Nowadays videos are everywhere we turn, being used for almost everything, from advertising products; to spreading information; to telling stories. But how are these creative and often innovative videos made? We wanted to know what goes on behind the scenes, so we met up with our favorite videographer, Mahy Sherif, founder of ‘Al Pingüino’ production house to find out more!
1) When did you first get interested in videography?
I loved editing since high school, I was always creating videos with pictures of my friends adding music and effects.
2) What skills and personal traits are required for this job?
The main trait required is passion. My love for editing definitely drove me. Even in college I would always drop the theoretical courses for the more practical ones.
As for the skills, you need to master the different programs. I learned some of the basics through college however I developed myself further by self-learning and online courses. Not only that, but I took multiple jobs, two of them while I was still enrolled in college, just to gain further experience and knowledge. I worked on news coverage during the revolution and as an assistant director for Al Hayat TV.
3) Was it difficult to land a stable job?
Most companies do not hire a full-time video editor, prefering to hire a free-lancer whenever needed. So it can be very difficult to find a stable full-time position in this field.
“He put me in the center of the battlefield as they say, by giving me the place and the money to start.”
4) Were you ready to open your own business?
It was always a childhood dream to have my own production house; but I didn’t expect it to happen so soon. My fiancé (now husband) was very supportive, he put me in the center of the battlefield as they say, by giving me the place and the money to start.
5) How did you start building your name in the market?
To build a name you need 3 main things: commitment, professionalism and positive word of mouth.
“I depended on my experience and errors to teach me.”
6) How were you able to manage your own production house?
It was and still is never easy. I depended on my experience and errors to teach me and of course I took advice from experts on how to manage my finances and accounts and run a business in general.
7) How do you manage all the pressure?
As for the pressure, it constantly haunts you, so sometimes I take my laptop to work in the vibrant environment of coffee shops. If the pressure becomes too much, a two day vacation is the only solution (with my laptop of course!).
8) What is the future of Al Pingüino?
Well, I just finished my first short movie about my grandmother and I am currently working on my second short film that I’m planning to submit to film festivals in hope of getting more exposure and opportunities. In the future I would love to have 3 or 4 people working with me, but no more than that as it needs to maintain the personal touch.
“They preferred that I have a stable job, fixed monthly income and less hectic hours of work.”
9) We know that your fiancé was your main supporter but what about your parents?
At first my parents didn’t like it, they didn’t think it was a viable career and preferred for me to have a stable job, with a fixed monthly income and less hectic hours of work. Sometimes I can remain for days on end sleeping in the office just to finish a project, once it reached a full week. I even reached the degree that I worked on my honeymoon! With time though, they have come to understand it better.
10) Your brand has an amazing name and logo, is there any story behind it?
Well, I am in love with penguins and I wanted to make my company representative of who I am.
11) What advice do you give women who would like to follow a career like yours?
If you are a woman who has a dream you are passionate about, my advice is simple: Follow your dream! Nothing ever starts easily.
12) And finally, if some of our readers would like to make their own home videos, what software would you recommend they start with?
Well, if you own a Mac, iMovie’s is a great start for basic videos because of its simplicity. If not, a Sony Vegas is a great program to use.
Find out more from Al Pingüino on their Facebook page and find them on Instagram at @alpinguinomp.