Conor O’Keefe: The Man Behind the Lens

From discovering his passion just seven years ago to selling out the Pickford Film Center twice, Bellingham-based videographer Conor O’Keefe of Walking Distance Media wants to make it clear that everybody’s vision is within “walking distance.” Conor began his journey into the world of videography by making YouTube shorts in the basement of his family home. He’s come a long way since then.

Conor O’Keefe of Walking Distance Media films videos for businesses, bands, brands, formal events and more. Photo courtesy: Conor O’Keefe.

At 23, he now runs his own media company; creates videos for business, bands and formal events; and has even put out a feature film called “Gone.” As he ventures into the world of becoming a full-time small business owner and videographer, he looks back on Walking Distance Media’s progression over the last few years.

The inception of Walking Distance came when Conor decided to pursue a film degree through Fairhaven College. Upon entering Western Washington University in 2012, Conor struggled to determine what he wanted to study. His initial thought was engineering but he would eventually be swayed to the realm of video after realizing this is where his passion lay. He says that even after entering college, he never stopped messing around with videography and those goofy YouTube videos from high school were still in the back of his mind. Videography was an art form he could relate to and enjoy.

At first, Walking Distance was created as a pseudonym he could use to house his artistic endeavors that ranged from music videos to sketch comedy. But as he progressed through his film degree and got more comfortable with filmmaking, Walking Distance grew into a business. Now Conor is ready to take the leap to making it his full-time profession.

Conor, third from left, on the set of “Gone,” a feature film he co-created with filmmakers Madison Njos, Nate Sawtell and Michael Barone. Photo courtesy: Conor O’Keefe.

Walking Distance Media is entering into a re-branding phase where Conor can really dial in on the message he wants to convey and figure out what types of people and businesses he can assist with his filmmaking skills. “I want to help people achieve their goals,” he says. “And the only way I will really be able to do that is to hone in on what my goals are first.”

Moving forward, Walking Distance Media will focus on helping businesses, brands, bands and formal events with a variety of different media services. Conor’s experience in the fields of sketch comedy and feature filmmaking make him an ideal candidate to film video shorts and commercials for companies looking to solidify their brand.

Currently Conor is working with startup companies such as Package Guard to create short video content for their social media promotion. In addition, he has been tasked with a more documentarian-style work for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Whatcom County. Conor feels strongly about forming local connections within his community. “The Boys & Girls Clubs are giving me a chance to showcase the skills I have acquired over the years filming music videos, documentaries and feature films,” he says. “And I get the ability to work with a business I know is out doing good in the world, and that is important to me.”

Conor, center, featured on set of Bellingham band Hello I’m Sorry’s music video, “Goth Party.” Photo courtesy: Conor O’Keefe.

The video, currently in production, will feature a “day in the life” from the perspective of a Boys & Girls Club kid. Following post production, the video was shown at the club’s 2018 Inspire Higher Dreams Gala & Auction on April 27 at the Silver Reef Casino Event Center.

Conor views this as a great opportunity for the Whatcom County community to see his work. He is excited about the connections he can make and feedback he will receive. He says receiving feedback on his videos is essential for him to improve as a filmmaker.

“Regardless of the type of project I am working on, I love when people reach out to me and tell me what I’m doing right and what I could improve on,” Conor says. “The best way I can help my client is if I am doing my job the best that I can.”

As Walking Distance Media takes a more forward approach on connecting with businesses and non-profit organizations, Conor doesn’t want bands to feel forgotten. Previously, he has filmed music videos for local bands in the Bellingham community such as Step Dads, Hello I’m Sorry and the Seattle band Forest Ray. He plans to continue this type of work and looks forward to helping artists grow in addition to businesses.

Conor is a busy man. In addition to making videos for Walking Distance, he and his collaborators are still submitting their 2017 feature film “Gone” to film festivals across the country. Who knows? Maybe Conor will find himself on film one day – walking down the red carpet.

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