Video Creator Spotlight – Sam Shimizu Jones – Documentarian and Cinematographer

Video Creator Spotlight – Sam Shimizu Jones – Documentarian and Cinematographer

Welcome to the Video Creator Spotlight of the month!

This series of interviews highlights video creators and their work. I’ve personally learned most of what I know how to do by talking to other people and learning from them. The Video Creator Spotlight is my way of sharing other people’s stories with you in hopes that they inspire you to make better videos.  If you or someone you know would like to be featured in the Video Creator Spotlight, please send me an email at

Now on to the interview!

Who is Sam Shimizu-Jones?

I am a documentarian and cinematographer that will be working with a medical non-profit team in the rural communities of  North-East Panama this year.

sam shooting video

How did you get interested in video creation?

I grew up filming my friends skateboard around our hometown.  While filming, my friends were all over the place and that changed where I needed to be in order to get the best angle.  This greatly helped me in my high school video production class that introduced me to other aspects of film, including writing a script and working with a team.  While studying Film Production at Loyola Marymount University, I was introduced to larger scale film sets, professional cinema cameras, and Germany.  I studied documentary film in Germany and got the opportunity to shoot documentaries all over Europe and direct my own about a Parkour group in Cologne, Germany.  It was just like being back with my friends and thats what hooked me to documentaries.

What is your favorite part about video making?

Its hard to say what my favorite part of making videos is.  I think light is one of the coolest things ever.  Also, there really aren’t many rules or limitations but rather choices about how you want to tell your story and what tools are available.

Do you have a video that I can share on the blog?

Here’s one of Sam’s many videos from his time in Panama working with Floating Doctors.

What has it been like navigating the professional video world?

I got lucky.  I freelanced in Los Angeles after graduating, working mainly in the camera department but also directing a few things.  The money I made in Los Angeles funded a 6 month trip throughout South America and upon returning, my friend offered me a three week documentary job in Panama that then turned into five months and now will be for this entire year.  The only tip I would have is to be respectful, keep in touch with people that you enjoy working with, and know that many things won’t work out how you wanted them to

What is one tip for making better videos?

Always make the time to step away.  Traveling, reading, staying active and social, all things that have helped me become a better storyteller.

How can people find you and your work?

Personal Website –

Non-profit Sam is working for in Panama –

Let’s all give Sam a big round of applause. Thank you for taking the time to tell your story to the Video School Online audience. We appreciate your tips and wish you best of luck in your video making career.

Please let us know what you thought of Sam’s story below. If you have any questions or comments, the comment section below is the place to do so.

Until next time,