We had the good fortune of connecting with Kevin Bruno and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kevin, where are your from? We’d love to hear about how your background has played a role in who you are today?
I’m from Houston, Tx. My childhood was a troubled one and as a result, I found myself in trouble with the law in my early adulthood. That trouble eventually led to my incarceration which lasted, in two different terms, an accumulative 28 years. Leaving prison in 2010, I’d made some wholesale changes in my personality and decision making that allowed me to function pretty much as a normal citizen. There were and continue to be drawbacks as a result of the stigma attached to anyone who has served time but I continue to grow and prosper. I think the most amazing part in all of this is the fact that after years of incarceration I now work as a Reentry Specialist for the largest Prison Ministry in the country, Prison Fellowship Ministries. My office is inside of the same prison that I once served time in and was released from in 2010. My job entails working with men who are a part of Prison Fellowship’s Academy program in order to prepare them for release. The fact that I am a formerly incarcerated person gives me a different perspective when dealing with men who are soon to return to society. I know the challenges and pitfalls, and I also know the proven methods that bolster their chances for success.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
While incarcerated I got exposed to my first video camera. I worked for the Program Director at the time and one day he walked into the office with a cart loaded with video equipment. I was fascinated by it. I asked what it was for and he told me someone had donated it but he was going to donate it to someone who could use it. I almost screamed! Before I knew it I had blurted out, “We can use it!” He looked a little confused and asked me in what way? I had no idea! I just knew that something inside of me was screaming that we should not let the equipment slip away. I rattled off all kinds of ideas as they came to my mind and when he asked me who was going to operate the camera I said I would. He asked the most reasonable question in the world; “Have you used video equipment before?” To which I grudgingly answered, no. But I promised him if he gave me the chance I’d learn. After a short debate he conceded, giving me a 3 week period to prove that keeping the equipment was a viable option but more importantly, that I could utilize it. I made quick study of the use of the equipment, reading all of the accompanying materials and anything else I could find, which wasn’t much considering we had no internet access. Remarkably, in less than a week I had created a 4 minute video that caused the Director to say; “I thought you said you didn’t know how to use it?!” I went on to create media content used in the prison in various ways for the next 15 months. Once released I was so immersed in the day to day activities of life as a free man that I rarely had time to think about cameras, though it was never far from my mind. When the opportunity to acquire my own camera gear presented itself I jumped at it, concentrating on learning the skills necessary to become a proficient photographer. I began to get jobs and though I wasn’t very good, people still gave me opportunities. Enrolling in “Youtube University” I took advantage of all of the free information available to me online and soon found myself to be a competent photographer. Still, in the back of my mind that yearning for the video camera grew. When I found an affordable cinema camera I sold my motorcycle to get the money to buy it. Once it arrived I fell in love with the art of cinematography all over again. I returned to “Youtube University” and built my skills as a filmmaker. To date I have created video content for a number of customers and corporations, and even had the opportunity to accompany a nonprofit organization to South Sudan, Africa to capture video and still photography content. My time is still split between still photography and video, as well as my full time job as a Reentry Specialist, but my hope is that one day soon I will be able to combine all three in an effort to affect meaningful change in this world.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Day 1 Kayaking on the San Jacinto river. Dinner at Houston’s Day 2 A two hour trip to Caldwell, Tx where we have 60 acres of family property, for two days of camping, fishing and hiking. All food and coffee prepared on a campfire Day 4 A day of trail riding on horseback, Houston style. Dinner at Ray’s barbecue Day 5 Another day of kayaking, but this time down the scenic Buffalo Bayou. Dinner at The Turkey Leg Hut.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Prison Fellowship Ministries and former Director, Tommie Dorsett
Kevin A Bruno Media