From Home Projects to High Skies: Becki and Chris on Crafting Captivating Stories

Whether they're sharing DIY projects or adventures around the world, filmmakers Becki and Chris always find the right music on Musicbed.

Filmmakers Becki and Chris

When they’re not documenting their home renovation and DIY projects, filmmakers Becki and Chris are sharing their thrilling adventures both on the road and in the air with their global audience on YouTube. Keep reading to learn more about what sparked their passion for storytelling, their advice for new filmmakers, and how they use Musicbed to find the right music to enhance their storytelling.

Musicbed: What sparked your passion for filmmaking/storytelling?

Becki Peckham: Chris initially entered the filmmaking scene by producing BMX action sports films back in the early 2000s. On the other hand, I found my first passion in photography, enjoying the challenge of conveying stories through single images or sets of images. My interest in video didn’t spark until around 2016. Interestingly, Chris and I found ourselves swapping roles over time. While his enthusiasm for video dwindled, he discovered a passion for photography. Meanwhile, inspired by the Canadian travel TV show Departures, I became increasingly obsessed with the idea of creating travel videos and delving into storytelling.

What keeps you motivated and creatively inspired?

The creative process is my constant inspiration. I enjoy planning trips and videos, exploring storylines, and experimenting with new techniques. Editing is like solving a puzzle for me, each video presenting a new challenge. I’m always thinking about how to tell stories differently and what interests me at the moment often sparks video ideas. Not being confined to a niche on YouTube allows us to create whatever we want, keeping me motivated.

Becki and Chris in helicopter

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

To me, what elevates a story visually is character—both the individuals within the narrative and the characters of the locations they inhabit. It’s about capturing the subject’s actions, emotions, personality, and passions, then presenting them cinematically using various focal lengths, techniques, and color grading. Music also plays a significant role in storytelling, as it not only influences how the audience feels during specific scenes but also establishes a particular style. For instance, I enjoy using alternative rock/country tracks in our helicopter videos as they align with the theme and energize my editing process. Conversely, I opt for more laid-back beats when creating home renovation videos. The choice of music genre depends on the vibe I want our audience to experience, while the pacing is dictated by the edit, footage, and BPM of the selected tracks.

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

In crafting a story, I believe addressing the who, what, where, and why is paramount. Identifying the story’s purpose is the initial step, followed by dissecting it and providing answers to these fundamental questions to construct a framework. Subsequently, our focus shifts to capturing emotion, passion, action, change, lessons learned, and reflection, which we consider integral elements when producing videos.

How important is music in your work?

What is it they say—”80% of video is audio”? Without sound and music, telling a compelling story through video can be tough. When I have an idea, I usually dive into my music library to find a track that inspires an edit. I’ve found a track that inspired an entire film once, but most times I have a vibe in mind and build from there. Listening to my chosen tracks during pre-production helps set the mood and makes the outline process feel more natural. It’s also crucial to know the direction before shooting, as music choices guide how footage should be captured—whether it’s in slow motion, handheld, on a gimbal, etc.

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

Just create! Even if you’re lacking ideas, tap into your life experiences, no matter how mundane they may seem. Consider filming your breakfast routine and transforming it into the most captivating story about breakfast you can muster that day. Or take something as routine as washing dishes and document it, striving to infuse intrigue. Consistently practicing by creating from your own experiences can accelerate your growth as a filmmaker and storyteller, allowing you to hone your skills more rapidly.

How do you find the balance between pushing boundaries creatively and delivering what your audience wants to see?

That’s always a tough line to walk, we focus on YouTube and don’t do much client work. We know our audience likely comes to our channel to watch us get up to something and most of them don’t care what as long as it’s either entertaining, educational, or offers some value. We’re grateful to be in that position because it allows us complete creative freedom when it comes to our series and films and the stories they tell. The challenge lies in ensuring our presence is clear in the thumbnail and the title is searchable. If we’re featuring someone else story on our channel, this can be especially tricky as our audience is primarily interested in us but tends to enjoy the story once they click. So when coming up with an idea, we can have an entire concept and name for a film or series, but the title and thumbnail can make or break it. Despite this, we strive to incorporate diverse stories and characters while maintaining the essence of our channel. For larger, more conceptual projects, the pressure of catering to audience expectations often diminishes as our passion for the project takes precedence. When we’re genuinely satisfied with our work and feel we’ve surpassed our previous efforts, the performance metrics of the videos become somewhat less important to us.

Becki and Chris in front of truck with suitcases

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

In the YouTube space, it’s showing up consistently even when you don’t feel like it which can lead to creative burnout. To combat this, I prioritize self-compassion and permit myself to take breaks and recharge, especially after completing a significant project. This allows me to return to the weekly posting grind with renewed energy and creativity. 

What are some of your favorite projects you’ve worked on?

Two main ones that come to mind. The first was our most recent six-part helicopter travel series we called Heading: WEST – Journey To Overhaul. It documents flying a small helicopter 2,500 nautical miles across the country from New York to California to get our expired aircraft overhauled at the Robinson factory. Second, in 2023 we made a short film called Mauzy – From pixels to paper. This one chronicles a 14-day photography road trip across the island of Newfoundland, Canada to make a coffee table book featuring images from the province. 

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

Typically, I begin by selecting the genre and start listening to various tracks. As I listen, I create a playlist tailored to the specific project, adding as many tracks as possible. You will need 5X more tracks than you think you do when starting your video, so give yourself a ton of good options and mix up the pacing of each track to match your story. Building the playlist ahead of time proves invaluable during the editing process. It saves time and ensures that searching for suitable music doesn’t disrupt the flow of editing. By having a comprehensive playlist ready, I can seamlessly integrate music into the video, enhancing the storytelling process.

Why do you utilize Musicbed in your work?

Musicbed provides a unique selection of tracks that offer a high-quality listening experience akin to discovering a new band on Spotify rather than typical stock audio. When working on a special project, I rely on Musicbed to deliver those standout tracks that will elevate my video. One aspect I particularly appreciate about Musicbed is the availability of instrumentals for most tracks. This feature allows me to seamlessly incorporate music into my videos without competing with dialogue, ensuring clarity and coherence in storytelling. Musicbed’s diverse and high-quality offerings make it my go-to platform for finding the perfect sound for my projects.

Explore a curated playlist of Becki and Chris’ favorite songs to feature in their work—available to license only on Musicbed.