Interview With an L.A. Film School Cinematography Alumna
Tell us a little bit about how you decided to get into film.
I’ve always been fascinated with a camera’s ability to capture a moment in time. During middle and high school, I started a photography business in Wisconsin and found filmmaking to be the most fulfilling work. A desire to travel, use a camera and never have a shortage of new challenges led me to pursue film. Two months after I graduated high school, I drove to L.A. and started at The Los Angeles Film School. I worked as a 1st AC (assistant camera) within a few months.
What drew you to choose cinematography as a focus? And what advice would you give students who are unsure of what track to pursue?
Frankly, I’m just a huge camera nerd. I’ve grown up with a camera in hand and enjoy translating ideas into compositions. Being a natural leader helps. I would suggest that everyone explore all departments of film until something really piques your interest, then follow that position up the chain. For me, that position has been 1st AC. I always knew the camera department was my home, but knowledge of all departments will help solidify your understanding of the entire filmmaking process. And, say yes.
What’s been the coolest thing you’ve done since graduation?
The coolest thing since graduating is probably that I haven’t really had a day off, but specifically, my “acting” debut with Panavision stands out. In order to demonstrate a DXL2/LiveGrade update, which allows for finished dailies directly from the camera, we executed a scene where I operated the “on-camera” camera. It’s not every day that your “prop” is a DXL2 with T-Series Anamorphic glass.
Did you have a favorite class while in film school?
My favorite class was Advanced Cinematography; I only wish there were more than one month of it. We shot film, flew drones, and explored things we otherwise never would’ve. Much like the ASC Master Classes, there is just something very special about being in a room full of cinematographers. It helps in understanding how you are unique in this collaborative, not necessarily competitive, craft.
Is there any advice you’d give a new student in the film program?
No one is creating a career path for you or waiting for you to arrive, but if you show up ready to work and stay hungry, you will find ways in. When you find ways in, make the most of it. Spend time learning how to network and be your own advocate. Cultivate and nurture genuine relationships. Never stop learning, and strive to push beyond your comfort zone.