In this episode, I talk with Alex Cinnici — cinematography with some amazing work. In this conversation, I drill Alex on how he gets work and he lets slide some incredible advice for young filmmakers!
So depending where I am, and it’s been a little while I kind of set like a notification in my calendar, it’ll be like, reach out, and I’ll have some reminders to a few people. And it’ll be, you know, just a casual sort of how you doing.
Welcome to another episode of the next level filmmakers show where we interview filmmakers from around the world to explore their pathway to success. What worked, what’s working now, so you can take your Korean business to the next level. I’m your host, Clarke, Scott. And I believe that having the right systems in place is the difference between taking your career and business to the next level, or just being another dude or dudette with a camera. So if you’re tired of hustling for one off projects, the undervalued and underpaid, I’d like to invite you to an exclusive free training I’ve put together for filmmakers, just like you where I share the exact strategies I’ve used to grow my own video production agency. Just go to Clarke, Scott education.com. That’s clock with a knee Clarke, Scott education.com. forward slash free training. That’s Clarke, Scott education.com. forward slash free training and start your journey to becoming a next level filmmaker today. All right, Mr. tunisie. You want to you want to kick into this?
Yeah. Hey, how’s it going? out? Shinichi here, cinematographer. Very nice to meet you, man. Yeah, excited to be on the podcast.
Yeah. Cool. All right. So the first question I asked everyone is, how did you get your stop?
Sure. Yeah, I long road because I basically started was one of those kids that had, you know, grabbed my dad’s video camera in elementary school, and just started running around making movies immediately really silly, immature stuff, my friends and I just messing around, that transitioned into finding ways to basically avoid doing projects in high school, you know, they’d say you have to write like a big essay, and my friends and I would just make movies about books or social studies sort of subject matter. And I was really lucky because we all actually went to film school together in New York City, that’s where I’m from, I live in LA now. And yeah, we went to film school together and made movies and it kind of turned out that I just always gravitated towards the camera, my dad’s a photographer. And so I think that that was part of it, having that kind of visual language in the household. And I was just always kind of technical and was into that type of stuff. And always gravitated towards it. When I watched the movies, I always loved the visuals. And eventually was just filming everybody’s projects in school and was very lucky that by the time I graduated, I had a real So yeah, I operated in that gap a little bit to you know, be able to afford to live in a tiny, shitty little apartment in New York, but eventually was in the position where I was really lucky where I think kind of my, I’m confident and and just sort of, like I’m a cinematographer, that’s what I do. And from early on was very lucky to have the work and the sort of I guess just attitude to kind of go for it and eventually made that transition and I’ve been doing it you know, since really my early 20s my early 30s now so it’s been like professional for like 10 years now. And you know, when union like two three years ago and now West Coast and doing some bigger things out here, and it’s been kind of my whole life kind of in a weird way because I’ve been running around like, filming stuff since I was 11 years old or something like that. So it uh, yeah, I don’t know it kind of it’s an odd answer because it’s not like you know, I started for staying and then I eventually moved my way up type of thing it was sort of more than New Age thing where it’s like, you know, it’s even crazier now with Instagram and guys that are 22 who are jumping right into it and stuff but I’d say I’m sort of a product of that a little bit. And if anything, it’s just gotten crazier now.
Yeah. And hot I was talking with a fairly well known I would say a very well known director dp who was big on in on Instagram. And he declined to be interviewed actually. And the reason why is he said that I feel like a fraud because it’s, it’s I’m struggling and I think most filmmakers, most filmmakers, or actually many not most many filmmakers struggle and makes it look like they’re not I call it hope marketing. But um, yeah, I was gonna I was gonna ask the question, and I was going to date you, but you’re already you kind of given us your age. So there’s
Yeah, but again, I’m just gonna write about it. The
question was gonna be when you when you’re first shooting, was that type of video because that will date you.
Sure. So well, when I was a little kid, it was mini DV, and then eventually, when I really got out of school and things were happening that’s like I can really date it specifically. It was originally it was red one. It was five D Mark two when it was Oh, yeah, yeah, like that was you know, boom, that lands. I I actually was very lucky. We did a lot of 16 mil a little bit of 35 in college and just out of college so that was sort of the real training ground. I mean that is sort of interesting. I was figuring it out on my own before. The only camera I’ve ever owned was a Panasonic dv x 100 My friends and I we all came together in high school and bought it and that’s what we were shooting on and then so when a lot of you know,
when the when the five day mark two dropped were you still in film school at that time?
I was in film school, it came out actually funny enough, what happened was that I because my dad’s a photographer, he got it just as a photography camera, and then everybody started talking about it. And I was shooting a thesis film on the red one. And we had an underwater shot and there was no underwater housing for the red. We couldn’t afford to do much anyway, even having a red was a big deal at the time. And we we literally went into b&h and bought a five d i think like nada cam housing, and put it in the waters 24.00 at you know, frame rate, auto exposure, all that type of stuff. We jumped in a pool, we filmed some underwater shots, and then we dried it up and everything and we went back to b&h and we returned. So that was like the first five, the experience and then it was cool, you know, I benefited out of college from sort of branded content and YouTube becoming this whole thing. And all the producers that I knew from NYU and SBA, I went to school Visual Arts in New York and had a lot of NYU friends. And they’re all starting to go into these companies and and they just hired their friends who was me and I was just sort of I think the one also who had had a lot of I already had like a pretty solid real and I was just sort of, I think part of your front about you know, the incremental steps and all this a lot of it is sort of turning around and being like that transition from going. I’m an aspiring dp and I want to shoot and I crew sometimes to be like, I’m a cinematographer, that’s what I do, you should hire me type of attitude. Now everything is really oversaturated. And there’s a ton of people and that I would say, you know, I was already like that when I came into it, and it’s only increased. So that was part of how I was able to benefit and a lot of those areas.
