In this episode, Clarke talks with the female cinematographer Jamie Randel about her filmmaking journey and why she wants to be known for her work, not her gender.
Alright, so the first question I ask everyone is, Who are you? What do you what do you do? And how do you get your start.
Um, my name is Jamie Randel, I’m a dp in Atlanta, Georgia and I got my start depends on like how far back you want to go. But I was always interested in art as a kid. And my dad used to work in filming videos and he always had video cameras and stuff when we were little and he would edit these family videos every year with like beta tapes and stuff so I was always sort of around it. And then when I was a teenager, he got me a camcorder and me and my siblings would like make little videos and stuff and I have seven siblings so there was always somebody that I got my video and I got like, got a Mac and like started playing around in iMovie. And just like totally fell in love with it. And was starting to fall in love with movies at the time and decided to go to the Savannah College of Art and Design to study either film or some kind of art major. But once I started taking film classes I realized that was like what I wanted to do and then kind of was super drawn to cinematography because I’m just a really visual person and I just like being behind the camera. So yeah, after school I started freelancing started doing everything that I could and meet people I moved to Atlanta worked at a photography rental shop for a while, started meeting freelancers through that started working with people shooting weddings, shooting corporate shooting all sorts of different things and then shooting passion projects at the same time.
Okay, so so you shot weddings at one point as well. Okay the good on you for admitting that because I think there’s the I mean, winning cinematography can be amazing. Yeah, there are some really cool stuff but many many like DPS that end up going on and shooting television or whatever they can sometimes they I do I do the same you hide the work that you’re not proud of?
Oh, for sure. Yeah. Um Yeah, I did anything and everything and it was all and I always felt like you know, I never really wanted to shoot weddings but it was you know, for the phase of life that I was in when I was like 20 to 23 it was money and I was also getting experience shooting in like learning a lot of helpful things about like you know, shooting on the fly and finding the shot in the moment and all that kind of stuff. And I also was really into like fashion films and stuff like that and so I kind of leaned into that style when I was shooting weddings. And yeah, eventually I left it like eventually I started saying no when I had enough jobs that weren’t wedding related because I knew like you can get stuck in that hole so easily like you can get stuck only doing weddings which is fine if that’s what you want to do and it’s good money but you have to like actively start deciding to cut that work off in order to open up like room for the stuff that you do want to do so I started doing that around like I think when I was like 24 or so or something like that.
It’s normally rude to ask a lady and excuse my kind of old fashion as her age but you don’t you like you look like you’re still 22
thanks. I’m Tony
Albuquerque, right so I didn’t ask but I got the information anyway. Yeah. Cool cool so so the just go back to when you were in college you were at you were in film school. So you majored in film or was it a an art kind of like a general art type of degree that had film aspects to it.
I studied film, it was a film program, film and television so you could choose like a track to go on once you’re like a couple years into it, so you could go directing cinematography editing, until I ended up taking the cinematography route so you end up you shoot like three different people’s senior projects for your senior senior project? Because like, you know, that demo reel and stuff
did that have like the history of cinema and that kind of stuff in in this particular program? Oh, yeah,
it had a little bit of that. Yeah.
Okay, well, what would you I’m interested because I’ve looked at obviously looked at your work the reason why you’re here is because I’ve looked at your work I loved it and invited you onto the show. I’m interested I have a take on who you were influenced by. So I want to I like who Who’s your who who your say three biggest influences as a as a shooter
that’s such a hard question actually.
So Alright, so let me rephrase it then. When you first did kind of the history of cinema what was the Who was it that you went, Oh my God, look at that. Like what moves you
I’m like, Honestly, I’m really bad with history of film. Like I took it and I, there’s a lot of things I don’t remember. But I liked the dramatic lighting of like the old German cinema. I try to think of a What is that like epic German? I can’t think of the name of it. Or like Nosferatu. Dramatic lighting and the darker like, vibes of that. And
let’s see recently so much of tarkowski his work.
Yeah, I did. I started watching like Last summer I actually watched some plays for the first time. And I really loved like the visual style of it. Okay. Yeah.
So you didn’t you didn’t study his work? At film school?
No. Wow. Okay, I don’t I don’t remember seeing I only took one history film class. Okay. But yeah, but I do I appreciate his dial. I do like, would you think my work is, like inspired by that? It’s just interesting.
