DOPAdam Arkapaw
Format - Arri Alexa XT Plus
Lenses - Panavision C, E and G Series Anamorphic Lenses
Aspect Ratio - 2.35 : 1
Delivery - Digital Intermediate 2K

Notable Strengths – Wides, Colour, Composition, Use of Landscape, Movement, Slow Motion Sequences, Use of Natural Light, Framing, Lens, Lens Choice 


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My immediate response to reading Maureen Dowd’s recent article for the New York Times — The Women of Hollywood Speak Out — were hot, angry tears. This arguably does nothing to help the stereotype of the hysteric woman, but I was angry. More than angry, I was furious. Not at …



film // photography

this certain ‘centered-style’ that anderson uses creates a strong atmosphere in his films. even without knowing the stories of the films you could be fascinated by every scene and the ones following up.

Filmmaker Advice: Things on my mind on a Tuesday morning

The only right path in filmmaking, is doing the things which give you the most satisfaction; twinned with some artistic return. There will be points where you deviate onto other creative areas so you can generate money, but ultimately this will be at the heart of an agenda to do other things you love. These things you love might not have all the funds required immediately, so you have to breath some life into them via extra budget (sometimes your own money or time). 

You’ll run into a lot of ‘salesmen’ as a filmmaker. People who look to make a profit off of you, and that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. But through each one you meet you must follow your own instincts and ask ‘is that what I want right now’. 

I turn 32 next month and I have realised that ultimately what I’m seeking is satisfaction and pride from the projects which are released through my name. The audience size is irrelevant. The satisfaction I got from the Caspian blu-ray release would still vastly outweigh shooting a pop video for a well known mainstream artist. That’s not to say I don’t want that, but I get fired up off the projects which give me a pride burst. I feel stronger after those projects and they are the ones which make me want to keep pushing harder and harder. Gimme it all, mini documentary to big feature!

Try not to look too much at other directors at your level, it will drive you insane. Keep the list of people you respect as influencers short. And this list doesn’t have to be filmmakers; two people on mine are musicians (Trent Reznor is one of them). 

There is no set route in filmmaking. What I’m advising here is that you just do the things you love, because those things will make you pay less attention to your bank account and more attention to your idea. When I started working with bands there was never much if at all any money (the money is still low). I knew there were audiences there though waiting for content. I chose projects which I knew I’d love even if I had no money and was eating a stale piece of bread for breakfast. I lived like a vagrant in the back of a van for 7 weeks travelling across America at one point because I loved the band and I knew we’d make some truly amazing stuff. I like to believe that that general method of staying motivated will keep your warm and dry regardless of the ‘total funds available’. That’s a belief I’ll try and hold onto until I die. It is scary, because I do want a family one day and they will rely on me in many respects for income; but honestly speaking, I feel like I will be able to provide. And again, that makes me fired up to work my ass off. People look at the work I’ve done and hire me off the back of that, and some of that work had hardly any money involved. At the time people said ‘don’t do it’ but I did it and then got a huge return. 

There will be an endless battle of high quality vs mediocrity. VERY often the mediocrity will thrive. Mediocrity will often make a lot of money. If you’re here for a quick buck then mediocrity will welcome you with open arms. But if you’re here for high quality, you’re strapped in for life. It’s not a race. Stop thinking that you have to make it in your 20s. Roger Deakins has spent his entire life working as a cinematographer and most of his best works have been in the last decade. Stop and consider that. Just get into the work and expand. 

Believe in yourself HARD. Sack off anyone who passively aggressively questions you all the time regarding ‘what you’re doing’. Push them away with the idea that they are poison; those aren’t the people you want in life. People can be at the highest level and still be wrong. If you feel a burning desire to do something with a camera, then do it. When the work isn’t there, practise. Just don’t listen to anyone who you feel is not acting in your best interests. I’ve ignored advice from friends, relatives and industry people due to my gut instincts and I was right 90% of the time. There are countless filmmakers who did the same. Everyone’s view point is different. So with that in mind gather up all your collective knowledge and ‘have a word with yourself’ regarding the viability of something. 

