Showing posts with label Interviews. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Interviews. Show all posts

Oct 11, 2021

Answering Your Questions: Instagram Q&A

Over the long weekend I asked my followers on @editingluke if they wanted to ask any questions regarding my photography, travel, film, past posts, etc. I was incredibly impressed with how engaged everyone was, so instead of letting all the questions disappear into the void I thought I'd recap and share a few of the highlights from this spontaneous Thanksgiving weekend Q&A.

If you have more questions be sure to send a message through the Editing Luke Instagram and I'll try to answer more of the most asked ones in a future Q&A.  


Nov 25, 2014

Inspire Lectures & Speaking to Students

Last week I was invited to do two speaking engagements with the Medicine Hat College. While I've received a lot of questions and feedback over the years about my work through this website, it's not often that I'm asked to share my insight on pursuing your passion and entrepreneurship in front of an audience. Still, it was flattering to be asked, and I appreciated the challenge of trying to refine what the take-away from my experiences has been.

On Wednesday I spoke to Visual Communications students about my work, website, and my career in photography and video production so far. I spoke for 40 minutes and used a lot of examples from recent projects as proof that even though the successes can be difficult to predict, you can create your own opportunities. So much of what has happened to me in the last few years has been a result of personal goals, taking chances, and following through on ideas.

I narrowed my advice down to three challenges:

1. Build a portfolio, blog, or website to brand yourself and the work you want to be doing.
2. Create engaging content as a means of showcasing the skills you want to be hired for.
3. Network and collaborate to sell your ideas and invite new opportunities. 

For each point I shared stories and projects to prove how my advice was based on personal experience. Things like how this blog lead to my first job with Stream Media, how my Around the Hat series helped build my reputation locally, and how collaborating on projects like Thinking Hat opened new doors and continued to expand my career. It was an interesting experience for me just to connect the dots for myself and see how some of the biggest opportunities I've had in the last few years actually had pretty humble beginnings.

The next day I spoke at the Cultural Centre for the Enactus MHC Inspire Lectures series. I trimmed my presentation down to the highlights for a brief 10 minute talk, sharing the stage with 5 other speakers. It was cool how my talk about sharing my own story did inspire other people to share theirs. I ended up having a lot of great discussions that night, and as is usually the case when putting yourself outside of your comfort zone, I learned a lot in the process too.

I had the audience give me a wave before my presentation.

Dec 11, 2013

Thinking Hat on Calgary's Independent Radio

Last week, Philip Vandermey of SPECTACLE was interviewed on CJSW / Calgary's Independent Radio where he discussed downtown revitalization in Medicine Hat and our Thinking Hat exhibition which took place at the end of September. Phil did a great job of discussing some of the ideas the exhibition proposed (and I appreciated the generous shout out as well). You can see the blog post that CJSW did here. The interview is also posted at the bottom of the article, and the Thinking Hat portion is between the 20-38 minute mark.

Jul 2, 2013

An Underwater Music Video Project

It's been several years since I last caught up with Alex Lamburini. I interviewed him in 2009 when he was still in high school with big aspirations for pursuing a career in film. He's now doing just that as a film student, and recently he got in touch to drum up some support for his latest project on Indiegogo. Check it out! 

Miami DJ Drops Base... Underwater

New York, NY  Produced by Emerson College student filmmakers, Alex Lamburini and Dylan Greiss, The Mence “Enrapture” music video is sure to mesmerize, entertain and mix-up the very fabric of the typical music video format. This music video seeks to change the music video game by visually showing that music has the power to entrance and affect the mood of its listeners.

The music video will be taking an average and overused concept and putting a major spin on it. In this music video, an entire pool party will be taken into the pool, literally. Lounge chairs, the DJ and his turntables, party-goers, drinks, LED lights, plant-life and just about anything else you can imagine coming across at your typical summer pool party. We’re literally submerging an entire pool party to bring the pool party into the pool.

Mence, the featured artist in the music video, is a talented Miami based DJ who produces progressive house music like his song, “Enrapture”. Mence’s music captures the perfect sound for both an above-water party and an underwater party. The euphoric beats of “Enrapture” highlight the typical party atmosphere that we all know and love, which, in tandem with the visuals, will allow a viewer to feel like he is at the party, traveling through the crowds and going for the underwater party adventure of his or her life.

This ambitious project, being put together by talented Emerson College film students, is no easy task. Not only does the concept require funding, but also immense creativity, problem solving skills and a great deal of marketing and producing work. This group of talented student artists and filmmakers hope to prove the importance and hard work involved in any form of creating artwork. They are dedicated to showing the public that young artists can achieve ideas and concepts never before attempted and because of this, they are donating any money raised above their budget to a charity devoted to funding, supporting and fostering art in schools and in youth communities.  