So there’s a whole there’s a whole lineage that goes from if we can trace back Malik through through Oh, my God, Kubrick was on his name from I’m in Korea, because all the clearly influenced by tarkowski. So there’s this kind of lineage that goes back through and if you look at the kind of work that I have just interviewed a guy who’s in New York, and I really, really love his work. And there’s a, there’s always like a dirtiness about it. So for me, there’s elements that I that I can see in there that are from within that lineage. But obviously there’s kind of there’s differences. You look at Malik’s work, you and you look at people who have been influenced by Malick, you wouldn’t necessarily see that that traces all the way back to kind of Italy, Germany, Russia, and tarkowski, Russia, German that kind of that thing 50 years ago, 6070 years ago, but it does. And so and interestingly, I, you mentioned the Fashion Film thing, I can kind of see how that’s all related. So I mean, I have a love of kind of the history of cinema. One of my favorites. And so and obviously that whole lineage, but then sprinkle someone like one khoy in there. So the DP that worked a lot of his earlier movies 2046 In the Mood for Love these these ones in the turn, Tinos favorite is Chungking Express is an Australian cinematographer by the name of Christopher Doyle. So a seal a little bit and his work is probably the work that I see a little bit in your work is his work and he’s crazy Aussie guy. Probably an alcoholic, which is not not great, but not that that informs his work. It’s more dysfunctionality in him, but yeah, he’s a he’s an inspiring cinematographer. And not necessarily inspiring person sorry Chris, if he’s never gonna watch this, but I’m pretty safe but I don’t mean to brag on the guy but um, so this is Christopher Doyle Christian. Yeah, if you go his
name, I know that name
gay dude psycho with Gus Van Sant. And so he’s known to be one of the greatest cinematographers in the last 100 years. But a pain in the ass to work with when he turns up drunk and anyway, so there’s elements of his work and that and and he doesn’t really belong to that same lineage but it’s kind of cool break those people and a little bit of Christopher Doerr was what I saw so so the reason why I asked the question
inspired by Malik I saw tree of life like right when I was graduating and I just I still love that film it’s just the visuals of it are just amazing.
Yeah, and and you know chivos in that same kind of vein so if you go back through that same history you can trace it all the way back you see there’s a there’s a famous saying I don’t know who where it first came from but standing on the shoulders of giants we all do that. No One No One creates in a vacuum no one no right. The so called so called innovators are standing on the shoulders of someone that came before them. That’s how things progress so I have a I have a kind of a love for that. That kind of analysis. Anyway, back to you know of me talking. So you’re in you’re in college, you graduate, you start doing weddings. Did you you’re doing that full time. On before you moved into fashion and then on from there,
I was doing a mix of a lot of different things I’ve lived with my grandparents for about a year and Atlanta and I I waited tables for a year. And while I was waiting tables, I did a free internship at this like really small like agency. Just to start meeting people, the internship didn’t really end up working out that well but I did meet a couple, I met one person who made it worth it and she was a fashion photographer. And she introduced me to the rental company and she also we ended up shooting a lot together. So she would put together these styled shoots and I would come and do video and kind of like little Fashion Film that went with her photography. And we both shared like a very similar like sense of style. So it was a really great way to just kind of keep shooting and like kind of build up some more stuff for my reel. But you know, it was like literally me showing up with my tattoo I and like someone, my co company like it’s very, you know, very much videography. Oh long like I knew I wanted to be a dp and it seemed like such a, like, far off distant goal, but I just loved shooting I love being on camera. So any, any way that I could do that, yeah.
So were you directing through those films as well or you’re just basically they would create the setup and the situation and you just kind of run in Ghana.
It was kind of Yeah, they would set up everything or like figure out the location and like find a model and style her and then like, you know, she would shoot some photos and then she’d be like, Alright, you know, you go do your thing with her. So I would like you know, you get with the model and kind of tell her what I wanted her to do and kind of work work with her to do that. And then cut it together into a little like video with music and yeah, and that’s I’ve never really ended up going anywhere except for the very last one I did ended up making it into my husband and dog just
No, no worries. Hello hobby, he’s got his headphones on, so you won’t hear
the very last one I did with her. We went out we traveled sometimes for that. And we went to Portugal to do one of those in like 2015, I can’t, I didn’t really have an idea of the film that I wanted to make out of it. And so I’d already shot the footage we like went to these, this place called via dorsa. And it’s this like amazing Cliff beach area, we just shot like I just shot a bunch of stuff that I thought was cool, and then ended up editing it into like a little Fashion Film type thing and actually got into some festivals. It was just like, but it was, I didn’t really have the end goal for the film in mind until I started like, piecing together that footage.
Right. And so what happened next.
Um, so I, I had a pretty, I went full time freelance in 2013. And I was shooting full time between weddings and like corporate stuff, and whatever I could find. And I did that for a couple of years. And then I worked then I got hired by a production company in 2016. And I did a mix of editing deeping in camping for them. And I learned a lot about more about just like being on I got to be on real sets again, instead of just like the videography type like one man band thing. So that was super helpful. Did that for a couple years. And then
you went once you got hired from the production company, you went straight from freelancing kind of running GM, one one woman band stuff to to actually hitting up a crew, or were you I see
it was a mix, they would it would depend on the size of the project. By the time by the time I’ve been with them for about a year, year and a half, they were trusting me to dp with the crew for like, small commercial spots and stuff like that. So that was a really, really great experience to help me like level up a little bit and feel more comfortable, like having a crew and understand how to work with a gaffer and not be intimidated by that.
