Work inspiration with
Brian Artka

My name is Brian Artka and I am a filmmaker that handcrafts films that tell your story. I run size43 Creative which specializes in capturing and telling the story of the people behind the stories. We create films that connect people on a human level. We listen first, then tell the story that will best connect with your audience.

Some of my recent work includes a story for Make-A-Wish Wisconsin and all of the video content for my friend, and fellow Workspiration designer Mike Rohde for his book The Sketchnote Handbook, and The Sketchnote Workbook.

How did you get started in web development and film making? What is a turning point in your professional career?

Computers have been a large part of my life since the mid 1990’s, back when AOL and 24.4 baud modems where the rage (I’ll never forget that sound). Out of Hight School I went to college for computer science, but then ended up with a degree in filmmaking. When the web started getting big in the early 2000’s I found myself building websites for people, along with creating videos for businesses and weddings. These were always part time while working some other mundane job.

I eventually started working full time for a company doing front-end web development, but still had side gigs lined up for both web and video projects. My network started to get bigger, I went to a handful of conferences (SXSW, etc..) and one day I decided to go full time with my business. I’m still doing it.

The business consisted of my own clients and also helping out large agencies mostly with front-end development work. I’d build Wordpress sites from scratch, or build a small site chock full of animations via jquery that used to be flash. This was pretty fun.

I’m currently at a turning point in my professional career because my interests have been leaning towards making more films than developing websites. People fascinate me, behaviors intrigue me. Everyone has a story to tell, and I want to tell that story with motion pictures and sound.

What development software do you use for your work?

I strictly use Macs for all my web development and filmmaking work.

My go to software for front-end development has been Coda for years. I’m also old school and still prefer Firefox and Firebug for debugging CSS and HTML while working on a site.

For filmmaking, Final Cut Pro X is my workhorse. Old school video workers despised this software when it first came out, but I shoot on HDSLR cameras, and FCPX worked wonderfully for me when it came out, and I love it. It has since been upgraded significantly to please those old school video people, but I have loved it since the beginning.

Software, from the OS, to whatever program you use, is, still, in my opinion a personal choice. They all have there caveats and there ups and downs. Whether you work on a mac, or a pc, final cut pro, or adobe premiere, in the end, it really doesn’t matter.. choose whatever you are most comfortable with.

And what hardware?

As I mentioned before, my work rigs are all Macs. I have iMacs and a Macbook Air I will travel with.

For filmmaking, I have a plethora of gear, that used to get me all excited, but now, gear is just gear. I can tell a great story with an iPhone, it doesn’t matter what gear you have, its how you use it. Knowing how to use it, and when to use it, is the key.

With that said, just to please the gear envy for anyone wondering, my main filmmaking kit included a few Canon 5DMKII bodies, along with a pile of EOS L Lenses to fit any situation. I recently got ahold of a Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera with a few SLR Magic lenses, as well as an Olympus EM-5 Mark II body with a PRO lens.

Other gear consists of various Tascam, Zoom and Rode audio devices with a mix of Manfrotto Tripods, Monopods and various other equipment.

What is your ideal work environment?

The past years consisted of sitting in my studio, staring at a screen coding for 7 to 8 hours a day (sometimes longer of course). I still like to code, but I would much rather be out on a shoot, filming a story. Filmmaking is physical. Not workout physical, or construction work physical, but much more physical than sitting at a desk staring at a screen. I think that is another reason I am shifting more towards filmmaking as a service then web development.

When my crew and I are on a shoot filming, we are constantly moving, setting up, squeezing in places to get that important shot.. I love it. We have a guerrilla filmmaking style, it can be a pretty discreet setup, which is a good thing in tight places or places you really are not suppose to be filming. This kind of environment is my ideal workplace.

Where does your design inspiration come from? (Do you believe in 'inspiration' at all)?

All creatives are inspired by someone or something. If they say otherwise, they are lying. Everything has been done before, and we are all just making our own interpretations of something we have experienced or are inspired by. There is nothing wrong with this, it has been happening way before most of us were born.

I’ve been inspired by the stories I have been watching on TV and in the movie theatre since I was old enough to remember them. There is something about moving pictures and sound that just grabs your attention and holds it for however long the film might be. This holds true for non-fiction and fiction films.

I love making mini-documentaries about people who have been running their own businesses for years, learning about their passions, why they do it, etc.. it rubs off on me. I love learning something new every time I film someone like this.

I also love getting lost in the environment of a film I see in the theatre, or even watch at home. I recently saw the latest Mad Max film, Fury Road.. and… holy crap.. it might be one of the best action films I have ever seen that can completely grab your senses, and take you on a nonstop ride for almost 2 hours.. it is crazy good.

The power of film, motion pictures and sound, has always had a hold on me, but I am finally realizing that is how I want to contribute to society. I want to tell real stories about real people.

Who are the creatives you admire most?

Too many to list, but I’ll mention some off the top of my head.

Trent Reznor, while in Hight School, opened my ears up to many genre’s of music, and I still enjoy his music today. What he has accomplished as a “creative”, his ups and downs, to his most recent ventures, is extremely inspiring. I even got to meet him once, he’s a pretty cool guy.

Ladislav Sutnar, who many may not even know of, is a late graphic designer that had a heavy influence on information design and he didn’t even know it at the time. His work is extremely inspiring to me (known as Constructivism) and his book, Visual Design In Action, is finally going to be getting a reprint thanks to Designers & Books Kickstarter effort.

Last but not least, Shane Smith from VICE media inspires me to tell more stories. What he has accomplished with VICE, from the HBO series (which is fabulous.. real news), to his website and beyond, is amazing. I’d love to work on a project with them someday.