Check out more information on the Mence “Enrapture” underwater music video project on our official website: http://www.mencemusicvideo.comAlso, be sure to visit our Indiegogo fundraiser:

Jun 12, 2013

ChristCORE by Justin Ludwig

Fellow University of Regina film school alum, Justin Ludwig has a new documentary that he directed playing in Medicine Hat from June 13-15 at the Monarch. We had several production classes together back in the day, and here's what he had to say about his project: 
ChristCORE is a feature documentary that follows my journey into the world of evangelical Christian hardcore music. As someone who grew up in Regina's punk and hardcore scene, the music was a catalyst that helped to un-do my religious upbringing. The scene is traditionally secular, which is how I thought it should stay when I first became aware of the Christian insurgence which started to make waves in Regina ten years ago.
However, what started out as somewhat antagonistic concept grew into a film that strives for dialogue and understanding, opening up the world of the Christian hardcore movement to a whole new audience who may have never thought such a thing could exist. It's a film for fans of the scene as well as those who hate it, offering a glimpse into life on the road for two very different bands, newcomers Messengers and genre stars Sleeping Giant. We see faith healings, mass baptisms and some violent mosh pits, leaving the judgements to the viewer. Come check it out and support independent Canadian film!

ChristCORE screens Thursday to Saturday at 7:30pm at the Monarch.

Mar 8, 2013

Meet Ming Loo Photography

There's a tremendous amount of talent around Medicine Hat, and Ming Loo is certainly proof of that. He's an incredible photographer with a keen eye for portraiture. The two of us went to high school at the same time, but it's only been in the last few years that I've reconnected with Ming through his work via Ming Loo Photography.

His varied style with numerous models has really hooked me, and I think I've been further pulled in by the fact that his photography is so different to my own. In wanting to know more about Ming and his approach, I took a moment to ask him some questions. Here's what he had to say.  

Ming Loo - Image by Jolaine Rayner of Epic Photography

1. First off, I'd love to know more about your background and what interested you in photography (and video for that matter)?

At first, it wasn't photography that interested me. It was film and video. Im sure you can remember high school lol! After high school I moved to Vancouver and attended the Art Institute of Vancouver, for the Digital Film and Video program. During my time there I found that lighting and being behind the camera were my main interests. After graduating I stayed out west for another year, grabbing camera jobs wherever I could find them.

I was a camera man for CityTV Vancouver, camera for music videos (two of which airing on MuchMusic), short films, worked on XMen 2, Fantastic 4 and SmallVille. I then joined ATV, a production company based in Vancouver that had several aired TV shows: Wings Over Canada, The New Drivers Seat and The Canadian Rally Championship. This was a great opportunity because I got to travel across Canada.

So by this time, I was tired. I had finished school and I was working, but I was tired. So I returned to Medicine Hat with intentions of saving up for a professional video camera. However, after moving back I started using my Dad's old film slr. 1987 Minolta Maxxumm 7000. 8 years later, I'm still taking photos.

2. How would you describe your style or aesthetic, and what do you look for when trying to create it?

My style...hmmmm. I like to think my style is really clean. Im not much of an editor. I like my images to be accurate right out of the camera without any major post work after.

If I was to label myself, I would say I'm a headshots photographer.

3. Do you have a favorite shoot or one that you found particularly defining?

My favorite shoot was one I did in Vancouver. I was there on a personal vacation and it so happened that my friend Erin from the film industry was doing this event at her school. Her and two of her classmates needed to come up with three different looks and find a photographer, model and shoot all three looks in one day. I had worked with Erin before on photo shoots in the past, awesome MUA. We also got a hold of our friend and actress Tanaya to model. Since all three of us have worked together in the past before the day went smoothly without any problems. So much fun!

4. What are some of the most common questions or requests you get from clients, and how do you balance your own creativity with others direction?

Haha! I think the most common question is, "Can you take out this pimple." "Yes, yes I can."

Really, I don't get direction towards me on how I should shoot. When I'm shooting Im give lots of physical direction. I use my hands a lot to guide movements and poses. If a model strikes a pose, I'll work off of that and tweak their position to compliment the angle I'm shooting.

5. There's a long standing debate about the role of the photographer vs. the equipment they use. From a creative perspective, how much credit do you give the camera?

I love camera gear! Everything to my lenses, my camera body and the lights I use. I use the Nikon D3 and all my lenses are pro Nikkor glass. But because I use top of the line gear, that doesn't mean that it makes me a great photographer. It's how you use them. When I enter a shoot, I see the situation and I'll know what lenses I should use. Robert Rodriguez said; "Technology helps push the art form." The equipment I use helps me achieve the images I want to create. Like a carpenter with all the tools in his belt.

You have to know what lenses and lighting setups to use to benefit the shoot. If you don't, then you just have a bag full of tools to show off.

