Film Connection mentor Mark Leisher isn’t Scared of Extreme
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One of the hallmarks of a true filmmaking professional is the number of stories they have. Do they have stories about being rained out or having to solve problems quickly with little or no resources? Well, Mark Leisher is one of those filmmakers who’s got stories for days.
As a former competitive snowboarder, Mark’s athletic training came in handy, enabling him to get work as a camera guy for a number of extreme sports. “I have some experience with climbing and rappelling and rigging,” Mark says, “So, wherever we could we set up a different shot that nobody else was getting… In Minnesota, we actually did a lead line stringing our cable across a 70-foot waterfall, and we’re shooting over the top of the guys going down the waterfall. If I would have dipped into the water, that would’ve probably been the end of me.”
Having filmed several X-Games and events for ESPN, Mark quickly gained a reputation for being the guy who does whatever it takes to get the shot. The very same go-out-on-a-limb attitude that propelled Mark through snowboarding and into becoming a cameraman for extreme sports, ultimately led him onto his next challenge. After years of working for other people, he decided to take the plunge and start his own company. Founded in 2010, Mark Leisher Productions is a full-service video production, web design, and digital marketing company in Bethesda, MD. Mark’s young but driven and market-savvy company produces work for top-name companies including: Hitachi, Under Armour, Red Bull and they’re just getting going.
As a Film Connection mentor, Mark’s bringing the next generation of filmmakers into a real working, film production environment where they can develop first-rate skills. All he asks for in his apprentices is dedication, determination and willingness to learn and be challenged. And, he’s one more filmmaker who isn’t a fan of the methodologies one finds at expensive, lecture-oriented film schools:
Teaching real world situations is the most valuable teaching opportunity that anyone can have. I feel most young people run off to college just for ‘the college experience’. They know beforehand that the first year or more will be a wash. I feel like this is a big waste of time, money and resources. I learned early that a ‘trade’ was more important than a piece of paper.
Real-world knowledge and usable, valuable skills are what enables Film Connection graduates to get a leg up on the competition. The simple truths that you learn while taking part in making films and commercials are ten times more valuable than anything you can garner while seated in a lecture hall with a hundred other students.
Every single day, Film Connection’s mentors and staff are dedicated to being the antidote to overpriced film education. We want an influx of new faces, new talents, and new points of view to get working, get creating, and to thrive.
Mark Leisher is one of the mentors who’s helping individuals get the connections and experience they need to get going in the industry.Rather than a ton of debt and a head full of cloudy abstractions, our students get a toolbox full of actionable knowhow and genuine understanding. Sounds extreme? Maybe. But that’s just how we roll.