Yeah. And so are you wrapped at the moment? Do you have an idea now? Okay, so you still you’re still working towards that. So are you still with the same production company?
No, I decided to go back to freelancing about two years ago. So I work with them sometimes, like on a freelance basis, but i i i’m just full time freelance.
Okay. So the, what’s a good question. So that was two years ago in in the period between then and now tell us about you know, the whole Freelancer merry go round because it can be some of the work that you’ve done during that time.
So I, I had already, I already had some relationships I could fall back on when I went back to freelancing that I had before I was with the production company. So that kind of helped me get a foothold. Um, there was a guy that I used to shoot weddings with who now has a production company, and they do small commercial work and stuff. So right now, like, they’re probably my biggest client. And I work with them a lot. And so that’s been a really great relationship. This has kind of grown over like, a lot of years, and we’ve kind of grown together. And then I have some I get work from, like, friends of mine who went to scad, who went to the school that I went to, they have a small production company, and I’ll shoot for them. And then there’s been, you know, new relationships that have like, developed this year through like, mostly word of mouth, you know, like, the more I’m able to meet more crew and meet more directors and production companies. Like, we’re just kind of like, organically spreads. And I can like, slowly create new connections with people. So I’ve been doing like, mostly branded content, small commercials. And this year, I’ve shot a lot of short films, because I’m trying to keep pushing into that narrative side. Yeah,
yeah. So and that’s the reason I’m guessing. That’s the reason why you left a production company, because you were just starting to shoot the same thing again and again, which, you know, obviously, you stagnate if you do that. So you went back to freelance in order to kind of free up some time, but also creatively free yourself up to do this other stuff. Yes. That’s what happened. Yeah. Yeah. So that is the end goal. Feature films or commercial work. Television, what’s what’s the end goal? The end goal,
like can change I feel like but right now I kind of want to shoot indie features. Like, I think that’s what I would love to do. And you know, who knows, like, when I shoot the first one, I might realize I hate it. But that’s, you know, that’s what I kind of want to do. Don’t
say that in public. That’s the last thing a director wants to hear.
No, it’s I
love independent filmmaking, I will do anything for you.
Now, let’s see, that’s really how I feel right now. And I, I’ve shot 11 short films this year, because I really want to have a really strong, strictly narrative real to put out there. Because that’s, I want to tell stories, and I’m kind of tired of selling things. And that’s,
oh, you can’t get away from that, dude. So, yeah, the narrative looks strong. So the real strong, and it’s, it’s, so let’s move on to the second question, because that that the, it might be a discussion that we can have around being repped and finding agents and kind of stepping up and the second question is the doozy the tell us one thing that you’ve done or you do that strange or even kind of weird that you feel has been the biggest contributor to you to your success so far, and I promise that I’ll find a different way of saying that so it’s not so many words in the sentence moving forward, but yeah, what’s the one thing that you reckon you’ve done that’s been the biggest contributor to your success so far?
I don’t I it’s hard for me to think of something that is like unique because I feel like this is what everybody does, but I’ve always I’ve always kept my eye on the prize like I am never I never get complacent even if I’m making a living and with a camera in my hands that’s that’s a win but I always I’m always pushing for the thing that I really want to be doing which is telling stories and that’s kind of the heart to me it seems like the hardest thing to get into like full time so I’m always shooting no matter what I’m always shooting something on the side for myself that I want to do that I’m just putting out there just for the creative fulfillment of it and it just keeps I guess it keeps my work like it keeps a voice in my work I guess
it’s funny how every every filmmaker always defaults back to being creative and I mean I push back on a full time Emmy Award winning filmmaker when he said kind of he said it’s all about the workers like now students not the work the work has to be good if the work is no good. And here’s the reason why. I’m if chivo was an asshole, he would not be chivo the reason why the reason why he is is because he’s a lovely man. Everyone likes to work with him yeah and and he’s also good same with deacons all the there’s there’s very few filmmakers out there. Maybe the old school directors, and certainly in the studio system maybe but they’re the boss Yeah, so then and can always guarantee that when they are in the office with the person with the rights, the check, they are the nicest people in the world. It’s once they get on set that they can be tyrants. And so, um, the work has to be good, like it just has to be you don’t get to play unless you works good. Yeah, I kind of want to I want to do Drill down a little bit, as to just to see if there is some kind of thread that we can pull out and, and kind of investigate as to every time you stepped up. So if you think back through your history, from when you were in, even when you were a teenager, and people started coming to you to say, Oh, can you shoot my thing. But every time there’s been like a level up in, in either production value, or the quality of the people coming to you, or something like that the quality of the productions that you’re doing, was there something that someone said, or something that they noticed in your work, that was the reason for them coming to you.