6. With so many other photographers competing (especially in the portrait business) how do you make yourself standout?

I've always been more concerned about improving my own skill set, rather than standing out. We have a huge photo community in the small city of Medicine Hat, and I have no interest in holding monopoly when it comes to this market.

I am more interested in being involved in our photo community. Seeing the new photogs arise from the many. I don't care if you're just starting or you've been in the game for years. I like posting other's photographers work on my own FB page simply to share. As competing as this industry is, I think we should be helping each other out and making it the best industry it can be.

7. I have a lot of students read my blog. What advice would you give to aspiring photographers or those looking to pursue photography professionally?

1) Don't worry about other photographers, be you and do your own thing. 2)Keep shooting and never stop. The more you shoot the more you learn. That's what will make a better photographer 3) Respect. Respect your models, respect your MUA's and hair stylists. Remember, photo shoots are a group effort. 4)If you are looking to do photography as a business, don't wait for it to fall in your lap. Act now. Make things happen. Pursue it.

8. What are your future ambitions regarding your work?

I want to shoot more. I want to learn more. I want to meet new people in the industry and learn from them. It's about growing as an artist and sharing.

And a huge industrial loft studio would be nice too, heheheh.

Jul 11, 2012

Meet Janaya Hanley

It's a huge pleasure for me to build new relationships with film makers who are just starting out on their careers, especially when it's come as a result of this blog.  Janaya emailed me a few weeks ago with some questions about film, and that got the ball rolling.  Whether I'm able to respond publicly or whether it's just a few words over facebook, I'm humbled by the opportunity to share a few of my experiences in the hopes of spreading inspiration and fostering creativity among those of us who have chosen film, video, and photography as a career path.  In general, I just wanted to say thank you to those of you who have contacted me and who continue to make me realize the value of this journal.  

With that, I'm proud to introduce Janaya Hanley: 

First of all, I want to thank Luke for featuring me on his website!  A few weeks ago I came across his blog by accident, and read a little bit about Luke and his experiences at the University of Regina, and his flourishing career henceforth.  As a current student in the Film Production program at the University of Regina, I was immediately struck by Luke’s story.  As many students in artistic programs do, I was worried about my job prospects, the quality of a university education, and of course, how much it would all cost.  I emailed Luke with my concerns, hoping for a few tidbits about why (and more importantly, how) he did what he did, but instead he responded to my email in a wonderfully thoughtful blog post.  And what’s more, he’s asked me to share my experiences in return.  As someone who considers herself a story-teller, I consider talking about myself an awkward and often difficult experience.  But I’m very excited to do so today, and hopefully many of you will relate to my experiences, and if I’m lucky maybe I’ll be able to give a few words of wisdom.  So here we go!

Ever since I was very small, I’ve always told stories.  When my friends and I had play-dates, we would dress up as princesses and reinact our favorite tales for our parents, and even make up our own.  I remember holding up a set of bed sheets in front of the living room like the curtains in front of a play, and pretending to unveil a dramatic production in the making.  A story could never be too complex, or too detailed, to be told.  Growing up, my artistic aspirations were always encouraged by my parents (one of whom was a professional photographer), who supported my dreams – publish a novel, direct a movie, star in a play – no matter how ambitious.   

By the time I graduated high school, I had already won a provincial drama award and written the first 300 pages of my novel.  I practiced my skills by making fan-videos and fan-fiction under a pen-name, and learned how to take feedback from my peers and from random strangers on the internet.   I also created a few short films with my cheap digital camera, one of which I’ve included;  it was made a few years ago as a high-school adaptation of Chaucer’s “The Pardoner’s Tale”.  Although the camera work was grainy and shaky at best, I am still proud of the set design and lighting set ups, as well as my ability to shoot the project in a few hours.  I still had a long way to go, but I was ambitious about my prospects.  By this point I had narrowed down my interests enough to decide that a job writing for television was for me, that it combined all of these elements that I loved so much. And all that was left was to go to University and get a degree.

As most University students will tell you, my first year was an eye-opener.  I was wide-eyed and bushy-tailed, a small-town girl in a new city, and I was no longer the top of my class.  The other students in my program had already published films, entered festivals, written for the newspaper, and I had some shaky-camera films and an unpublished draft of a fantasy novel rotting on my desk back home.  It was time to pull up my socks and get going.  I wrote more, did more photography, and filmed a few projects that were less shaky than my previous work.  But in the back of my mind there was the uncertainty of what I was doing.  Here I was, spending a lot of money on a university education that might or might not get me a job similar to the one that I wanted.  And this year, the Saskatchewan Provincial government decided to eliminate the film tax credit that would allow film-makers in the province to be able to afford their productions.  Many of my classmates and I wrote to the premier voicing our opinions, and in return he sent us a generic letter saying that there was nothing he could do.  A lot of these same classmates dropped out or switched majors, and those of us who were left continued to take film classes nervously, wondering what sort of future we had once we left the safety of the brick walls on campus.  The intelligent professors, expensive equipment, and pre-arranged assignments would not be there forever. 

