just went for it and fell flat on their face.” So I grabbed our couch cushion and I just kept trying to fall onto it. I would always put my hands out and I would tell myself, “just don’t do it. It’s not going to hurt. The cushion is going to catch you,” and I just couldn’t do it again.

I would bother Michelle in the middle of the night, I wake her up and be like “why can’t I do it? Like, why can’t I fall flat on my face?” And she’s like, “shut up. I don’t know. I’m trying to go to bed.” And one morning I just woke up. There were two weeks of trying back to back and I was like, I’m going to do it. We just woke up, got out of bed, put some music on. I got my outfit ready. For whatever reason, she said, “You got this baby, you got this.” When she said that, I blacked out and you see me in the video, I do this weird penguin flap with my arms and just went for it. I remember after it happened, I kind of came back. I was like, “my face is in the cushion right now.”

She wasn’t expecting it either. There was a long pause of me as a dead fish on the couch cushion. Even if I didn’t make the video at that point, I was just so happy that I fell flat on my face. It was so hard. If I was to do it again, I think it would take the same amount of buildup. Maybe a little easier, but still really hard.

How did you get the shots of the skeletons and candy? Did you shoot those separately and then overlay them?

I try to think of it like Photoshop and the different layers. I should have an empty plate, right? In this case, I actually failed. Don’t be like me for this one. I didn’t shoot the empty plate, which made things so much harder because when I had to remove the cushion post, I got lucky that I was able to freeze-frame the floor. You can see it in the behind the scenes, I had to do a lot of hacks to make that video work because I didn’t shoot an empty plate. You want the empty plate – so that way, when you remove an element there isn’t just a giant black space there. Now the floor is there.

I had to do a lot of work to get rid of shadows and lighting because unfortunately at the time, I didn’t have lights either. I was doing it all-natural lighting in-camera. I had to do a lot of screen shots and patching a bunch of spots all around me to make it look good. So you shoot the plate, shoot the shot of me falling on the kitchen. Then I laid flat on my face on the floor and Michele placed the bones where I would be. I went to the back of the room with a bowl of candy and threw the candy at the bones. We did that several times so I could layer in more candy to make it more whole. Then it’s just a lot of nonstop layers.  But again, because I messed up and didn’t get the plate, it was, even more, to make it clean.

Sometimes it’s hard to enjoy yourself in the tech world because it’s like, do it this way or else you will suffer.

You are not wrong. Like all the tools from rotoscoping to simple math. If you don’t do it right, you will suffer. I didn’t want to reshoot it because I didn’t know if I could fall on my face again. It was all small things that most folks probably wouldn’t notice, but it’ll bother me knowing it’s out there and there’s a little shadow flicker or something like that will bother me.

So let’s talk about your Halloween effects. It’s my favorite holiday and I just enjoy everything that has to do with it. Did you actually carve those beautiful Jack-o-lanterns?

I wish I could take the credit, but that was all Michele. I may have done the other one. She did the Ninja Turtle one. I tried. I talked about it in the behind the scenes. I failed. We had to rush to target to get new fake pumpkins because I did such a horrible job. So she came in and saved the day on that one.

She had carved a real pumpkin a few years back of a giant beautiful octopus. She’s super talented. That video would not have happened without her. From the pumpkin carving to all the work that went into shooting it because I’m pretty fortunate I just get to sit there. The hardest part was staying still. So again, that’s a jump cut. I would do this to make it seem I was holding the camera but I wasn’t really holding the camera.

I would hold the object like this and say my intro lines like, “OK tonight we’re going to have a pumpkin carving contest.” Then I’d hold and she would swap the object and I would go “oh, so spooky” and then do it again. She would run and put the tea light in there and kill the lights. She’s in the video, right? So you’re like, “how did she do all of that and she’s in the video?” She was never there. There’s a seam right down the middle. So I maxed us both into it, so we’re not actually doing stuff together. I did that because I needed a hand. If we had another person, she could have been in the shot. It would cross over each other and could make the work a lot easier. That being said, I’m making this sound super easy but It was a lot of work.

Pumpkin Swap

You make it sound so easy.

