We discovered Kelsey “Premiere Gal” Brannan, when she did a tutorial on her YouTube Channel about how to use templates like Motion Array’s in editing and video creation. We thought she was doing some great work, and we were honored to be mentioned by her. Even more important, we knew that she would be a great source of inspiration for upcoming filmmakers!
Premiere Gal took her passion and turned it into a meaningful career, as well as a growing brand. We’ve sat down to talk with her about the Premiere Gal brand and how she got started in video editing. We also learned more about her tutorials and how her work supports upcoming filmmakers. If you are interested in creating your own YouTube channel, or just want a good resource for video editing tutorials, check out the interview.
A Conversation With Premiere Gal
Turning her Passion into a Career
Tell us a little about your background and how you got into video editing.
My aunt (dad’s sister) lived very close to us growing up in San Rafael, CA. She LOVED movies! She had a whole library collection at her house, alphabetically ordered on two bookshelves. She even had a binder where we could look up her movies, find them on the shelf, and check them out from her. I would borrow movies and watch them over and over again. My favorite from her collection was “The Goonies.” I fell in love with the spectacle of visual storytelling.
I grew up in San Rafael, a suburb of San Francisco, and the same city where George Lucas lived. It is where he started his company ILM (Industrial Light and Magic). One time we went out to dinner as a family, and my dad pointed out that George Lucas was sitting right behind us. I couldn’t believe it! I admired the man for having such an incredible vision and yet remaining so down to earth. I aspired to be able to have the skills and connections he did. I was fascinated.
One of my mom’s friends was a 3D modeler at ILM, and one day she brought me to her office, and I got to meet all of her colleagues. At the time they were working on The HULK. She showed me how she built a tank (the tank that the HULK threw in the air in one scene of the movie). I learned about the whole process and how much thought and detail went into bringing the script to life behind the scenes. It was amazing.
“It was here at ILM, at, I think just 14 or 15 years old, that I fell in love with post-production and I knew I wanted a hand in it.”
I attended San Rafael High school, and it was pretty much your average high school experience, but one thing that set it apart was the Media Academy. Students going into their Junior year could join the Media Academy, which enabled you to integrate video and filmmaking into your Social Studies and English language courses. I joined!
Instead of just writing a book report, I was able to remake a chapter of the book into a modern-day television show. Or, rather than just reading about the political process, I made a “mock” political campaign video. The academy had a dedicated time period where our technology teacher taught us how to edit in Final Cut Pro Studio, film using DV Tape camcorders, and use a green screen. It was here at an early age that I learned how to make a film and also gain important media literacy skills at a young age.
I then applied to college for film and I went to UC Santa Barbara’s Film & Media Studies program, where I received a wonderful education in film history, theory, and production. At UCSB, I was a video editor on several student films, and I also helped run our Digital Editing Lab my senior year.
At the lab, I really enjoyed teaching students and faculty how to edit, especially documentary films. And so, upon graduating in 2011, I was accepted into Georgetown’s Master of Arts program, “Communication, Culture & Technology.” There I was a teaching assistant for a Social Justice Documentary course, and a fellow at the Center for New Designs in Learning and Scholarship. That’s what got me out on the East Coast!
I graduated with my M.A. in 2013, and I applied to a Video Producer opening as a federal contractor for the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State, where I still work. Technically, I’m what they call a “Preditor or “Shreditor.” I produce, write, film, and edit all my videos which promote international exchange and study abroad programs sponsored by the State Department.
Learning How to Do It All
Your handle makes it clear that you love Premiere Pro. How did that become your editing software of choice?
Well, FCP7 died in 2009? I think it was that year, and I knew that either Apple was going to create something entirely new or disappoint. I saw that Adobe was doing some really great new innovations, so I got my team at the State Department to switch to Adobe Creative Cloud at the end of 2013.
“I’m not just a Premiere Gal though. I use After Effects, Audition, Illustrator, and Photoshop daily.”
Also, Premiere Pro is my editing software of choice, because my work pays for it! If my work was on Avid, maybe I would be on that. But I think it wouldn’t make sense, as I have such a small team and Adobe Creative Cloud works so well together. The designers on my team are able to share color palettes with me, and I can access all that design information from our shared Creative Cloud library.
I also want people to know that I’m not just doing tutorials on Premiere Pro. I have expanded to include tutorials on how to give voiceover feedback and on video accessibility. I want to expand to also do more in After Effects and Illustrator. For instance, “How To Use Illustrator as a Video Editor.”
We live in a world now where a lot of time you need to know how to do it all, and this is what I hope Premiere Gal can provide. I really want “Gal” to be a comfortable online space where even beginners can ask questions and not be intimidated by technical jargon. At the end of the day, it’s all about storytelling, and if you think of that as your end goal, you can do anything if you put your mind to it.
Think of “Premiere” in Premiere Gal as an adjective for “awesome.”
The Film Buff
Who are a few of your favorite editors and filmmakers?
