By Conrad Dudderar
Andres Perilla was a member of Yukon High School’s Class of 2012, the first to graduate after the “new” YHS campus opened at 1777 S Yukon Parkway.
More than 10 years later, Perilla owns a thriving digital media company that uses skills he started developing in high school to make lasting memories for his clients.
“I feel proud to be Yukon Miller – and to know that my roots and where everything started for me is here in this town and my high school,” Perilla said.
To this day, he embraces words he quotes from former YHS teacher David Jewell – now Piedmont’s head principal:
“It’s not the grades you make; it’s the hands you shake.”
Perilla credited several YHS instructors and coaches for the influence they had on him that has led to his career success.
Perilla Productions showcases the professional videography and photography knowledge this bright Yukon graduate has acquired over the past decade.
Perilla was born in Bogota, Colombia in 1993, just when the Internet started being part of daily life and camcorders became popular among consumers.
“Since I was a kid, I’ve always been inclined toward digital,” he shared.
Perilla recalls when his mother bought a video camera that he’d use to record family trips on VCR tapes.
He remembers going with his father to drop off and pick up still photo prints taken on film cameras.
The Perilla family moved to Warr Acres, Okla. in 2000. Six years later, they bought a house in Yukon.
Andres attended sixth through eighth grades at Lakeview Middle School (now an intermediate site).
His first three years of high school were spent at the “old” YHS on Garth Brooks Boulevard. The site now houses Yukon Middle School.
As a Yukon junior, Andres took a video production class with teacher Henry Harrison.
He learned the “basics” – how to work a camera, import and cut footage, and transitions. A highlight was when students made a music video using their own lip-synching talent.
“That was probably the very beginning step of where my career is now,” Perilla said.
In his senior year at YHS, he took a photography class taught by journalism teacher Erik Jackson.
“Andres was always a natural from the first day he picked up a camera,” Jackson said. “Seeing his business flourish is a reflection of his work ethic and talent. I’m very proud of him.”
Perilla said he really enjoyed Jackson’s photography class.
“At that point, I didn’t own my own camera,” he pointed out.
Perilla ultimately borrowed a friend’s video camera, which he carried around to record snippets of school activities.
A kicker on the Yukon Millers’ football team, Perilla would film some team meals and take game footage.
Perilla decided to interview fellow YHS seniors about what they’d miss about football for a 10-minute video he created.
“They ended up showing it for our senior night on the jumbotron,” he noted. “After the parents had seen the video, I think this was really a ‘turning moment’ for me.
“The parents for next year’s class ended up asking me if I would come back and do another video for their kids.”
The 2012 YHS grad was so eager to learn that he was willing to make it for free, but the parents said they’d pay him. Perilla attended about 80% of the football games in 2013, putting together a 15-minute senior class memories’ video with game highlights.
He fell in love with the process of creating this type of video.
“I was so into it,” he shared. “I just loved capturing those moments. With football and sports, there’s so much going on – with elements and people, the storyline of the game.”
Perilla also played soccer throughout high school, serving as team captain during his senior year.
Recalling Jewell’s words of wisdom, he developed strong bonds and has stayed in contact with those who guided his education journey at YHS.
“All the teachers really cared and poured into their students the best they could,” Perilla added.
With his 4.2 grade point average, the ‘12 YHS graduate was ready to begin his post-secondary film production journey after enrolling at Oklahoma City Community College.
But a visit to family friends in Houston convinced him to pursue a career in mechanical engineering instead.
He earned an associate’s degree in pre-engineering after three years at OCCC, then a bachelor’s of science in mechanical engineering two years later from the University of Oklahoma.
“During that whole time, I would still find ways to get my hands on some sort of photography or video work,” Perilla said. “That was something I wanted to do, and I didn’t want to let that go.”
He had filmed his first wedding in 2013.
With diploma in hand, Perilla moved to Little Rock, Ark. in June 2017 for a summer internship with the Schlumberger oilfield services company. Perilla’s mentor was Jaime Rivas, who provided valuable guidance and remains among his greatest friends.
That August, Perilla returned home to Oklahoma to seek an engineering job.
He found one several months later after calling another influential person he admired while in high school, former YHS Principal Mark Melton. Melton was then working for the oil and gas company Weir Seaboard (previously Mathena Inc.) in El Reno.
Perilla recalled that Dave Mathena, who had owned the business, was a strong supporter of Yukon Millers’ football.
Perilla was hired in February 2018 after an interview with Weir Seaboard’s engineering manager Matt Green. He was a mechanical engineer at the company for three years.
Melton ended up leaving Weir Seaboard during Perilla’s first year there to become Bethany High School’s principal.
While working as a full-time engineer, Perilla got increasingly busy with freelance video and photo projects.
“I kept ‘doing my thing’, never gave up on it and kept growing my talent in that field,” he related.
One interesting assignment was filming a wedding – an African cultural event – that took some 14 hours to complete.
“It was the perfect practice for me to really learn, because there’s so much going on,” he explained.
“Understanding camera placement, lighting and the technical functions of my equipment was imperative to ensure each moment was captured in the best way possible. Wedding moments don’t tend to offer you second chances.”
Since leaving his engineering job in March 2021, Perilla has expanded beyond filming weddings and portrait photography.
While about 40% of Perilla’s business is weddings, he also works with businesses to create social media marketing materials and provides architecture photography.
He works closely with Oklahoma City musician Stephen Salewon to create promotional video shorts and with churches on video campaigns.
Perilla is encouraged about his company’s future because of the significant growth and business development across the Yukon area.
“Since I quit my job and started this full-time, I’m blessed to say there hasn’t been one day that I don’t have anything to do,” Perilla said. “I’ve been fortunate to be in that place and give God the glory for the gifts, talents, people and vision He has placed in my life.”