What are you doing now professionally?
I own a lighting production company. I contract with various Producers, Directors and Director of Photographers to light their Feature Films, Short Films, Documentaries, Commercials and Corporate Videos
What books, artwork or other movies have inspired you, overall or recently?
I have to say that Director Tony Scott influenced me early on with his style of filmmaking. How he and his DP incorporated beautiful warm Orange and Straw tonality into his movies made me want to recreate stuff like that lighting wise. I am also a big fan of Film Noir that I studied in college. I love the lighting styles of that early genera that is still apparent today. Many books have inspired me, but more recently when I read Placing Shadows did I learn to appreciate lighting even more
Who are some early mentors or teachers that have inspired you?
I’ve worked with some really great Gaffers and DP’s over the years. I have to say that a man by the name Ty Coke, a very respected gaffer out of Memphis, really allowed me to be more of an apprentice under him as I learned many tools to lighting. From there I was able to form my own skills of lighting. My School Adviser, Bruce Hutchinson allowed me to go against the grain in College. By grain I mean, he let me do my own editing, shooting and lighting with my own equipment, which at the time was equal too or better than the schools at the time. His leniency allowed me to push my own boundaries in creativity at the time.
What is the most helpful professional advice you have received?
I worked for a production company about 8 years ago, and then I started to take on some side production jobs with lighting and shooting. My boss at the time Dan Waymack, who I respected very much, allowed me to borrow some of his production equipment at first, but then he eventually told me, “Brent you are either in this business or your not”. So with that I went out on my own and the past 7 years I’ve committed my life and income to invest in myself with equipment and skills in the film industry and becoming the best Gaffer possible.
How did your experience at UCA help shape your professional career?
Well this might this not sound to appealing to UCA but going to school there didn’t really shape my professional career. And here is why I say that, again going back to the earlier question I was allowed to venture out on my own a bit with my projects. I didn’t necessarily have to follow UCA protocol. Now with that said, understand that the Film program was in it’s infant stages at the time 10 years ago and the administration was learning how to implement procedures as well, so a decade later the students of now are benefiting far greater than my class. But having access to UCA’s equipment was a huge help for me to further my experiments in filmmaking and lighting. Finishing school with a 4 year degree showed future employers that I finish what I commit myself too and there it allowed me to learn and earn the experience years later that I’m now using in my day to day work.
What is your dream project?
Every project is a dream project to me. Having the opportunity to light for talented Directors and Director of Photographers is a blessing in itself. Every time I hear the words from my bosses “It looks great!” that is the greatest feeling in the world! I don’t care if it’s a coporate video interview or a complicated narrative scene to light, just seeing the finish product in the monitor is my gratification. I love what I do for a living and am very passionate about it. I’ve invested my whole life into lighting the past 7 years and I approach every single job as a dream job!