EP35 | How First-Time Filmmaker Laura Titensor Became an Award-Winning Storyteller

Watch Exclusively

Listen & Subscribe

Episode Description

X Overland editor, Laura Titensor knows how to take risks and go after her passions. Now, this critically acclaimed filmmaker of her mini-documentary The Mark We Make is here to share her insight and story of how an idea and goal, turned into much more.

As one of the final selects from the inaugural Overlander Film Fest, Laura is no stranger to taking chances. Growing up in Utah, she loves canyoneering, camping, overlanding, and travel.

If you are interested in making your first film or how to pursue that idea you have, you will surely be inspired by her story of growth and taking risks as she displays how to #startsomewhere in all aspects of her life.

Detailed Episode Summary

Part 1 (1:30-11:04) Intro and Welcome Laura Titensor! Laura shares the story of how she came to work as a film editor with the team at X Overland. She also explains her approach to goal setting by means of a “Vision Board” and this device helped her organize a group of women overlanders and ultimately achieve her goal of releasing her first film.

Part 2 (11:05-16:00) How to Use Social Media to Find Build a Professional Network and Reach Your Goals: Laura explains why she values social media and how she has used it personally and professionally to build a network of friends and colleagues to help her reach her goals.

Part 3 (16:01-19:48) What is “Canyoneering”? Laura explains what “Canyoneering” is as an activity, what a “slot canyon” is, and her introduction of canyoneering to a crew of overlanding women including Rachelle Croft (@rachelle_croft) and Jillian Rebecca (@jillianrebekah). Laura and Jimmy explore the link between overlanding and canyoneering.

Part 4 (19:49-26:00) Laura’s Background as a Filmmaker and Her Role with X Overland as a Film Editor: Laura explains how she got her first quasi-internship with X Overland through Clay and Rachelle, her work in editing the Baja Special and Alaska: The Last Frontier, and her evolution into being a full-time film editor with the team.

Part 5 (26:00-27:54) Laura Explains Her Current Experience with editing The Nordic Series: The Nordic Series is X Overland’s most ambitious production to date, and Laura is working full-time with the project as editor and creative lead along with Clay. Laura and Jimmy discuss what this project looks like and the process involved in post-production of this series.

Part 6 (27:55-32:40) How to Produce and Submit Your First Overland Film: Laura explains the submission of her first film to the first Overlander Film Festival and the progression from that film to her critically acclaimed film, The Mark We Make.

Part 7 (32:41- 56:48) Laura’s Critically Acclaimed Film, The Mark We Make: Laura shares the process of how she created her awarding-winning film, The Mark We Make, providing details of the entire process from inception to realization. She further explores her model of storytelling and how she finds the sources for her stories.

Part 8 (56:49-1:00:15) What Equipment Do You Need to Shoot Your First Film? Laura shares her gear list for filming her first documentary–cameras, mics, GoPros, drones, and data storage solutions are all discussed. Laura and Jimmy discuss the details of what’s of value when it comes to buying equipment to produce your first film.

Part 9 (1:00:16-1:01:45) How to Edit Your First Film: After you’ve shot all of your material, now what? Laura explains the process of film editing and how she does this from her home office. Laura and Jimmy discuss the equipment needed and Laura shares her favorite editing software as well as how she learned her self-taught editing skills.

Part 10 (1:01:45-104:30) What are the Final Steps to Finishing Your First Film? Laura explains the difference between being a film editor and being a storyteller, and how Clay Croft mentored her as a storyteller. Laura and Jimmy discuss possible action-steps for creating an effective “story” within your film.

Part 11 (1:04:30-1:06:30) How Much Footage Do You Need to Shoot to Make Your First Film? Laura and Jimmy discuss averages when it comes to shooting footage for your first film. Laura shares her 5-1 theory in her basic approach.

Part 12 (1:06:30-1:09:40) As a First-time Filmmaker, How Do You Submit Your First Film to Film Festivals and Competitions? Laura explains the process of submitting your first film to film festivals and competitions, including how to use the popular website for filmmakers: filmfreeway.com

Part 13 (1:09:40-1:15:55) If Your First Film is Successful, What’s the Next Step? Once you’ve made your first film, submitted it, and received critical acclaim, what’s next? Laura explains what’s next for her after having experienced success with her first film, including her ambition of shooting a feature-length documentary. Laura and Jimmy discuss the work of Jimmy Chen and the value of setting ambitious goals.

Part 14 (1:15:55-End) Final Thoughts on Making Your First Film: Laura shares her own concerns with her first film, The Mark We Make, why it’s important to persevere, and the danger of excessive self-criticism. Laura and Jimmy discuss Laura’s work in editing Jimmy’s first Out and About episode, and the importance of storytelling and starting somewhere. Laura explains the difference between the technical side of filmmaking and storytelling and her aspirations to become a better technical filmmaker.

Additional Resources Mentioned and Recommendations

Overlander Film Festival 2023 (Consider submitting your film to our festival this year! We even have a category for first-time filmmakers!)

Film Freeway

Crayons and Cairns Foundation


Citizen J Podcast w/Jillian Rebekah

Lifestyle Overland

Laura’s Recommended Books and Films

Free Solo


My Octopus Teacher

Listen to our other podcasts