If you have a skill and you love the work, why not make a business out of it … even if you’re still in high school?!
That’s why two young Wilton women decided to form Pink Whale Productions — a video production company born of their friendship, education and exuberance.
“We’ve known each other since eighth grade,” said Hannah McCall, 16, who has teamed with Jacqueline DiCenzo, 17, to produce projects with the idea of being low in cost but high in quality.
With technology literally in hand thanks to cell phones that can shoot great video in the right hands — and knowledge about how to create a fine product — the pair is getting down to business.
In June, the rising Wilton High School seniors embarked on a first project in cooperation with Wilton Pride — filming and producing a video about the new nonprofit and its celebratory Pride Festival event at the Village Green.
“It started with us getting that gig,” Hannah said. “We were kind of like, ‘We can make a business out of this.'”
In July they shot and began editing a wedding video, with more projects to come on the horizon.
“When I was younger, like seven, I really wanted to be a movie director,” Jacqueline said. “I would make little short films with my friends.”
“My parents say I’m bossy, so they said I would be a good director,” she said.
In fact, her parents appreciate her skill and interest in the creative side of production, in particular editing and post-production work.
“My husband, John, and I are so proud of Jacqueline,” her mother, Therese DiCenzo, said. “She really has a flair for the whole process of video production, from the idea generation to the filming and editing process.”
Hannah, meanwhile, finds a lot of her interest drawn to the business and planning side of the endeavor, as well as key facets of production, including the cinematography.
“I like the angles,” she said. “I like the shot … I like the pre-production and the production. She likes post.”
Consequently, the girls have created a good working team with their particular interests and strengths.
“Hannah is a very hard-working teen and is currently holding down two jobs this summer,” noted her mother, Sarah McCall, who was instrumental in getting them their first gig through a local Facebook group. “It all happened organically.”
According to mom Sarah, both girls are part of the film production club at Wilton High School and want to study film production in college.
The two students gave great praise to Maria Breece, their WHS video production and civics teacher, to whom they attribute much of their enthusiasm, knowledge and interest.
“Ms. Breece became my favorite teacher,” said Jacqueline, who is interested in potentially pursuing teaching herself one day, ideally with a focus on media production. “She’s such an inspirational person.”
“She really inspired me to look into doing this more … I want to be her. I want to do media and I want to be a teacher too,” she said.
Hannah, whose father is British, has traveled a lot throughout the world. She sees her own media production future potentially in the area of international journalism and documentary.
“I think I want to do more journalistic pieces … more real-world kinds of stories (on) important issues that we can kind of report on and put a spotlight on,” she said.
At least for now, however, the girls intend to have a go at the video business, having enlisted their Wilton classmate and friend Julia Steenbock to make them a perfect logo. They’re also putting their efforts into getting their name out through social media for more jobs this summer and into the fall, including through their new Facebook page.
“I have so many things I want to do in my life,” Hannah said. “Film kind of fits into everything a little bit.”
Likewise, Jacqueline sees the value of film as a means to an end.
“I’d like to do more projects that affect people’s lives,” she said.