I am writing you all with a bit of mixed feelings. I am writing to announce to you my retirement from the motion production industry.
I’ve been in the business since I got my Master’s in Communication from UT Austin in 1986, 28 years ago, and it’s been one hell of a great ride. I’ve been to places I never imagined I would go, seen things I never would have gotten to see, and had the great pleasure of pursuing a highly creative craft wholeheartedly for nearly three decades. It has been a blast, and I have to say, I’ve loved it.
I started in the business as a grip, electrician and video cameraman when I got out of graduate school in 1986. I started working as a first AC in 1988, and shot my first 35mm commercial in 1991 in Atlanta. I started Blue Sky Film, Ltd. as a production company dedicated to producing TV commercials in 1991 in Atlanta, and moved it to North Carolina in 1992. For the next decade BSF produced commercials for clients from all over, local, regional and national.
At the same time I continued my career as a television cameraman, working for more TV shows and series than I can remember. I shot for virtually everyone in the TV business including Discovery, History Channel, TLC, MTV, all the networks, HBO, Showtime, and hundreds of independent production companies as cameraman and DP/cameraman. And along the way I had the great pleasure of teaching for three years at Piedmont Community College and the NC School of the Arts, where I met students who would come to be some of my favorite friends and colleagues in the industry.
I ended Blue Sky Film in 2001 to return to the freelance world as a DP/cameraman, and since then I have continued to work for a broad range of production companies and TV and cable channels, and I have also had the great pleasure of working on a number of documentary productions. And I even did some time in the reality TV world, shooting for a number of well-known series.
But for all the fun and enjoyment and personal rewards I’ve gained over the last 30 years, the best thing about the business, the thing I have enjoyed the most, has been the people I have gotten to work with. And I don’t mean the celebrities. I’m referring to the people I have worked closely with in the daily job of making film and TV happen. There has been nothing like the shared camaraderie I’ve had with my compatriots. From my early days as a grip in Texas and an AC in Atlanta, through my more than 20 years as a DP, director and cinematographer, what I’ve enjoyed most has been hanging with all the cool people who give their best to this biz we call show.
You men and women so rock! It has been my daily pleasure to work with you through the years. In the rain, in the snow, in a sweltering studio, in the mountains, at the beach, on a storm-tossed shrimp boat or on a sun-baked racetrack, wherever the job has taken me, I’ve always known that if I had my buds with me everything would turn out great, and we’d have a great time doing it.
Still, all good things must come to an end, and change is the only constant in this world. I did just about everything I ever really wanted to do in the production world, and it is time to move on. At this point in my life I’m looking for more challenges while I’m still young enough to pursue them. I’m also looking forward to devoting myself full time to my other career as a still photographer for artists (can’t get away from taking pictures, it’s been my passion since I found my dad’s darkroom gear when I was eleven years old.) One good thing about it, there’s not so much heavy stuff to lift!
Anyway, I just want to tell you all directly, rather than let you hear it through the grapevine. It has been, as I said, a fun ride. I have had the great pleasure of collaborating with so many wonderful people. I’m sure our paths will continue to cross from time to time, and I look forward to it. I wish you all the very best as you continue to pursue your dreams in this crazy business. Just remember, when you’re standing in the rain, in the dark, waiting to get a shot off with a river of cold water running down your back and you haven’t eaten in seven hours, it’s all about the glamour. I know, that’s what kept me coming back!
Take care, my friends,