MARINE CORPS AIR STATION YUMA, Ariz. -- As a man behind the scenes, many people have never seen Sgt. Vince Czyzewski.
Anyone who has watched video originating from the station during training sessions or a Marine Corps Birthday Ball has seen the work of Czyzewski, a combat videographer and the station’s Combat Camera video production chief
Czyzewski’s videography training began well before he ever stepped foot inside the Defense Information School for his military occupational training.
“I started working in videography in high school,” said Czyzewski, a Sarasota, Fla., native. “I took four years of videography and my teacher was really good. He taught me the basics.”
Czyzewski developed his video skills quickly enough to become an entrepreneur while his classmates were solely focused on which girl they should take to prom.
“When I was in my junior year of high school, I started Southern Star Entertainment,” he explained. “I did music videos, weddings and a few commercials.”
Czyzewski eventually closed his business so he could join the Marine Corps
“I came into the Marine Corps as a combat photographer,” said Czyzewski. “But instead of going through photography school, I went to video production school after they saw my portfolio.”
“I graduated as a distinguished honor graduate,” he added.
Since Czyzewski arrived on station, along with becoming a sergeant of Marines, he has recorded drills, ceremonies, air shows and training sessions for the Weapons and Tactics Instructor course and Exercise Desert Talon.
“He’s a good leader. He’s always positive and he’s a good role model,” said Lance Cpl. Cory Tepfenhart, Combat Camera combat photographer and native of Williston, Fla. “He can edit like nobody’s business. He knows all the programs, he’s very creative and he always finds a way to make something work. I’ve never seen anything bad come from him.”
Shortly after arriving in Yuma, Ariz., Czyzewski began attending Generations Church, which uses video cameras and video editing equipment to enhance its services and functions.
“I’ve been volunteering at the church for about two years now,” said Czyzewski. “Right now, I’m overseeing the camera section. Sometimes I direct, sometimes I shoot video, and sometimes I train people how to work the cameras. I also edit and put together videos for the church.”
People who have seen his work recognize his prowess.
“His work is really good,” said Anthony Munoz, a leader in Generations Church. “It’s just tight, I really like it.”
Tepfenhart said he thinks Czyzewski’s volunteer time reflects his character.
“It shows a lot of devotion, dedication and faith because he spends so much time helping them out,” he explained.
Czyzewski said he doesn’t help Generations to be recognized, but to serve.
“I want to serve the church. God gave me a gift and I want to use it for the kingdom,” said Czyzewski. “I believe God gives everyone talents and I want to use mine to help lead people to the Lord through video.”
After returning from a deployment to Iraq in August 2004, the business bug bit Czyzewski once again. About one year later, he was back in business.
“I started my business again in July of 2005 with TruVision Productions. Now I do both videography and photography. I do mostly weddings and engagements, family portraits and graphics work with business cards and invitations.”
Czyzewski has invested almost $20,000 in cameras, editing tools and supplies to start his business again. Czyzewski has the ability to record events in high-definition quality, even though many people do not have high definition entertainment systems.
“It was a huge investment, but it is good debt to have because now I’m making money,” said Czyzewski. “You have to spend money to make money.”
Czyzewski’s priorities and desire to mature as an artist are evident to those around him.
“He puts a lot of time and money into what he does. Inside the workplace, he’s awesome at what he does with video. He’s very sure of his work,” said Tepfenhart, who specializes in photography. “He’s been constantly improving on his work outside of the office, especially in the last couple months.”
His improvement has come from experience, experimentation and continued education.
“I know a lot about photography because I’ve worked in video so long,” said Czyzewski. “I took a college course to polish my skills and I’ve learned a lot on my own.”
Czyzewski said he likes the idea of working for himself when he no longer works for his country. His ambition has him thinking about expanding his horizons even further.
“I know I’m getting out of the Marine Corps shortly and I need something to fall back on,” he said. “I enjoy doing it, so why not? I’m getting ready to open a (disc jockey) service soon too.”