Emily and I moved to Los Angeles a little more than a year ago. Since then, the good and the bad have come in waves. It felt like the bad far outweighed the good in the beginning, both in work and life. As with moving to any new city, especially out of college, it was challenging to experience LA without any money. The whole reason we moved to LA was for me to break into the film industry. A great idea, but without knowing anyone in it, it took a lot of work to get my first foot in the door.
I want to eventually become a director of photography (DP), the person in charge of the look and visual style of a film. As I first started out, I had no clue what a DP actually did or how to light anything. Heck, I didn't even know how a film set ran. I started from the bottom like so many others, slowly starting to learn that a set is comprised of many departments from hair and makeup to wardrobe to electric and grip.
After a few months of dabbling in a few different departments including camera (pulls focus, moves and keeps the camera up and running), electric (runs the cable that carries the power for the set and sets up the lights to light the set) and grip (shapes the lights the electricians set, assists in moving the camera and keeps the set safe), I decided that learning lighting and being an electrician made the most sense.
As time went on, I tried to meet as many people as possible who work as electricians to learn from. Soon I became comfortable with the basics and could focus on the art of lighting. Eventually I met a guy who I would go on to become very good friends with, Benny Alvarado. I did a few free jobs with Benny until he called me to work on a small non-union feature in February of this year. Once that movie ended, he pulled me directly onto a unionized movie with the same DP, Michael Lloyd.
Getting onto this movie was so important because in order to join my union, I had to get a certain amount of days on union productions. This is very challenging because the show either has to "flip," meaning that it is a non-union show and then becomes unionized, or you get "grandfathered" in. In order to do this, you must get onto a union show before they sign an agreement with all the unions. This movie got me all of those days in one shot, making me an extremely lucky person.
I joined I.A.T.S.E. Local 728 on July 7 of this year, marking our first year in Los Angeles a huge success. Joining 728 has allowed me to work on some huge shows in LA including Ray Donovan and Brooklyn 99.
I would like to thank a lot of people who have helped me get to where I am, but I would especially like to thank Benny. Without him and without all that I learned from him, there is no way I would have gotten into 728 so quickly.
I would also like to thank Emily. Without her, I wouldn't be able to live the dream that I am living everyday. Thank you so much Em.