Liberty Cinematic Arts Student Wins The Red Street Records Music Video Contest

Matthew Gates, a junior at Liberty University studying film production and content development, recently won a music video contest for Christian artist Cade Thomson’s single “Every Step of the Way.” 

The contest was held by Red Street Records, a recording label founded by Rascal Flatts member Jay Demarcus. Gates’ video submission was selected out of numerous entries.

The music video portrays a young songwriter struggling with his dream. He watches himself through the door of his room and reflects on his past while Thomson’s single plays in the background.

Gates recognized the potential the song had to turn into an impactful music video. 

“I’ve done a couple music videos,” Gates said. “The hardest part is (getting) an artist that makes really good music (and) that is also implicating things that you can do in terms of a story. I felt like there was a lot of layers to the song, and I actually genuinely liked the song.”

Gates heard about the contest through a professor at Liberty who helped Thompson film footage near Liberty University campus in October. 

Gates originally had a completely different idea when he first started the project. 

“I was building 3D rooms. I spent two weeks working on it. I probably put about 50 hours into that and it still wasn’t quite where it needed to be,” said Gates. “The only way I’m going to be able to make myself like it is if I put in another 60 hours. I was a week out from the due date. I was sitting there thinking I either have to put the work in or do something completely different.”

That was when Gates got the idea that inspired the final product. Gates said that he loves recording moments in his life, editing the clips together every month or so, and watching it back. 

“It’s interesting cause I’ll talk to the camera about what’s happening and life may not be going my way and then six months later I’m like ‘Oh, thank God,’” Gates said. “That’s what God being there every step of the way means to me. That was my connection to what the song is trying to say. The song is basically about trusting God, that’s the whole point of it.”

Gates compiled his project in a major time crunch – and still took home first place honors.

Gates filmed and edited the entire video over the course of two days. He then submitted the video the night it was due and found out that he won the contest 10 days later.

Gates cites David Fincher, director of The Social Network and Fight Club, as a major influence in his life. 

“He actually got his start doing music videos, and while I was making this, I studied how he introduces characters in his music videos,” Gates said.

Gates aspires to produce movies and then eventually move to direct television episodes later in his career. In his remaining time at Liberty, Gates plans on completing his thesis film about Rick Rescorla, a 9/11 hero credited with saving approximately 2,700 lives during the attacks. 

“When I heard the story, I got emotional just thinking about it,” Gates said. “The guy was incredibly selfless, it was all about other people for him.”

Gates said what he most appreciates about Liberty University’s Cinematic Arts department is how they prepare their students for all aspects of the filmmaking process. 

“Their whole thing was we’re going to prepare you for what a real feature is like and how you can get a job,” Gates said. “I liked their whole approach.”

 Jacob Chace is a News Reporter. follow him on Twitter at @jacob_chace.

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