Lifelong Sisters resident Samuel Pyke shared his passion for his work as the keynote speaker at last week’s EDCO Pub Talk (see story, page 1).

Pyke grew up in Sisters, graduated from Sisters High School, and went on to Oregon State University. He and his three brothers grew up watching movies with their father, a real movie buff. Three of the four boys have gone on to work in some aspect of the film/video industry.

One brother works on visual effects for movies, including Star Wars. Another brother produces documentaries “on the road.” Samuel’s Hill Shadow Pictures specializes in outdoor video for programs like Frontier Unlimited and other hunting and fishing shows.

Pyke also works with businesses to create videos that tell their stories. He looks for the idea behind the brand and tells the story to evoke emotions. In that way, the viewer can relate their lifestyle to what they see in the video.

He’s created incredible work for companies including Realtree, Camp Chef, Smith & Wesson, Discovery Studios, and many more.

He is particularly moved by stories about veterans out hunting and fishing, some of which he describes as “gut-wrenching.” He has also filmed stories about children who have had their wishes granted by the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Pyke says once a year he donates what he calls a passion project.

His work has taken him all over the world from India to New Zealand to South Africa. He enjoys the opportunities that help him gain a global perspective of how things are done differently all over the world.

When asked what he considered his most successful project, he quietly replied, “The memorial project for my dad, who died in February.” (Note: Pyke contacted the Nugget to note that "It was my brother Eli’s project of which I only played a small role." 

The best resource for storytelling? Pyke answered, “Listen. Everyone has stories. Listen to figure out what moves you. What got me and why?” He said art is about borrowing and changing it a bit.

Pyke likes to edit his own footage because he is always thinking about editing when shooting. His goal is to spend 80 percent of his time shooting and 20 percent editing. Right now he says he spends too much time editing.

He has always been interested in the concept of story. A 6-year-old who started with a camera, became the boy who dressed up in costumes to go to the movie theater. In the eighth grade he became serious about photography. His college major was communications. While in college he began working for his brother, who was already involved in the film industry. He was also a firefighter for five years somewhere along the way.

Another Sisters resident who worked in the industry with his gigantic boom cranes shooting overhead shots all over the world, Rick Johnson, gave Pyke a salient piece of advice. “Find a niche,” he said.

Pyke’s niche is outdoor videography. He counts himself fortunate to be able to work doing what he loves.

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(Note: A previous version of this story stated that Pyke took over his brother's business. That is not correct. He took over production of a TV show his brother had previously produced).