WARNING – The thumbnail image has nothing to do with the body of the article. I didn’t have anything, and I just needed something in order to fit into the new world of “cLiCk BaIt LiFe” and fool you into reading, or at least clicking onto my article. So, there ya go. This is the world we live in now. Don’t blame me. Blame literally everyone else. Also, sorry it wasn’t in 9×16. NOOOOOOOTTTTTTT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
It’s been many moons since I last penned (or profusely pounded my keyboard) an article for Frame of Mind. There are people you can blame for that. People, places, and things that all take the blame. However, for the sake not having to receive an over-reacting text message from Wes Williams where he will ask me WTF my problem is, those people, places, and things shall remain nameless. Just know, they (whoever you may think “they” is), are responsible for their being a FoM drought. But, it appears the tides have shifted, the clouds have lifted, and we have clear sailing to enjoy life again… for the moment, anyways.
As I’ve discussed far too many times, it is not often I watch anything dirt bike related (aside from the races). I tend to find myself going down a rabbit hole of filmmaking “How-To-Suck-Less” YouTube tutorials, old Norm McDonald comedy routines, or Peter Santenello videos. If it’s not that, I am watching things on AppleTV, Netflix, etc like BlackBird, The Morning Show, Better Call Saul, etc because of the storytelling and astounding visual images created. It’s inspiring, humbling, and scary to wonder IF I make it to that level, am I even capable? But, it’s one thing to watch this shit on the TV or whatever your preferred streaming device maybe. It’s another thing to really be up close and personal with those that create high level pieces of work. And, I got to experience that not too long ago…
In August of 2022, I was invited to a private event hosted by the International Cinematographers Guild Local 600, which took place earlier this month (October) at the Television Academy Saban Media Center Wolf Theatre in North Hollywood, CA. The event was the 2022 Emerging Cinematographer Awards, presented by the ICG Local 600. They screen 10 films from up-and-coming Directors of Photography that currently work in the Local 600 but are not rostered as DPs. It was an opportunity to watch the work of the next generation of DPs that are coming up through the ranks within film and TV and see what they’re doing, how their creative eye operates, and more. It was, well.. Humbling.
All 10 films were incredible. Out of the 10, there were two that stood out to me as films that gave me hope and optimism. They were not bad by any means. But, compared to the other eight, my perspective was, “Huh. If these two got accepted, I think I can create something of similar quality or better and hopefully get in next year?” Now, whether or not that is true, we don’t know yet. But, that is the objective. The other eight films. Holy shit. Unreal. From drama, to comedy, to western; the acting, directing, writing, cinematography, production design, and every thing else in between was at levels I can only dream of achieving. And, watching these films amongst 700 other cinematographers, DPs, camera operators, ACs, etc was both surreal and nerve-wracking. These people work in Hollywood. Full time. On real shows. On real movies. I am the punk rock kid that is, on many levels, from the outside looking in. I film dirt bikes. I edit my dirt bike videos. I color my dirt bike videos. I do all of the lighting myself. Everything. Basically solo. These people work with crews with designated tasks. I run-and-gun the fuck out of my work. They don’t. My point? I felt like a bit of a fraud being in that room with so many brilliant minds. However, I also knew I was invited on purpose and with reason. And, as much as I hate this term, it felt like a safe space. Why? It was a room filled with like-minded individuals that all have the same, common goals. No cool guy attitudes, no my shit don’t stink vibes; none of that. Just a room of creative individuals all thriving for the same, common goal: to create the best shit they possible can and enjoy doing it.
The real highlight? Their guest of honor: Lawrence Sher, ASC. Larry, as he is known around that world, is the Director of Photography who shot all three of The Hangover movies, Joker, Garden State, I Love You, Man, Due Date, and more. Yeah. The dude that shot all The Hangover films and Joker was the guest of honor. While my goal is to be at his level one day, I have never in my life seen a DP of that caliber in person. All of a sudden, I am not only seeing him in person, but my wife and I are watching him with our own eyes as he gives our movie theatre a speech about taking risks. It was, without question, one of the coolest moments of my career. After we screened all of the films, there was a cocktail hour, I wanted to introduce myself to Larry as he was hanging around, having a drink, and socializing with everyone. However, due to circumstances beyond my control, my wife and I had to duck out early and commence our journey home. But, I will say, at one point, I was able to be roughly three feet away from Lawrence Sher, ASC and that is really close to the experience I felt working with Tom DeLonge of Blink 182 (THEY ARE FUCKING BACK, BABY) and Angels & Airwaves.
The humble pie was real that night. It was real, but also eye-opening. Humbling because there is amazing work being created out there by people much more talented than myself and it makes you wonder if you can ever achieve the goals in front of you. However, it was also eye-opening because I have been familiar with this event for a while, but never knew how you got to be a part of it. Now, I know the path. I know how to submit my next project for consideration next year. I know now that I am little bit closer to the goal then I was a year ago, which helps me to see a glimmer of light that this idea and goal in my head MIGHT be achievable… One day. If not? Trader Joe’s pays really well, has overtime, benefits, and all the other things adults need in order to survive. So. You’ll either see my shit on the big screen one day, or I will be stocking the shelves at your local Trader Joe’s.
This was nice to read. Keep going with that humble yet confident mind set and you will reach your ultimate potential. That is good enough!