Decatur Alumni, Andrew Lane, Creates Film Business: Distortion Records

Picture of Red Hall at Decatur High School while under construction by Andrew Lane

Andrew (Drew) Lane graduated from Decatur High School in 2017. As a former student Lane began taking videos and photos in his early years of middle and high school. Now, he has his own photography and videography company at the young age of 20 years old. He began in middle school, taking skills he learned in class to the real world and shooting videos.

“I’d say the first time I took video seriously was in Mr. McAdoo’s class at Renfroe, he had an iMovie class and I was recording artists in the area around the time, I took the skills I learned in the class and applied them to make my first video in 8th grade,” Lane said.

While he may not have taken video seriously until 8th grade, he started as a young kid, watching his family take pictures. That was a source of inspiration for him and partly what caused him to start his business.

“I first got into photography as a kid. I’ve been seeing my family take pictures through the ages,” Lane explained.

Picture by Andrew Lane of Bryce Hardison

He started the company in 9th grade, with the help of his friend Thomas Sinclair. It started as an LLC (limited liability company), and he then created the subsidiary of Distortion Films. He shot his first professional video in his senior year of high school, in 2017. He bought more professional equipment and the company took of from there.

Sinclair is no longer involved in the company but Lane runs it with his friend Greyson Pitts. He and Pitts have been friends since Pre-K and they’ve been inseparable since.

““We’ve always kind of been working together,” Lane said.

“If you find one of us, it’s pretty likely the other ones gonna be there too. Were always interested in the same stuff,” Pitts said.

Picture of Greyson Pitts by Andrew Lane

When the company first started, Pitts mainly worked with editing the videos shot by Drew. They worked together on almost every video they did for the first two years. Now, they work separately too, shooting their own videos in their own styles.

“When we started I wasn’t really shooting videos, I was just applying my editing knowledge to it, but then I fully dived in, got my own camera and started making my own videos,” Pitts said.

The two have worked together for a while now and have finished countless projects together.

“As an artist I respect [Drew], he’s always been on his own wave, he’s a true creative. He doesn’t do anything for any reason but to just express himself,” Pitts said.

Most recently, Lane and his friends bought a house and turned it into Distortion Records’ studio. At the moment, they are still finishing the basement to turn that entire floor of the house into the studio.

“Me and [my dad] worked together, it was just a bando (abandoned house), we bought it, we fixed it up, probably took eight to twelve months, but we fixed it up,” Lane said. He and his friends live and work in the house, with half of it serving as their living space, and the other half as a studio. Once the basement is finished, they rest of the house will be living space, which he believes will give the business a more professional appeal.

Lane has known that this is what he’s wanted to do for a while now. He is very happy with the choices he’s made so far.

Andrew Lane shooting music video

“The favorite part of my business is making videos, first and foremost I love hip-hop and I’m also an artist as well too so to be able to shoot videos and work with some of these artists that I don’t only admire as a videographer but also admire and respect as an artist and someone who listens to their music.”

Since he started in high school, both he and his business have progressed tremendously.

“I’d say I’ve grown a lot, but I’d also say I’m not where I’d wanna be right now, I’ve always been a kid with a dream. By 19 I was already going to have the world in my hands, but we’re getting there,” Lane said. This job has opened up so many doors for him and presented him with so many opportunities. Without it, he wouldn’t have had nearly as many experiences as he has.

“I’ve shot with a lot of artists that I never thought I’d shoot with. I’ve done a lot of videos, been a lot of places that I didn’t think I would be able to go and made a lot of money just doing what I love, so I’d say I made a lot of progress.”

Since starting his career Lane has worked with artists such as RX Hect, Skooly, ManMan Savage, Warhol.SS, Lil Yachty, and many more. These artists have had huge impacts in their field and working with them has been an inspiration to Lane.

While he’s never been to school for photography or videography, he has worked under some professional photographers and learned a lot from them. He worked for a woman who shot weddings, corporate gigs, and other events. His specialty is more around music videos, though he gained a lot of skills from working with her and learned a lot about the process and the equipment.

He believes, that while the actual photography and videography is very important to his job, the network he has is just as important.

“The main thing that I try to do in my time that I’m not shooting videos is networking. It’s always good to have a relationship with artists, other videographers, other directors, that’s my main thing to have,” Lane said. The people he surrounds himself with and has professional relationships with are a lot of the reason he is as successful as he is.

Lane loves to shoot music videos with local artists because he loves being around people who are doing what they love just like him. It’s almost a source of inspiration to work with others that have the same sort of ambition as him.

“In terms of artists, musical artists in the local area is how I got started. Working with the people around me, starting from there, it’s nice to be able to see a lot of people who started out like me, recording in a basement, working on songs in high school, shooting videos.”

Throughout the process of creating the business, fixing the house and studio, and growing the company into what it is today, Lane learned a lot about the process of filmmaking and photography. On top of that, he reached many achievements and made a lot of progress.

“I mean I’m pretty proud of being at the house that I’m at right now, only two years out of high school, in a house that I built, living with my bros, shooting music videos for a living,” Lane said.

“I’d say my biggest supporter is probably myself. I don’t know if anyone believes in me as much as I do,” Lane said. His parents have always been supporters and believed in him, though he thinks he has the most confidence in himself out of anyone.

“I was definitely inspired at Decatur by a lot of people who went there. My peers, people who I saw go before me, artists, hopefully we can pass some of that along to the youngins down the road,” Lane said, “I wouldn’t say Decatur really affected me, it’s more like I affected Decatur.” For him, it wasn’t necessarily that Decatur affected his art, rather his art left a mark on Decatur.

At this point, around five years after the start of his business, Lane has shot over 200 videos, both professionally and for fun. He is close with many directors, artists, producers, and other photographers/videographers. He has put everything he has into this business and will continue to work on it until he thinks it is where it needs to be. To him, this isn’t just a hobby; it’s a career.


Instagrams: @distortionfilms, @distortionarchives, @distortionrecords