When did you get ripped?
I got wrapped? Probably around maybe 24 something like that originally got wrapped by a company that totally Have you ever heard the phrase hit pocketed Do you know that I don’t know if it’s a you know, an American thing or something like that? Because
I don’t think I’ve heard it. Yeah, it’s it’s, it’s basically means that
an agency comes around and they kind of they almost like past the big fishing net out and they just grab anyone that they can. And then they just neglect you know, nothing happens. Um, yeah, so that was my first experience. And it was just exciting to be in that position. And also kind of an interesting transition as well, when we’re talking about the steps of sort of what you go through as a cinematographer. I found that actually scared some producers and directors that I worked with the way when I would say, Oh, you know, talk to my agent, and whenever it kind of created a little bit of a divide, so maybe to some other bigger people, it might have been Oh, now you have the credentials, but then there’s some other people it’s sort of you can almost like scare them away a little bit
looking. Dude with a camera. That’s what they’re looking for. Yeah, you know, I know totally ahead of 5g. Oh, cool. I’ll pay you out bucks to come. And yeah,
and keep it simple on. Exactly, exactly. So so that transition went through there and then I eventually you know, I failed on them. Because there wasn’t, I was just on a website, let’s be real, and I could put it on an email signature is what it was. And then I ended up another place in New York that I was with for years, which was great. But then I just transition because I moved to LA I’m with a new place now that’s sort of a step up, and very exciting and more resources and sort of, I’ve been in it for enough time now that I really enjoy sort of the the the elements of a 10% or not, it’s sort of worth it in my opinion, for what what the benefits that I got out of it, how much more my work gets out to people and the negotiations and the managerial aspect is quite nice.
Okay. And so how did you go so you’re in your third? Your third camp third? Yeah. Third production company. Yeah. Um, the first one was just a casual. That happens. That happens in Australia as well. There’s there’s Sure. Friend, a friend of mine. I think he I think he’s actually still Rep. Big production company. And it hasn’t had hasn’t been given any work for two years. So it says, yep, so I think that happens a lot more than most people think. So, filmmakers think that young young filmmakers think that if I can only get an agent if I can only get rep, then everything will be fine. Okay, and that’s just right,
that’s, I have people contacting me pretty often in their early 20s, where they’re very concerned with getting one, which is also weird to me too, that they like feel that they really need to, like, relax, like, just focus on, you know, getting good stuff, getting more stuff, meeting new people, whatever, it’s not going to make or break you. And again, I’ve been with three and good experiences, generally, and ya know, they, they rarely get to work, which is it kind of is what it is, you know what I mean? Like that, honestly, the really simple answer is you’re still on your own, you’re still gonna have to hustle, you’re still gonna have to push like that is the really that’s it. They can help you. It’s not to say that they don’t do anything they absolutely do. But generally speaking, you should assume that they don’t, because I actually, the only times I think I’ve made mistakes in my career, when it’s come to sort of losing momentum is it’s because I’ve sorted them like, Oh, well, they’ll take care of it, or someone else will come to me or I don’t really need to hustle for work right now. Because I’m going to get that phone call, whatever. And then before you know it, you go through a slow period. So that hustle doesn’t stop, again, especially nowadays, with, you know, democratization of it all. It’s been oversaturated, social media, all these things that have benefited me greatly, but have also made it really competitive. So I think the hustle just doesn’t stop. Same thing being union or whatever, it’s it’s it doesn’t, you know, they don’t get you jobs. You know, I think some some young people think that they do, and that’s not the case. It’s basically gatekeepers. So it’s really what it is, at the end of the day, they allow you to, you know, go through some doors that otherwise would have been locked.
