Sam Freed has been hard at work with his apprenticeship at Atomic Productions
in San Francisco, California, making great strides and taking opportunities to advance his career! Sam recently checked in with RRF to let us know how things are going…
RRF: What made you want to get into film and into cinematography? Do you have a cinematographer or filmmaker whose work you emulate?
I was about 13 years old when I realized I wanted to get behind a camera and make movies. I was with my brother and a couple friends and we started out making Jackass videos. We would do stupid stunts and pranks on people, and I seemed to be the one behind the camera most of the time. When I turned 14 I started making skate videos for my brother and his friends. We would spend every day over summer break skating Santa Rosa and making videos. That’s when I knew I really wanted to get into cinematography. When watching movies, I tend to really notice the camera movements and angles. That’s what convinced me that I want to do cinematography as a career. I really like Quentin Tarantino’s films mainly because of the camera movements.
RRF: What learning experiences stand out for you while apprenticing with your mentor?
Danny Angotti from Atomic Productions is a great guy. He’s really fun to be around and he really knows what he’s talking about when it comes to the camera. What stood out to me during my experience with Atomic is how involved I was with the team. They always had me doing something different on shoots, whether it was monitoring audio, working with the camera, doing the slate, setting up the lights, even painting and building props for the next shoot. The only way to get better in this industry is actually going out and doing it. This type of profession you can’t learn in a book, so the hands-on experience really taught me a lot and helped me improve my own skills.
RRF: Do you feel more confident about your abilities to do the work and navigate the industry now than you did before the program?
I have way more confidence in myself to complete projects with the new knowledge I obtained. I now pay attention to finer details when it comes to each stage of production, and I believe in myself, knowing I will produce a great project for my future clients.
RRF: What film projects are you working on now?
Currently I’m working on three projects. One is the mini documentary style video for the program…I decided to do the mini documentary on my girlfriend’s father’s guitar string business which he runs and owns. He makes all the different guitar strings and sends them out across the globe. Another project I’m working on is with a good friend of mine, Dave Pawlowski. We got hired to shoot some hip-hop cyphers in Petaluma, California—we are currently in the editing stage with those videos. And the third project I’m working on is for my roommates and other friends. They all DJ, and I got some leftover footage of all of them from past shows and events and I’m going to throw it all together for them for one last video.
RRF: What misconceptions do you think many people have about the way the film industry works?
People who just watch the movies and videos have no idea what it takes to produce that video or film. Sure, the video is only 10 minutes long or the film is only an hour, but it took a crew of 5 people and days of production for that video and a crew of 30 people (probably more) with months of production for that film. A lot of people think making movies is easy and fun. Of course it’s fun, but it can be very stressful. Everything and every detail counts…There is a lot behind the curtains that many people are unaware of.
RRF: How would you say your mentor has contributed to your success?
Danny has really opened my eyes to the filmmaking industry. Everything he has taught me, I put in effect while I’m working on a project, such as choosing the right lens of the effect or emotion I’m going for, when to make a cut when editing, and how to frame someone in a shot. Danny really showed me how the industry works and how to make a great video. I will forever be grateful for him.
RRF: What is your ultimate goal/dream in film?
My ultimate goal in film is to become a cinematographer for a feature film. I’m really into camera and the movements and getting those impressive shots so hopefully one day, I can do that for a major film.
RRF: Anything else you’d like to share with us?
I would like to thank the Recording Radio Film Connection for giving me this once in a lifetime opportunity with helping me get my foot in the industry and pointing me in the right direction. Without their connections and guidance, I wouldn’t be where I’m at today. I would also like to thank Danny Angotti and the Atomic Productions team for allowing me to join them for a few months and teaching me everything about making videos. I would not have the knowledge or experience I now have without them.