Former students gain national attention

Using knowledge gained while going to school here, three former students have formed their own production company and gained fame with their work. Photo courtesy of Matt Eastin

For three former students, getting international attention for their work has become standard procedure. Chad Hemelstand, Matt Eastin and Russ Mayo all work as independent video contractors. The three have filmed and edited videos for Sony Music, Columbia Music, and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

“I have a job I love and some of my work gets national attention,” said Eastin. “That’s pretty awesome.”

Though the three work independently of each other, they all formed The Occidental Saloon, a non-profit video production company that creates music videos for local bands to help them get national attention.

Started in January of 2010, they feature about one band a month. One such video featured the band Fictionist, are a part of a competition to appear on the cover of Rolling Stone Magazine.

Since they create these high quality videos for free, Eastin, Hemelstand and Mayo have the freedom to create something really fun.

“They’re all really eager artists and they’re willing to do anything to get their music out,” said Hemelstand.

Through their work, Eastin and Hemelstand have traveled all over the globe, including Africa, Indonesia, Brazil, Mexico, Alaska, Europe and most of the United States. All three reside in Provo.

When not working on video projects, Mayo teaches digital media, radio broadcasting and television production at Pleasant Grove High School.

“It’s a good break,” said Mayo, speaking of his video work.

While working with major companies does not allow as much creative freedom as the music videos, the jobs are always diverse. Past projects have included training videos, documentaries, music videos and television shows.

“There’s so much variety in the projects,” said Eastin. He added that these jobs also pay enough for there to be time and resources to fund The Occidental Saloon. “Something creative [will] come and there’s no rules,” said Hemelstand. “It’s nice to get away from the more bland, boring stuff.”

When asked about what the future may hold, all three were optimistic.

“I want to be doing what I’m doing right now, only with more freedom to decide what I want to do,” said Eastin, hoping he’ll be able to choose projects that are “less about the money.”

When asked if Provo will remain their homes, all three said they do not feel the need to leave. They are sent all over to film, so there isn’t any real reason to move.

“Sometimes, it doesn’t matter where you live,” said Hemelstand.

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