Can I pull you up on something? Yeah, I told you before we before we hit record, and anyone that’s listened to enough IPS of the show will know that I have one big pet peeve, which I told you about. The second big pet peeve is social media. So you see, social media has been a big help. If your reps and they’re getting your work, or the the, the directors that you’re you’re lending their work for, they’re bringing you on on projects. They already know you. How is it that social media is? is helping school the old book
as well. So I think the thing is, is that I actually, I’ve been really back and forth on the social media thing for quite a while, because for a long time, I thought there’s no I would say there’s no currency in this, there’s no actual active sort of exchange of, you know, you’re not really benefiting from it in a way, I found kind of neglecting it, maybe you could make the argument that it was not the smartest thing to do, because I saw some other people really sort of have a trajectory via you know, going quite, you know, hustling on their. With that said, I can’t really tell you too many instances where I’ve like, directly benefited greatly from it, it has done a few things, anyone that does follow my work closely, be it people that we have almost worked together, or we have worked together, whatever, you’re sort of staying in touch actively as opposed to them, which it just all comes down to laziness, right? It’s like, Oh, they could just go look at your website and see what you’ve been up to now and their daily use of utilizing the social media thing that they’re going to use anyway, they might scroll by and see yourself so it’s a reminder, like one thing for me in my early 20s that I realized
Alex, before we go any further I think what you just said is a really important point. And it goes it goes to it goes to the crux of what what I’m trying to do with this show. If if people were listening carefully and and you tell me if I’m wrong, you made a comment that that that social media has been very helpful. And so what many people think is that Oh, okay, so I’ve just got to post to Instagram post to Facebook, and somehow the work will come and you say the work doesn’t come you admitted that but what it does what it does is the people who are already kind of connected to you or they’re potentially looking at you’re hiring you for something can go and look at your social media and and just get a better feel for who you are and how you work. Your work has a very strong lean towards comedy now that could simply be the directors that you work with but even the way you the way you choose to lend lensing depending on how your relationships work with your, with your directors. To me, you you bring a comedic aspect to the way that you you do surgery. Yeah, so Right, right. Um, so I’m never gonna hire you because I don’t do comedy. I’m not a comedy guy. But the work is great. That’s why you hear it. Now I appreciate what you’re doing by using social media is you’re being strategic That’s really that’s really important. Because without any energy without strategy, then social media becomes what I call hope marketing I mentioned earlier, it’s just, you grab a really, I really like that shot and you whack it up onto Instagram, you hashtag it, Fuji films, frames, or fucking whatever, you know, some stupid hashtag in the way that someone’s going to come across it, you know, in the hope that someone’s gonna go, Wow, isn’t that a really cool shot? Both is there is so many cool shots out there, you could just scroll through, I scroll through my speed. And I I follow some friends and I follow some DPS that I love their work and some directors that I love their work. I look at their work, and it’s like, fuck me. Like, I can’t shoot like that. I can you know, there’s that sense. You can lower all time too. Yeah, yeah. So, um, so from a strategic perspective, it’s very, very useful from a cold outreach. If I post to Instagram and Facebook, I’m going to get work, then you are living in hope. That’s, that’s all I want to say. But I also wanted to point out, I agree, you’re using the strategy for it. So yeah, I’m in that case, I would say yeah, absolutely. social social media has been would have been very helpful for your career. Can you give us an instance where it has been?
Yeah, um, I guess that’s the thing. It’s like, you know, there’s no particular like, Oh, my God moment where, you know, they reached out and said, Oh, man, your work, blah, blah, blah, whatever. To be frank, and this is I’m gonna sound like a dick right now. But a lot of the time, you basically get DMS, from people who want to reach out but have projects that are not very serious or wildly low budget to the point that again, if you’re, you know, very, very young or just starting, that’s totally fine. I respect that I had to do it. It’s all good. You know, but but just not something I’m going to do right now. That’s a majority of it. It’s just really what it is. You sound
like a professional. I’m sorry, what’s your? Yeah, oh, can you shoot my feature? Or can you shoot this again? No. Um,
yeah, it kind of it just I guess the problem is, is that the thing that I have an issue in this industry that happens a lot, especially between males is that there’s a bit of this sort of masculine slash? Don’t you just love it, though? Aren’t you passionate, you know, don’t you? And it’s like, yeah, and trust me, I’m more passionate about it than you will ever be. But the thing is, is that there is a line here, and I’ve just, I’ve seen people try to take advantage of that and turn it into a thing where it’s like, well, you should do it no matter what. And it’s like, no, this is this is this is my life. This is everything. Some other people have other things. This is all I do. It’s all I’ve really ever done. So I take it very, very, very seriously. And yeah, social media kind of, again, I think it’s been more so helpful in either the relationships that I either, you know, currently have kind of continuing or a good first impression to somebody. So meaning they look me up. Now, they can see that because I curate it and I strategize specifically, I would assume that most directors and producers look me up nowadays via social media, because it’s just what we do now. Sorry, somebody might throw. But yeah, it I think that’s where it sort of works out in a beneficial way. I will also say to which is kind of odd to me, but it is a real thing. I’m finding the communication on it to be sort of more apparent it used to be so specifically email driven or phone call driven. Now I’m finding I’m communicating more with potential people that I’ll work with via text and via even some rarely, but sometimes Facebook Messenger and then sometimes Instagram dm, where it you know, a director will just write love your work, that’s awesome. Now they’ve never hired me, but now we are we’re interacting. And something I’ve learned talking about the sort of the 1% incremental things that are really important and it literally just happened to me this week. It um, you interact with somebody, you have a good view, leave a good impression, right? Which is super important, like, lesson for this industry. Don’t be an asshole, you know, like, leave good impressions, be nice to people work, you know, hard, all that type of stuff. And the thing is, is that you may interact with them, and then that’s it. And then four years later, something works out or they reach back out to you or something like that. So I’d say why not. I try to keep any of the Instagram stuff down to a very short amount of time. I think it’s something used to frustrate me back in the day was that I felt like it would take me so long to do post and it was this whole thing as a really good cinematographer in New York. Joe victorien is a friend of mine. You should check out his work. If you get a chance, he him and I had a long conversation a little while ago, kind of going well how do we strategize to make this so that if we are going to do a post and we are going to share, it only takes us 10 minutes or whatever, and it’s something that’s quick, and then you can move on because you spent hours on it. That’s a little crazy to me. But some people do, Mark You know,
that’s the that’s the bit that I really want people to understand it’s a complete waste of time, if there’s no strategy behind it, you have to have a strategy in order to be able to sell so the I mean, we could probably move on this we’re still on the first question and so let’s move on to the second one. And the second question is and it kind of goes to the so this is perhaps something we could drill down more into is what’s the one unique or even strange thing that you do or have done that you feel has been the biggest contributor to your success so far?