My favorite editors and filmmakers are also great writers. I think you have to be a good storyteller! I like David O. Russell for his film, I <3 Huckabees — that movie cracks me up!
Marta Kauffman, co-creator of Friends and Grace & Frankie. She is a genius! If you haven’t seen Grace & Frankie, you need to watch it on Netflix. Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin — do I need to say anything else? Lily Tomlin was also in I <3 Huckabees. She is by far my favorite actress.
My favorite editors change over time, but I think I base my favorite editors on the films that strike me the most as unique like The Diving Bell and the Butterfly in 2007. Most of this film comes from the eyes of a man with a condition called “locked-in syndrome” causing him to be paralyzed from the neck down and it still strikes me to this day! It was edited by Juliette Welfling.
Women in the Film Industry
What inspired you to create the Premiere Gal identity and YouTube Channel?
I realized how much I loved doing video tutorials after I did a couple of captioning tutorials for my day-job at work. I really enjoyed it and received positive feedback! I thought, why not just try to make my own company/brand that can specialize in tutorials and free education? I think that this is implied, but I think that including the “Gal” also gives more representation to all those amazing women filmmakers out there.
You mention that you have a “goal of bringing a female voice to video editing and production tutorials online.” Why do you think there is a lack of women in this space?
Well, it’s a simple answer, really. Women, historically, have not been given the same opportunities as men in the workspace. Women could not vote until 1920. But as our society has become more equal over the past 80 years, the diversity of the workplace has changed.
“More and more, I see prominent women editors and filmmakers, and it makes me so happy!”
I still think it is funny though that 84% of my viewers are male, and only 16% are female (according to Google Analytics). But perhaps that is reflective of the gender representation in the industry? Either way, I’m trying to brand myself as a place where anyone can come to learn. I’ve had several men, women, and fathers, thank me for the value of my tutorials, which has meant so much to me! It’s always wonderful when people validate your work.
If anyone out there inspires you, I also started a monthly program where people can nominate a #PremiereGal of the month to be featured on my channel or blog. You can nominate them on the homepage. I hope this will be a way more women editors can be empowered and discovered by future employers for their talent and dedication to editing.
Tutorials in the Making
How do you go about gathering ideas for tutorials?
I attend lots of post-production conferences where I tweet out tips and tricks. A lot of people respond and say “can you expand on that?” or “can you do a tutorial on that?” I want to create tutorials that people actually want to learn!
I’ll post a poll on Twitter and have people vote for which topic they want most. And sometimes, I create tutorials on things that I want to learn. Yes, you guessed it, Premiere Gal is also a way for me to learn and grow my skill-set. I’ll study, research, and write a tutorial! This helps me learn with my viewers. So it really is mutually beneficial. Lastly, I have a form on my website where people can also make tutorial requests privately.
How long does it take to turn around a Premiere Gal video tutorial from start to finish?
I could do a tutorial a day if I had time, but because I also have a full-time job, it sometimes takes longer.
I usually need a day or so to process an idea and write out a plan. Then filming can take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour depending on how I do that day, or if #PremierePup misbehaves. I have tons of outtakes. Editing can take anywhere from 1-5 hours, depending on the length of the tutorial.
But I absolutely love every minute of making my tutorials. It truly is my passion!
Get Involved with the Premiere Gal Brand
How can other people get involved in the Premiere Gal brand?
Yes! I would love guest bloggers! I also will have my very first “guest” video editor doing a tutorial on Film Impact transitions on the Premiere Gal channel. She applied on my website, and we chatted, and I thought it was a great fit.
I know I cannot offer all skills for everyone. That’s why I want to invite other contributors to the channel, it will benefit the channel and also everyone else in the community of learning. Go to the team page on my website and apply! They are not paid positions yet, but hopefully in the future, there will be!
Companies can also connect with Premiere Gal. If you have a product or a service related to production or post-production that you want to be featured or reviewed on my channel, drop me a line at [email protected] I’ve worked with many companies, like Wipster, Editors Keys, Mettle, Logic Keyboard, Digital Anarchy, Film Impact, LaCie, Audio Network, and more.
I also have a Patreon page where individuals and organizations can “tip” me monthly a set amount for some rewards, such as Premiere Gal stickers, handouts, and more. It’s another form of crowdfunding that is continuous over time, from month to month. A lot of creators use it and can actually use these “tips” to help fund their work and business.
Connecting with Premiere Gal
Where can people find you on the web?
I have a website which has links to all my social media profiles. I’m most active on Twitter. I’m not a huge fan of Facebook these days. I feel like it’s hard to connect with people unless you put money behind posts. I also am on Instagram now. Connect with me!
Premiere Gal isn’t afraid to take on a challenge, she launched her brand back in 2016, and is still going strong. After discovering her passion as a teenager, Premiere Gal has focused her energy on post-production. We all dream of making our passion a career, with Premiere Gal’s tutorials the filmmaker in all of us is a little bit closer.
For more information on Premiere Gal, or to catch up with her online, you can find her at the links below.