It’s not. It’s a lot of me crying, “it’s not going to work. I will like reset the mask over and over. On top of it, I want it to seem like I was holding the camera. I add fake camera shake on there to make you think, oh yeah he really is holding the camera. That adds a whole layer of mask because if the mask is moving, you need that to be perfect. If you look really close, you can slightly see we have a newspaper on top of the table and it’s moving ever so slightly.

Again, it’s all nitpicky crap that no one cares about. But I see it all and go “oh, I failed.” So I always use those moments to push myself for the next, for the next.. But it’s great. It’s good learning for the next few.

Do you have the next thing you’re working on?

It’s actually candy-related again. I’m making it for Halloween. The longest part was setting up the tables and the candy. When I was first doing this, I definitely was overthinking. The way the candy is coming out is I have a poster tube of candy and I just launch it out. I take that and throw a simple little mask. You can see the mask on the table. So that table is always there. That way, when the candy comes out the objects the candy hits don’t change between those takes, so it’s seamless. I needed the candy in my mouth to be in the same exact flow. Like if I’ve shot the candy any other way it would look weird. What’s cool is the other mask is doing the rest of the work. So naturally, the candy is flowing out from the poster tube. So it looks like I’m vomiting and it’s flowing out.

I’m very convinced. I don’t know how that looks so real, honestly.

The hardest part of editing all this stuff is keeping all that in your brain – what is layered on top of what right now and I’ll have to constantly go through and turn things off to be like “yes, right, that makes sense that you did that.” Another thing I did that I love, it’s probably my favorite part, is when I wipe my mouth and then I actually spit out a candy, like you do when you finish throwing up. I know it’s gross, but I want that little touch.

That candy would be hitting if I didn’t mask it into the frame so that candy is also masked. I needed the mask so I actually keyframes it as it moves across the table. When you see it, I had like a little motion blur. So it looks like it’s going through that path perfectly. Then it’s gone so I turn off from there.

Then I want to keep the outtake in there. I really like outtakes being intakes. I started laughing just because it was absurd when the cats and Michele were all behind me and the cats were going after the candy. So also a fun little Easter egg. Those are the pumpkins from the pumpkin spot video and a little background there.

Vomiting Candy

You have such a holiday cheer in your house.

We love Halloween so we decorate all of this stuff here. It’s kind of funny. Like, Halloween comes and It’s like bones and death in the house. But we love it.

So let’s talk about the equipment used to film. Do you shoot mostly on your iPhone?

It’s all very minimal. Everything is shot on the iPhone. I just shoot natively in the camera app. With the recent upgrades to the phone shooting in HDR, it’s nice to have that little extra push of light. For this, I have two small ring lights that I use. But because we live in a loft in downtown LA, space is pretty limited. That’s why most of my videos happen in the kitchen or the stairs. That’s the best space I have. I just use my phone, a shoulder mount, and two small lights. It’s the most bare minimum setup you can use.

Do you ever find yourself wanting to buy sometimes like an iPod mount that will make it look like it’s flying or something?

Yeah, I have two [iPhone mounts] that I use. It’s still really great for certain things because my phone can just slide right into this thing and the size of the phone doesn’t matter. I can adjust it. It’s so good and then I can mount it onto the tripod. So their new version that I use is great because I can shoot vertical as well.

Now, I know for me, I hate shooting vertically. Every time I do it, I feel like I’m breaking my own rules. But with social media, you should shoot vertically so you get the full-frame, which is hard for me. That’s really hard for me sometimes because I have a shot that doesn’t look as good, but it looks better once it’s on the socials.

Lenses too. I want to buy lenses for my phone. My issue with that is every year, it’s like we make such a big leap in technology. If I buy all this gear for this one phone, is it going to be compatible with the next, right? And that’s always the gamble. So I want to get lenses too, or maybe just switch to a DSLR like I’ve shot on before.

It’s also nice just shooting in phone. My computer is an iMac. I got this airdropped footage to my computer. So it’s really fast. I can do everything really fast. No memory cards, no battery. It’s all just there, which is really nice.

Well, seems to me, you want this to be a fun thing, not a stressful thing.

