Going Where Creativity Takes You With the Movie Trailer Composer for Minions: The Rise of Gru
One of the most amazing things about our community is that we have so many talented and creative geniuses amongst us. You never know someone's story or what may have inspired their creative vision.
Here at Hypenvibe, we're on a mission to empower and lift YOU up. To support you in bringing your creativity to life and sharing it with others, we're proud to share our first collaboration sharing one of our community's very own creative geniuses, Matt Lara!
Matt has lived on the east and west coasts of the U.S, composed music for hit films including Free Guy, Disney's Soul, and Minions: The Rise of Gru (one of our favorite movies) and he has an amazing perspective on street photography.
We know you're going to be as entertained and inspired by Matt's interview as we are... so let's dive right in!
The Rise of Matt Lara
Matt edited this gorgeous photo from Hawaii using our Orange & Teal preset
Q: Tell us a little about yourself
A: My name is Matt Lara. I am originally from West Palm Beach, FL, raised in Houston, TX, and now live in Los Angeles, CA. I spent about 11 years on each coast! Career-wise, I do a few different things! I compose music for movie trailers (such as Free Guy, Disney Soul, Minions: The Rise of Gru and more!), I create YouTube content for the music production company Native Instruments, I am currently building an online music production course called Full Time Music Creator and I run two YouTube channels, one for my music content and another for my filmmaking content.
Getting Started with Photography & Videography
Q: How did you get into photography/videography?
A: I have been into both photography and videography for longer than I can remember. From disposable Kodak cameras as a child, filming and editing skate videos in middle school, creating short films on YouTube (since 2006!) and who knows what else. My mom and brother always had cameras around so naturally I gravitated towards them.
Going Wherever The Creativity Takes Me
Q: What's your favorite subject (muse) for photography/videography?
A: Honestly, I just go with wherever the creativity takes me - for instance, last year I was getting a part on motorcycle repaired and I found the dad and son at the shop super interesting. Well I ended up shooting my first doc-style short film called “Why I Ride” about classic Honda motorcycles.
Sometimes other videos inspire me to create something in my own style. With videos, I enjoy telling a story, even if it’s about a simple product. When it comes to education videos, my goal is to always show my process and make it streamlined. I believe photos can sometimes tell a bigger story than video. Especially because everyone has their own perspective. Lately I have really been into street photography. I think there’s magic in capturing everyday life.
Whether it’s downtown in a major city, a suburban park, or even a coffee shop - there’s SO much to see, and the coolest part is you can look at it through your own eyes or your cameras. You’re not limited to re-creating what you see, but creating what your camera can see.
Hearing Your Music Creation on the Big Screen
Q: What are your content creation goals? And what's your coolest content creation experience so far?
A: I have separate goals for my two channels. For my music channel, I strive to inspire, educate and entertain. From sharing my experiences of success in the music industry to showing the gear that I actually use in my productions. I just want to help others create and provide information I wish I had at the beginning of my music making journey.
My coolest content creation in music would probably be going to a theater and watching/hearing my music for a trailer. Talk about a dopamine-boost!
My film channel is brand-new, and I am 100% still exploring. I want to tell stories, share stories, show my process of creating content and more. Whether it’s POV street photography, behind the scenes of a brand shoot, breaking down an edit or making short films to motivate and validate feelings and emotions.
We all want to be successful on social platforms but if you believe in something, put it out into the world.
Something I’ll never forget from playing live shows in music is, “whether it’s 1 or 1000 people in the crowd, give it everything you’ve got”.
I like to convey this in my content, whether it’s 1 view or 1 million, give it everything you’ve got. In the end, you’ll be happier knowing the amount of effort you put in.
I recently did a video on a pancake lens made from disposable Kodak cameras - I walked around the Santa Monica Pier and snapped photos as if I was using a disposable camera and filmed the process. Having no control over focus is a wild thing but it made such a fun experience to share!
Organizing Your Creative Process
Q: What's your creative process like?
A: With videos, I like to be organized - I use Notion for every step. From storyboarding, to making a shot list, scripting, editing checklist and more. Obviously it always depends on the video, setting and more. Sometimes I just wing it and see what happens!
