How would you define your genre of film making?
I think it's kind of hard to define exactly what type of film making it is that I do; sometimes it doesn't even feel like film making to me in the sense that we all tend to think about it. Perhaps the only common theme I can think of is that I just try to capture the world through a different perspective, whether it is a view of a city at night from 130,000 feet in space, or a series ofhigh energy time lapse shots. I tend to look through my camera with not just a shot in mind or composition or lighting but an emotion. What am I trying to convey. When I work on a project, I always lodge this idea in the back of my mind and use it to steer my camera and eye to the shots I need to tell the story.
Pacific Star to me was "Hey, look what awesome things you can do even if you don't have a lot of money." It inspired a lot of photographers and amature scientists to try the project themselves. It was a fast paced energy piece that made people think that even the sky wasn't the limit. It was very uplifting to a lot of people.
LA Light has a completely different emotional reaction to people. They see beauty and longing for a city that they either thought they knew, moved away from, or were sick of. Those cliche reactions people have to the "fake" LA are shattered for three minutes. I think it captures Los Angeles and its interworkings on an organic level and is very much an outside perspective, looking in. If you can capture the city from another angle or view or emotion, you can sometimes dislodge the anger or fear people have a propensity for.
I try to create an emotional reaction in people and allow them to see themselves or their potential for what it truly is, that they have something special at their hands; if the video has no emotion, than it is just video.
Has your perspective of the world changed through each project?
When shooting LA Light, I literally had to open my mind to a compltely different perspective and spectrum. Lot's of people shoot time lapses, that's the truth, but what i sought out to do was capture the radience of the city, the electric vibe that exists but is sometimes hidden to the naked eye. There is the palpable energy of a city much like the light emitted from the sun, but there are also other wavelenths of radiation that can be tuned into as well. I would go into a location and not really care about the free moving variables, the people or cars, or the massive passage of time, but the light, the reflections, the visual radiation. My shooting perspective changed during this period of shooting and has been different ever since. I look at things differently now and can see that there is never a dull moment as long as you know how to capture it.
Shooting LA Light also forced me to see and go places in Los Angeles I had never been or never had a reason to go. Sometimes I was shooting in a "dangerous" neighborhood late at night with lots of camera equipment because that is where "the shot" was. Sometimes I was on a billboard... The Hollywood sign was incredibly difficult to shoot because the park behind it is closed at night, and security routinely patrols the road leading up to it. Every ten minutes a patrol car would drive by and I would have to jump over a fence and hide until it had passed. But that shot was important to me because I had never seen a perpective of the city looking from behind the sign back towards it.
Most of the time, it was the dangerous places where I found the best shots available, which in turn proved to be somewhat of an original place to shoot. I needed to do this because almost ever angle of every city, especially LA, has been shot thousands or even millions of times.
What "Creative" has influenced your work in modern culture?
It's hard to say. I've had the fortune to work closely with DoP Alwin Kuchler, BSC on several projects and i have learned a great deal of lighting and shooting through him.
I find that music usually stimulates my brain the most influencing creatively speaking. Good music is the fuel for strange ideas and I tend to listen to an eclectic brand of music from time to time. Right now I have "Geotic" playing and I think he is brilliant in his compositions.
What are you working on now?
I have a feature project I have been developing for sometime now and finally feel like moving forward on it. It's funny because while I was at NYU I felt like I wasn't worthy of making anything because I hadn't lived enough, that I didn't want to waste 2hrs of anyone's life watching something that felt contrived. I felt that if I was to make something worthwhile, I would need to hone in my story telling skills, so I worked on set as a camera assistant at Law and Order for a bit, then worked at Panavision NY to learn cameras and optics inside out and backwards, all the while writing. I felt that if I wanted to be a visual story teller, I would need to understand all the tools at my disposal. I now feel ready to do so more than I ever have before.