1. How did you find your way to cinematography?
It was a long road. I was working as a freelance graphic designer and photographer in Seattle. I ended up designing some posters for NW Film Forum (then called Wiggly World). My payment was to take a one day Super 16mm class on how to work an ARRI SR2. As soon as I heard the celluloid running through the gate, I knew that this was what I wanted to do with my life. It combined photography with design, color and time. On a larger scale, filmmaking combined all my loves (Writing, music, photography). My life changed with the sound of that camera and I've been behind the camera since.
2. What specific artists or works inspire you the most? I find myself being inspired by such a wide variety of art/artists and this directly ties into one of the most exciting aspects of working in film. Each project has its own nature, its own identity - a story that is being told from its unique story to the audience. When I get involved in a project, one of the most thrilling aspects is discovering this nature. When the story's identity is understood, I then find inspirations that match what we are going for with the film. Discovery keeps me fresh and I love that film is constantly challenging me to discover new inspirations.
3. How did you come to be involved in the webseries MICROAGGRESSIONS? What was the workflow like on the project? I've collaborated with director Brian Padian for several years on his short and feature projects. He has a very intellectual approach to his scripts and characters that presents exciting opportunities to the camera department. We had a compressed schedule for prep on Microaggressions. We had concepts on what our approach would be, but it was really landing in the first location on the first day that we dedicated to the framing theme that we stuck with for the rest of the shoot. I appreciate Brian's trust in me and his own process, he knows his story well before he tells it. It allows for a fluidity that gives room to absorb the vibe of a space, the tone of the structures and the mood of the characters and make decisions in the moment.
4. What are some of your upcoming projects?I have a feature length documentary called MR. IMMORTAL JELLYFISH MAN which I produced and shot, currently in post-production. I am currently in production on several short documentaries and 2 feature documentaries that I am producing and directing. As for narrative work, I am in development (and hopefully soon, pre-pro) on my next feature film as writer/director, titled FRIDAY AFTERNOON IN THE UNIVERSE. I am also writing my next feature work, which is a thriller - a genre I haven't tackled yet. I will also be filming Brian's next feature project SISTER/BROTHER very soon!
5. Your top 3 favorite films?
I'm better at top 300 films - my mood and what I want to be inspired by fluctuates so often, it's hard to commit. But some of my favorite films include:
In the Mood for Love
Wings of Desire
So I Married an Axe Murderer
note: as Scott suggests above, we’ve worked together for almost a decade. He shot I’m Your Man, The Big Black Dark, The Black Sea, and the Sister/Brother teaser trailer as well as MICROAGGRESSIONS. Building that trust over time and being able to intuit where each of us is coming from on a setup/shot/scene is so vital. Several times on MICROAGGRESSIONS, I was lost in the flow of production or lunch or whatever tiny detail (note: hazards of not having a producer) and I suggested scrapping a scene or shot for the sake of ease, for the sake of the crew, or for the sake of wrapping the day. Scott fought for them, knowing it would be better for the project and he was right in all instances. It doesn’t hurt that he’s a writer/director when he’s not shooting things for other people. If you need a cinematographer I can’t recommend him highly enough. Learn more about him at his site. - BP