Well, “how did I become a director / photographer?”
Now that I ask myself everyday. But there is quite a great story behind this.
Some kids grew up knowing what they wanted to be from a very early age. I honestly never had one plan to become a certain type of person or do a certain type of work. I spent my child hood moving a lot and spending time on my own and outside mostly. The infamous, “Go outside and play” was my staple to growing up. Thus I learned to appreciate how the trees moved and the clouds made shadows. But most of all I watched the light. How it fell on leaves and made shapes. How a cloud softened everything, how morning had different colors than afternoon. My fascination with light began and has pushed me ever since.
My first science fair project was the building of a laser. “Light Amplified by Stimulation of Emitted Radiation.” God I can’t believe I still remember that… Anyway I wanted to understand more about how light worked and how it’s textures made me feel.
I became very involved in lighting in High School and College. I studies Set Design/ Lighting and Directing in College and graduated with honors. I was offered a full scholarship to Cambridge University to do my Masters. This is where one looks at oneself and imagines their life….
I sold everything I owned and made a decision. I moved to Los Angeles. Surprised? Me too! Yeah, everyone thought I was crazy. I am a bit, but don’t tell anyone. Now you are saying, “ Where in the hell did `LA come from?” Well, that moment when I dreamed about where I wanted to be one day; it wasn’t designing sets. It was making movies! You know it! So off to LA I went. Didn’t know a sole and had never even been there before.
After being there for three weeks without getting any jobs, I thought, “what the hell have I done?” It was at this point, that I faced the fact I must get a job. The only thing I could do instantly was to become a waiter/ sommelier again. Not what I envisioned! So on my first day of training at my new waitering job, I saw a guy struggling in the corner trying to set up a rear projection screen. I offered my help and we talked. He found out I knew all about that stuff and took me to lunch the next day. I handed in my resignation the next day at work and started to do lighting and staging events. I had been saved!
Through this line of work I found my way onto film sets and TV commercials. LA was Fabulous to me. I meet incredible people and worked on great projects. Then one day a producer friend of mine asked me if I would mind doing some lighting for a stills photography guy. I said “sure, why not.”
The next day I drive to this set out in the middle of the desert. There are these guys building 4 stories of scaffolding and all this stuff everywhere. I thought it was a TV shoot. So I walk up to the guys and introduce myself, they tell me what they need done and I go to it. The main man walked up while I was working and asked me “what the hell am I doing on his set?” I turned around and said “Working! Who the hell are you?” Just for the record- not the best introduction to your boss. He looked at me, laughed and proceeded to tell me who he was- “THE PHOTOGRAPHER” I was in deep at this point, so what the hell. I said, “Glad to meet you, I’m Bryan. The soon to be fired assistant.” We shook hands and both laughed.
By the end of the job-, which was four days-, I had a new respect for stills guys. They worked hard and had all the toys to play with and enjoyed making stunning photos. At the rap dinner, the boss asked me if I wanted to come and work for him full time. I said, “Why in the hell would I want to do that?” He replied, “For the money!” So I asked him to write down on a napkin on what kind of money we were talking here. By the end of dinner I was handed this napkin and my life changed once again. Trust me when I tell you- “I couldn’t say no.”
So four years pass, a few trips around the world and I begin to find a passion for this thing called photography. I then proceeded to work with many famous photographers from all around the world. I became one of the top associate shooters and 1st assistants on the west coast. But there was still something missing… Creativity…. Freedom…
Then I was offered a chance to direct my own TV series for the US. It was going to be 6 months in Africa and 6 months in LA. So I opted to make a move to Africa. And what better place than Cape Town. 9-11 happened and the series was put on hold. Not very safe being an American and traveling at that point.
So I looked around at the local markets- film and photography- and decided to start shooting again. And here I am.
To sum it all up. Don’t ever say never. Always be open to new ideas. And believe…. And believe…