To give you an idea, if I am shooting for a brand I lay it all out, if I am shooting an educational YT video it’s either scripted or at the very least I have bullet points that I strive to hit. There are also those times when I just bring my camera along and press record. Then when playing back it sparks an idea and I turn that random B-roll into something special.
For photos, I just press the shutter. If I am on a trip, I capture anything and everything that sparks my interest. Sometimes I set goals for a photo journey. For example, I was just in Seattle, Washington and my goal for that trip was to only bring one lens. A 50mm 1.2 and shoot everything from landscape to street photography.
It relates a lot to when I make music. There are times I have a brief that I follow for a trailer and other times where I open a blank project and just let the music take me away.
Advice For New Creators
Q: Any advice for new creators?
A: Two things, one - learn your gear.
Whether it’s an iPhone or a Canon R5. Learn EVERYTHING about it. From function buttons to menu options. Someone who knows every camera function of an iPhone will take a better shot than someone who just bought a 10K camera rig. Understand the basics to create a foundation and build your skills both technically and creatively. The other one is the importance of street photography. It's completely unpredictable, which is what I love about it.
You truly NEVER know what you will capture, especially in a city.
Matt edited this dramatic photo from Seattle using our Deep Black preset
Grab a camera and go, this will help you understand what settings to use on your camera for different types of shots. Especially when it comes to shutter speed and framing/composition.
Must-Have Photography & Videography Gear
Q: Any must-have gear?
A: Quick release clamps!! They are the TRUTH.
I like the Ulanzi Fal-Cam F38’s. I have one on every tripod, overhead mount, vlogging stick and my backpack strap. The amount of time I save by not messing with tripod adapters lets me focus on the moment in front of me. The other one is a great prime lens. I find myself using primes more than any zoom I own. Having to actually move around to frame a shot is completely different than just zooming in, sometimes I surprise myself with what happens just by moving closer or further away from a subject.
Favorite Video You've Created
Q: What's your favorite video creation?
A: This is a video I created showing street photography in Kauai, Hawaii. Some of my favorite photos came from this trip and being able to share the process of how I took them really inspired me to do more. This was one of my first “grab and go” style videos so it was a learning experience for me as well! I will say, waking up at 5am to capture that sunrise wasn’t fun, but once I was out there, the moment made it worth it.
Favorite H&V Preset to Use?
Q: Which H&V preset is your favorite to use and why?
A: I like to set moods of my photo journeys based on the vibe of the trip. For Hawaii, I felt like the classic orange & teal presets really expressed the color and saturation of real life.
During my last trip to Seattle, Washington, it was cold, rainy, and snowy. I wanted to convey that in the photos so I used the “Deep Black” presets and adjusted them for each photo. What I love about the H&V presets is, sometimes they are great starting points, other times I slap a preset on and call it a day because it just “works”.
Additional Resources for Creators
Q: Any other resources you want to share for beginners?
A: Repetition is key. Doing things over and over and over will ultimately help you grow in whatever field you’re trying to be in. Don’t let the numbers get you down. It’s easy to feel lost when the views aren’t there or the comments suck. I often feel one of the main reasons for losing inspiration is that we exert so much energy into an idea and don’t receive an equal amount of recognition. At times, this leads to feelings of doubt and uncertainty which pushes us to become lazy and unmotivated. It’s hard not to compare ourselves with those who are out there crushing it but just keep doing YOU. If you believe in yourself and the art you are making, others will believe in it too.
Connect with Matt on Social Media
Don't be a stranger... show Matt some love for sharing his story, insights, and tips with us.
Subscribe and connect with Matt Lara on:
- YouTube @notmattlara (film) and @matnetik (music)
- Instagram @notmattlara (film) and @matnetik (music)
- TikTok @matnetik
- Facebook @matnetik
- Twitter @matnetik
Thanks for reading, and remember to go where the creativity takes you...
The Team @ Hypenvibe
P.S. Here are few more photos from Matt's Hawaii & Seattle trips that he edited using H&V Presets... enjoy!