The first thing I shot was a project for my Us history class freshman yr in highschool. It was myself and 2 other guys filming some people's letters home from Vietnam. Basically just talking about the long periods of doing nothing, then the battles. Shot it on a little RCA VHS camera and then we edited it with 2 VCRs. the one VCR had stereo inputs so we could run in a keyboard for some music and I think we used some footage from Apocalypse Now to show the battle scenes.
After that I did a lot of playing with fish-tanks and ink, cloud tanks, ect just playing around with the camera. I think I may even still have the tape somewhere of that first, really bad, film.
Though I didn't start calling myself anything until very recently, though I've been getting paid for a bit. Even now, I tend to qualify that "well that's what I list on my tax returns."