During this studio visit I get to hang with my friend and neighbor, Chloe. We talked about who we make stuff for, playing as an adult, and fleeting moments of laughter.
Life was good. I mean, life is good but, damn life was good.
I had been working for the lovely gentlemen at Saint West Filmworks for about 3.5/4 years and we made some badass stuff together. I was making decent money for a 21 year old with only a high school education and I got to hang out with my friends everyday for eight hours, Monday through Friday. I got to build a pretty freakin sweet portfolio. I was working in the field I wanted to be in, with a great crew that I had basically harassed for two years until I finally got this dream job of mine. And I had every intention to stay under their employ and make awesome stuff until we were all old and crusty and couldn't push a record button down anymore. So what gives?
Well, time gives, creativity gives, your sanity gives; or rather, you slowly see yourself give those things up. And I don't mean to say that my boys at Saint West were hovering over my desk painting everything I did with a dull, grey brush. We all found ourselves in bit of a pickle after having worked amazingly together for years. We ended up in a situation that, at its outset, looked like a prime deal with a sweet new downtown office all to our own and shiny, new big name clients to go with it.
Well none of the aforementioned awesomeness came to fruition. Things quickly changed from doing rad work to entering work hours into Workamajig. Kick me right in the teeth.
So about a year after the acquisition we left. All of us.
Our longtime editor Ryan Knight went on to partner with the awesome team at Pure Cinema Productions, I went off on my own, and Matt Mangham, Scott Rieckens and Matt Jensen now make up the powerhouse crew behind Saint West Filmworks. And lucky me, I still get to work with all of them.
The first few months were smooth sailing.
Jobs aplenty. Money was flowing. New clients. Old crew. It was almost like it was back before the acquisition, but with more vacation time. Then I learned what it's like to have too much vacation time. Not enough jobs. Not enough money. And I'm still learning how to navigate all of this. I've done the one-meal-a-day thing during the weeks I wait for checks to come in. I've even done the no-meal-a-day thing. I've had to take money from my tax account to pay my rent and feed myself. And holy shit this is only month 7. And holy shit I love it. I've got a whole new appreciation for the phrase "the struggle is real". The truth is, unless you have an amazing network and your phone is ringing off the hook you will most likely, and quite literally, go hungry at times in the beginning.
I've had this conversation several times over the last few weeks, which led to the writing of this post. I get asked, "Has it been tough?", or "Is it worth it?", a lot. My short answer is, "Yes, and yes." The honest truth is I'd rather be broke on my own account than have a great salary and work on stuff I'd rather not work on. And I'm happier for it. That's not to say there aren't times I've got to take a job I wouldn't normally be inclined to do because I need to get by, that happens. But at least it's of my own volition, and that makes the not so fun jobs easier to swallow.
I'm totally green at this, but I'm getting better at it. Getting used to the ebb and flow. Saving for rainy days when times are good, and tightening my belt when they aren't. I consider myself lucky to do what I do, and to be able to do it for myself. If you're feeling the itch to strike out on your own, I encourage you to go about it with precision. Work your networks, expand your circles, meet new people, go to Ad Club meetings, and attend creativity boosting/networking events (like Creative Mornings).
Do good work, be nice to people, and shake as many hands as you can.
With the birth of Saint West Filmworks still recent, the team (Scott Rieckens, Matt Jensen and Matt Mangham) sought out a collaboration that would really propel the launch of this new brand in the wake leaving behind their baby, FortyOneTwenty. In the end they connected with Story & Heart, a high quality, story-driven stock footage site, and the idea for a road trip to their headquarters in Portland was born.
The opportunities for beautiful imagery are endless on the way up to Portland regardless of the route you take, and ultimately the guys chose to head east of the Sierras for a mountainous experience. I was along for the ride, snapping beauty shots and behind the scenes photos on our way through San Diego, Mono Lake, Angora Lake, Chiloquin, and finally Portland, stopping on the side of the road a few times for some aerial footage and night photography.
The fruit of their labors should be available on Story & Heart's beautiful database in the next month or so, as well as a few tutorials the Saint West fellas made for the S&H Academy of Storytellers. Also be on the lookout for a full length behind the scenes video, shot by Story & Heart's very own Zippy Etzel, who stuck it out with us the entire way. Below are the selects from the trip, enjoy!
SAN DIEGO, CA
MONO LAKE, CA
ANGORA LAKE, CA
*Edit* Some photos featured [here] on FStoppers.
Recently I've had the pleasure of accompanying Matt Mangham on his last two shoots with local San Diego film photographers, this one being Julian Martin (@juliangoulian). Matt dreamt up this little passion project within the last year as he's been loving film more and more, and has become an avid film photographer himself.
Here's a look at some behind the scenes photos from the first half of the shoot at Julian's apartment in Encinitas, and below those, the full length video; which can also be found here.
I first became acquainted with Carter's work four or five months ago via his Instagram. I had just shot some photos up in Venice at the Deus Ex Machina "Raduno Ducati" event, and I was cruising the #caferacer hashtag when I stumbled upon his coffee ring drawings. Fast forward a couple months and I reached out to him to ask if I could shoot him working on a couple pieces.
We met at a local North Park favorite, Coffee and Tea Collective, to get acquainted and it turns out we've got a few mutual friends. After fueling up at C&T we walked over to another great local spot, Gym Standard, to pop in and say hey to shop owner Edwin. Edwin's got a great eye for design and the shop's general aesthetic is awesome so we decided to shoot there. Below are some images from our meeting, a few of which I'm told are going to be used in the upcoming campaign for the launch of the new ASUS smartphone - pretty sweet!
Be sure to drop him a line on the Vimeo page and tell him what you think!