Filmmaker Friday featuring filmmaker Cam McHarg

An Insiders Perspective On The Creative World of Filmmaking

With hundreds of careers and opportunities, the filmmaking industry can be a unique experience for a filmmaker. Options include pitching an idea, or a commission through screenwriting, casting, shooting, editing, and screening your project. Filmtools decided to take a deeper look into the world of a Filmmaker. This week, we had the opportunity to speak to Filmmaker Cam McHarg about his work. This is what he said:

What inspires you?

Cam McHarg: Emotional content. Sometimes a one line poem is all that it takes for me. The Days Run Away Like Wild Horses Over the Hills is the title of a book of poetry by Charles Bukowski. That title is all that I need to put me into a state of all kinds of feelings and images. Creatively I am inspired by anything that stirs up feelings and images and stories. It could be a bit from a stand up comedian. It could be music. It could be a painting. It could be amazing actors doing mind-blowing work. It could be a photo. I like to find the stories in everything. I notice that when I have a camera in my hands, I’ve noticed that see stories everywhere when I normally may not. I think the trick for me is to keep that mindfulness every day wherever I am.

What is your role on set?

Cam McHarg: My role as a director is to know what I want, to never ask of anyone what I wouldn’t do myself, and to create an atmosphere where everyone can thrive and do what they do best. I love collaboration and I love to give credit where it’s due. I want to surround myself with brilliant people and let them do their jobs. I make the decisions, but I can’t do anything without the genius and the contributions of everyone on the set, from the PA’s to the DP to the actors. It’s my responsibility to make sure that everyone is led and knows what the common goals are, and that they are well respected and taken care of in the process. This whole process is a lot of work, but it can and should be a blast for everyone. If it’s not, I feel like I’ve failed a little bit. So far, so good, though.

Why did you choose this field?

Cam McHarg: I’ve always thought that movies were magic. They’ve always played a special and important part in my life and have sort of lived inside of me like part of my own experience since I was a little kid. I think the first movie that I saw was Rocky. I remember it making me cry. It’s hard to articulate, but movies for me were basically the most important thing in the world. I started acting in plays when I was about 13, and my friends and I started making VHS movies not long after. I just can’t imagine not being involved in this field in some way, and I hope the communal experience of movies on the big screen never goes away.

How does Filmtools help you?

Cam McHarg: Filmtools is something special because it basically has everything under one roof, and there’s something about going in there and seeing everything that just makes you want to go make something. There’s basically everything there that you would need on a set. 

What’s the coolest project you’ve worked on before? 

Cam McHarg: The coolest project that I’ve worked on? Boy, that’s a toughie… I worked  on the set of American History X, which was pretty wild. I had seen some really cool directors work, but I’d probably have to go with my own personal short film that ended up doing pretty well on the international film festival circuit called, ‘The End”. It’s a Vimeo Staff Pick now. I remember seeing it with audiences a few times, which was always really scary and thrilling and always exciting and satisfying. It’s a black comedy that came as close to what I had initially envisioned as anything that I’d done before. Samsung actually reached out and used a portion of it for their World Cup campaign, which was really flattering to me. It was a cool experience. 

What are you currently working on? 

Cam McHarg: I’m in early development with my partner on a feature called Sitiado right now. It’s too early to post much else about it other than what’s on IMDB, though. I’ve also been writing a smaller and much more personal passion project feature that I’ve been wanting to make all of my life called Monroe Log. I’ve prematurely created Facebook pages for both of these, but I think for now the best way to keep up with both of these is to follow my directly.

Do you have a piece of essential gear that you don’t leave without? 

Cam McHarg: I like to use the Artemis app a lot, but I also love to carry my Sony A7s around and keep it in the 16:9 aspect ratio just to play around with seeing and framing things. 

Whats the first thing you do on set?

Cam McHarg: Go around and shake everybody’s hand. 

What advice would you give to people interested in this industry?

Cam McHarg: It’s such a rapidly changing business in every way, it’s hard to keep up. Number one, I’d honestly advise someone to not do this if they could be happy doing anything else. If you can’t, I think the one single best piece of advice would be to carve out your own way. Don’t wait for anyone. Figure out and know who you are. Get as much life experience as you can. Read and write. I’d say that really sums it up.

Where can people follow you on social?

Cam McHarg: All of my links are on my website at: www.cam-mcharg.com Here are my Instagram, Vimeo, and Twitter links, though.

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