Earlier this year I had the chance to team up "Banshees" Rickey Russert on a passion project about the challenges people face with addictive prescription pain medicines. Having shot the documentary "Behind the Orange Curtain" in 2012 that investigated the teenage prescription drug epidemic in Orange County I felt particularly close to the material.
Over the course of 6 days, using a micro crew of passionate filmmakers, we were able to really elevate the quality and caliber of this production. I sometimes get caught in the mindset that in order to make a quality film you need to have the "right" budget with all the speciality lighting and camera equipment. Don't get me wrong, having the right tools and a quality crew can make all the difference in how a film ultimate looks in the end, but as I have developed and deepened my understanding of cinematography, I have really learned to embrace the tools and shooting environments that I'm given, shifting my focus from limitations to that of possibilities. What works with this location? What aspects of the natural light can I embrace and enhance? These are the questions that I focus on when I'm faced with a challenging shooting environment. In the end, taking on these challenges instead of running from them or complaining to production, has made me a better cinematographer who can adapt and adjust with greater ease. Its projects like this that I'm truly grateful for and sometimes learn the most about myself as an artist.