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Spielberg went from SJ to Hollywood. Why not Dominick Parungao?

  “I love getting behind the camera and getting perfect shots,” Parungao said, beaming. “Filming a flawless shot gives me a feeling like no other.”

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Spielberg went from SJ to Hollywood. Why not Dominick Parungao?

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  Maple Vision is not your typical YouTube channel.

  In an age where teenagers pulling out video cameras is becoming is the norm and social media dictates popular culture, it can be easy to upload a five-minute video and call yourself a YouTuber.

  But the minds behind Maple Vision don’t identify as “YouTubers” as much as they do “filmmakers.”

  Dominick Parungao and Aidan Spence have been devoting their free time to making short films long before YouTube became a “hip” platform.

  Parungao began producing videos in third grade, when his dad noticed his interest in videos and asked if he wanted to use his video camera.

  “I filmed random skits with my friends, gaming videos, and my family around the house,” Parungao said.  “At this point, it was just a hobby.”

  Parungao began consistently uploading to his YouTube channel, calling it ParodyStation2000 (as its main channel content at the time was just that — music video parodies). He and three of his closest friends —one of whom, Aidan Spence, would soon become a Maple Vision co-runner — made spoofs of songs, simply having fun with the video camera.

  But it didn’t stay a hobby for long. Parungao soon realized that his simple pastime had transformed into a love for filmmaking, and he didn’t want to just make skits or gaming videos anymore — he wanted to do more.

  “There was a point in eighth grade where I wanted to diversify myself into serious content,” he said. “I wanted to make scripts, tell a story, do narratives — I wanted to go further.”

  To do this, Parungao drew inspiration from YouTube channels he had grown up watching, namely Wong Fu Productions, a channel known for its dramatic and comedic films. He was inspired by the team’s attention to detail and decided that his goal was to model his content after the work that had so heavily influenced his interest in video.

  “Every story is tied together; the entire universe is connected,” Parungao explained. “I wanted to do that with my videos.”

  Parungao began producing serious, high-quality films and uploading them to his channel, including Revenge of the Sixth, a Star Wars-based parody, and Metronome, a movie about a violin student haunted by his metronome day and night (presumably inspired by Parungao’s own background as a member of Eastern’s Orchestra). But his favorite movie produced to date is one recently uploaded to Maple Vision, written, filmed, directed, and edited by Parungao and starring four of his best friends, including Spence.

  “For TV/Media class, we had to make a 20-minute project of, well, anything,” said Parungao. “There was a point where I loved making music videos, so I decided to make a four part music video story called ‘Repentance’, all about a group of friends each facing their own individual regret.”

  Although Dom has been making YouTube videos for most of his life, he doesn’t plan on stopping anytime soon. He plans on majoring in film in college, and hopes to improve his cinematography skills.

  “I love getting behind the camera and getting perfect shots,” Parungao said, beaming. “Filming a flawless shot gives me a feeling like no other.”

  But Parungao wasn’t always so sure that he wanted to pursue film long-term. His plan prior to tenth grade was to follow his family tradition of a “stable” career, and he was sure he was going to study nursing.

  “My parents kept on pushing me towards that,” he said. “But my mindset has always been, ‘If I do something for the next 40 years and hate it, why am I here?’ I realized that I had no interest in science or math; the only thing I was passionate about was film. As I kept putting work into my projects, my parents started to see that passion I had. Once I convinced them, they became very supportive of me.”

  His advice to other students looking to pursue art? Dive in headfirst.

  “If you’re truly passionate about something and can honestly see yourself pursuing a dream, then what’s stopping you? Take a leap, put in the work, and show the world what you’re capable of.”

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Spielberg went from SJ to Hollywood. Why not Dominick Parungao?