As poetic as it would be to say that I had been there and back, I am still not sure where I will end up.  I just haven’t gotten to the end of the tunnel yet.  I surprised myself this year by finding a second love – psychology – which stems from my love of people and their interaction with others.  I imagine myself writing for a tv show with a new and improved understanding of people, thanks to my bright and shiny psychology degree, but on the other hand I worry that it might not be the right road for me. 

Any of you who are interested in film or television, or are already looking into such a career, will understand what I mean when I say that there is no set path. If you want to have your life spelled out for you, to have the certainty of a guaranteed job in a specific amount of time, I recommend becoming a doctor or an engineer.  Because there is no set formula for film-makers.  But for those of you who, like myself, are willing to risk the uncertainty to get a chance to tell a good story, to make people laugh or cry, I highly recommend that you do it.  Everyone will have to get there their own way, be it university, a film festival, an internship, or some other road, but don’t pass up on your dreams simply because it’s scary.  I will continue to pursue film in my own way, no matter what “major” I decide to take, and I will always dream of creating and writing for my own television show.  I will have to decide for myself how to get there, which skills to focus on and what sort of projects are most important to me, but it will happen.

One of Janaya's photographs.

For those of you who are in the same boat, my biggest advice for you is this; If you want to make films, then make films.  As easy as it sounds, you just have to find a way to do what you love. There are so many books and websites that will give you advice on how to format your work, and you can take a class (or get a degree) if you need help.  If you need equipment or software, you can get something for any budget, and there are facilities where you can rent cameras and lighting equipment. Even if you get together with your friends and film a movie with your hand-held camera and make everything yourself, you are still practicing the skills you need to make a bigger project.  You’d be surprised what sort of things – costumes, lighting posts, tripods – you can make around the house.  My classmate once roped a camera to a skateboard to get the appearance of a monster crawling on the ground.  Be personable and make contacts in any industry you are interested in, work on your portfolio, and toot your own horn when you have to.  Look for inspiration everywhere, because help can come from the most unlikely places.  For example, I learned a lot about cinematography from my mother, who has worked in the photography business for over 30 years, my 6th grade teacher taught me a lot about writing, and the post Luke wrote in response to my email was ripe with advice. 

Fall will come before we know it, and onto another school year.  I cannot say how I will make my way yet, but I will continue to work on my skills, expand my contacts, and do what I can to make better and better work.  Although I still get overwhelmed by my future, I know that every young person feels the same way.  I will keep doing what I love, continue to work with my classmates and learn from those who inspire me, and I will figure it out.  If you keep at it, you will too.

A big thanks to Luke, and to all of you who are reading this.

Jul 22, 2011

Meet Alex Chandler

It's not often that I get the chance to feature other film makers who are just starting out and are going through the motions about how to approach their own career in film.  I got to know Alex through my blog and YouTube channel, and since then I've enjoyed our numerous discussions about film.  He's made me consider a lot of my own choices with some of his questions about film school, and it's been a lot of fun to hear about what he might like to do and how he might want to get there. 

I look forward to seeing how Alex continues to grow as a film maker and am happy to have made another lasting connection via the web - always expanding that network!  So, without further delay, here's Alex to share a bit about himself. 

To start I'd like to thank Luke for letting me voice myself on his blog! 

My name is Alex Chandler, and I'm an aspiring film maker from Washington State. Currently I'm looking into film schools that will help achieve my goal in this career. But at the same time I'm making lots of short films and learning film techniques wherever I can find them.

Alex (left) with friend, Ethan.

One of the bigger projects I've been working on with my team, Filming Humor, is a series of short films. The first one, The Spies; Layer of the Devil was released Christmas day 2010. The other two our going through the process.

With the first video, we learned a lot about story telling, weaving a story together, and realized a lot of our difficulties on location. From this we were able to create "The Directors On Scene Checklist."

This checklist came in very handy during the filming of the sequel, The Spies; James and the Vampire. Because the two directors, myself included, were on location working together and knew the checklist fairly well, helping the footage turn out great. 

Another key bonus put off by using the checklist, was that we were able to run through the script in a much more timely manner. The only reason we were rushed at the end of the day, was due to the battery dying...unfortunately a spare battery is another couple weeks from being owned...just bought it on EBay.

The point here is that with each experience there is a lot of hands on learning that goes on. I mean it's a lot of trial and error, but with a lot of my friends in drama, and myself taking classes related to film in general, we are able to figure things out a lot faster.

