Early training in Baltimore put this video editor on the path to working with Keke Palmer and BET

Since the age of 10, Ben Loviglio-Wolf knew he wanted to make films. He’s spent the last 15 years persevering to control his own journey.

Ben Loviglio-Wolf at work.
(Matt Freire/Wide Angle Youth Media)

This is an article written by Janai Cherry, a social media intern with Wide Angle Youth Media, as part of an editorial collaboration with Technical.ly.

Words by: Janai Cherry, Edited by: Sameer Rao | republished from Technically

In the time since he changed his life’s path through participation in a youth development organization, Ben Loviglio-Wolf has developed a successful freelance career in video editing and visual effects.

The Boston-born and Baltimore-bred Loviglio-Wolf spent his Mount Washington upbringing searching YouTube for behind-the-scenes videos of his favorite films. He would watch tutorials to learn how to recreate action sequences and visual effects for his short action films, using various platforms.

“I remember there was a website a long time ago called Video Copilot, and I think I watched like every tutorial on their website for After Effects,” said the self-taught video editor, who also learned how to use Adobe Premiere Pro and Blender through those videos.

Today, Lovigio-Wolf is a full-time creative and freelancer who has created video content for clients such as T. Rowe Price, The Baltimore Ravens and Under Armour. His accomplishments include having the music videos he’s shot and edited featured on MTV, BET Jams and XXL magazine. He credits his work with Wide Angle Youth Media, a nonprofit organization that aims to amplify the voices of Baltimore youth, to making his journey so successful.

Black-and-white photo of man with beard and glasses standing at AV workstation
Ben Loviglio-Wolf at work. (Matt Freire/Wide Angle Youth Media)

Loviglio-Wolf joined the organization in 2011 while in middle school at The Greenmount School. He joined its after-school program, Baltimore Speaks Out, and worked as an apprentice burning DVDs and performing light office tasks. He sought out Wide Angle once he learned that he had to have an apprenticeship for a class assignment.

In high school, Loviglio-Wolf began to build a clientele. He partnered with his long-time friend, classmate and fellow Wide Angle Youth Media peer Jeffrey Obike to create the production company Fortune Visuals. When their peers at Baltimore School for the Arts started making music, Loviglio-Wolf and Obike were the first people they asked to shoot their music videos because of that prior work.

Loviglio-Wolf then studied cinematography at Columbia College in Chicago, but decided to leave after two years. He then reached back out to Wide Angle and was hired as a freelance editor.

“I felt like I didn’t want to spend so much money and time on something I wasn’t invested in,” he said, adding: “Part of the reason I left and came to Wide Angle is I feel like there was more for me to learn at Wide Angle than in the college setting, just for me personally. I’m better at learning by working on projects in the field and less in classroom settings.”

Later, he began an apprenticeship at Arts2Work as a multimedia video editor. Wide Angle has partnered with the creative workforce initiative, which provides access to creative careers, to offer nationally registered apprenticeships to Baltimore youth. Regi Allen, a video editor and producer who won Emmys for his work on “Sesame Street” and “ABC News,” was assigned to mentor him.

“Our apprenticeship gave him a chance to hone his skills on real client projects, and it also gave him opportunities to learn from industry mentors,” said David Sloan, one of Loviglio-Wolf’s former middle school video instructors and the current production director at Wide Angle Youth Media.

After a few meetings, Allen tapped Loviglio-Wolf to edit a video for his biggest client to date: BET. During that time, Loviglio-Wolf met with Allen weekly to share his work and receive career advice. The apprentice was ultimately tasked with editing a two-minute ad celebrating both hip-hop’s 50th anniversary and McDonald’s character Grimace’s birthday.

He described the project as collaborative since he was involved in the pre-production meetings, as well as building relationships with the crew and producer on location in Miami. The editor’s decisiveness shined through in the pre-production process: For instance, he asked the crew to capture cutaway shots of people using their phones, which isn’t the norm for a video editor.

The visual effects artist’s clients don’t stop there. Loviglio-Wolf was brought on to help capture and edit several videos for the actress and singer Keke Palmer’s performance at the Broccoli City Festival in DC. He got the gig through his childhood friend Josh Nass, a photographer who, asked him to join the project because of his videography and editing skills. Loviglio-Wolf, Nass and Obike formed part of a team that shot and edited content for Palmer’s social media platforms. They delivered several videos to Palmer and her team, with Loviglio-Wolf taking the lead on editing the recap reel of her performance.
Loviglio-Wolf said the most rewarding parts of editing are seeing the reactions to the work he creates and seeing his ideas come to life. For example, Palmer and her team were so impressed with his video that they booked Loviglio for a third time — to film and edit the Chicago stop of her tour at the House of Blues.

“After I did that Broccoli City video, a while later, [Palmer’s team] reached out and said that apparently Keke really liked that video` and that she wanted the same editor to do her vlogs for her tour that was coming up,” he said. Being in Chicago again, this time as a videographer and full-time creative, was a full-circle moment for Loviglio-Wolf, whose former college was just minutes away from the venue.

Instead of just “trusting the process”, Loviglio-Wolf decided to trust himself by leaning into the learning style that was best for him. By joining Wide Angle Youth Media, he was able to focus on learning and improving his skills in filmmaking and editing.

He now encourages aspiring creatives to push themselves to learn new skills and to practice what they’ve learned as much as possible.

“I think I just keep trying stuff,” he said, “and even if I give up or don’t get to the place I want to, just knowing that eventually that [mastery] will come.”

Companies: Wide Angle Youth Media

Series: Entertainment Tech Month 2024