Introducing Patrick Lawler – Cinematographer

In an effort to shed some light on the great creative energy going in this world I want to introduce you to Patrick Lawler and his work.  I was lucky enough to run across this 23 year old cinematographer and avid music lover from California and was blown away by the originality in his body of work.  His films demonstrate how a creative individual with the know-how and guts to try their own thing can create mind-blowing results.  Lawler offered up a nice chunk of his time for an interview.  In order to do it justice it will be split into two parts.  I introduce to you good readers of BOMS – Patrick Lawler.

Name:  Patrick Lawler

Profession: Cinematographer

Age: 23

Hometown: San Luis Obispo California

BOMS – Do you think there is a lack of creativity in the world or plenty if you just know where to look?

PL –  I feel like there is a lot more creativity out there in the world currently. With the invention of the internet and easily accessible media people are finding their creative sides much more easily, and they’re especially embracing their creative sides as viable career moves more often as well. With the price of technology decreasing and the quality of that technology increasing, it is now easier for creative people to make their art. What sets us apart now is our ideas and creativity, not as much our technical execution (although technical execution is my main job so it’s still very important).

BOMS – Patrick could you give the readers of BOMS your thoughts on filmmaking and the state of independent filmmaking in 2011?

PL – I have been honored to have a film accepted into the Santa Barbara International Film Festival for two years in a row now. and the difference between the films I’ve seen there (especially the student films) between 2010 and 2011 is staggering! The quality of affordable video cameras out there is astonishing! Films are just looking better and better, and more and more people are able to make their films, especially with the invention of HDSLR video.

BOMS – Your work is highly creative and unlike many filmmakers I’ve seen you focus on things that seem slightly askew from the norm, but the things you film strike me as stuff you are passionate about.  What moves you creatively?

PL – I have always described myself as a more experimental and creative person. Ideas about cool shots and interesting ways to film things just pop into my head, and sometimes I need to scramble to write them down so I don’t forget. On my phone I have lists and lists of cool ideas I need to film. I started off expressing myself artistically as musician. Music is such a huge part of my life that it heavily inspires my films, which is why I shoot so many music videos and silent films.

BOMS – I know you are a music fan and see quite a few band videos/projects – How has music influenced your camera work/ film work?

PL – Sometimes I’ll listen to a song and all the ideas will surface just from listening to that song. I’ve written entire scripts based off the emotions a single song has made me feel.

BOMS –  Three bands you want to shoot in the future (can be a dream list)?

PL – I honestly can’t pick! This is a super hard question to answer because I love so much music. I’m a super huge fan of Deftones music videos, so I’d love to work on one of those, I’d love to shoot something for M83 but I don’t think my style is “home video” or 80’s enough for him, my friend Cameron and I have been wanting to shoot a Black Dahlia Murder music video since we were 15, I think the experience would be super funny and rad, those guys are a crack-up and we’d love to work with them!

BOMS – Three bands that are your ideal soundtrack music?

PL – I am obsessed with Post Rock so my ideal soundtrack bands are: This Will Destroy You (my favorite band), anything off Blalock’s Indie Rock Playlist, and of course Leo Kaliski my composer who writes amazing music that breathes new life into my films.

BOMS  – What means more to you natural light (sunrise, storm,  sunset, etc) or artificial lighting?

PL – If I’m shooting dialog inside of course I’m going to want artificial light to maintain continuity across cuts. However since I have always been restricted by low budgets, I am extremely used to natural light, so I’ve grown to love it. Of course I love having tons of toys to play with, but my ideal situation is having enough equipment to make natural lighting just that much better, Lighting someone to match an amazing sunset for example.

BOMS  – Can you offer insight into a dream project that you would want to work on in the future?

PL – I’m currently in the beginning stages of pre-production on a feature film my best friend and business partner Cameron Alexander wrote.

BOMS – How does the DSLR change the playing field for video production?  How does the Red?

PL – DSLR’s totally kill it! They’re so awesome! They have singlehandedly changed the film industry forever. Back in 2007 it cost me around $8,000 to get HD video with shallow depth of field (HVX200 + Letus Lens adaptor) not it costs $800 and the image looks better! Of course I could spend an hour talking about my ideal shooting codecs and colorspaces but I won’t right now.  The Red One is a truly amazing camera! I freakin love that camera! The amount of information I get as well as resolution has truly helped me execute my vision and pushed me that much further into the realm of what ideas are possible to shoot! I can’t wait to get my hands on an Epic!

BOMS:  Your latest demo reel is a nice overview of the past years work.  This reel builds so incredibly well that I can’t decide if it’s the music selection or the beauty of the shots that I enjoy best.  I know this may be tough but could you dive into what three shots you’re proudest of?

My three favorite shots of my whole life so far are: 1. the shot of my friend Ella’s hair coming up underwater from my film “Surface” it’s one of the most compositionally interesting and elegant things I’ve ever shot. And that entire concept was on accident as well! We were sitting around being bored in a photo studio waiting to shoot a rap video and ended up filling a fish tank with water we found in a prop closet and dunking our heads into it!

#2 has to be the guys wearing black running out into the ocean on the beach towards the sunset. I love the color, and the way it turned out was way better than I could have ever imagined!

#3 This is by far my favorite shot of all time, it was born out of a simple concept where I wanted people to jump on trampolines, and then I’d remove the trampoline with a background plate. The shot is my friend Laykin falling in the most beautiful way. It was shot at 120fps on the Red. I even dedicated an entire video experiment to just that shot.

BOMS – I’m digging that music video for Sean Bones – Could you explain why you paired the “Bring Your Own Big Wheel” event in San Fran with their music?

PL – Sean bones video: A good example of how just going out to shoot fun stuff can lead to great things! I went out for fun and shot the big wheel race with some friends. Sean Bone’s manager loved it so much that he asked me to re-edit my video to Sean’s song and now it’s the official video!

To Be Continued

Posted on by jake Posted in The Beat

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