Um, I feel like Usually, it’s just because whatever project they’re coming to me about is, it’s, it fits the style that I have out there. And I know that goes back to the work again, but I feel like there’s two types, there’s two modes of thinking where people think either you put out all all the work you’ve ever done, and like, show your like, versatility and like I can, I can do high key, I can do low key I can do, you know, commercial, I can do narrative, or you put out just the stuff you want to be doing. And so some people, like I’ve had people not want to work with me, because they see that certain style, and they’re like, that’s not what we’re going for, but then other people come to me specifically because of it. So I don’t know, that’s, that’s all I can really think of when people approached me.
Alright, so let me rephrase the question, then, when you’re having meetings with, with people in order to win the job, how do you go about prepping that,
um, I, I always feel like, I always try to find something in the project that gets me excited about it, that I can kind of latch on to. So I like to, I like to use Pinterest, I love to move forward. And just kind of like, sit with the pitch or sit with the script or whatever. And just kind of like let my mind wander and kind of or like think about other films or other photography or paintings or like, What is it? What is it that I’m that I can attach to this thing? That’ll get me like excited about it? Because, yeah, like going into a project with that inspiration in mind is so much better. For me. I make a lot better work. And I have like something that I’m kind of taking I’m taking from kind of using as my inspiration for it.
And and do you need so this is what once you’ve got the job, but in order to get the job, what are you doing? Well, usually, and if and so Jamie, if you’re feeling uncomfortable, I did the same thing with Bjorn, Charpentier, and because he had a similar kind of answer to you. And so I kind of pushed in and teased out what was going on? And his answer was that what he does is he prepares like, we all prepare, but what he does is he lets the director know that he’s preparing and doing all this extra work. And to me, that’s a strategy. That’s smart, right? Because it’s one thing and using Pinterest and you know, we can all talk like la dee da fucking creatives, right? We all do that, and which you will like what but there’s nothing I do special. But I think there’s I think the ones that do really well are using strategy. That’s my belief. Whenever I if I speak with filmmakers, the really the really successful ones. They do everything that everyone else does. And then there’s these little one little 1% things that I don’t know, I think it’s normal. It’s just normal to email the director to say, hey, by the way, I’ve just spent four hours you know, trawling through Pinterest for your thing, but a direct like if when people who I work with if that to me is the difference between someone getting a job or not. If there’s a dp that says to me, I know you didn’t ask for this clock, but he’s a mood board of everything that that, you know, in the conversation that we had over coffee here, I’ve just spent four hours and you put the time in there for hours, you let me know it’s four hours. And then I look at it and it’s like, okay, I can trust this person because what you’re doing is you’re building trust with with the director. So yeah. Is there other things like and that’s what beyond us. So you know, he just shot a big Netflix thing. And he he’s not. It’s his work is great. But he’s not devoid of strategy in his, how he goes about being a cinematographer, and he’s the guy like an amazing, amazing human being so you absolutely see why he’s successful. So is this and I’m guessing I don’t know. And this none of this was prepped, I’m guessing is something that you do that’s kind of similar so that’s what I’m trying to tease out Is there anything
I mean I do the prep work and I do it because I need to do that in order to feel like I’m coming to the like I’ll always have a meeting with the director obviously when we decide to work together to talk about you know, ideas for the script. And I like to be able to like I have one of those tomorrow and I like to be able to go into those meetings with a mood board if they’re okay with it like it’s always a you know, you have to feel it out because some directors might not you know, might be stepping on their toes So it just depends I guess on how they like to work but usually it’s well received or if I tell them that tell them the idea they’re usually like Yeah sure. Let’s and I always bring it in I’m always like you know this is these are some of the images that that your script maybe think I would be cool if we did this or that but obviously this is these are just ideas like this is not set in stone like tell me what you think because I I’m so visual like I need images to understand like what it is they’re going for. So I’ll bring that I also asked them to send me images or send me films or whatever, anything to kind of help me start to visualize what they have in their brain so that I’m on the same page because sometimes I’ll go off on this other tangent and you’re like that’s cool but that’s actually not you know, I’m actually thinking this so just like being able to figure out how to get our brands on the same page. So
yes, and do you do that before the meeting or or because you’re right i if you come with if you come with a color palette was the opposite to what the director was thinking then you toast Yeah,
yeah, I like to I guess it just depends on kind of how how the meetings work out because usually talk on the phone or something before that, but kind of getting a general idea from them beforehand, asking if I can make a move forward. Like I’ll never just do it and be like, here it is. I’m not gonna overwhelm but if they’re okay with it, and they seem to be somewhat open about what they’re if because some directors are like I like to just you know, I like to let the DP kind of run with the visual style then I kind of feel the freedom to kind of create that and then show it to them and see what they think and get their feedback on it.