So I kind of you sent me I’m just going to blow up the spot that you sent me the questions beforehand, right? I didn’t write out answers I just wanted to think about them. Yep, this is the only one I don’t have an answer for I can’t think of anything Honestly, I I don’t know. I can’t think of anything that I’ve done that has been and maybe some of the stuff I’ve said so far has been but I think it’s all pretty straightforward stuff. Um
because you just mentioned that you had a conversation about strategy and using social media but strategically and making certain that you’re not spending too much time but you also mentioned Previous to that that you curate curated I’m having trouble saying that word created curated Yeah, you’re both your your website so it’s very manicured and also your your social so that effectively whether it’s an EP or a CD, like a creative director, an executive producer, even an art director at a either at an agency or someone’s looking you up alright but this director this directors put this dp forward let’s just see if you know let’s go and have a look at his work it’s all there have you put much thought into that
yeah, i have and i think i think it’s kind of clear that I have if you if you look at all the stuff like like we’ve said and I don’t know exactly i mean it’s taken a very long time I will I will say that you know first website unreal I did was 2009 when I graduated film school so 10 years ago and I was like I web and you know, probably Final Cut seven or something like that you know, putting that stuff together and just on my own you know, my my dad’s a photographer and also you know I have a lot of family members are in advertising agencies and mainly on the creative side so I think I’ve just always been around conversations of design and I have a pretty good sense of it, you know, graphic design or anything like that but really the website and and all the stuff on my end is it’s it’s all me to a degree though, the past few years I’ve been in the fortunate position that essentially you know, I’ve been able to afford that I can turn to a website designer or an editor or whatever and a lot of the time I do most of the work myself I get like most of it done because I know what I want and I’m really specific and then I kind of let’s say I get it 70% of the way there and then I’ll send it to them you know sit with them do a hard drive whatever you know have a hard drive walk them through steps on negotiate figure it out and then have them kind of bring it to another level so honestly it’s been a very long working process and that’s another thing too is it’s going to continue to be I’ve got some stuff that just came out and it’s coming out in the next week and today I was thinking about oh man I gotta update my website I got to post these stills on Instagram Baba you know whatever do this whole thing and and organize this and then the agency website has a design as well and which which pieces of work are being represented and and you know even I just learned a lesson earlier this year with with my resume I was up for a really big project and I curated you know with the new agency my resume to have projects that I want to represent me not everything and it was interesting because then they turn around and they go well your IMDb and your resume is a little consistent what you know why didn’t you have those projects what was wrong with them thinking that there was almost a negative there and I was like oh no, no, I just you know, they were good it just that’s not the type of work that I want to do I want to do this type of work and I think it kind of hurt me in my process of interviewing with them and what I realized was that it was like no put it out there and then they can kind of you know, the website the social media
is a massive thing but trends Yeah, it is it is I think the internet is really has really helped that and so help that and in some ways harmed it. But any idiot can be a monkey on what’s what’s the what’s the thing we do on the internet any anyone could be like a silly monkey can be the person behind the keyboard kind of thing. So totally Yeah. As far as transparency is really important, right? This can I say, you mentioned your your website. Shouldn’t probably do this in the actual show, but I’m going to because I’ve read through saying it, on your website, your if you go and you look at your at the real, I’m on a 5k iMac. And the actual Vimeo players take too much real estate up, at least on mine. So you want to tell your web designer this? Yeah, I have to see both the top and the bottom of the frame. You have to scroll a little bit, which was a little
Oh, that’s good to know. Yeah, I will see that. But see, that’s the thing. It’s a work in progress. So now I will make it Oh, and I will fix that. Here’s
the thing. I really, here’s the thing I really loved about your website, though, is that you had still images. Yes, I had from grads, particular faces. And I really love that because I was able to then go through in I think it was the account remove which spot it was, it was. Yeah, I can’t remember what the company was. But it was a whole bunch of faces. Direct to cam kind of framing. And I’ve done
a few interviews like that. Yeah. Where it’s like the intera Tron direct. Yeah,
yeah. So yeah. I mean, it’s a little bit of a trend at the moment, I’m totally totally, what I’m, what I liked about that was that if I was a director hiring you, I would want to, I would want to pause around pausing the video and trying to go Alright, okay, so I can see that he’s, he’s got you know, his framing from here, he’s got a light over there. There’s something in the way. So right. When I hire DPS, I want to, if I’m hiring someone new, which doesn’t happen that often, but if I do, I want to try and glean how they work before I speak to them. So that when I happen when I have a conversation about their work, and and I ask them questions about lighting ratios, or what have you, I can I’ve got a frame of reference, excuse the pun by looking at a frame. Oh, yeah, I can see All right, cool, I can understand how he’s going to work. Because by the end of the day, and maybe this is something that we can we can transition into a conversation about working with directors, um, at the end of the day, that it’s a relationship, that is a mutual collaboration between two creative people. So if that doesn’t work, doesn’t matter how good the director or the DP is, it’s the work is going to suffer as a result. So write, having a good working relationship is really the key to being successful. And having a good working relationship with many people is what will keep you getting more work. So yeah, if we could, maybe we could parlay that back into the question, too, is like, what’s the one strange thing that you’ve done? To build up relationships? Have you done something kind of weird? Like, tell us something. Tell us something you don’t really like, come on spill the beans? Surely,
no, I’m totally I’m totally down to spill the beans. I don’t know. Maybe I’ll just stop. I got to think out loud a little bit. Because it’s like, I’m actually really close with a lot of the directors
and how to deal with like, you didn’t come out of the room at the same time. So
sure, sure. Sure. No, no, totally, totally. Just actually one who makes that joke where he says that we’re? Yeah. His term is same dick basically. very inappropriate. But yeah. He’s just like, we’re literally we think the same. And that way, he’s a total Act does
actually save you come out of the same dig. No, just that we have. So I’m taking a stiff. Okay, sorry.
