Today we’d like to introduce you to Kristin Mueth.
Hi Kristin, we’re thrilled to have a chance to learn your story today. So, before we get into specifics, maybe you can briefly walk us through how you got to where you are today.
My love for videography/photography stems from when I was a kid in our spare bathroom, where my Mom set up a makeshift dark room. She had her groovy red lamp on, which as a 7-year-old, I thought was the coolest thing, her bins of solutions, her photo paper, and all the goods a photographer at the time needed. Little old me was always fascinated that the blank glossy paper slowly produced an image. It was like crazy witchcraft, and I was so mesmerized! Hell, to this day, it’s still so fascinating to me.
So the creative bug is in my genes. Throughout middle and high school, I was always the kid with the point-and-shoot camera snapping away, the one who hijacked the family camcorder and made stupid movies with my friends, wasting a shit ton of tape. When my Mom got a fancy new Mac desktop, I was confident that my twin and I would spend more time making even more ridiculous and embarrassing lip-syncing videos in iMovie than she did doing real work. As much as it pains me to re-watch those stupid little videos, I can’t help but love them because it’s physical proof of me learning who I am as a filmmaker and person. I would have to pick a typical everyday major and career, something 9-5 and utterly boring. But even with all this obvious interest in video and filmmaking, no one told me I could go to college for it, let alone make a successful career. In March of my senior year of high school, literally 2 months before graduation, a student from Webster University came in to talk about his senior project for his film production career. All I could think the entire time he talked was, “Are you effing kidding me? Why did no one tell me this was an option?!”
I can’t remember this dude’s name but thank god he came in that day because if he didn’t, I would be on a different, unhappy career path. I graduated with my film production degree from Webster University in 2014 and immediately started working at a wedding video company in St. Louis. They introduced me to the world of wedding videography, which I had yet to learn existed. But after I saw one of their videos, I immediately thought, “This. This is what I was to do.” I adore weddings. You have this odd sense of creative freedom while still being able to capture the emotions couples share with their family, their friends, and each other on their wedding day. To play a (fairly big) part in such an important day was always a huge honor for me.
While I was able to experience some incredible opportunities with this company, after 7 years, I noticed a shift within me. I was pregnant with my first little babe, and I knew that to be his best mom, I needed to be in control of my schedule, work, and life—no one else. I knew my worth and my capabilities, and for me to succeed to my fullest potential, I needed to do it my way. So I took a giant leap, and I left! It was scary as shit, and I cried a handful of times, but it was the best decision I’ve ever made. I had no experience running my own business, but damnit, I’m a grown-ass adult, so that I will figure it out. I officially started my business, First Twin Films, in January 2022 and am already projecting to be more successful in my first year than in the last handful of years at my previous job. And let me tell you, it is so satisfying and thrilling to see something you’re so passionate about starting to bloom and take off in a positive direction.
Can you talk to us about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned? Looking back, has it been easy or smooth in retrospect?
For a while, it was a fairly smooth ride. Naive 21-year-old me thought my videography job right out of college was the best job in the world and a total dream come true. We traveled to super cool places for shoots, had crazy nice dinners, filmed celebrities at big events, being gifted cool new tech. And again, at the time, it was so exciting! But after a while, you realize you’re going to all these beautiful places, but you’re going to work. You aren’t traveling with your family to these exotic locations or hanging out with your friends in the swim-up bar. You’re leaving your boyfriend behind, who you haven’t seen in weeks. You’re leaving home and missing out on many big events in your life and the people’s lives that you care about. Yes, you’re in this stunning location, but you’re working 20/24 hours a day for 6 days straight, with little to no breaks to the point of exhaustion, only to travel back home and have to do more shoots and more edits for the other clients we have. It was becoming physically and mentally draining. And for what? A little over minimum wage pay? Someone else’s success?
My friends would always talk about taking time off to go on a group trip somewhere, and always, always I was the one who could never commit because I never had control over my schedule or life. The company decided whether I got time off, not mine. And there was guilt thrown my way if I did miss a shoot, whether my employers realized they were doing it or not. So my rose-colored glasses were fading, and this ‘luxurious career’ I was in wasn’t so luxurious anymore. But honestly, my biggest struggle wasn’t the physical or mental exhaustion. It was standing up and fighting for myself through all this chaos. I am someone who avoids conflict and challenging conversations like the plague. I want everyone to be happy, and I don’t want to make anyone mad at me. Or cause friction. So, I let myself get walked over and used a lot. My kindness was taken advantage of, starting to affect my personal life. The fact that I finally found that confidence to take control of my life makes me so damn proud of myself. I’m stronger than I think and must constantly remind myself of that. Don’t let anybody make you think otherwise.
Thanks for sharing that. Can you tell us more about your work next?
I am a non-traditional wedding videographer with an editorial eye and a modern-nostalgic approach. I adore my little Super 8mm film camera and how its footage flows together beautifully with my current professional cameras. My wedding edits lean heavily on the emotions and conversations shared on one’s wedding day. Don’t get me wrong, I love the stunning decor and incredible floral pieces, and your best bet is that I’ll get lots of pretty footage of it. But at the end of the day, your flowers aren’t the ones getting married; you are. I want to make videos that show off my couples’ love in its authentic form. I’m most proud that I am finally doing ‘me.’ I’m finally in my rhythm and creating my style of videos that reflect me as an artist and not just going through the motions for others. I’m connecting with clients and couples that share the same vision as me and who trust me creatively with one of the biggest days of their lives, and that means so much to me. I’m proud that I’m finding success on my own because it validates that, yes, I am fucking good at what I do! (sorry for the language, children 😅)
What sets me apart from others is that I take a non-traditional approach, which is rare to find in the STL area. I like breaking traditional film rules. I like pushing the limits of what I can do with my cameras, editing, and color grading. I like doing new things that only a few other people are doing. I never want to one day say, ‘Whelp, that’s it! I’m done! I know everything!’ and not keep learning or experimenting. In a constantly changing industry, you must stay relevant and keep learning and expanding your knowledge. The day I become content and set in my ways is when I need to stop being a filmmaker.
Any big plans?
Oh man, I have lots of plans for the future! I would love to move beyond weddings and break into branding and music videos for like-minded companies and creatives. Whether that be the director of photography, producer, or editor, I’m ready to challenge my creative capabilities! I already have a couple of projects in the works so it might be happening sooner rather than later! For weddings, I want to focus on relationships with my clients. The better your connection with your clients, the better their video will be. It makes total sense, right? If I walk into the bride’s room the morning of the wedding and check my phone to ensure I have their name right, how can I connect with them and properly document their day? Anyway, I’m excited to see how I grow in these upcoming years. With my company being so new, every success, small or large, is so exhilarating, and I’m thankful for it and the people who support me every day.
- Highlight- $5,000
- Elopement – $3,500
- Website: firsttwinfilms.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/firsttwinfilms/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/First-Twin-Films-106195771999195
- Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCaizAR4hftu3sQ6hwVqyyWg
Tanner Daab-Adrift Films