Owen Campbell: NDA’s Own Walt Disney


Payton Van Pelt, Staff Writer, Advanced Journalism

“I would have to say don’t feel pressured to be something that you aren’t,” said freshman Owen Campbell, “because it won’t bring you happiness and it will just stress you out.”

Campbell has a rather unique set of skills and has given his talents to at least four Mr. NDA introductory videos as well as creating the Great Battle Scooby Doo video. His editing skills are now being used for Tritonfest 2018.

“My true film heroes are, first, J.K. Rowling for creating the story and movies that inspired me to become a filmmaker and editor,” said Campbell. “Second, my old middle school art teacher Mrs. Zirbel because she always encouraged me and my friends to make movies, and even lent us her room after school some days to film.”

Campbell found his inspiration through the Harry Potter movies. He felt a “deep desire to create worlds that couldn’t be created in real life.” Thus, he delved into the world of editing and special effects.

“I actually have two favorite movies, and they are Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2. The cinematography and story of the Prisoner of Azkaban are just truly amazing, and The Deathly Hallows Part 2 just captured all the magic of story with the final battle, which was edited in a breathtaking way.”

Driven by admiration of the Harry Potter films, Campbell turned to Youtube to start crafting his dream.

“I mostly learned everything I know from Youtube tutorials,” he explained. “They show you how to make Hollywood-looking visual effects by yourself.”

Campbell started making shorts and editing in fourth grade. He advanced to a real camera in fifth grade and completed his first “real” movie for a final in his art class.

Yet, Campbell’s talents truly blossomed when he entered the local youth film festival.

“In 2015, I entered Sconniewood film festival and won best technical film, which came with a drone. In 2017, I entered the same film festival and won the first place prize of $300.”

Rather than directing or producing, Campbell’s passion lies in editing. He wants to pursue a career in editing, animation or visual effects.

“Most people always assume I like to direct movies, but actually editing them is so much more fun,” he said. “My favorite thing has to be putting the clips together and making a scene. I love it so much because the scene could have been filmed over a couple of days and it’s sort of like putting a puzzle together. You have to put the clips into a scene, to make it look like it’s all happening at the same time.”

Campbell is also quite the perfectionist, and some of his videos take him up to four months to complete. Yet, the Mr. NDA videos took him a mere day or two.

“The reason visual effects take so long is that you have to create everything from scratch and rendering takes so long. I once had to wait five hours for a five-second animation to render.”

Campbell also comes from a family of notable NDA athletes. His two eldest sisters–Eliza and Olivia–were successful girls basketball players, and his sister Grace is a varsity volleyball player.

“Following in the steps of my sisters was always intimidating even at a young age. All three of my sisters are just truly amazing and have made it to state for their sports. At a young age, I knew sports wasn’t really my thing, but I always loved art,” Campbell explained. “I was never scared of stepping away from sports because everyone in my family saw where my true talent was at. I still do cross-country and I have made at least three-fourths of my friends at NDA because of this.”

And with the support of this family, Campbell has set his eyes on Hollywood.

“Right now I want more than anything for this to be my future. I am planning to go to college for it,” he said. “My dream is to make it in the film business as an editor. I would absolutely love to work for Warner Bros. or Disney. Both film companies have influenced my life in such a major way, and it would be an honor to one day work for them.”