Yeah, no, no, he’s a he’s a he’s a crazy person. But he’s but he’s brilliant. Yeah, no, no, I, I don’t know. I think that’s one of the most important things. And I think that’s, that’s the thing that I look forward to the most, I think some people really like, kind of commercial music video, like quick turnaround, sort of in and out of projects a little less, let’s say loyalty, but it’s just sort of like, you know, so many agency people are involved, you don’t get on to every project where I’m a bit more based in the I’d say majority of time, I do commercial work, but most of my life and most of my focus and what I want to do and what I’ve enjoyed doing has been narrative, and that’s where I have very close relationships, the directors that I’m I’m really tight with, and just like actually really good friends. So anything weird? Yeah, I mean, I can think of spies. These are people that I’m really close to spy now.
Particularly in the commercial space. The so going from your first, your first production company to your second, how did that all come out?
Well, again, I think it was really all from You mean, you mean the agency or you just mean like different production companies that
I’ve worked with? So you’re repped by three?
Oh, I see. Okay, so yeah, agency. Yeah, yeah. Um, that actually worked out so so here’s a little thing that says She worked out for me and a certain way that it’s hard to give advice for but I’ve been with it, I have a girlfriend I’ve been with for seven years now she went to NYU, I went to SBA, we met basically at the end of, we’re both kind of graduating. And we were friends for years, work together and stuff like that, and finally eventually got together. And we’ve been together ever since. And we moved to LA together. And she’s like a director, producer, she’s just a powerhouse. Like in terms of networking, she’s brilliant, she hustles like no other, we don’t work together, it looks sort of a separation between church and state type of thing, where it’s like, we’re so crazy about each other that it’s like, let’s not mess and make that I’m not worth. Exactly, yeah, because we like each other, I think I finally found something that I like more than film, and it’s her and I don’t want to fuck it up. Unfortunately, she feels the same way. So the thing is, though, is I really we’ve kind of both benefited greatly, and kind of been able to silently tag team in this way of networking and creating sort of pushing our careers together. And I bring that up, because specifically the second agent was because she was talking to a friend of hers, who mentioned another agent who was in New York, she kind of got a good vibe, and she was like, Oh, he’s looking for someone new. And then they reached out. And that started, I mean, again, this is what this industry is right? It’s sort of like someone puts you in the position they they connect you, you have to be in the position to be good enough to for them to look at your website and go who’s this guy, you know, get on the phone with you and go, Oh, I do want to meet this person in person, you know, so you have to be able to do all that. But there’s a lot of these so many instances where someone sort of like props you up or helps you and sort of springs, you know, into that direction. So I would say I’ve benefited a lot from different scenarios, because I mean, she’s friends with all these directors and producers and stuff, and I get to socialize with them, I get to go to parties, they hang out. So I get to rub shoulders and interact with and a lot of situations I’ve come into when it’s come to just meeting people and stuff like that has been because of who she hangs out with. So that’s been really beneficial. So I guess what I’m saying is date successful.
Sounds like, I need to interview her as well. So I’ll hit you up.
She’s awesome. Yeah, yeah.
So we’ll move on to question three, what’s the What do you do to sustain your career?
Um, I would say kinda a few things we talked about before. With the narrative stuff, staying loyal staying Can you just kind of in general, actually, I would say staying consistent. staying in touch with people in touch with people is a really big thing. Again, it’s all it’s all gonna come down to relationships, in my opinion. Totally hanging out with them, seeing them often it’s kind of like what I’ve seen before the social media thing it sort of is a helpful nudge throughout the day. But then there’s nothing better of course then getting together I mean, I remember kind of before the social media boom, I found that I would go out of touch with someone for a few months we’d reconnect them and get a drink and then boom, I’d get a call to shoot with them within the next like week or two. And you needed that sort of sustainability to sort of because again, you know, I really appreciate especially my girlfriend being you know, she produces a good amount of the time to their brains are you know, a lot of times crew and whatever else are kind of disrespectful in the sense of not respecting the fact that they have so much going on. So you need to be the first person that they think of in a natural way too, though, you know what I mean? Like you can there is I’ve seen I have some friends I’ve seen fellow DPS where they push too much they’re too aggressive they’re kind of frankly I’ve been told they’re annoying you know, like you don’t want to be like that. So you have to hopefully you have like a good social gauge where you know how to naturally be friends with people which I’m really lucky I am I am just actually friendly with them and we got along and and and then I think also keeping all that stuff up to date keeping your website your real any of the social media assets or whatever. And then of course, your your least favorite doing good work, you know, which I will say what the I ran
the doing good work is just, you don’t get on the field. You don’t even you’re not even in the team. If you don’t do good work. It’s given the idea that your work that gets you get your work I’ve heard that one before. Right? Probably all her it’s the work that gets you the work. Of course you’re gonna get hired. If you’re doing if you do cars, you do cause you do cause you’re not going to get dark and moody. If you do comedy. You’re not going to do you’re not going to get dark dark moody. I do dark moody. I love dark moody. I’m not going to get cars. I wouldn’t I would not have a clue how to do cars and I’m not going to do comedy. Right? I might Yeah. Might be funny for the wrong reasons. I’m sure. So right. So my work the work doesn’t get you new work, but work will get you More work if that makes sense.
