Mastering the Industry with SIC
- April 25, 2018
- Shane Hurlbut, ASC
One of my greatest pleasures of the SIC is witnessing the evolution of the filmmakers who make up our network. What makes our ragtag team work so well is the constant growth and communication among one another that allows everyone to achieve their best self. I absolutely love it when I go on social media and see members posting their reels, and when I see major improvements, it just makes my day.
Last week I was reviewing our SIC pages on Facebook and came across Matthew Giblin’s new reel. Wow! What an improvement. It’s not an easy feat to make your mark in an over-saturated landscape like Hollywood, and that’s what makes a community like the SIC such an important network. If you want to master the industry in today’s climate, it takes constant strives for self improvement; something Matthew has achieved with his latest reel!
Let’s check out the side by side comparison!
Matthew reminds me a lot of myself when I was starting out. He’s a hustler. When I was a young buck trying to break into the industry, I started working at a rental house just like Matthew is right now. Matthews works as the Rental Operations Manager at AbelCine in Burbank. Working in a rental house is a great way to master the craft. It gives you the opportunity to know your gear in and out. But that’s only one part of the equation. You also have to find ways to enhance your perspective and have one hell of a network.
We decided to have a brief interview with Matthew to learn about him, how he came to join the Inner Circle, and how he works to set himself apart from the competition.
Hey there, Matthew! Let’s start by telling us about yourself and where you want your career to go as a cinematographer?
My name is Matthew Giblin, and I’ve been in the Los Angeles area for over 9 years now, having moved here straight out of college to work in the film industry. Sustainable set work was hard to come by for newcomers in 2009 due to the tanked economy, so I ended up finding work in camera houses. I’m now the the Rental Operations Manager at AbelCine’s Burbank location, and I enjoy working in a rental house environment because it allows me the hands on experience necessary to stay current with all the new cameras and technology coming out. I’ve never been able to satiate the shooting bug though, so I work on as many projects as I can get my hands on. I love collaborating with filmmakers, and bringing an idea to the screen.
As I’ve improved my craft, I’ve been excited and encouraged by the continual higher caliber jobs that have come my direction. In the past 2 years alone, I’ve been privileged to shoot 24 narrative shorts, 2 commercials, a web pilot, a documentary, and even a feature. Shooting a feature was one of my dreams when moving to LA, and actually being involved in the process was one of the greatest moments in my career. Going forward, I’d love to continue to raise the bar with commercials and shorts that I am able to shoot, working on films that could possibly be accepted into more prestigious festivals. I’m also looking for what the next feature will be.
Regarding your reels, I’ve seen some clear differences in experience between the two. How about you tell us how you think your work has changed?
The biggest difference I see in my old and new reel is the lighting. My new reel features higher quality, larger source lighting, much more motivated and intentional. Even the experience cutting my reel was different. My last reel I felt like I had to drag out what little ‘good’ material I had just to get a 60 second reel. I basically leaned heavy on 3 projects. My new reel, the challenge was what NOT to show. My first assembly of ‘good reel shots’ was over 6 minutes long! I finessed it down to 90 seconds, and really felt like I got to choose the best of the best, and convey mood while doing it. It features work from 16 projects, and 9 directors.
My approach to filmmaking has also changed – in pre-production, as I figure out lighting, I am much more confident knowing how I’m going to light a scene on paper, and then with the inevitable changes that happen on set, adapting quickly without feeling like a wrench was thrown in my plans. I feel like I can collaborate even more with the director and gaffer; now that I know how to achieve a specific look I can offer suggestions more readily.
As a filmmaker, how has the SIC benefited you and your work?
Shane’s Inner Circle has benefitted me as well as my work, and I find it shows the most in the lighting. When I joined mid-2015, I knew what good lighting looked like, but I had no idea how to achieve it. Quality of light, lighting control, negative fill; these were all known terms to me. But I always felt incapable of nailing a particular look or setup I was going for. Beyond that, I realized the opportunities weren’t coming my way, and I needed to better myself. Particularly my lighting skills, which working at a camera house couldn’t teach me.
I started digging for resources online, and I came across Shane’s HurlBlog. In just a few days I couldn’t believe how much I’d learned from the free resources, and I knew Shane’s Inner Circle was the next step to go deeper into the content. My wife gifted me the subscription, and I jumped right in on the curriculum and have been a member ever since. It was one thing experiencing the lessons online, but I remember the first time trying some of his techniques on my own sets…that was really when it started to click for me. I felt empowered to be bold in my choices, and try new things in a way I hadn’t before. I’d come up on camera side, so lighting had always been mysterious to me until that point.
SIC has a pretty tight-knit community. How do you utilize it, and how has it impacted your work?
It’s not just the lessons that are beneficial, its the community aspect as well. I’m connected with thousands of filmmakers around the world, all contributing to this community. The community has also been valuable for running ideas to the group ahead of time, like a collective brainstorming session. Inevitably one of the other members has been in the same place and has a great idea or workaround solution. I’m always looking for how to improve on each shoot. So, after a project, it’s great having a group to get feedback from. I post projects or screenshots of my work, and I know I’m going to get a good honest critique. But with encouragement, too.
I can say hands down it is the most positive filmmaking community I’m a part of. We’re all coming at it at different levels, so it’s exciting to see a newcomer ask a question about something I already know. I can contribute, knowing I can ask a question and someone else who has been there will jump in too. I’ve also needed last minute crew, and found some solid crew members to jump in on my projects from the group.
It was great to hear from Matthew to get his perspective as a filmmaker, and it was especially interesting to see how much he has gained in our growing community. I can’t stress enough how important it is for all of you to always push yourselves. You need to always be checking your work, the work of your peers, and the work of your mentors. Always ask yourself, where do I want to be and how can I get there? I’ll tell you, it helps having a kickass community around you to make you better. It’s like the old saying, iron sharpens iron. I can’t wait to see the next best thing coming out of our Inner Circle!
A special thanks again to Matthew for sharing his perspective. If your interested in taking a look at more of Matthew’s work, check out his website: www.matthewgiblin.com.