Okay, what what if they were a little bit more like me where the visuals are really important and therefore it’s coming from for me what would you What would you do
so I had a short like a couple of months ago where the director already had a mood board that they created and she sent it to me and I asked if I could build on it Yeah, I loved that she already sent me one because I can see exactly like okay you’re going for moody but with like vibrant colors and these are the colors you’re like leaning into So yeah, I you know just looking at your mood board I’ve got all these ideas that are coming up because of what you sent me Can I add to this like and she was like Yeah, absolutely. And so that’s that’s I feel like the best case scenario because it helps me like already be on the same page.
Yeah, yeah. Cool. Cool. Cool. So in terms of being able to So you mentioned before that you’re you’re you don’t have an agent yet but the end goal is kind of narrative unless you know, it ends up being shitty work and you don’t want to do it. So you’ve got to you moving towards that goal in a very strategic way and if so, tell us about how you going about that.
Yeah, I am moving towards that goal and the best strategy I guess that I know which is all the advice that I’ve heard is DPS need to partner with directors that are on the same level that you’re at and start making work with them and as they grow you grow and hopefully you can like continue working together as you both are like growing in your careers and you can also find the people that you feel like you work best with so like I went into this year kind of with that in mind and have collaborated with a lot of different directors in Atlanta that are making shorts independent content and I think it’s been really good I’ve met a lot of actors met a lot of directors and a lot of new crew and just tried to you know, build my network and make it more solid in Atlanta and that also helps I think my name become a little bit more known in my area too So yeah,
sure how you actually doing that.
Um, dude cooperating Yeah,
well, how I mean if if you’ve got no network, let’s assume there’s a a young 18 year old you listening to this. Now, what we Like, how do you actually go about finding people to work with? Yeah, yeah, it’s not easy, right?
Yeah, no, it’s not especially finding people that you like vibe with with that stuff. Um, I think, I think it’s like it starts with one or two people, and then it can kind of grow from there. Or like people that you meet that maybe have a large network of other creatives.
So they might these people, though, Jamie, like, how do you actually like the ground? On the ground? Do you send an email? Do you hit them up on it? If so, what do you say?
Yeah, um, I feel like, I mean, it could work. If it’s like a really personal message, I feel like in person is the best. So like, going to a local Film Festival, maybe and watching the work and making note of, you know, if you liked a short film, make a note of that director’s name and maybe reach out to them or if they’re at the festival, try to talk to them.
Is that what you do?
I went so I tried this year, I tried to make more of a point of being involved in that kind of stuff. So I like I went to the Atlanta Film Festival, I started to become aware of some of the directors that are making stuff here and had worked in the festival. And I worked with two of those directors this year, for the first time, which the beginning of you told me that would be like, there’s no way but it just happened organically because I didn’t know it, but I was only you know, three degrees away from any of those people.
And it didn’t happen organically because at some point, someone sent an email or there was a text message or, you know, an ID message or something. How did those relationships, sorry to push? The look on your face is like, God, this Ozzie guy, it’s just he won’t let me He won’t let me go. I’m genuinely interested. That’s the concern. Like I’m pushy, sometimes. I’m direct. I’m Frank, but I’m genuinely, genuinely curious. And I know that through being curious, we will get to the real good stuff. And that’s when I can help. The people that are listening to this now will be like, keep going clock. I want to know how Yeah, how the fuck she did it. So these two, so let’s drill down into these two, how did you actually get to meet these two directors? And what was that first meeting, like and just pick one of them rather than both of them?
Okay, I actually met them both to the same person. Um, and she actually, I think she found me through a Google search or something like it was like a friend of a friend of mine. So I’m good friends with an actor here. And she was good friends with the same actor. I went to school with this girl. But somehow she found me. He shows she was looking for I think she was looking for female DPS. Which the whole, like, women empowerment thing has been helpful for me. As a way to stand out, I don’t really want to be hired because I’m female. But I mean, I’ll tell
you what, I’ll be hired for your work. No, no.
Yeah, so but it also I can’t lie that it does help. Like, it helps me stand out at times. So I think she was trying to find a VP for her friend. Um, and yeah, came across my work. And then she’s also friends with the other director that I worked with this year, too. So she’s just she was one of those people that just, she’s got a very big network. And she’s a she’s a producer, and she’s an actor. And so she’s like, you know, and we ended up, like working together, she produced one of the shorts and like, became, like, friends over the course of that, like, it turns out, we have a lot of stuff in common and yeah, just like, I know, you’ve had people talk on your show before about just like, authentic relationships? And how important that is.
