You may not recognize him, but chances are you’ve seen some of Tim Mombourquette’s work on social media over the past few years. And he’s hoping you’ll be seeing a lot more of it in the future.
A native Haligonian, Tim has spent much of his free time over the past four years documenting the Dal student experience on video. As the videographer for the Dal Student Life Street Team since his second month at Dalhousie, he has captured everything from Orientation Week highlights and varsity games to student profiles, international exchange promos, and even an homage to Rocky with the Dal Tiger in the title role.
As his body of work with Dal Student Life (DSL) grew so did his profile around campus, which led to many other departments looking to use him for their own video projects. The DSU, Communications and Marketing, and Office of Advancement all tapped into his creativity, and he quickly became the “go-to” video guy on campus (complete with his regular cameras, GoPro, and drone).
Before graduating this Friday with a BSc in Biology, Tim shared his thoughts on discovering his academic path and following his passion.
It somewhat just fell in place because I was always planning on pursuing a science degree. I started my undergrad thinking medical school might be the way to go, so I looked into programs focusing on human biology-related studies. I started with neuroscience, but decided against that by the end of my first year. Then I tried microbiology, but found it very challenging. If I had stuck with micro, I can almost certainly say I would not be graduating this spring! I ended up really connecting with ecological and evolutionary aspects of biology, so that’s where I stuck around for the remainder of my degree.
What stands out from your four years at Dal?
As with any other student, my degree came with its fair share of ups and downs. First year was fun—new and exciting—but second year really came with challenges, personally and academically. There were many failures and it was a time where I didn’t really know what was going on.
The second half of my degree was almost consistently an “up,” however, starting with my exchange in third year to the University of Glasgow. It’s amazing that you can have the opportunity to be a Dalhousie student and learn abroad, developing so many academic and personal skills along the way. Meeting new people, seeing new places—it was definitely the highlight of my degree.
Why did you decide to join the Student Life Street Team?
I was simply looking for a campus job. I went onto MyCareer and just started flipping through pages until something popped up. The “Videographer” position appealed to me instantly since it was right up my alley of interests. I applied one week, went in for an interview the next, and then I think the following week I had already made my first video for Dal Student Life (DSL).
What have you learned working on the Street Team?
It gave me the opportunity to learn a lot about the Dalhousie community as a whole. A lot of people say “get involved” in the transition from high school to university. Looking back, I think the Street Team was the perfect way for me to get involved, because it didn’t lock me into one specific society and one circle of peers, but rather opened me up and exposed me to many different Dal communities that I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to work with otherwise.
It has also taught me a lot about myself as a videographer. Without any formal — or informal — training in filmmaking, it was up to me to teach myself every aspect of the filmmaking process in order to succeed at my job. I needed to learn everything about cinematography, sound, lighting, editing. I think this opportunity has given me such great hands-on experience and opened lots of doors for me in the world of film.
How did you first get into creating your own videos?
The earliest evidence I can find in the home video archives of me “creating my own video” is a first-person house tour I gave on September 9, 2001 at 5 years old. I was always drawn towards film. While 4-year-olds today prefer movies like Frozen, when I was that age my favourite movies were Jurassic Park and E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial.
When I was about 11 I found my Dad’s old VHS camera and almost instinctively realized I should make a movie. A friend and I climbed onto the roof of our elementary school with a couple of foam noodle swords and created what can only be described as the greatest kung-fu action movie of our generation. We had full-on scenes, locations, dialogue, and action. Of course it was mostly all by the seat of our pants, but we were proud of it, and we still are to this day. It sparked creativity, so I was given my first camcorder that took mini-DV tapes, and I would film everything and anything. That first camera led to the next, then my friends and I would make silly videos and post on YouTube.
What projects have you worked on outside Dal?
I still enjoy making videos for me in whatever spare time I have. I’m very fortunate to travel a lot, and in the last two years or so I decided to start recording my adventures abroad, both for public entertainment and for a personal journal. One recent personal project I’m pretty proud of was a project last summer where I took a two-second clip each and every day for the entire summer and compiled them into a video.
Besides personal projects, doing videography for Dal opened up a lot of doors within the larger Halifax community. I’ve done a lot of video work for local organizations, such as Neptune Theatre, and I’ve also happily fallen into a niche of videography for local choirs, such as the Nova Scotia Youth Choir, Phoenix Youth Choir and The Big Sing.
What have you been working on since exams ended?
Besides working as an independent videographer, this past year I decided it was time to start branching out and looking into opportunities in the local film industry. In the last few weeks I’ve worked on seven short films, a music video, and three commercials.
What are your future plans?
They’re very much uncertain at this point. Right now, I’m pursing work in the film industry. Nova Scotia has recently become a comparatively sparse landscape for film and TV productions, but the community here is strong and supportive. I’m going to take some time to see if I can make things work with film. If so, I’d love to build a healthy portfolio and possibly pursue further education for film. There’s a great program at a pretty high-end London, U.K. school that would combine my love for biology and film. Maybe one day I can work on nature filmmaking.
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