One thing that has happened dramatically fast between the last few short films we've made, is improvement to the plot. My friend Mariah is a writer, she has been helping develop the story and plot lately. And because of her insight we have reordered scenes out of chronological order, and grown depth to characters.

Really a strong team helps you grow, which is one thing to look for in colleges. You really want a hands on experience, and once you get out of the college you will want to know a lot of different people, with different sets of expertise. Where as I personally am an editor, I might need to meet up with all sorts of other specialists.

Looking for a college to go to will be quite a difficult task for anyone, and there are tons of options. Luckily for me I have Luke to ask for advice from, and his numerous life experiences.

The first thing I've discovered that I need to do, is decide what I want. In general you will like one part of film making. I enjoy editing the most, but of course everything else is fun too. But the key to choosing what, where and, everything else is really a personal preference.

From my point of view there are multiple options. You can freelance video edit and film, similar to what Luke does with Stream Media. You could also work for a company, and have a steady income; as in the case of Luke, he has Weddingstar. And then the one option I find the most tasteful, is that of a cinematic nature, more of a Hollywood sort of thing.

Personally I couldn't say what I'm planning to do yet, but it will take a lot of time and thought to fully decide.

Thanks for Reading,

Jan 7, 2010

Cinematic Acrobatic Presents: Bhaveek Makan

To feature the talents of other artists and gain their unique perspectives has long been the motivation behind a lot of what is posted on Editing Luke. To encourage interaction, involvement, and feedback is vital, and I can think of no better way to do this than to allow other motivated filmmakers to share their views in their own words.

I first came to know Bhaveek through the Film Contest in early 2009. He had submitted a video project that also became voted through to the semi-finals, and it was there that I got a glimpse of some of his work. Through a series of casual comments on each others videos and over facebook, I came to appreciate his ambition in making himself known to others throughout the contest.

At 18 years old, Bhaveek is just at the beginning of his prospective career in filmmaking and I for one am excited to see where his story will go next. Loyal viewers, Cinematic Acrobatic Presents: Bhaveek Makan.

1. Who is Bhaveek Makan?

I'm a South African born 'brown guy' who loves skateboarding/snowboarding and of course . . . filmmaking.

See Bhaveek and Jashan Makan's YouTube channel for Rendering Glint Films here. View the Rendering Glint Films blog here.

2. What is it about movie-making that interests you most?

Post production like editing is the most interesting part of filmmaking to me. I don't think its as IMPORTANT as the other aspects like scripting/storyboarding(since these elements are vital for editing to even take place) but it is obviously great to see something so simple be put together in the way you imagined the film to be.

3. Passion, Creativity, Drive - choose one.

I pick creativity. Without creativity, there is no passion,
thus no drive. When being creative with something, passion comes automatically.

4. If you had to choose a single project you've done or participated in that best reflects your individual style, which would it be and why?

Probably my film "Eat Ghee" since it really shows a true exaggeration of an Indian boy facing new challenges in a new country. It made me more interested in my own culture as before I made this film. I watched countless amounts of Indian Soap operas and Bollywood movies so I can get a sense of style.

5. Is there a unifying message to the movies you like to make, or is every project a fresh start?

Most my films are never serious. But if they are, there is no "in your face message"...its mostly subtle. SO a fresh start for each project. I like all my films to be insanely different.

6. What is the best piece of advice you've been given or come across?

Best advice would be "avoid shoe leather". Shoe leather meaning if I had to show someone getting from point A to B, I don't show his/hers every move to get there. I found this interesting as most my older films had this which makes things super boring and long.

7. In a utopian world, what would you like to achieve with your work or what would you like it to say about you individually?

I would like to hope that one day, my work is shown to the world. I would want my own Indian community to appreciate my work as well...because most Indians have really the same jobs: Engineer; Doctor; etc. I want to let my people know that there are so many other things out in the world that can be considered as a job. I would want to be known as someone who loves filmmaking.

Oct 17, 2009

Cinematic Acrobatic Presents: Tyler Cyrenne

To feature the talents of other artists and gain their unique perspectives has long been the motivation behind a lot of what is posted on Editing Luke. To encourage interaction, involvement, and feedback is vital, and I can think of no better way to do this than to allow other motivated filmmakers to share their views in their own words.

As a close friend and film school buddy it only seemed like a matter of time before Tyler Cyrenne shared his view for this series. To me, Tyler has always embodied a lot of that film school optimism and belief that bigger things were just around the corner. It's really been in just the last couple of years though that his approach has become even more assertive: starting a blog, entering contests, and creating original videos on his own terms. Plus, I have to say his involvement and assistance in many of my film school shorts and personal projects in recent years has also reflected his ambition, for which I very much appreciate.