Yeah, I think what I’m hearing is, make certain that you’re that you have a good web presence, so that, you know, a Google search will work. Make certain that you have if you can stand out in some way. So you know, the work has to be good, though. It’s not just about the work. If it works, no good. It wouldn’t matter if you’re a female dp, you just you’re not going to get any work if your work is crazy. So the fact that that’s worked for you is fine, but find some kind of a way of a point of difference, whether it’s, it’s, it can be in your work, but it can also be in your worldview. So because you’re a woman, you’ll have a worldview. So they are looking there. They’re not they’re looking for a female because they’re looking for a specific worldview. That’s the reason why they’re looking for a female. And I’ve had jobs where I’ve hired women for exactly the same reason I need a woman’s point of view for this, this particular job. So a woman gets hired, the work has to be good. So there’s that and then there’s Here’s the real strategic thing is. And the problem with strategy is it can sound really manipulative, but it’s not it’s just about being smart is better. This will sound slightly manipulative. Find a, someone who’s really well connected. So if you’re an introvert, I’m an introvert, find someone who’s really well connected, and connect yourself with that person. And just be just be, but make sure it’s an authentic relationship and be a good person, be a nice person. And that somehow that will just, you know, if you pay it forward, it’ll come back at some point. Yeah, so that’s what I’m hearing. That’s what you’ve done.
Yeah, yeah, I think that’s pretty accurate. Yeah. And just yeah, being just a real person.
We are cognizant of that along the way of the Google search, making sure the web presence is there, make sure there’s a point of difference. Building relationships with people that are well connected. Were you were you cognizant of the fact that you were doing that?
Um, definitely, with the web presence, and like Instagram and stuff? I don’t have a huge Instagram following, but I do.
I do does not matter.
I don’t know. Like, I’m careful about, like, curating my feed, I guess, so that when someone does come across it, they see my style right away. Yeah. And so and then my website, I’ve always like, made sure to keep that updated. I always cut a new reel every year. I always like only put the projects that are most recent, and, like, show my work at its best. And take down the ones that are older, you know, I feel like I’ve grown from,
okay, there’s a lot of strategy there for sure. And, and the, every time I do this, I feel like I’m almost holding up a mirror to filmmakers, like you’ve probably just gone well, this is what you do. But it’s, there’s a lot of there’s a lot of strategy in this. And a lot of people don’t, don’t realize that strategy is actually a really good thing. cureat curating your feed is all about making certain that you’re presenting a point of view, as I want to see a filmmaker that I came across recently, who I loved his work, I’ve interviewed him. And it’ll be coming out in actually, it’ll be out by the time we we, your interviews out. And so when you when I look at his work, there’s a very strong point of view, what and if I then go to his idx feed, same thing I can I can see who that man is. I can see Yeah, how he sees the world. And I think that is really, really important. The problem with that, is that what you’re doing in doing that, and this is the same with with with business, it’s basically niching down. Yes, the problem with niching down is that it feels really uncomfortable, because it feels really constrictive. But I can guarantee you get more work out of it. But the problem is, it’ll be similar work to the work that you’re presenting. Right? Yeah. And so previously, you said that you you, you stop, you stop working in a production company to go into freelance and freelance gives you more scope to be able to, you know, build something around a different kind of passion. So there is a lot of strategy behind what you’re doing. Let’s move on, we’ve got three more questions to get through. And so the second third question, because we’ve only got through to the third question is what do you do to sustain your career?
To sustain career? Um, I guess, I’m always trying to start my dogs.
Keeping, keeping relationships healthy is a really big, big one, I guess. You know, you find people that you’re like, these are good people, like I want to work with these people, whether it’s clients or it’s crew. It’s like on both sides, you kind of have to make sure you’re, you know, staying in touch, always like with clients. Always treating, you know, those, treating those jobs like with the utmost care, and like, even if you have been working with them for a long time, like, never, like letting yourself slack off, like always trying to push like to make the next job even better than the last one. And like one of the production companies I work with, I feel like they’re always there. They’re always in that mindset. They’re like, Yeah, what we did, then is great, but how can we make this even better? Like how can we switch it up and that’s been really helpful to me to to always like, I always have to be in that mindset. Like, even if I feel happy about the last job. I did like being able to I don’t know, switch it up, do something different, like don’t get stagnant. And then with crew, there’s like, there’s such a whole other aspect of being dp like that involves being a leader and being able to stick up for your people and stuff. And I, I’ve only been leading a crew for a couple of years now. So I’m still learning about that, and just trying to be aware of the times that, you know, you get stuck in situations where I don’t know, you’re like learning how to how to, how to be a leader, and how to stick up for the people that are working under you. And so just always trying to figure out how to do that best and make sure that the people that are working for me are happy and taken care of, or if something bad, something happens on set that makes me feel uncomfortable about how they were treated like clearing the air, and making sure I talked to them about it and like thinking for myself, like okay, how can I handle that better next time. So,
so you’d like compassion and empathy would be a big part of qualities of being a leader?
