Jake Dillard is not what some would call a typical teen. Instead, his parents Lori and Keith Dillard say he’s a “talented young man with a steadfast faith that he now shares with others.”
Jake, 18, is a senior at Muskogee High School who has a passion for creating videos and taking photos that began when in his early teen years.
His passion has already led to some freelance work, and Jake plans to expand his business after graduation.
“I’d like to make a movie someday, or maybe a really good documentary,” Jake said. “Because I don’t know about Hollywood.”
Jake said making documentaries would suit him just fine — traveling, meeting new people — ”something that really moves people and inspires them.”
Jake has already been creating work to inspire — several videos with friends at MHS that promote the school’s touchstone ROAD — Respect, Opportunity, Achievement and Determination.
But these videos aren’t documentaries — they’re music videos. Rap to be exact.
“The basis of the rap is pretty much work hard, use the ROAD and you’ll go far,” Jake said.
“Senior Status” is Jake’s last video in high school. He and his friends wanted to make it special, he said.
So Jake, Victor Williams and Ezra Jernigan got together and planned their penultimate rap video and recently released it on YouTube.
Victor and Ezra wrote the upbeat rap and perform it in the video.
Jake did all the work behind the camera. The video can be seen at www.jakedillard.com — the website Jake created at age 15.
The video features Williams, a football player, wearing his jersey, and Jernigan rapping on the field at Indian Bowl.
It also features many Rougher athletes in soccer, wrestling and more.
The group first filmed using a generator and lights at a derelict house, but decided it didn’t represent the school, Jake said.
“We wanted some school sports in it, so we went to Indian Bowl, a soccer game, the weight room and pieced it together over time,” Jake said.
There’s a little dancing in the video too — though nothing too serious.
“They were just messing around, so I threw them in there,” Jake said, grinning. “They didn’t know that.”
Meet Jake Dillard
CAREER: Part-time graphic design.
EDUCATION: Muskogee High School senior.
FAMILY: Parents Lori and Keith Dillard, brother Nick.
CHURCH: Boulevard Christian Church.
HOBBIES: Basketball, Skatechurch, skateboarding, taking pictures, making videos.
Passion for film
Jake Dillard fell into filmmaking — off a skateboard, sort of.
He met his closest friends through Skatechurch, a ministry at First Baptist Church.
“And I’d watched a lot of skateboarding videos on YouTube. It’s what a lot of guys do — film their best tricks and post them,” Jake said.
So when Jake realized he “wasn’t all that great at skateboard,” he used his lawn mowing earnings to buy a camera and the rest is history.
“I didn’t break any bones or anything,” Jake said. “I would say I just quit putting any effort in to skateboarding when I started making videos.
Jake has progressed from his first camera to his latest — a Canon Rebel that films and shoots still photography — on his own.
He still mows lawns occasionally, and he does some graphic design work for a local company.
And when he tires of his equipment, he bundles it up, sells it on Ebay and buys more, Jake said.
Jake’s older brother Nick works as a videographer for a church in Missouri. And though Nick took up the interest after Jake, he said, his brother has helped him with a lot.
“He’s had some college and he gives me pointers on what the industry is looking for and stuff like that,” Jake said.
Jake is “not into partying and stuff,” he said.
“I don’t want to waste my life. I just want to get somewhere with that — make life worthwhile,” Jake said.
Jake, who was baptized at age 8, credits several people who have been big influences in his life for his faith and desire to walk the straight and narrow, including his parents and his closest friends.
He met his closest friends at a church event.
But his “Nanny” is someone he admires for her Christian example the most, he said.
“My nanny — she was a real prayer-warrior,” Jake said. “She didn’t just go to church. She lived it out.”
Jake’s grandmother set a good example for him and his cousins, he said.
He appreciated how she gave to others.
“She would go into these poorer neighborhoods and pick up children to take them to church, or to eat or to the park to play,” Jake said.
His grandmother invested a lot of time in kids, and Jake said he wouldn’t mind serving in a ministry of some form when he finishes school either.
“I wouldn’t mind going into ministry, if it involved some form of video, yeah,” he said.
Jake’s skateboarding hobby, which led directly to his passion for filming, began at a local church.
First Baptist Church holds Skatechurch on Friday evenings for any child or youth in the community who want to come, Jake said.
He said it’s a fun place with younger and older kids skateboarding and a short sermon by Corey Seitz at some point in the evening.
“We laugh a lot. Me and my friends get silly or goof around,” Jake said. “It’s super noisy in there, except when Corey gives his sermon. It’s a ministry opportunity.”
Jake said the younger kids usually skate with each other “in the corners, because the big guys are using all the ramps.”
But there’s a snack bar and plenty of space to play in the church’s gym, which is converted into the skateboard park by placing flooring over the gym floor and adding ramps and things to skate on.
Jake said Skatechurch introduced him to lifelong friends, whom he truly appreciates.
His parents appreciate those skateboarding friends too.
“Lori and I are very thankful for Jake and also for the young people that have been involved in his life,” Jake’s father Keith said. “We are extremely proud of him.”
Watch a Skatechurch video by Jake set to a Christian rap song at www.fbcmuskogee.org.
Q and A
HOW DID YOU COME TO BE AN OKIE FROM MUSKOGEE?
“Born here. Stayed here. Still living here.”
WHAT DO YOU LIKE BEST ABOUT MUSKOGEE?
“I’ve been playing basketball, and I really like how they’re working on the parks, making them real nice.”
WHAT WOULD MAKE MUSKOGEE A BETTER PLACE TO LIVE?
“Fix up those buildings downtown, maybe some roads. I’ve had to fix a tire from potholes.”
HOW WOULD YOU SUM UP MUSKOGEE?
“It’s a small town, there’s stuff to do, maybe not a whole bunch. It’s a nice place to live, I think.”
WHAT OKIE FROM MUSKOGEE HAD THE BIGGEST INFLUENCE ON YOUR LIFE?
“There’s more than one, but Corey Seitz. He is the activities director at First Baptist Church, and he took some time out when I was younger and took me skating and introduced me to the friends I have now. He introduced me to some good people.”