With his stint in film school being one of the longest (sorry Tyler, I had to say it) of anyone I know, he's now starting a new chapter. I look forward to seeing how he decides to pursue his filmmaking in a professional/commercial capacity in the years ahead. In continuation with this new series of posts, readers, viewers, and dreamers, Cinematic Acrobatic Presents: Tyler Cyrenne.

1. Who is Tyler Cyrenne?

I’m a 25 year old filmmaker from Regina, Saskatchewan. I was born in the small town of Ponteix, Saskatchewan, where a lack of productive activities drove me to movies as a form of escape. With no local movie theatre, I either had to rely on TV, buying or renting, or driving an hour to the closest theatre. This meant every movie I got to see on the big screen became a privilege, and was rare, which made me appreciate the cinema more, and added a permanent magic to all things movies. And once I found out people could go to school for filmmaking, what I wanted to do became very clear at that point.

Personal Blogs:

2. As someone who went to film school, was it worth it for you?

Definitely. Even if most of film school was BS classes, the production aspect of it provided a practice ground for the basis of what making a well thought out film entails. And being able to constantly have your work critiqued by professionals and colleagues (other than moms and relatives) was an invaluable if not occasionally harsh way of letting you know if A) you have what it takes and B) how to get in the habit of always aiming higher and always experimenting no matter how little or pointless. Filmmaking isn’t always about how much money you can make or how successful you become; it’s about whether you have the passion to keep pushing yourself enough and not give up so that eventually the rest falls into place. The friends I made during film school going through this insane process have lasted thus far and I believe will last a life time.

3. What about movie-making inspires you?

Movies are unglamorous to make, cumbersome to put together, time consuming and a pain in the ass - but it's all for the sake of feeling something at the end of it. Be it a feeling of accomplishment for the filmmaker, a laugh from the viewer, or a whole date planned around seeing a movie and getting that first kiss after. To put something out there that creates so many memories, and contains so much life; to know that without that one small idea that arose out of a joke, or an everyday situation none of it might have happened or have had as nig of impact, is the most rewarding thing someone can do.

4. If you had to choose a single project you've made or participated in to showcase your style, which would it be and why?

I would say it’s 4th Year Film Project. Now, it’s not one of my most pristine or well thought out projects, that’s more likely to be something like Gilligan. But, from start to finish on 4th Year, I wanted something that would appeal to my core audience – and at the time that was my friends and I. So, the script was always based around the inside jokes or sayings we had at that moment. The film was intended to capture that moment in time, so that I could watch it later on down the road and just laugh. I’m very nostalgic for the old times so to sum up my entire film school experience it was the only thing that made sense to do at the time. The same goes for my involvement in the Buick to the Future series - it’s about getting together with your friends, and capturing that moment. Which is why there’s four in the series so far, I imagine. Because when you find something that works, it’s becomes not only easier and easier to add on to that storyline, but it’s more and more fun, and almost addictive.

5. Passion, Creativity, Drive - Choose ONE.

Passion, hands down. Passion for something means it’s all you think about. You live and you breathe it, it becomes a part of your being. If you have passion, creativity and drive will fall into place. For me it’s a natural evolution.

6. Seeing as you've helped me with a number of my shorts, I should ask, what has that experience been like from your perspective?

Rewarding. I say that for two reasons. One, it’s nice not having the (albeit light) pressure of having to write the script or work the camera or edit it later on. All I do is go over the script, show up and get to act silly. Then I wait a few days, and I get to see the fruits of our labor. Not to mention in most of our films together we do so much ad lib that it’s entertaining to see how you put it together. Buick 2 is a great example of that. The other reason ties to what I said earlier, about making these films together, and bonding over the experience, making our relationship stronger as friends and as filmmakers.

7. In a utopian world, what would you like to achieve with your work or what would you like it to say about you individually?

Obviously we all want to be successful and win Oscars and all that stuff. I don’t think any actual filmmaker or actor that actually wins goes into that project aiming for that type of recognition. They do it for the same reasons I do – to have fun and challenge themselves. If you win something –great, if not - then whatever. That’s not what matters. What I want to achieve ultimately is to be able to make the films I want with a decent budget and the freedom to collaborate with whoever I want. I want my movies to appear in the same places as the movies I’ve watched and fell in love with, in hopes that maybe I can inspire someone in the same way I was inspired - plant that seed of inspiration and passion and the idea that no matter what, you can achieve anything. I want people to see my movies and say “That movie was awesome, I had a great time watching it, and it looked like they had fun making it”. Because if things go the way I would ultimately love them to – it will be.

Oct 1, 2009

Cinematic Acrobatic Presents: Alex Lamburini

To feature the talents of other artists and gain their unique perspectives has long been the motivation behind a lot of what is posted on Editing Luke. To encourage interaction, involvement, and feedback is vital, and I can think of no better way to do this than to allow other motivated filmmakers to share their views in their own words.