Risk is a huge part of filmmaking and the risk takers are the ones who ultimately win. A perfect analogy of this was when I shot the drone shots for the Caspian blu-ray intro. A friend of mine was controlling the drone and I told him “fly it out over the sea”. His response was “ah dude I dunno”. He had just had a pretty bad drone crash a couple months before and lost his go pro. My response to him was “dude, that is a piece of gear made for filming, so fly it out over the damn sea and get me my shots. It’s my go pro you’ve got on it, the risk is there for me too. I’d rather risk the go pro for the shot and get something utterly amazing than play it safe and have it for a decade. The same goes for your drone. Its made for stuff like this so lets get on with it. Else you might as well not have the drone”. He instantly flew it out over the sea and the shots made it into the Caspian blu-ray. We took a risk, and we gained big. He is currently killing it with what he shoots with drones and is planning his own major project. The confidence is flourishing. 

Keep some of your methods to yourself. I’m all for sharing information but there are some things I will not divulge because they are part of my methodologies. If a magician gives away all his tricks no one cares right? We are all visual magicians, so keep it that way. That being said it’s good to help the next generation of filmmakers so do all you can to reach out to younger people and push them to follow the dream (but make sure you do it responsibly). 

Finally, if you’re going to be a director, be strong on your opinion. But don’t call yourself a director before you’ve spent time in the trenches learning how to make great content. Many people think I’m arrogant with my views on film. The truth of the matter is that I’m just set on what I want, and that is part of my job. I turn up on a shoot and I politely tell people what I’d like them to do (that is the baseline job). The people in the set structure look at me for answers and actions, so I do that. I provide them with a pre-conceived idea/vision and I have to explain to someone what I need while making them feel comfortable doing that. No one wants a director on set who isn’t confident enough to call the shots. “I don’t know” etc are phrases that should never be heard coming from the mouth of someone in charge. Calm and clear actions are required, while keeping the momentum going. I spend a lot of my free time listening to director commentaries, reading articles on thought process’, and generally trying to be a better director. I am a huge huge fan of self improvement and the last 12 months has been that journey for me (the last couple of years have been tough through many personal battles). I studied film for 3 years and got a 1st in scriptwriting after being taught by a well known industry professional. After film school there was a point where I spent 2.5 years in a call centre reading film books between calls (even though it wasn’t allowed). I worked 4 days a week and the other 3 were dedicated to my job. On Sunday’s I sat watching Lynda videos by Larry Jordan on how to edit (thank you Larry). In your 20′s you just kind of have to accept the fact people question you in general. There’s anger angst and passion (and that is still hanging around for me haha). Use the emotions to push yourself. MANY people laughed at me when I said that I was going to be a filmmaker. A staggering amount of people didn’t believe me. I bundled it all up and just used it as fuel to get busy. I’m 31 now though and I do this job full time; 2015 has been one of the busiest years of my life! As an adult who has worked with creative visual projects for over 10 years I consider myself to have the right to call the shots as a director. 

BUT with all of this said I do not view myself as special, and that’s often a misconception people associate with my boldness of opinion. I consider myself to be SKILLED, and that again is a requirement of my job. Keep ‘feeling special’ for when your wife takes the time out of her life to cook you dinner (which for the record is a privilege not a right), or someone in your family tells you ‘well done’ etc. I have a constant drive to always push myself to be better. I’m just a guy that KNOWS what he loves, and intends on spending his time doing it. It’s my job. I want my work to be respected and for it to inspire. That’s the goal.

Be confident my friends. Take a moment to learn what you love and let it completely take you over. It’s where true satisfaction and love of life lies. And in the moments where you aren’t sure; seek the advice of a very short list of people who influence you or drive you. Failing THAT, my ask box is up above.

Be well and happy shooting


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