No, no it does it does and I agree with you i think i think it all it’s very interestingly connected in a way and you know how uptight most people are they want to see exact examples of you know, have you done this before and you know, I want to see this type of work which can be silly sometimes when they you know, earlier on in my career, I’d be like, I need to see examples of white sight, high key or whatever, and you’re like, that’s the easiest thing to do in the world. But again, it’s all insurance and again, coming from a family who’s, I’d say majority in the advertising world, they’re all fear base, they’re all terrified to lose their jobs. So they need to ensure that you know how to do that thing. And yeah, I mean, but then again, it comes down to the people taking a chance on you that’s what it was for me in my early 20s was that it was any of those people that I was friendly with that were going to those production companies and stuff like that, I’m sure it was also because they didn’t know anyone else. But it was also because they just kind of I’ve had that before where someone doesn’t take a chance on you and you lose a gig and I’ve had other ones where they do and great year next thing you know, you’ve got that piece that you know, again, the car stuff like I had to shoot a car thing the first time you know, that was someone who took a chance I didn’t have any car footage, you know,
what was the is that on you? Is it on your website? Yeah, Jaguar.
Jaguar was the first car one 2013. And yeah, it was producer had never done it before. And he probably didn’t really have anybody looking over his shoulder. You know, because if they really were, they would say no, you need an actual car. CP, you know, but I love I grew up around. My brother does some racing. Same thing with my dad. I do some karting as well. So I’ve always loved cars. I’ve watched Formula One like crazy person to do so to be able to Oh, nice. Yeah, love.
Yeah, that’s a big purse gt three sitting out in the garage. Awesome. Which, which I’m joking. I’m joking. I wait I’m gonna do I see a Leica. Yeah, like a locker. So yeah, you can have it. You
could have a GT three, if you ever.
Yeah, why doesn’t get past the boy? Yeah, yeah, no, the the. I’m a car guy. I don’t want to shoot him. But I do like to drive. Sure. My father, my father race cars as well. So I think, um, I think the things that we that were attached to as men are often related to relationships that we have with our parents when we’re young. So yeah, for me, it’s cars in the beach, because the race cars and we would go to the beach every Christmas and he served. Right. Right, right, right, you know, in my 40s, and I love cars, and I love spending time with the beach. Alright, so let’s, let’s keep moving on. Yeah. What are you doing today to help your tomorrow?
Hmm. I mean, it’s so much more of the same kind of what I was saying, you know, I think the biggest difference would be kind of what I was saying earlier about, like, I’m getting a little, I’m feeling a little bit more like I could be a little more aggressive in the sense where I used to kind of be, I would just wait for the work to come to me, and I was very privileged in that sense. Whereas now I think I’m hustling more than I used to, maybe also because I’m in Los Angeles now, where the big dogs are here. It’s like, it’s pretty intense, who you go up against, which is flattering, like who you know, you realize who you’re competing against for a job. I, so we might be a product of that. But I would say that that’s a difference for sure. And then kind of I mean, what I mentioned earlier, all that stuff. This isn’t things that I knew a few years ago, it took me time to sort of really appreciate all of these realities. And I think, honestly, the socializing thing is the biggest thing. Just you know, it’s people talking about networking, I can tell you right now you go to an event where it’s just a cold networking event. It’s not gonna work. That stuff’s the worst, you need to be quite drunk to be able to enjoy that. It’s, it’s terrible. But yeah, no, it’s awful. It’s awful. So I’d
really like it just in terms of being able to like a practical example of how you if you got lucky, you got a list of directors that you work with, and there’s 20 of them. Do you kind of cycle through them every couple of weeks you send them an email Hey, dude, are you going to catch up? Yeah, cuz
I would say there’s a few that sure I mean to a degree there’s a few that naturally I just we’re just actually very close friends and movies coming out we go see together and it’s kind of it’s less of a, I don’t have to think about it. It’s not It’s not like that it’s it’s just spend time together. Same thing with, you know, some crew members and stuff over just, you know, I live in most fields in Los Angeles. So it’s kind of nice. It’s like a walkable area a little bit like New York not not nearly as intense but we can just walk and get a drink. So that’s a big part of it is getting like a few beers at night and kind of just talking shit to Whereas other people are a little bit less, and that’s a bit more of a Yeah, I have a list that I go through. And now it’s kind of broken up between LA and New York. So depending where I am, and if it’s been a little while I kind of set like a notification in my calendar, it’ll be like, reach out, and we’ll have some reminders to a few people. And it’ll be, you know, just a casual sort of how you doing, I hope you’re doing well. Not a not a direct, you know, I have done it before, but generally try to avoid the life I want to shoot for you, what do you got going on more of a has it going because it’s pretty implied at that point, in my opinion, like, they know why you’re reaching out. And then yeah, maybe you know, get get lunch or dinner or drink and catch up. And, again, you may not work with someone for two whole years or whatever, and you just meet up occasionally, and then out of nowhere, they got the perfect job for you, or I’ve kind of been in the position where I think my work, most of the time people, I kind of the production value is quite high, and it’s quite slick, and it kind of has like a higher and sort of bigger budget look to it. And a lot of times the budgets are actually not nearly that high. I kind of pride myself in that. And the thing is, though, is that I’ve found it’s been interesting, because people will, they kind of will hire me for the bigger stuff that they do, which may not make it as consistent, which is a little frustrating sometimes because it’s like, oh, no, I’ll actually do it. I want to I want to work, you know, but I am lucky that I’m in the position that they’ll come to me for sort of the bigger stuff that they do. You know, so when you think someone’s you know, oh, man, they don’t, they don’t hire me more, or whatever else, they reach out to you and like, Hey, I finally got, you know, big budget thing, here we go. Let’s do it, which is great. But, you know, it definitely means a little, little less consistency, because budgets are getting lower. Nowadays, so just a reality industries
will the industry is changing, what the what software you’re using to send notifications you’re doing or using any automation
at all. I’m not actually I, for a moment, when I was having a conversation with Joe, that I mentioned earlier about Instagram, I looked quickly at a at an audit, you know, sort of an automated thing. And I didn’t like it because it kind of didn’t let me get as like custom as I wanted to. So I just kind of do it all. Following it all by hand,
the social media automation on that, don’t worry about it, but automation for customer life now. CRM, you want to know honestly, I don’t I don’t know. Check out HubSpot. Yeah, this one has a a free thing, what that will and it integrates with Gmail. What that will allow you to do is if you have conversations, you’ve had to track that over time. But you’ll also be able to set notifications within that and then automate that so that every two months you get a you get a notification to email Joe. Right? You don’t have to like it’s you’re automating the process. So that’s grading, being able to strategize and then automate part of the part of that process. Yeah, can make life a lot a lot easier.