For the debut of this brand new series of original posts I'm very happy to feature a young artist that I've had the good fortune of getting to know through his work and his interaction on this blog. As a student I knew I wanted to kick off this series with his interview - I've long made it clear that my own early student work proved to be a catalyst for much of my more ambitious projects and goals. Without further delay, I'm proud to feature the brand new interview of this up and coming artist, ladies and gents, Cinematic Acrobatic Presents: Alex Lamburini.

1. Who is Alex Lamburini?

Alex Lamburini is a sixteen year old director, photographer and screenwriter. His film career began when he was only fourteen years old and was selected out of hundreds of aspiring filmmakers nationwide to join the Samsung Mobile Fresh Films production crew, where he produced a film featuring actor Scott Cohen from Gilmore Girls. While working with Fresh Films, Alex and nine other teen filmmakers cast, directed, produced and edited a short film on a professional Hollywood set in only seven days. At fourteen Alex was already working with casting directors from the film “Freaky Friday” and professional actors. This proved to be only a stepping stone in Alex’s career. At age fifteen, he directed a short film entitled “Meeting Mr. Williams” on location in New York with a small DV camera and a budget of $0. Alex went on to win the El Capitan Film Award at the 2009 Yosemite Film Festival for his short film “Meeting Mr. Williams. Hundreds of films were submitted and Alex’s film “Meeting Mr. Williams” was one of eight that was selected for the prestigious award. Alex Lamburini will be working as an intern for a major film studio in New York City and at only sixteen years old he is directing the new music video “It’s So Clear” for the band The Given Motion. Alex is planning on attending NYU film school after high school.

Personal Blog: Alex Lamburini
Twitter: Alex Lamburini

2. What is it about filmmaking that initially hooked you?

I think what initially hooked me about filmmaking was simply, storytelling; that and being exposed to film production at a very young age. When I was only thirteen years old I began writing stories and being the lover of literature that I am I analyzed them. I began to notice that in each of them I found a little bit of myself and my god, this fascinated me! I found that I was translating certain aspects of my personal feelings and experiences into my stories. While this was my initial “hook” all this really did was engage me in the writing aspect of filmmaking. I think what really got me filming and eventually directing was my desire to release these feelings and bring them to a new medium for people to understand what I was experiencing. That medium, for translating these stories just happened to be directing a short movie and that’s where it all began. I couldn’t tell people what I was feeling so directing a film allowed me to show it to them. At this time I was hungry for more and I wanted to actually make a film. That year I was only fourteen years old and I was accepted out of hundreds of aspiring filmmakers nationwide into the Samsung Mobile Fresh Films program. I worked with nine other teen filmmakers to produce a film from start to finish. We did everything from casting actors to shooting the film on a professional Hollywood set and finally editing together a final cut, in only seven days. Throughout the week we worked with a casting director from the film “Freaky Friday” and actor Scott Cohen. I learned so much and it opened up so many doors for me, I think that’s what really pushed me to pursue a career in the movie industry. It gave me so many of the tools I needed to succeed. The experience of producing a film at such a young age was indescribable and it was something I couldn’t imagine living without. I was hooked from that point on.

3. What are your influences, both in terms of other artists and what you take from your everyday life?

I think in terms of other artists my two main influences are Steven Spielberg and Brett Ratner, for two entirely different and unique reasons. Spielberg’s films deal with aliens and the paranormal and this of course stems from his feelings of alienation as a child. When I wrote my first film “Meeting Mr. Williams” I found that alienation was a key theme in the story. I think Spielberg’s ability to masterfully handle this concept in his films is amazing, and it has inspired me and touched me in a way that no other filmmaker has been able to. It’s not so much his storytelling that has inspired me but it’s more his niche as a director that has inspired me beyond belief and I find myself incorporating similar feelings into my films today. For example, in my film “Facing the Sun” the protagonist Caty feels both emotionally and physically alienated. I think my protagonist Caty kind of acts as the alien figure that is so predominate in Spielberg’s films. I feel that special connection with him and his films and it really has influenced my work as a director. As far as Brett Ratner is concerned, he has served as a major inspiration for me as a director. I know professionally, Ratner wouldn’t give up when he was coming up in the movie industry. He wouldn’t take no for an answer and from what I’ve heard he was extremely driven. He was NYU’s youngest film major, at only sixteen years old. If that’s not a perfect example of his drive, I’m not sure what is. I think because of the attitude he had when he was starting out Brett Ratner really has been a major inspiration in my career, especially considering that I’m just starting out myself.