Yeah, definitely. And I feel like it helps a lot when you’ve been a crew member yourself, which I have done, and I still do, like I still AC and I still OPT sometimes. So I understand what it feels like to be a crew member. So I know right away when the crews like not getting treated the way that they should be.
Okay. Does that happen often in in the States? Doesn’t I have rarely seen crew treated poorly?
No, it’s, um, it’s more of like, the gray areas on especially on like, independent stuff, or like short films and stuff like that. You know,
people hardly getting paid and being asked to do ridiculous. Yeah, thing. So, okay, it’s easy to
take advantage of people, you know, especially when crew members are trying to like, they’re trying to make it just like I’m trying to make it and, you know, though, they might let themselves be taken advantage of unless I say something. And so I was like, really the pressures on me, like, if that’s happening, to speak up,
yeah. Okay. And so you’re so the answer. The question was sustaining relationships. How do you go about doing that?
Um, I guess, like, so there’s certain people that I really love working with, like, on my crew, and they’ll come on, and they’ll help me on things that I’m doing to build up my own reel. Like, if I got a short film that’s not well paid, or something, they’re willing to come on and help. But in exchange for that, I try to make sure that I’m like, Alright, if they’re gonna do me that favor, we like the least I can do is make sure I get them some well paid gigs in the meantime, like, in between those, like low budget things. And usually, like, they want to work on short films and stuff like that, too. Because it’s, it’s fun, it’s creative, and all that, but it’s so easy for people to get taken advantage of, and like, you know, I feel like I if they do that, for me, I feel like I have I need to return the favor in some way or another. Okay,
so the law of reciprocity, I heard the filmmaker Ed burns. So he’s a writer director, doesn’t really shoot but he, I think it was sidewalks of sidewalks of New York. Now, it wasn’t that but it was it was a little independent film that he made for. I think back in the day, maybe like six or seven years ago, he shot it on a five day mark to a tiny little indie, they got it in the can for 10k. I spent about 100, in post, and they’re able to get it on the iTunes. But the crew that he used were basically indie filmmakers, but we’re also making money in the commercial world. So branded content, that kind of stuff. And, and so they would work on nothing. I think I think everyone basically worked for peanuts, for food almost probably. Yeah, that are working around corporate and commercial work. And it was a there was a some kind of honor system where if you come and do this, then we’re going to do that for you, whatever that thing was. And so I think that’s a that that can also be a really, really good strategy is kind of marrying the commercial world with independent filmmaking. So that if you’re, if you’ve got a dp, if you’ve got an editor, you edit my thing over here and I’ll give you some some branded content. So you actually get paid later on. So yeah, yeah.
And that gig later, like making sure that it’s like, a really respectable rate and everything and it’s like, yeah, yeah, I like it’s just a way of saying I see what you what you’re worth, like. I understand. No, you’re worth this. Even though you show What for lower or nothing like this is I know this is actually what you’re worth. So, yeah, yeah.
Yeah. Cool. All right. So second last question is, what are you doing? And this is the last two questions will be related. What are you doing you today for your tomorrow?
Um, I guess that would the answer to that question would be the same as, like when we’re talking about getting in the narrative. Like I’ve spent a lot of time this year, just shooting short films. And, you know, the return on that is not immediate, it’s, it’s just kind of seeing for next year and the year after, like, if I want to book a feature, I need to be able to show that I can do the work. And it’s also like, when I shoot commercials too much, then I kind of like, I’m not in the right mindset to shoot a narrative. So just kind of exercising that muscle and like shooting as much narrative stuff as I can just get that practice in and, and, you know, Conan style, and then see, you know, if I made a mistake, being able to see what I did wrong, and so I can fix it for the next one and that kind of thing.
Okay, so leveling up in terms of your ability to execute on bigger production, but also building relationships. Because, yeah, you mentioned before that two films, two short films that you did this year, if you had said you would shoot those at the start, and you’d be like, Oh, no way. So you’re also shooting, shooting the short films is one thing. But you’re also spending a good part of that time developing relationships as well as that correct? Yeah,
definitely. And I mean, that’s definitely go hand in hand. Because if you’re a lot of the people that I work with on the narrative stuff I’m working with on the commercial stuff, so you’re kind of building rapport and like that mode of working and all that stuff.
Yeah. Cool. Cool. Cool. All right. So last question is tell us something you’ve watched heard or read that inspired you recently?
So um, I went to our local art museum in Atlanta. Hi. Last weekend, and I hadn’t been in a long time. And it was like, so inspiring concert refreshing. And they had this this exhibit for Sally, man, she’s a dome photographer. Yeah. Yeah. It’s just stunning. Like I just really really connected to her style and like her shots of her children with
the this the smoking one. That’s hers. Right? That little girl in the little girl is lucky in not a bathtub. What do I call it? luck a little play pool? Oh, yeah. With the cigarette that says right.