Exactly. To bring it all back. It feels fun, right? Like when your parents had a handy cam and you’re just making silly videos. It makes the serious tone kind of go away and you just have fun.

Video Editing

Where can people find your stuff, how can they connect with you?

I have a website, boscoedits.com. They can also find me on Instagram. If you go to the website, at the bottom there are links to all things Instagram and LinkedIn, and some Reddit stuff I’ve done.

Are you working on any projects in the moneymaking world right now?

I haven’t done one in a minute. In terms of professional work, the last thing I’ve released was actually a video game, which I know is outside of what we’re talking about. No VFX, unfortunately. It was all just dialog audio editing, which is a whole separate beast versus cutting a picture. That was the last one, it’s called Lost in Random.

It’s a game from a small Swedish dev called Zoink Games. I met them at E3, the big video game convention and they really liked my work and Trover. So I got to work with them on their game. The art styles is very Tim Burton goth Halloween feeling. It’s really, really awesome. I got to come on and I did all of the dialog editing for the main character, plus 50 others. That was fun.

They also help with just having fun. That was a big thing for them because they’re actually located in Sweden. Overtime is not a thing. The government will come and shut your company down if you do overtime. So it helps me too because I use part of the problem where I would overwork. I would brag about having the 90 hour work weeks and now it’s like 8 hours.

Have fun now because you need that. You need that balance. That’s kind of where the videos came in, to help. It forced me to have a deadline made up. I was like, I need this video done by Wednesday. That sounds stressful, but it helped me step away from professional work to go have fun.

I’m not saying I’ll never do overtime again. If you’re really passionate about something, it’s not a bad thing. But it shouldn’t be like Monday through Sunday.

So last question, what do you have in your future? What do you see in your crystal ball?

I’m writing a short film right now loosely based on the story I told you earlier about cold calling Sam Raimi and moving out to California. That’s always been the goal, to make a movie. I’ve been out here for 14 years now and I just haven’t done it yet for a lot of reasons. Confidence, money, resources.

But I really want to make a John Hughes type of movie about two friends who go on this journey to get into the industry. When I got the internship and flew to California, that’s fun and exciting. But if I make that into a movie that’s over 15 minutes. So instead, it’s going to be a little more fictional in the sense that it’s two friends who drive from Chicago to California to try to get into the industry.

It’s been fun and have a lot of fun writing it and pulling from my real life and my experiences. So the goal is to eventually make that and get them to festivals and go from there.

OK, second last question, what is your LA mindset like? How do you navigate LA? How do you keep your head in the game?

I spent all my twenties here. I moved here when I was 18 and just turned 33. It’s so easy to get caught up in the glamor and the parties and people of power. People who will say things to you like, I love that video. We’re going to invest a million dollars in you, and you hear that for the first time. Oh my god, this is amazing. I can’t wait to get that million dollars. And of course, it doesn’t happen, right?

None of it is real until either you get that money in your bank or your TV shows are airing on TV. So for me, it’s my partner. Michele is a huge part of it. She’s my muse. She keeps me levelheaded and keeps me from not becoming so jaded. And it’s great because we both balance each other out. She’s also in the entertainment industry, focused on video games. So we really help each other to take a step back and realize how cool this is.

Photo credit: bosco.edits

Navigating it can be difficult until you find new groups and circles in LA because LA is like a bunch of subcultures. Even just three years ago, I lost myself again. I don’t want to say fame because I’m not famous, but the potential for it. I focused too much on that with my last projects vs. the art of it. So it’s kind of peeling those layers and realizing how fortunate and lucky we are to just tell stories for a living. So that’s really what it comes down to is we are giant kids telling stories. And you can’t beat that.

I can’t imagine not doing that. It doesn’t matter if it’s like an Instagram video or a TV show or a feature film. I just love storytelling or even creating a story of like you and I are just chatting. We create a story and nothing comes from it. It’s only alive for that 30 minutes. I just love that too. It’s so much fun.

Be sure to follow Bosco on the internet because he will bring you good vibes to your day. Have you seen any of his videos, what is your favorite?

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