As Brafton’s Senior Videographer, AJ Muffett is the man behind the lens, as well as the editing desk. From project beginning to end, AJ is at the helm, ensuring the client’s story is told as best as possible.

“Every day is a new opportunity to tell a different story,” AJ says.

In giving viewers a peek behind the scenes of everything from manufacturing processes to corporate boardrooms, AJ is a bit like our Marc Summers from “Unwrapped” — except if Marc Summers was a total badass who skateboards, builds his own darkroom and grew up with a coconut tree in his front yard.

From palm trees to an icy breeze

AJ’s story starts in Arkansas, but it doesn’t stay there long. Born in the state to parents in the Air Force, AJ, like many children from military families, grew up moving across the country. And after a month of life, baby AJ got a big upgrade — Guam.

Until second grade, all AJ knew was warm tropic weather, sandy beaches and the coconut tree that grew outside his home. However, paradise was brusquely taken away when a transfer to Presque Isle, Maine, dropped him into the complete unknown that was feet of snow and winter’s harsh touch — albeit still on the coast. AJ took it in stride.

“[Maine] was the exact opposite of Guam, but it was still cool because I had never experienced that before, I’d never seen snow,” AJ said.

Maine then became the site of both high school and college, the latter at which AJ was first introduced to the creative medium he’d call a career. After the type of freshman year many of us can remember but don’t want to admit, a friend took a multimedia course, which served as a spark.

It all soon translated into his first videography job: producing tutorial DVDs for a Maine family company that made heirloom woodworking tools. In his time making the how-tos, AJ got insight into the manufacturing process (keep that in mind) and how to make it come to life through the camera.

Brafton’s auteur

However, dovetails would give way to duck faces after college, as AJ found work as a production assistant for reality television. Becoming a PA is a common way for videographers out of school to cut their teeth, but working on terrible VH1 shows that nobody would watch — hello, Tool Academy —  wasn’t the outlet AJ was looking for.

So, not long after graduating, he hopped in with three other friends who were moving to Boston and made way down the Atlantic. Interestingly enough, the next job he took wasn’t in video, but photography. A small studio in western Massachusetts wanted to amp up its video segment, which brought him in, but slow growth instead offered much more chance to do photography. Being a hobby and passion of AJ’s, the fit was natural.

Fast forward four or five years, however, and the itch to get back into video was getting harder to scratch — until Brafton came into view. After a bit of a lengthy recruitment process, AJ settled in and soon got to doing what he enjoys best: telling stories from behind the lens.

“I like manufacturing clients, just getting to see how things are made, the process,” AJ says. “Whether that’s a printing company or just a bottling company, it’s kind of crazy to see the scale and what you take for granted on a daily basis.”

It’s not just the art of machinery at work that AJ captures best; emotional stories can also be drawn out of seemingly routine office-based interviews. One client told him an employee was moved to tears upon watching the finished product. Working at Brafton allows AJ to piece together these scenes and render impressive narratives.

“Some locations can be boring to shoot, but in the editing process people are saying good stuff and you’re putting together a story you didn’t necessarily see happening,” AJ says. “And other times during shooting you’re just in a place and it’s visually appealing and you’re wrapped up all day in what’s happening, even if the content wasn’t as great as expected. The other days are back in the studio, going through all that footage and editing together your little masterpiece.”

Still a sk8r boi

Jetting between shoot locations, however, isn’t enough action for AJ. A frequent skateboarder in his youth — just ask him about Eric Koston or Girl — AJ still occasionally brings out his deck, and is even working with his current hometown of Quincy, Mass., to build a skate park. He hopes to break ground in spring and have it ready for summer, whereupon some serious gnar will be dropped.

Skateboarding, being a sport with lots of multimedia elements, often acted as a bridge between his other creative interests.

“Between a mini video camera and a buddy of mine’s photography, our entire childhood adventures of skateboarding and debauchery are documented somewhere,” AJ says.

Nowadays, however, his subjects are more likely to be his wife, his two nieces or his family than they are to be kickflips and stair jumps.

Growing up our Christmas presents had custom paper printed with portraits of us taken throughout the year. You couldn’t even tear that wrapping paper. Stuff like that always inspired me for sure. I’d like to give someone else that memory.

“These days I feel like shooting friends and family is important,” AJ says. “I have an uncle who, to this day, shoots everything. Growing up our Christmas presents had custom paper printed with portraits of us taken throughout the year. You couldn’t even tear that wrapping paper. Stuff like that always inspired me for sure. I’d like to give someone else that memory.”

Unfortunately, while he’s done a ton of work in 35mm, the lack of a dark room means not much is happening with the actual photos. That’s an issue AJ plans to rectify after the holidays, though, as he gets to work building a facility of his own in the basement.

For now, you can catch him climbing trees that are just begging to be scaled when not working his magic on set or in the studio.

Dom, an English major and journalism enthusiast, was just happy to get a job out of college writing and editing professionally. That it turned out to be in the burgeoning content marketing industry with Brafton was all the better.