Oh, I don’t know if I saw that one. But it sounds like it sounds like that style. They’re just like, her shots are just so like emotional and dark, even though it’s children in the shots. Yeah. And just like so real. And she posed some of those shots. But they feel like so much in the moment like yeah, so ended and then her later work she does she worked with like, what plate photography, which I’d never actually watched like that process before. But they had a video going, like how, how that process works. And it’s just much like amazing texture to that type of photography. And it’s like, it’s like mixing painting. With photography. Yep. So yeah, that was really inspiring. And, and just walking around the museum in general and thinking about, I started thinking about a lot about like, aspect ratios, just because looking at
saying, hey, you geeking out while you have cars. Yeah.
Yeah, this mean like, you know what, maybe it’s not the end of the world that we’re gonna have to start shooting for vertical video. Like, think about all the all the possibilities, and like, not being locked in
can hide it.
I’m too old school.
I know. Oh, my God, it sucks. But it’s also like, okay, but if you think about it in terms of like, an art gallery, and all the different shapes and sizes of paintings and photos, and like, why can’t we do that in video to like, it does open up a whole new world for competition, which I hate that people don’t think about it that way because it’s just like, you know, just crop it off. It’s like, Well, why don’t you just shoot it for that? It’s a whole different ballgame. Like it’s, you know, yeah. You’re things you could do with that.
You totally Yeah, I, my wife tried to force me to watch a cheese, half Tibetan, half Chinese and an Australian citizen now. But we watched a she tried to make me watch a Chinese film. And they basically they, I mean, it wasn’t crop, but it kind of was Yeah, the movie is like a basically a circle. So it’s lucky. It’s lucky looking through a through a. Yeah, it was as like, I can’t watch this. So here’s the here’s the reason why I hate crop. For me, um, video is not, it’s not a, a, it’s not an image not a still image just not a painting. It is a medium through which we tell stories. And therefore it’s it’s a point of view from a human perspective. Right? You could do it from a, you know, a dog’s perspective. I guess there’s movies that have done that. But you’re looking from between someone’s eyes, right? You’re looking from right from here? I don’t see vertical I see horizontal. That’s how we write. That’s how we see the world. Yeah, so when I see a crop, even if I see if I see filmmakers doing more and more, kind of four thirds going back to that, it’s just yeah, that’s not how I see the world. So I don’t know when there’s social media people. Or if I have a an agency, if I’m doing work, and the clients like, we really need to crop this. So that takes the full thing of the phone up. And it’s like,
two gigs like that in the past, like two weeks. So I guess that’s why I’m thinking in that, in that mindset, yeah. How, why? This is a thing that I’m not gonna be able to escape, it’s going to always be a thing now. So it’s like, how do we until phones change shape or something? But how do we lean into it? How do we do something creative and see it as a creative challenge?
Instead of Yeah, I think with images, like if you’re, if you’re looking at a painting or an image, then you’re looking, you can look at it, you can look at something that is kind of vertical, because you’re Yeah, you’re looking at a physical object. Right? It’s like a physical object. With video. I think that and I see I see my wife do this, she’s, she’s a, she’s not a filmmaker, Scott. She, she she does pottery she does painting. But she’s not a filmmaker. So and I’ve watched her where if she’s taking a video of something, and all of a sudden it starts to go into a story, the final goat like that. She’ll actually physically turn it around, because she’s telling a story where if it’s just a photo, she’ll just go clink, right, we’re gonna really cute don’t sorry to you. So the dog does something cute. And you know, the photo, it’s always portrait. As soon as it goes into a story type thing. Or if she’s watching something on her phone, that’s more that engages her from a story point of point of view, she’ll flip the phone. So that it’s like that. So I still, I’m not convinced as certainly back in the day when 3d that you were probably a young girl with 3d first, not the first time the second time when James Cameron was pushing it with Yeah, with Avatar. Yeah, that was gonna be the next big thing. And that was all these who are about it. And I was like, not, it’ll last five or six years before it goes away. It’s gone away. I hate it. I fucking hate it, too. So the,
I guess, like, so much of it. Like when you’re forced into that. It’s like, it isn’t narrative though. It’s more commercial. So I feel like it could be you could play with it more because I agree with you. Like, I don’t want to watch a movie vertical. Yeah, but if we’re, for sure, it’s like, okay, like, how can we catch someone’s eye? visually?
Yeah. Yeah, yeah. If a shitty commercial stuff. Yeah, for sure. For branded stuff. That’s still story driven. Enough. Yeah. Yeah. Anyway. Cool, man. So I don’t know I’ve called you man and dude during this episode. It must be because you’re the first woman to come on. So I want to thank you for that because it’s great to have I want to have more girls. So if you’ve got some friends that you want to recommend, please do so. Thank you for thank you for today.
Yeah, thank you so much for having me on. This is awesome.
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