Charlie Lee was in fifth grade when he and his dad decided to make a funny video for their church. The project was a big hit with their family and friends.
Inspired by that experience – and his favorite Youtube videos — Charlie began learning to shoot and edit to create his own films.
“It’s just very fun to edit in these worlds that you can create” he said. “And there’s something about creating something that makes you feel great on the inside.”
Now 17, Charlie, of Reynoldsburg, continues to make videos and help his friends edit their video projects — which often include them saving the world from destruction.
He’s created several unique characters — including a British narrator, SIR Charles Elsworth — and is often inspired by video games, internet jokes and his pet dog, Peppy.
One of his recent films, “Duey and Ette” recently took first place in the first ever Licking County Board of Developmental Disabilities’ virtual talent show.
The judges, and audience members, were impressed by the film’s humor and use of detail.
Before the pandemic, he also submitted a film to the Highbridge Film Festival, a competition for college and high school filmmakers at Asbury University in Kentucky.
Charlie, who is homeschooled, said he often gets ideas for his films while taking naps.
His family belongs to the Turnpoint church in Groveport and Charlie is active in their youth programming. So when he has a new video idea, his friends at church lend a hand by playing different characters and offering up locations for sets and props. His production of “Duey and Ette” featured an auto shop and a Sheriff’s cruiser, thanks to these connections.
Although the COVID-19 pandemic has slowed down his video production, Charlie has been keeping busy. Finishing up his junior year, he is also working to increase his creative skills by taking photography and Photoshop classes.
He enjoys video games and streaming, and is very interested in technology.
He’s thinking about college, but also considering working at Kroger. But no matter what he decides, filmmaking and Youtubing will always be a part of his life.
He’s hoping his accomplishment will inspire other students with disabilities to pursue their interests — no matter what.
“If you want to accomplish something, then fight for it because you can do it,” he said. “Don’t listen to the people who limit you, only listen to the people who support you. Do what you want to do!”