I think as far as my influences from everyday life are concerned I would have to say that my life is my work and my work is a mirror image of my life. I think Andrei Tarkovski put it best when he said “The advice I can give to beginners is not to separate their work, their movie, their film from the life they live.” Your best work comes from what you know and if you separate your life from your work, you’re not going to come away with quality work. I think as far as my influences are concerned I find that whatever I’m going through in my life at the time that I’m writing a script or directing ends up working its way into my film. It’s not so much that even I try to do this; it’s just something that happens. In terms of everyday life my come from my emotions and my experiences. Even terrible experiences have fueled some of my best stories, so I never shut out of my feelings and emotions. In terms of what I take from my life; well I take everything and I think this quote explains that best – “If you want to work on your art, work on your life.”

4. If you had to choose a single project you've made or participated in to showcase your style, which would it be and why?

I think if I had to choose a single project to represent my style it would be one of my first films “Meeting Mr. Williams.” The premise behind that film was about coming of age and feelings of acceptance. In the film every character feels out of place in one way or another and when these characters meet they kind of justify their placement. It’s an interesting concept. I think that movie may be less of a conventional film, but it’s something that defines my style so well. My scripts and films are marked by characters that feel alienated, out of place or trapped in some way. Often times in the end these characters come to find acceptance or placement at the same gaining knowledge concerning something. Essentially this is everything that my film “Meeting Mr. Williams” is. The characters in that film find acceptance in each other while maturing in their own way and grow past their burdening feelings of alienation. Also, I’ve been told that my films have a haunting quality to them. They leave the audience with something when they walk away and I think “Meeting Mr. Williams” does this so well. The ending deals with themes of acceptance and considering that these feelings are so universal, they really touch home with a lot of people, and leave them with something when they walk away. This project sort of paved the way for my style to develop in future films so I see it as a starting place. I think because of its simplicity and symbolic nature, it really shows the most about my style as opposed to something that’s completely fueled by plot. I’ve directed films like that and it just doesn’t get across a perfect image of my style like this film does.

5. Passion, Creativity, Drive - Choose one.

Drive. Hands down, no questions asked. Don’t get me wrong, passion and creativity are extremely important but you can have all the passion in the world and all the creativity in the world but without drive that just makes you talented and most importantly unknown. I’ve met a lot of talented directors and writers that love film but they don’t care if people see their work. They don’t care about getting their work out to a wider audience or taking advantage of a great opportunity in their career. For some reason the interest is just not there, and where does that get them? Absolutely nowhere. Success doesn’t just happen because you’re talented. If that was the case, there would be thousands of people that were famous and successful. You have to make things happen for yourself, nothing is going to come to you. You need to come to it. You have no idea how many talented directors I’ve known that have flopped in their career and at the same time I’ve known people with one hundred times less talent succeed, and it doesn’t pain me to see that because I know those people that were one hundred times less talented, wanted it one hundred times more.

6. Best piece of advice you've received so far?

I think artistically speaking the best advice I’ve received was from music video and TV commercial director Tom Oesch. I wrote to him asking him for advice. He’s probably one of the nicest people I’ve ever spoken with; he got back to me the next day. The first thing he told me was that I needed to find my niche. I needed to find a very specific style and focus on that one thing. Tom told me that everyone that’s successful in Hollywood is known for something, whether it’s Ace Norton, who’s known for shooting quirky pieces, that utilize crazy CGI or Joseph Kahn who’s known to blend live action with CGI. He told me that Hollywood is incredibly categorized and departmentalized. After all this, he finished by telling me not to spread myself too wide, find my niche, develop it and once I become very, very established, I’ll have more leeway to try other things. I take this advice to heart every time I consider directing a film, or begin writing a script. I think as I grow older and my career progresses this advice becomes even more important. I know that when I write a script, it’s a unique story and the reason I’m able to direct it is because I know the material so well and it’s something that is really my niche. In the future I won’t be writing the scripts, other writers will, and I need to have a specific style, something that I can bring to a producer and say, this is why I would be perfect for this script, let me direct it. If you can’t be specific about your style you won’t be able to identify a script or a story concept that you can really contribute something to as an artist. Keeping that in mind, I take Tom’s advice to heart every time I direct a film or write a script.

7. In a utopian world, what would you like to achieve with your work or what would you like it to say about you individually?

I want to direct. That’s set in stone, but eventually I want to direct professionally, in television or for movie studios. I’d like to start my career directing music videos and commercials coming out of film school. There’s so much to be learned here that can carry over to a successful career directing feature films, because they all deal with storytelling the same way movies do. Just in a shorter amount of time. It’s like getting paid to practice directing short films. I think eventually I want to get to a point in my career where producers can read a script and think of my name as a director, because I’d be perfect for that film. That’s really all I want; to direct movies. I direct because I want to get a message across through my film or contribute something to a story and then be able to entertain people with that story. That’s why I love this. It’s that simple, there’s really nothing else to it. I think as far as what I’d like to say about myself is concerned. I’ll let my films do the talking, because in every one of my films there is a little piece of me, and there’s more to be learned there then I could ever tell you about myself as an artist.