Here's something I've been working on with some amazing people, for some amazing people who are doing amazing things for an amazing city....
Since moving to Hobart, Tasmania some 5 years ago, I've learned that the usual hierarchy of a film set, doesn't always necessarily work. I could have just as confidently written "the usual" doesn't always work either. More to the point (no pun intended), I have learned that in order to collaborate with others in such a competitive field, I need to listen more, talk less (shit), get comfortable with compromise (be comfortable with discomfort in other words) and be prepared to face my own narcissistic views on where and how I should be at this stage of my career.
I open the description of the above video with such a confronting paragraph because I feel the need to elaborate on a few things when it comes to giving credit, where credit is due.
Who shot this?
That's a fair question, especially when asked in the context of a cinematography blog, a Vimeo page or film making forum. And when I hear that question asked, my ego jumps to the front of the queue and screams "ME!!!", but that is not true...although it has truth to it.
For just under a year, I've been collaborating with a very talented, creative duo here in Hobart - Mark & Tom. They began working together a little over 6 years ago under their new banner, producing high quality digital media in the form of video, web, design and animation. Both Mark and Tom have great skill sets and complimentary ones at that - Mark being at the forefront of video production and Tom leading the design side of things, they together produce consistent, high quality content that clients love and come back for. So how do I fit into all of this? That's a good question, and one that is still being talked about and negotiated.
A year ago, Mark contacted me and asked if I would like to help him shoot a series of commercials. It was a strange request, knowing that he was aware of my skill set and how it might overlap with his own. We eventually settled on "sure, I'll do the lighting...and the colour grading :)". Being careful not to trod on anyone's toes, I did however in my usual fashion, over-step the boundaries and push what most would find acceptable in the given situation. That being, I attended meetings with Mark and the director, gave strong opinions about things that weren't only to do with lighting, came along to recce's and slowly but surely pushed my way into 'helping' with shot decisions and lensing choices. Not really knowing Mark or the key crew from the agency, my competence and passion for the work at hand was well accepted, despite it's unusual place in the usual hierarchy of things. This gave me a great sense of contribution, acceptance and acknowledgement - all things I had greatly missed for a number of years here in Hobart (refer to earlier, miserable posts about "quitting the biz").
Needless to say, with a bunch of great people working on a great project, all with the ability to collaborate and work together for the sake of the best result, the outcome was a success :) Below is two of the six commercials we made for Tas Networks:
So, who shot these commercials? Mark did, of course, and he shot them beautifully. His style is his own, and I really admire it. But the outcome of the project as you should know, was the result of many, of whom I should include Tom. Tom knows very little about the Black Magic Design URSA Mini Pro 4.6K. He cares not for it's dynamic range, it's colour rendition or the lensing choices made on the day. Tom DOES however care greatly about the project at hand, offering valuable ideas, generating creative discussion and contributing in ways that simply cannot be given enough credit. Having someone as part of your crew who is supportive yet confronting, positive and optimistic when things fall apart and willing to do any job asked of him is simply invaluable. Let's not forget his well developed eye for design and his good taste in general.
Meanwhile, I hope you're getting my point - one which I've written about many times before, but this time not from the explicit role of "Cinematographer". I'm contributing the great works in ways that are not exactly in line with what I had planned 10 years ago. I'm contributing in ways that don't necessarily have a title and cannot be summed up in a word or phrase that sits 'above the line' on a call sheet. It's a strange place to be, I'll be honest. It confronts my ego, all of my inner labels and ideas of success...and that's a scary thing.
That being said, amidst this new territory as I veer away from hierarchical titles, I do feel a great sense of ownership and contribution to the work I'm doing and I am eternally grateful to Mark, and Tom, for allowing me to be part of it.
On the topic of appreciation, there are a handful of others here in Hobart who deserve entire blog posts of praise and admiration - Richard Williams being one of them, but I'll get to that later.
Finally, back to The Point video at the top of the page. Here are some credits:
Writer: Finegan Kruckemeyer (sorry we hacked some of it mate!)
DoP: Mark Kuilenburg & Matthew Scott
Lighting & Colourist: Matthew Scott
VFX artist: Mark Kuilenburg
Makeup artist: Liz Goulding
Creative Directors: Matthew Scott, Mark Kuilenburg, Tom Smith
Logo Design and Website Designer: Tom Smith
Areal photography: Ignite Digi (Tom Waugh)
There's more to add to that list, and that includes the wonderful, creative, daring and lovely people at Macquarie Point Development Group. Thanks Mary, Alex and Emma for taking a chance on us :)