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Engineering to Filmmaking: An Unexpected Shift

From an engineering student to becoming M2.0 Communications’ standout filmmaker, Leo Baring’s journey challenges conventions. Discover how Leo traded blueprints for film reels, finding passion, mentorship, and balance in the world of storytelling.

M2.0 Communications is full of creative minds, and Leo Baring stands out among them. With ten years of experience as a photographer, videographer, and editor, Leo didn’t start in the arts. He began his journey as an engineering student. A simple Nokia N95 phone sparked his interest in photography. By capturing moments with family and friends, his passion grew. Soon, he was using professional equipment like the Canon EOS 60D, even as he studied engineering.

In the early days of college, Leo teamed up with a friend at a photography studio. Here, he dove deep into professional photography, capturing precious moments and preserving them. Juggling engineering studies and photography gigs, he found himself at a challenging crossroads.

Being the unique creative spirit in a traditional family, Leo’s path was not clear-cut. Torn between passion and familial expectations, he grappled with his choices. By his third year of engineering, his heart had made the decision clear: photography was the way forward.

Engineering Skills Brought to Filmmaking

Engineering and filmmaking might seem very different, but for Leo, one helped the other. Engineering taught him to be precise and pay attention to details. In filmmaking, this meant getting the right shot and telling clear stories. But Leo also realized that filmmaking needed a different touch—a more emotional and creative one.

Overcoming Challenges Through Mentorship

Making a career shift wasn’t easy for Leo, especially with his family’s expectation for him to join their construction venture. The shift from engineering was significant. However, mentors, particularly Heintje, provided invaluable guidance. They introduced Leo to the intricacies of filmmaking, ensuring he understood the practical aspects.

Challenges often pave the way for growth. For Leo, determination coupled with mentorship steered his path. By engaging directly on film sets, his innate curiosity flourished. Projects with notable names like Shell and Gina Lopez expanded his portfolio, reflecting his passion for travel and building relationships.

Watch this short documentary film that Leo made for Shell Philippines. Through this project, Leo was able to present the sustainable efforts of the fuel company to provide relief and assistance to the communities still affected by Malaria.  

Moreover, this video for the Gina Lopez Foundation captures Leo’s storytelling skills. Although only 2-minutes in length, he was able to capture the vibrant culture and traditions of the people of Mindanao.

Lastly, one of the biggest projects Leo was ever a part of was the documentary film 11,103 (2022), a short documentary film about Philippine Martial Law. The film featured different survivors of the dictatorship and narrated the challenges they have been through. Leo mentioned that this was one of the most challenging projects he had ever been involved in.

The Value of Experience

Some might think you need to study film or photography to be good at it. Leo proves that’s not always true. He might have felt behind sometimes, but he learned so much from just doing the job and from the advice of mentors. One of them would always remind him, “You worked hard for where you are now.” This pushed Leo to keep trying, learning, and growing.

Life Lessons for New Filmmakers

The pandemic gave Leo a chance to think about what’s important. He realized spending time with family mattered a lot. For those thinking of jumping into filmmaking or another big change, Leo has some advice. Be patient with yourself. Love the work you do, and always be ready to learn.

Leo’s path is a testament to perseverance, patience, and passion. For those standing at a crossroads, his advice is crystal clear: “Be patient with yourself. Enjoy the creative process. Keep learning from every experience.” A mantra not just for filmmakers but for anyone daring to chase their dreams.

ALSO READ: Reel Impact: Documenting Local Disaster Resilience for the World Bank

M2.0 Communications is a video production company that offers content creation, content development, and video production services to tell compelling and meaningful brand stories. Visit our case studies page to learn more about the clients we’ve worked with.

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