September 24, 2020

Film Student takes semester off to go on tour with Social House, Ariana Grande

The university’s film and media production program is home to many talented students. Many students in the program come together to produce in-house productions such as CapTV and documentaries celebrating the university’s mark on the past.

Aidan Minton, a junior majoring in film and media production, has been shooting and editing videos for three years. Last semester, he traveled around the country to shoot video for Social House as they toured across the United States and Europe. (Image- courtesy of Aidan Minton/Social House)

This particular student has taken a different route, though. Last semester, he decided to withdraw from classes to partake in a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity: going on tour with an internationally-recognized band as part of their four-man team producing video and social media content.

Aidan Minton, a junior film and media production major, hasn’t always had a passion for filmmaking. He picked it up as a hobby just three years ago with some friends.

“It wasn’t until senior year of high school, really spring,” Minton said. “Me and my friends just kinda picked it up as something fun to do.”

Minton recalled discovering how cool video-making was as he and his friends made videos that spring and summer. “We were really, really shitty,” Minton said.

Minton taught himself how to edit videos on Adobe Premiere (with the help of a fair amount of YouTube tutorials) and slowly upgraded his gear and production quality over time (all the while posting each project on his Instagram and YouTube pages).

During a layover on a flight back from New York, Minton received a direct message on Instagram from Parsa Ara, the then sole video producer for Social House as they were on their first leg of a world tour with Ariana Grande, asking if he was down to go on tour. 

Parsa Ara (right) DM’d Aidan on Instagram to ask about going on tour. Ara had previosuly been managing video for Social House mostly on his own, and needed to expand his team. (Image- courtesy of Aidan Minton/Social House)

Soon after, he was editing videos for the second leg of the tour before moving on to shooting and editing videos for the third while traveling across the United States.

“I literally lived out of a suitcase for a month-and-a-half, it’s crazy,” Minton said.

Minton is credited as an editor for episode four of Social House’s “Sweetener Tour” series and is credited as a videographer on episodes six and eight

Scootie (left) and Mikey (right) are singer-songwriters from Pittsburgh. They are most famously known as Social House, but also are ghost-writers for other artists such as Ariana Grande and Meghan Trainor, among others. (Image- courtesy of Aidan Minton/Social House)

He joined Scootie and Mikey, the Social House duo, along with their manager to form the four-man team that went on tour. Minton also reported to Ara for feedback and creative direction for the videos he made.

Minton adopted the creative style of Social House’s brand in his video-editing for the tour’s projects. This includes a vintage ‘90s look, full of VHS-tape overlays and CRT TV-style transitions and cuts.

“When I was editing their videos [from the European leg of the tour] I would learn what to do and what not to do,” he said. Ara, who is credited as a video producer for the tour’s eight episodes, would send Minton feedback and notes after each video was submitted.

One thing of interest is seeing how the Social House duo spends their down-time while in-between shows. Throughout the episodes, Mikey and Scootie both take up new creative projects. Things like drawing original art on an iPad to stitching together different pieces of clothing seem like regular pastimes for these two creatives.

“Both [Mikey and Scootie] are super creative,” Minton said. “If they’re not producing music, they’re doing something else related.”

When the Social House duo isn’t performing on stage or writing new music, they tend to pursue other creative outlets. Whether it be sketching out new art on an iPad or stitching clothes together to create a new piece to wear on stage, the duo is always expressing themselves creatively. (Image- courtesy of Aidan Minton/Social House)

Minton said that the creativity and authenticity of the Social House duo made them really easy to capture on camera.

“They are really fun, cool, and energetic,” said Minton. “It was really easy to just press record and let stuff happen.”

Even the little stuff, such as the recurring segment on Mikey making tea with ginger and the debate on whether cereal was a soup (which led to Scootie doing some semi-formal research on the subject) were captured and spiced up by Minton’s editing. 

The videos portray the dream of many early 20-somethings: traveling, good vibes, and new experiences.

“I think they might be the most authentic and real artists you can find,” Minton said. “Both are really chill guys.”

There were some creative challenges for Minton, though. He said that it was hard to get into a creative flow of original content because each show is largely the same: a large arena, with the same setlist, and the same angles.

“The hardest part was making everything different than previous videos while still keeping the style cool and engaging,” Minton said.

Minton said the solution to this was to try out new lenses, focal lengths, and shooting angles when he shot video for the project. 

Minton also noted that time management between filming and editing was difficult, as a lot of his off time was spent editing the footage that he captured during the day’s events.

And yes, he did meed Ariana Grande—she actually took him and the entire Social House team of four to Disney World at one point during the tour.

 “She was very sweet, really friendly, and she’d always give everyone a hug when she saw them,” Minton said.

Minton was also able to meet Scooter Braun, the agent of Grande, Social House, and others (including Justin Bieber) who just so happened to be at lunch with him and other members of the tour at one point.

For some, encounters with larger-than-life figures such as Ariana Grande and Scooter Braun would be intimidating and nerve-wracking. For Minton, it was just another part of the experience. 

Minton’s whole experience was very motivating, thanks to Mikey and Scootie’s energy. 

Experiencing a tour with Social House was a motivating experience for Minton. He hopes to continue to work on his craft and take on more projects in the future. (Image- courtesy of Aidan Minton/Social House)

But what’s next for Minton? He plans to work on achieving his full potential as a video editor, and hopefully going on more tours.

“Going forward, I want to use this momentum … continue to work on my craft, and put work out there that I think is a good representation of me.”

Minton is currently editing the final episode of the Social House Sweetener Tour YouTube series, which can be found on the Social House YouTube channel soon. He also is working on personal projects, which can be found on his YouTube channel.

  • Zach Ferenchak is a current Senior studying Emerging Media with an emphasis in PR. Along with serving as managing editor for The Chimes, Zach is heavily involved with the Public Relations Student Society of America, where he serves as the organization's incoming National Vice President of Brand Engagement. He is an avid communicator who hopes to one day elevate brands and causes through effective storytelling.

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