I’d say yeah, I there’s anywhere I lack currently, in terms of being able to I could I could make some things more efficient and probably a little bit, take up a little bit less time throughout the day, which is really important. And I’m pretty tech savvy, but there’s a few I’d say there’s a few areas I could get better on. So thank you. That’s I’m gonna look that up.
Yeah. Cool. All right. Last question is tell us something you’ve read, watched or heard that inspired you recently?
Yeah, so I thought about this. And honestly, Jeff VanderMeer is an author that I really love. A lot of people would probably know him right away from that Natalie Portman movie, annihilation that came out a year or two ago. Which is nothing like the book but that’s fine. The his books are really, really wonderful. I’m in love with them. I think they have so much imagination, and they really inspire a lot of visuals sort of, kind of like a little Stephen King in the way it’s a car. really creepy like your bed at night. And it’s like you read these books, and it’s terrifying. So I love him and I’ve been kind of doing
a question is why the fuck would you do that?
Yeah, no, no, I didn’t totally I hear you on that. And I usually it’s funny too, because I don’t really like horror and all that stuff just just because of. I don’t like that feeling. Like being scared or whatever. But he’s just such a brilliant writer. And I’ve kind of fallen in love with this stuff. And while Yeah, it is creepy. It’s just still so it’s so inventive in that way. I mean, I really like Cormac McCarthy as well, which I kind of went through like a love affair with him a few years ago. And same thing in terms of that, that mix between realism and poetry and being able to kind of elicit these images in your head. And I’d say he does the same. So I’m kind of currently in like a deep dive with him and just like reading all of his books, and I kind of tend to do that where I got obsessed with an author or director and kind of really sort of rebel syndicate musician I got like a little obsessive and read a lot about them listen to all their stuff watch all their stuff behind the scenes interviews and then kind of move on so that I’m currently doing and then honestly a lot of the movies this year I think are I think this is a really good year for movies I you know I just saw that this past week parasite lighthouse Jojo rabbit earlier this year once upon a time in Hollywood and it’s like you know, some really good stuff and there’s still a bunch of stuff I haven’t seen but I’m sure I’ve heard good things excited to see you know what deacons does with 1917 and just from a shot perspective that’s going to be fun to watch I think we all talk about how like oh cinemas dead and all that stuff but you know there’s good years and there’s bad years and you know Yeah, I agree I agree and this and this girl Chernobyl earlier this year in my mind that was insane there’s some you know, there’s some really good stuff with this here’s a good one and I’ve been enjoying a lot of it and yeah, so
I don’t know it’s all that it’s coming back in and cinema cameras so we’re not coming back. It’s coming days and yeah, so it’s probably it’s we’re going to see a lot more unfortunately in some ways a lot more shallow depth of field that kind of stuff but I’m really I’m really looking forward to seeing what Dickens does with with the the the Alexa he’s using the LA Yeah, and yeah I’m it’d be really interesting to see how he uses it because he’s just brilliant. He’s just brilliant.
Yeah, I’m curious about the aspect ratio especially in IMAX too because I’m going to be back in New York when it comes out for the holidays. And the the IMAX in Lincoln Center is the second biggest in the world. You guys actually have the biggest I can’t remember what city it’s in. I think it’s Sydney I can’t I can’t think of the one yeah, it’s the biggest in the world. Yeah,
the one in the mountains. Yeah, no, I won’t be the one yeah, city is be the one in Yeah, state above me.
Right, right. Yeah. So I’m excited to see that and I’m curious you know, with the with the LFC open gate and sort of that more square aspect ratio, I’m not sure exactly what it is off the top my head close to 191 or something like that, you know, sort of what that you know, if they’re going to if they’re going to utilize that in that, you know, screening setting and it should be cool, and it’s fun, it’s fun watching I think it’s a great time to be a cinematographer you know, the option of film is is there to some people I don’t shoot it too often. But you know, I’m pretty camera agnostic and I’m all over the place I shoot on everything and you know, different formats and love anamorphic and shoot that all time and spherical and full frame into 35 and Sony Venice and Alexa all over the place, you know, it’s like, so exciting to have all these options and choose them based on Creative but also logistics, I do that a lot. You know what is appropriate for the shoot? And what camera system is going to allow us to do what we need to do yeah, frame rates, you know, whatever it may be, it’s cool, it’s a good time to be locked back
in the old days with with stock 1635 fits a different camera, different cameras, part of the you know, ergonomics, etc. Yeah. So yeah, it is exciting. Can I ask one final question, because you mentioned about this author and, and the whole creepy thing, but specifically how it mapped onto visual. So my question is, who’s your favorite director?
