AS: What are some qualities that you look for when you’re hiring crew?
EC: The most important thing for me in the first meeting is for them to fully understand what I’m trying to do. There are a lot of people with great technical skill and great organizational skills but if they can’t grasp your creative ideas then it doesn’t work. This is more important than them having a lot of experience.
AS: What advice would you have for people just starting out? Say someone is in a place like Ecuador and they want to get into this business?
EC: I would say continuous work. That’s the most important thing. And you have to do a lot of reading and watching films. With the internet you have access to a lot of materials. What you’re doing with artstars.us is very cool. These interviews help a lot of people who are interested in the craft. In LA you can attend certain seminars and master classes but in a lot of places people interested in this career are all by themselves.
No matter where you are, it’s important that your experiences feed into your production design. For example, when you go to an art exhibition, think about what visual decisions were made in order for the art pieces to work. Look at how they chose to do the framing, the lighting, the dressing. Every visual art piece has art direction, the artist decides which objects will live in the space that is shown. In film you’re constantly making those same decisions.
But the most important thing is to work constantly. On small things, on big things, on things that are maybe not ideal, not necessarily the films that you aspire to do. But everything adds to your career and suddenly the addition of all those things give you the tools, the opportunity, the knowledge, and the experience that you will use later. Doing short films one of the things that is very easy to lose is the joy component. But you have to try to give that complexity we were talking about to everything, even if it’s something small –and you have to really enjoy what you’re doing!