Film Alum Kylie Hazzard on Her Music, Film and Photography Career
L.A. Film School alum Kylie Hazzard has a creative edge that most people only dream of discovering within themselves. A triple threat with music, film and photography, Hazzard stays busy creating all sorts of interesting side projects in her home studio in Los Angeles. She maintains a steady schedule of freelance jobs while also dipping her toes in concert photography and her musical group called Sand Box. We last interviewed Hazzard fresh out of film school as a graduate of our Film Production program. We’re excited to catch back up with Hazzard about working for FOX Sports Super Bowl coverage and the other creative projects she has in the works.
It’s good to chat with you again, Kylie! Tell us what you’ve been up to since we last spoke back in 2019 when you were working at Zeiss.
Thanks for checking in with me! The last time we talked in 2019 feels like a lifetime ago. Since then, I left the corporate world for good, found stability in camera work, refocused my freelance career around my own production company, joined and left a band that introduced me to my husband, formed my own musical venture with him, gained 3 wonderful pets, and turned every day into a creative dream! I’m specifically very proud to have shot and produced for a St. Vincent music video off her GRAMMY-winning album, expanded my skills to include modeling/producing/shooting/editing for Hayley Williams’ hair dye brand, worked with a lot more cutting-edge technology, currently working on my a music documentary that is my first feature film as a DP, something still NDA but truly huge coming out in March with someone I never imagined I shared a slate with, and now working the Super Bowl.
What did you work on for this year’s Super Bowl LVII?
For Super Bowl LVII, I was part of FOX Sports ENG team as a camera assistant and operator, working in Phoenix with various teams for the week leading up to gameday, covering things like the 360 player portraits, interviews with quarterbacks and coaches, comedic moments with people like Machine Gun Kelly, scenics and timelapses all around the city and stadium, then ultimately on gameday covering things like player arrivals, stadium preparations, superfans, and some more timelapses.
How did you land that gig and what has the experience been like?
Initially, I started working with this team just through word of mouth—a friend needed an AC and I was available—I think the first gig was in 2021. I proved myself over time and was called to join more of their various teams. This led to being a part of the Madden Documentary and more of their top-tier projects. Eventually, they needed to put together their A-team for the Super Bowl and I was asked to join. I feel lucky to have been a part of this, it was surreal to see our work play to a cheering stadium while meanwhile being broadcast everywhere. I never realized how many miles of broadcast cable and operation like this takes. I also never imagined I would be the only female crew member out of the 45 below-the-line ENG crew brought in from Los Angeles.
Did you watch the Big Game? How can we find your work?
Yes and no. We filmed around the stadium up until kick-off and watched pieces from the media compound. I saw things we shot on both the stadium screens and TV screens, which was incredibly rewarding. We had opportunities to go back in and eventually were cleared by halftime, so after poetically getting a wrap call to Rhianna’s firework show, I headed back to Los Angeles.
I’m not sure where to find pieces from the broadcast, but my work can be found at kyliehazzard.com/cinematography
Is there anything you’d like to share with fellow artists about shifting your focus between different creative mediums?
Overspecialization leads to extinction – that’s just basic science. I’ve never wanted to limit myself to one thing because everything relates to everything, and why would I specifically narrow my perspective? Comprehensivity is totally possible if you find ways to use your time wisely. I have worked really hard to have the flexibility in both short and long-term ways to be able to indulge my curiosities and whims but still do that in a way that pays the bills.
For example, camera operating jobs can let me use my unique skills to support friends, earn money, and have no mental load to take home—freeing me up to simultaneously pursue my long-term goals, while advancing various branches of my technical career. I’ve always viewed music as a hobby to keep my idle hands entertained, but that consistent small action over many, many years has snowballed into my own unique melting pot project, Sand Box, which debuts at Silverlake Lounge on February 21. This project combines all sorts of eclectic, multi-disciplined skills into a unique experience and is meant to be my shapeshifting creative space for any passion I want to indulge. We are a live band and composers, and have even produced content specifically for VR related to this music venture – it will expand endlessly. You can learn something about art while cooking and vice versa. The more pathways you put into your head, the more ways your thoughts can diverge, and you have more opportunities to connect a good idea in unique ways.
In your opinion, why do you feel diversity and inclusion are so important both on and off screen?
There are so many reasons, and I will miss most of them with this short answer. Simply put, we are diverse. The reason for representation on screen right now seems to be for marketing purposes and not for the depth of experience. Diversity off-screen will lead to stories being authentic and genuine.
Now, in a more personal way, I’ve lost count of how many times a man has interrupted my work to tell me how they would run the cable, failed to introduce themselves because they deemed me as an unimportant role, or conveyed information to the green male PA instead of the experienced female 1st AC. Anyone who learns this skill is capable of this job, period. I’ve also found that diverse people often have more obstacles put purposely in their way, therefore have many more solutions ready and have to be way better at their job. Any minority, be it race or gender, is fighting for job security in a way that the rookie male PA with a parent-funded camera just isn’t. That guy deserves a job too, but I’ve seen firsthand that he will have a lot more opportunities and be under a lot less intense scrutiny, and sometimes his set fails to function properly but no one seems to understand why. Hire a diverse crew and the spirit of joy for creation is so alive that you will never want to leave the set!
You gave great advice to students last time we talked. Is there anything you would add or change now that you’ve been working in the industry longer?
Wow—this WAS a lifetime ago! My past self was right about all of that and had started a good foundation to get to where I currently am. The truest part is that the drive and commitment to constantly be better has to be the center of your mission, and then the rest will follow. I would add that this is a long game, and progress doesn’t happen overnight. It will never happen without your own follow-through. Take note of the little victories—it’s almost funny to think that I was so excited about a lens back then, I’d like to update that biggest accomplishment to any of the things from the list above, and there’s so much more than that to be proud of! In hindsight that feels like ages ago, but it’s only been a few years and there is still a long road ahead. I still have much to learn, and I will still aim to be better than I was yesterday, but I’m so proud to be using my voice and carving out my own ways to do so.