Although I understand the sentiment, I've never subscribed to the idea that "if you love what you do, you'll never work a day in your life", rather, I believe you will work harder because you care much more about what you're putting your time and effort into.
I've loved movies since I was a kid growing up in Arizona. My mom and I would have our "us time" by going to the theater on the weekends. When my mom worked late, my dad and I had our own "don't tell mom I'm letting you watch these" movie marathons at home, introducing me to some of the best R-rated action films that ever existed: all the "Alien", "Rambo", "Die Hard", and of course "Terminator" films.
What struck me wasn't just the cool stories, but the atmosphere these filmmakers created. The cinematography, set designs, props, editing, music, all combined in creating a sense that these worlds and characters actually existed. To me, they were pure magic. And I think that's how every filmmaker enters the business, being captivated by that feeling and becoming addicted to it. These special moments I got to share with my parents had a huge influence in my pursuit of becoming a filmmaker. This prompted me to "borrow" their VHS camera and shoot my first films with my action figures standing in as my "actors".
Cut to: high school. When that final bell rang each day, my A.V. friends and I would gather together, film our own movies, and have family over for "screenings" the next night. Some of our movies were based on history lessons, and our teachers would allow us to turn in the final films in lieu of an essay. That's when lightning struck. This is what I was going to do for a living.
In college I pushed myself, discovered new techniques, experimented, failed, learned from my mistakes, rinse and repeat. Over the next four years, my friends and I entered into eighteen "48-hour film challenges" and our team won over 100 awards. This is when it became clear to me that who you choose to work with directly affects the end result. It's vital to build a "family" of colleagues that you both trust and admire regardless if it's a "no budget" or big budget production. Likewise, you must be an invaluable member of the team yourself.
Filmmaking is a business, let's not forget that. But it's also equally important to realize it is truly a privilege.Where else can you work in such a creative environment, form a family of crew from all different backgrounds, experience locations you never would have visited otherwise, and by the end of the day, have created something that never existed before? There is no better job in the world!
If I could tell young filmmakers anything it would be this: never lose that magic feeling. With focus, a great attitude and a stellar team, you'll be amazed at what you can accomplish. These core values allowed me to shoot 96 pages of an episodic show in four days for Nerdist, and with a skeleton crew, shoot a feature film at Sundance in four days that is currently in the festival circuits. Throughout my career as a cinematographer, I have been fortunate enough to shoot hundreds of projects including features, shorts, documentaries for Marvel, stand-up comedy specials, and a Hulu original show called "Spoilers with Kevin Smith". I come to set loving what I do and ready to work harder than anyone.
When not behind the lens, I am an editor of feature films, music videos, and trailers. In my opinion, learning both skills has improved the other exponentially.
Whether shooting or editing, I bring producers the most respectful and qualified crew to ensure the smoothest possible production. Unforeseen setbacks may come up, but it should never be because of personality problems. Remember, despite the financial obligations, we are all here to create cool stories that inspire audiences as we were once inspired.
Every single set is a chance to build new relationships and I enjoy being an active participant in the process and setting productions up for success. I bring a support system structure to my filmmaking and to me the next job is never just a transaction, it's a collaboration and a chance to expand the film family.
Born in Mesa, Arizona, Austin grew up with a relentless passion for the art of film-making and visual storytelling and has achieved his experience through determination and working in as many departments behind the camera as possible.
As an award-winning cinematographer, Austin’s varied list of work includes feature films, short films, music videos, documentaries, and online web content. Notable work as cinematographer includes Hulu's "Spoilers With Kevin Smith", Epix' "Milius" Documentary, ABC's Television Specials: "Marvel: 75 Years, From Pulp To Pop" and "Marvel's Captain America: 75 Heroic Years".
Companies he has worked with include: ABC, Marvel, Legendary, Bow + Arrow Entertainment, Lexus, Maserati, Hulu, Epix, Blur Studio, AOL, Maxim Magazine, Soul Pancake, Hollywood Electrics, and many more.
In 2013 Austin became an Active Member of the Society of Camera Operators.