Digital Cinematography Grad Transforms Career in His 40s

Christopher Rapley discovered his passion for videography later in life and is loving every second of it.

A headshot of Christopher Rapley wearing glasses and an all-black suit with a black-and-white tie and pocket square.

Christopher Rapley discovered his love for cinematography and videography later on in adulthood, but that hasn’t stopped him from making the most out of his education and relatively newfound career success. “I was a non-traditional student because I didn't enroll into Full Sail until my late 40s,” says Christopher.

In 1996, during a transition period in his career, Christopher landed a part-time position at WBKL-TV. After spending a couple of years learning the ropes at the station, he knew he wanted to start his own production company and eventually founded RAPCO Media in 2015. But it wasn’t until he wasn’t hired for a full-time position at Marquee Broadcasting Inc., where he’d already been freelancing that year, that Christopher knew it was time to go back to school.

“[I was looking online for schools] and then Full Sail popped up. I said, ‘You know what? Let me check this out’… I needed an education that I could get online. And then… I read… they give you the equipment to get started. And so, I was like, ‘Yes, this is for me.’”

“It got hectic,” laughs Christopher as he remembers the two years he spent getting his bachelor’s in Digital Cinematography. “There were a couple of times I was in tears… like a kid, because at 11:59, I [had to] turn in this project… [but] I got it turned in and I held on.”

His hard work paid off, and Christopher now works as the Creative Services Director for Marquee.

“Full Sail is definitely the most proactive I've seen in terms of curriculum when it comes to teaching students what they need to know, and [having the students] learn it and get out there.”

While Christopher dedicates a good chunk of his time working for Marquee, RAPCO Media is very near and dear to his heart. “When I started the business, I wanted to start something that could help minority-owned businesses and small businesses in general get quality video production… whether it’s for their promos on social media or on television.”

Through RAPCO Media, Christopher filmed, edited, and helped produce the BIPOC in America docuseries, which features modern African Diaspora and Latino icons in Southern and Central Florida. He also films for Fuzion Pro Wrestling, an independent wrestling organization in Statesboro, Georgia.

“Scheduling is key,” he laughs.

Where does Christopher find the motivation to juggle all these jobs and projects? “It's about me being happy and being able to give my [current] wife a good life,” he explains sincerely.

“When you came up like I did and people didn't give you a snowball chance of hell to make anything out of yourself, because of things that were going on with family and whatever, you know, you can't stop.”

He also wants other people his age who are thinking of going back to school to do it for the right reasons. “Make sure you're going back to school for something that… [you're passionate about] because we’re already getting later in life, so we don't have time to be playing around.”