Devyn Bisson – Creating Documentary Films that Impact Change


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Devyn’s Wild Idea: To connect people through films and stories that will change the world.

Devyn Bisson is a documentary filmmaker who got her start as a beach lifeguard in Huntington Beach, Calif. At just 25 years old, Devyn has produced and created several award-winning films, including The Wave I Ride, and a short about Syrian Refugee Crisis, Lighthouse Molyvos, that’s coming out this summer.

Even though she’s young, Devyn has a lot of wisdom about the power of telling a story, and how you can tell your story now. She talks about the similarities between making films and lifeguarding – in many ways they can both save lives. She also shares tips on how to find stories, how to listen to your gut, and how to follow a film’s story so it resonates with a greater audience and takes on its own life.

Listen to this Episode if:

  • You love documentaries.
  • You’re a surfer or a lifeguard.
  • You want to be a filmmaker.
  • You are interested in telling important stories.
  • You’re an artist, poet, or a rebel.
  • You care about the Syrian refugee crisis and the world.
  • You want to make a career doing what you love.

Key Takeaways

  • 3:00 - The transition from lifeguarding to filmmaking.
  • 4:25 - How Devyn became a lifeguard.
  • 5:55 - Devyn wanted to do everything the boys were doing.
  • 7:15 – Why surfing and documentary films go hand in hand.
  • 8:30 - How storytelling saves lives.
  • 11:30 - The film she made about parmesan cheese and Sikhs.
  • 15:00 - Making a film about Big Wave Surf World Champ Paige Alms.
  • 16:50 - The coolest part of making documentary films.
  • 20:00 - The hardest part of making a feature length film.
  • 22:05 – Why you have to let go of your stories.
  • 23:20 – Why you should take breaks and get in touch with the creative process.
  • 25:30 - How Devyn decided to cover the Syrian refugee crisis.
  • 28:30 - What Devyn saw in Greece while she was covering the crisis.
  • 32:30 - How to make a career doing what you’re love.
  • 34:15 – How to get closer to your story.
  • 36:00 - Devyn’s favorite part of filmmaking (hint: it helps you know you’re making the right decisions).
  • 38:00 - What people don’t understand about millennials.
  • 40:50 – Why Devyn has meetings with herself.
  • 43:00 – Advice on not beating yourself up about how long your journey takes.
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