Of All Time are living? Both? Um, there’s a little typical, well, you know, I’m gonna give, I’m gonna give two answers, actually, because I’m going to give all time I would say Kubrick, I know, it’s pretty typical. But when you really break it down, I would say in terms of, I think he’s the most intelligent, And that, to me really resonates through in a way that’s really fascinating that a lot of directors are sort of very emotional and based in instinct and stuff. Whereas this guy was like a mathematician. And I think when you watch films like 2001, or even actually the shining, which a lot of people sort of quickly dismiss. There’s a brilliance there that I don’t think you’ve seen in many filmmakers in the short history that the medium has existed. And that’s really really really special. I’d love to study His work of you my whole thing
is that the boxes of Kubrick Have you watched that doc?
Oh, yeah, yeah, all that stuff. Yeah. Very weird. Very strange person. Yeah, no, totally, totally absolute eccentric but but but I think his brain was at a level that is, you know, just pretty wild. Like someone I love studying to someone like David Fincher where it’s just fun to, I love to sit and sort of rewind and dissect what’s going on and, you know, film language to me, you can break down it isn’t just this thing that you feel it is. It is, it is Designed and that’s what I do and I think it’s really exciting. Now I would say again probably pretty typical, but I can’t help it I just have the biggest crush on him in a creative sense Paul Thomas Anderson I just think it’s like PTA I just can’t get enough of them I think I bring him up because I’m the frosh. Yeah no total macros total man crush. I just think he’s brilliant and I think that this is um I bring him up because on the flip side he’s kind of an enigma to me there’s a few people like him and then like Wong Kar Wai and some these other filmmakers that sort of it is very yeah very very familiar
one call wise is that I have a man crush on one call Why?
He’s brilliant. He’s brilliant. Yeah, no totally totally and and indeed they have this you know you hear these stories of how they refilm things over and over again and they take forever and they shoot million different things and they try this and they try that and so it’s kind of the flip side of what I’m saying in terms of this like extreme design and you know, I’m sort of I’ve been I’ve been on this path to extreme design and figuring out how you do it and how you make the blueprints and how you put the whole thing together and now I’m finding that Oh, that’s kind of interesting because once you know everything then you kind of break it and that’s what I think that they’re doing which is pretty brilliant to get into the concept of because it’s fear right? Like you prep like crazy because you’re scared that isn’t gonna work out and you’re just getting into a place of like okay, I can guarantee we’re going to make our day we’re going to get what we need we’re going to get all these beats and then these guys come in and they kind of just literally throw it all out. And that’s really exhilarating to me and I think a lot of times you can fall flat on your face but no score says he just said this whole you know cinema marble thing or whatever that he his description of cinema was its risk and so if you don’t have risk in it, then where’s the art met? So to me he’s you know, PTA is sort of a good example of that there’s a bunch of other filmmakers want korowai included who do that and i love it i just i as an audience member I just want to be I want refreshing stuff I want new stuff I want to be surprised I just saw parasite yesterday. I was like, What the hell was that? It was awesome. See a little all over the place there and answer wise I just love it all. I think there’s so much so much good stuff out there.
Okay, I was really I really assumed an assumption, but I really thought you would say, and I’m waiting on the guy’s name. I believe the Mexican the guy that depends, like, Pan’s Labyrinth pure mo Yeah, I just assumed that it would be like that’s his jam but not Why do you say that? That’s interesting. I because of the books you’re reading
Yeah, yeah, no, I get that I get that Yeah, um, no gear most gear was awesome too. I think Yeah, he’s broad which is I don’t necessarily mean that as a negative I think some people really really like that and I think it’s why he’s been quite successful which is really cool that he’s able to do that but I don’t know that he elicits an emotion from me really ever in the way that I’m really transfixed stint as an as an audience member with that said, I he’s done some really really really cool stuff. And I really like him as a filmmaker. He’s a good one.
I actually agree with you. The if I look at his work when I’ve watched his work it doesn’t listen feelings with I look at new barrage along so he’s one of one of my favorite directors. This is sad isolation. kind of feeling one call Why? Love longing. Separation again. It’s the feelings. Yeah. Yeah, so yeah, I think you and I are a lot alike other than the fact that I was no fucking way. I’m worried in the scary book. Just before.
Yeah, there’s a little sadistic. It is a little strange. But no, it’s it’s it’s good. I do recommend his his work. he’s a he’s pretty brilliant.
Yeah. Cool. Cool. All right. Well, thank you for today. Yeah, pleasure.
Thanks for having me, man.
Have you enjoyed today’s episode, and here’s what I want you to do next, I want you to take one thing that you got from today’s show, and to put it into practice in your career in business, because it’s only through having the right systems in place, that you’ll be able to take your career and business from where you are today to where you want to be. So again, I hope you enjoyed today’s episode. So until next time, I’m Clarke Scott from next level filmmaker. Have a great day.
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