Eddie Gilbert on Building Stories and Community Through Film and Photography

Eddie Gilbert passionately fosters a vibrant community in filmmaking and photography. Always exploring new stories with a camera in-hand, he brings his creative vision to life.

Always exploring new stories with a camera in hand, Denver-based creative Eddie Gilbert shares every step of his photography and filmmaking journey with his audience on YouTube. Read his interview below to learn more about what sparked his passion for storytelling, his advice for aspiring creatives, and how he always finds the right music for his projects on Musicbed.

Musicbed: What sparked your passion for filmmaking/storytelling?

Eddie Gilbert: My father is essential in sparking my passion, without him I’m not sure we’d be speaking. My Father enabled creativity in my siblings and me. My sister and I would always take my father’s camcorder in the early 2000s and make goofy home videos of ourselves. Fast forward to 2011 my senior year in high school my father was sick of me stealing his laptop to use the camcorder to make some egregiously bad videos and he ended up buying me a Canon 60D for my birthday. Soon after rediscovering those tapes along with YouTube around the same time and beginning to make even more nonsensical videos, I realized after editing and uploading a video to YouTube what filmmaking was and that it could be a career. Since that epiphany hit me, I’ve never had an interest in anything else. 

What keeps you motivated and creatively inspired?

Having purpose. My father passed away very suddenly in 2021 but he passed doing what he loved. He was responsible for me getting to where I am today. He also helped guide me in realizing what’s important in my life. I don’t like just working on any creative project or photographing any subject matter. It has to have some type of importance. It’s an extremely therapeutic process for me to create stills and motion and I want to spend my time intentionally doing it if I’m going to dedicate a part of my life to this. I don’t find much drive or joy in a lot of other things in life. It’s kind of been that way for me my entire upbringing. I never had an interest in any subject matter in school outside of gym class and theatre. When I graduated and went to community college—even then nothing stuck for me. Soon after I was hired as an editor by my friend Wade Yamaguchi, and he helped me find my footing that eventually led me to here. 

Eddie Gilbert filming cast member

What makes a story visually appealing? What role does music play in storytelling?

This is a tough one, but I’d probably say “authentic imagery” if that makes sense. I don’t need a flashy edit, insanely beautiful lighting, or the best camera and lens combo. I love natural light I love seeing things naturally as they are without the aid of all the latest gear. I love watching a story that’s visually beautiful but not distracting. To answer the second part of this question. Music is critical to the visuals whether it’s present or absent in any given story scenario. It can aid in so much emotional weight depending on how one is planning to use it. It can emphasize a moment a line of dialogue, or a character’s actions or underlying intentions. Where I think I love music most is in a good trailer. Give me a good beat, and perfectly timed edits and I’m all in haha. But I also love super dramatic well-earned musical moments whether they are subtle or loud and in your face. Take the movie Dune for example. When those horns hit, I just wanna stand and clap!

What elements do you think are essential for crafting a compelling story?

I don’t have a specific answer here but, a story that makes me reflect on myself and my life outside of its runtime and stays with me for a time is simply the best. I love emotional stories, where life just happens to a character and there’s nothing they can do about it but let it happen. I see them as lessons for my own life experiences and a way to interpret what I have experienced. Of course with a grain of salt. But I also love world-building deeply. It acts as fuel for my imagination whether or not I’m capable of creating on a bigger or smaller scale it keeps my mind open to possibilities. I enjoy wanting to know more about a world built by writers and directors and hope to one day simply be a fly on the wall of some of these stories as a BTS photographer. There is an infinite pool of knowledge to learn from teams that are capable of world-building. 

How important is music in your work?

I think of myself as a musically motivated filmmaker. I’m always daydreaming with some soundtrack in my head. My father who passed was a musician he could play every instrument and my sister is a singer. So music in a way is in my DNA. But don’t ask me to sing, you’ll regret it instantly! I love music as do the majority of people but, It’s very hard for me to create without music. It helps me navigate the emotional beats of a story. It ignites my brain visually whether I’m driving and just enjoying life, or trying to come up with an idea. If I didn’t have music; It would be a lot harder for me to interpret what I’m trying to create. I started my career as an editor as well so using music in a ton of edits shaped the foundation of how I create. I can spot a bad “music edit” quickly. 

Eddie Gilbert filming cast member

What advice would you give other filmmakers/creators who are just starting their careers?

Keep your head down, ignore most of what you take in online, and create what you’re passionate about. Just stay consistent and I don’t mean by the rules of today’s social media standards. Find the people who you enjoy creating with and focus on nurturing and building trust in those relationships. Don’t ever feel entitled (because this world owes you nothing) and always be in a position to learn from those above, below, and beside you. Find a mentor in life and maybe for your creative journey as well. I’m currently seeking a new mentor being that my father was mine. But also experience life to enhance your creativity. You don’t always have to be in a position of getting, or earning anything. I believe the best creative experiences come from the moments when you open yourself to authenticity. 

How do you balance pushing boundaries creatively and delivering what your client wants or audience wants to see?

By building trust in your relationships and having confidence in your skillset. Practice and explore to find out what works and what doesn’t. You have to understand your audience for any given project. You will fail at some point and that’s a good thing. There are many lessons to be learned from failure. 

What is the most challenging aspect of being a filmmaker/creative?

For me personally, I’d say leading. Leadership is HARD and not for the faint of heart. I’m in a position where I have to lead a lot of people. Some are creative and a majority are not creative. It’s very hard to build trust amongst people who don’t understand your creative vision and get them on board. Especially when things don’t pan out at first. Educating them on the creative process and the emotions that come with that can be extremely stressful. But I have to have confidence in remembering who I am called to be.

What’s your favorite project that you’ve worked on? or What are some of your favorite projects you’ve worked on?

As of right now, I recently just worked on a project called (METHOD FILM By Ryan Holly and Nkosi Roma) where I was brought on as a unit stills photographer on their film set and I genuinely loved that position more than anything I’ve done over the past 14 years. I’ve worked every position on set but working stills for the first time felt great because the weight was off of my shoulders for once! I felt like I could still be my creative self and create something meaningful whilst being a fly on the wall at the same time. It was a very breath of fresh air experience that felt fulfilling. Most people these days want to be directors, actors, cinematographers etc. “High-level positions”, but lately I’ve gradually stepped off that train and been perfectly content with being a hand elsewhere. I don’t strive to be in the front. It’s stressful up there haha! 

How do you search for music on Musicbed? What are some tips that you’d give other filmmakers to search on Musicbed?

I usually have a few go-to artists depending on the mood I’m going for to start me off, and then I usually kind of just let the wind take me from there. I don’t like to lock myself into the mindset of “this has to sound like this” But let my ears and mind be open to other possibilities. My go-to’s are usually Ryan Taubert because that guy is insane with the sounds and makes very good hype music. I can usually take a small section of a soundtrack from him and use that as some narrative beat. Then explore other genres depending on the pacing of any given scene. So a tip would be to understand the tone of what you’re going for. Also, check your levels! I know it sounds obvious but a lot of creators these days do not pay attention to their music levels and it ruins the experience. 

Why do you utilize Musicbed in your work?

I’ve been using Musicbed since its inception and I love the quality of artists the platform provides. It’s been a go-to creative resource for me for a lot of projects. Sometimes I’ll use the app to create playlists and listen to those or just let the app run while I’m driving so I can add music to a master playlist. I create a lot of videos on YouTube these days, so I always need something fresh to help spark new ideas.

Explore a curated playlist of Eddie’s go-to music for his work—all available to license only on Musicbed.