Lots of things in the works over here at A Little Ampersand. In the mean time, here are some photos I snapped of gorgeous florals arranged by my sweet friend, Krista.
Happy Tuesday, everyone!
Have you seen the trailer for Chris Rock’s new film Top Five? It’s great. From what I can tell, the film seems to ask an important question of today’s entertainment industry, which is, can someone always be funny? It reminds me of Sting’s TED talk, about writers block. In his talk, Sting spoke about having no problem writing top hits for 20ish years, and then, the flow just stopped. Maybe Chris’s film speaks to that, a bit? Either way. I can’t wait to see it.
My family and I are frequent visitors of the restaurant and bar, Ice Plant. Ice Plant’s cocktail’s are gorgeously crafted, and the blue cheese, bacon wrapped dates – devils on horseback – are my husbands all time favorite thing, of all time.
My favorite part of any evening at Ice Plant, is the lighting change that happens around sunset. Warm, generous light beams down from the super high windows, and the ambience inside the restaurant radiates. I love it. It makes me feel like I’m sitting around discussing worldly topics with Oscar Wilde – who is enjoying an iced champagne – and F. Scott Fitzgerald – who is nursing his second gin of the night. (Not sure where my husband or children are in this fantasy.)
Have you ever been to Ice Plant? What’s your favorite cocktail? Lately, I’ve been a red wine or gin kind of a gal.
Hope you’re having a great Thursday!
Earlier this year, I cold e-mailed director, cinematographer and editor, Arian Soheili of Modshift Productions, to see if he would chat with me about his career. I’d been following his work for a bit, (his videos are super fun and inspiring) and get this, he is self taught! With humble regards Arian e-mailed me back, and agreed to an interview. Thank you Arian for taking the time to e-chat with me, and allowing me to share our interview with A Little Ampersand readers!
What do you consider to be your official title?
Director, cinematographer, editor. Or, a sum of all titles. In my current state – a videographer. 99% of my work lives on the internet. I make a lot of videos for different blogs, websites, and brand/company websites. (The topics vary.) Fashion, lifestyle, food, music, interviews, products, brands, short films. Whatever I can get my hands on.
When did you realize you wanted to work in the film industry?
Around 2005. I was developing and growing my interest and skills in photography. At the same time, I was becoming more and more obsessed with cinema. I think these two personal interests, which we’re occurring at the same time, were the perfect combination to spark the idea of working in the medium.
How did you go about making a name for yourself within your field?
When I was able to leave my previous career as a mechanical engineer and work full time as an independent videographer, I felt like that was a successful turning point for me, personally. As far as succeeding further in my field, that’s a whole other challenge. What I’m doing to succeed is really just progressing my craft and staying relevant as an artist. Every project I work on, every chance I get to shine, I try to push it farther. Always wanting to push my own limits. Putting out the best possible work I can produce and throwing out into the world. Progressing my craft, collaborating with other artists in the field, inspiring people who enjoy your art, and being inspired by others. This is what motivates me. It’s what makes your work meaningful. That’s what satisfies me personally, it’s what I would consider success.
Do you feel any type of person can make it in cinema?
Absolutely not. It’s extremely challenging. You need to create and maintain a constant flow of work. Meeting people about potential projects that may never happen, or that may happen but end up not getting funded. You have to deal with the business side of things, logistics, communicating with and extending your network of clients. You need to be able to improvise – constantly adapt to your environment and your scope of work – I shoot so many different types of videos, so many different genres for so many different clients, I rarely get to repeat a similar experience. So you have to be able to take on projects, which you may not know how to execute, and say “Yeah, I can do that!”. If you don’t, you will be a one trick pony, and your clients will fizzle out and you won’t be able to get enough projects to pay rent. You have to be driven with a real passion, and be willing to sacrifice things in your life to do what it takes to succeed. If your a 9-5 kind of person, this is not for you. If your not willing to put in days, nights, weekends, holidays – this is not for you. If your not willing to keep your head up when things are rough, if your not able to live on bread and pasta through tough times, this is not for you. Seriously, it can be very challenging.
Who are your professional role model’s?
Stanley Kubrick, Quentin Tarantino, Francis Ford Coppola, Martin Scorsese. Dude’s who really know how to make epic masterpiece films that can inspire you for a lifetime. I always come back to the films that I love to remember why I do what I do. To stay on course and not get lost in the profession. I see what they we’re able to achieve in their careers, and it’s totally inspiring for me.
What do you think about work life balance? Do you feel having a family is a hindrance when working in a creative industry such a film?
I think it’s more of a sacrifice then a hinderance. I definitely have sacrificed so much time and energy that I could have spent with my family and close friends. I’m still trying to figure out how to balance that out.
What key skills do you feel have helped you the most in your career?
My skills with a camera. Skills with editing. Being social. Knowing the power and limitations of your gear is essential to maximizing your art with minimal budget – it’s key to progressing into achieving higher budgets on the next project. Combining shooting with editing gives you the ability to take a project from start to finish. This allowed me to create my own signature style of videos, the shooting and editing style becomes a cohesive unit. So clients know what to expect, they have a little more confidence in the “package deal”. Being a social person is crucial to meeting people and creating connections.
Hanging out with friends, going to a party or an afternoon bbq, watching a band play at a local bar, meeting people anytime and anywhere in – keeping yourself available to the world around you, or in my case that would be Los Angeles. And it’s always really cool to work with your friends.
What do you wish you knew about working with film when you began your career?
I don’t know, the whole experience has been very educational. I think learning by doing has been a very sequential for me, very “step by step”. So I think I’m pretty satisfied rate of learning, it’s been a very natural progression. So yeah, can’t think of any questions at the moment.
What is the greatest career advice you’ve ever been given?
Honestly, I haven’t been given much career advice. There aren’t many videographers I know who are in the same position as me. I know some directors, or DP’s, editors, photographers. I have a lot of friends in the creative world, but I think I’m running in the minority as a “one man show” videographer. It seems like out of the few people I know in my field, they’re either where I’m at, or just a little farther ahead in their career. So I guess the best advice has been more about the best conversations I’ve had. I’ve been able to discuss things with other friends in my creative world that have really been able to give me some awesome support and insight. I’m very grateful for that.
When a project goes really well, what do you do to celebrate?
Hang out with my friends.. get some dinner and drinks! And If the waves are up. I go surf.
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