How to Become an Adventure Filmmaker

Aspiring adventure photographers and filmmakers listen up – we have an article/interview that you’ll want to read. Outside magazine has published a profile of adventure filmmaker Aidan Haley in which he shares lots of great insights and tips on what it takes to do his job and become a professional in that field.

Haley is the cousin of American mountaineer Colin Haley, and the duo often climbed together when they were younger. But, Aidan realized early on that he wasn’t going to become a professional climber like Colin, so he looked for other ways to mix his passion for the outdoor and adventure into his life. He started taking photos while climbing and discovered that he had a love for doing that as well.

Despite having very little formal training, that turned into a career after college as he went knocking on doors in Paris looking for a job.

Eventually, Aidan made his way to Los Angeles where he learned the craft of filmmaking as well, serving as a production assistant on a variety of shoots. Now, at the age of 30 he is working on projects with the likes of The North Face, Patagonia, and National Geographic.

In the Outside profile Haley talks about his career path, how persistence allowed him to keep working towards his goals, and his early fears of working freelance. He also talks about overcoming creative stagnation, the importance of scheduling playtime for yourself, and not allowing your career to define who you are.

As someone who is a freelancer himself, I found the section on”What People Don’t Realize” to be especially fitting. Here’s what Aidan has to say on that subject:

“My peers with nine-to-five jobs often think I don’t work very much or very hard, which is completely wrong. Often, my job is nine-to-nine. If you want to be a freelance filmmaker, think about the last time you worked 24 hours straight, then imagine doing that for an entire month. Growing up, I took a lot of shortcuts on my homework—you can’t do that and be any good at filmmaking. Editing is a meticulous job, so if you screw up one tiny step at the end of a five-hour process, you gotta go back and repeat the whole thing again.”

That’s definitely something I can relate to at times. To read the entire article, click here. And to check out Aidan’s work visit his website at