Dwayne Holness, founder of Corex Creative, is very good at his job. He’s a professional videographer, video editor, designer, and the list goes on. Just know that when it comes to video and/or photography work – and all the behind-the-scenes work, too – Dwayne is your guy.
And don’t take my word for it. Just hop over to www.corexcreative.com and take a look at the long list of big-name companies that have contracted Corex Creative in the recent past.
Suffice to say, Dwayne has enjoyed high levels of success in his field. But unless you’re familiar with him, you don’t know the depth of Dwayne’s story, complete with all the details of how he got to where he is today. So, let me share with you some highlights of his journey.
Dwayne’s a city guy. He grew up in downtown Toronto; in the Jane and Finch area, to be precise. Ever since he’s had a camera, he’s been reflecting Toronto’s people and vibrant cultures with his artistic flair.
But his passion for film and videography began not behind the camera, but in front of it as an actor.
“I got my first credit when I was 16 on a show called Street Time,” he said. “I was an extra in it. I remember the director really liked what I was doing, so he gave me some lines. There was a big crowd while I was performing, and that was the day I signed my first autograph.”
Dwayne loved the thrill and decided he wanted to pursue the industry more. For several reasons, however, he decided that acting wasn’t for him. He’d rather operate the cameras and have more control over the end result.
As far as formal education goes, Dwayne is a testimony to the effectiveness of the tech-savvy generations of millennials and Gen Z’ers. Why? Because even though he attended Humber College for Multimedia Design and Production, the majority of his career-oriented education was self-taught.
“I started off my career mostly self taught,” he said. “My form of education [before I went to Humber] was YouTube. I spent a lot of time on YouTube learning new skills and then sharpening them through practice.”
It wasn’t until after he had a solid foundation of knowledge that he applied to Humber. As mentioned before, he studied Multimedia Design & Production, which was a course that leaned more towards generality rather than honing a specialty in the field.
Dwayne explained the versatility of the course. “It taught me a bit of everything when it came to digital media,” he said. “I learned everything from graphic design, to web development, to audio engineering, video production and photography. So I was able to learn various skills in that program.”
This adaptability was crucial for Dwayne. Not only did it assist him in choosing a specific career path, but it opened the doors for him to pick up lots of different video and production jobs along the way.
Oh, and the YouTube education prior to Humber? Dwayne credits his top-of-the-class position with the foot-up his internet education gave him.
“I was in a technology program where everything is always being updated. So I was mostly up to date on the new technologies, and the teachers were still teaching from outdated books. With my YouTube learning, I was actually able to give a lot of advice and tips during the course.”
He graduated from Humber with honours and at the top of his class. But, for some reason, he was one of the only students who didn’t find an internship or placement directly after graduation.
“I felt pretty left out,” he admitted. “So I took the skills I knew and applied a hustle to them. I started offering them to clients as a service.”
You know how they say, “All roads lead home”? Well, it’s definitely true for Dwayne. Because after he graduated from Humber without a placement opportunity, he took his skills right back home and offered them to the people he knew.
“I started off by shooting music videos for my friends,” he said, “And then I worked more on my skills by doing a lot of community work. So I was basically working exclusively with the community that I was from.”
It didn’t take long for his work to grab somebody’s attention. Once his pieces started getting out there for the public eye to see, the City of Toronto saw it and wanted in.
“I’ve actually been working with the City of Toronto for about ten years now. I do a lot of branding and marketing work, and it’s great for us because it gets our name out there.”
Speaking of which, you’re probably wondering when and how Dwayne founded Corex Creative. Well, the explanation is actually pretty simple. Corex, Dwayne explained, has always been around; it just hasn’t always been called Corex.
“At first, I was just using my name. Then I thought, ‘I want a name that’s going to last forever.’ I knew it had to be catchy and have meaning.”
So then he thought of Corex. The core- stands for the company’s core, which are the four creative people that make up the organization. And the -ex “marks the spot,” as Dwayne put it. It stands for the essential elements that are needed to be creative.
“But really,” he said. “It all comes down to telling stories from the heart.”
Now, Dwayne lives by those words. If you take a trip to his website and peruse his work, you’ll see what I mean. Each of his projects share a style that is uniquely his. And his emphasis on connecting with his community through his art is evident, too.
That’s what makes his career so special. His life is creating art. Added to the impact that he has on those he works with, it’s a very powerful profession.
For example, Corex recently finished working on a partnership with the LCBO for a project called Spirit of Sustainability. Corex’s involvement in the project came about after LCBO reached out to the director of CEE Centre For Young Black Professionals, who is a friend of Dwayne, and asked how they could promote diversity.
Well, the director of CEE told LCBO to reach out to Corex for their project, and so they did.
“We created a spotlight video on three organizations that LCBO has donated to,” Dwayne explained. “The Spirit of Sustainability is to find ways to sustain an organization like the ones that we were highlighting.”
And, of course, Dwayne loved the project because of the good it did for young people in the community, too.
“We had young people on set for their first time ever. So they were able to soak in so much from our experts, and now it gives them an opportunity to say, ‘Hey, I think I want to pursue this for my life, too.’”
Dwayne also related that, since the majority of his production team are people of colour, it gave a lot of black youth the opportunity to see that they have a shot in an industry that seems so white-dominated.
“The film industry is heavily dominated by caucasions,” he said. “And my goal is to change that narrative, and to show that we can do this, too.”
So not only is he helping promote the LCBO’s mission, but also inspiring the community’s youth by sharing his talents.
“We are here to make a statement, and I think having the LCBO standing behind us is really giving us the voice to do that.”
That’s a very powerful vision. Once again, it goes to show that Dwayne’s career stands for so much more than making money. He’s an artist with a purpose, and his life holds meaning beyond simply adding decimals to the bank account.
Perhaps it’s a lesson we could all learn from. Because fighting for something bigger than ourselves and our own career goals can make the world a better place.
Written by Peter Wilson