Filmtools Filmmaker Friday featuring Filmmaker Cameron Trejo

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. Filmtools decided to take a deeper look into the world of a filmmaker. This week, we had the opportunity to speak to filmmaker Cameron Trejo about his work. This is what he said:

What is your name and where are you from?

Cameron Trejo: Cameron Trejo, Phoenix, AZ

What is your Primary Role on Set?

Cameron Trejo: Producer | Cinematographer

Those on top of their game

Cameron Trejo: So many talented filmmakers out there right now who are creating inspirational work.  I have a great deal of respect for the work Jon Muedder at Caravan has done for the non-profit organization Project Alive (projectalive.org) this year.  Giving back to a cause for good is what this is all about in the end for me and Jon’s series on Hunter Syndrome is an inspiration (and a topic near and dear to my families heart).  Also inspired by talented cinematographers Kate Arizmendi, Khalid Mohtaseb, and my amigo T-Burton slaying it all over the globe.  

If you had to impress someone with your work, what would be the most “well-known” content that you’ve worked on?  

Cameron Trejo: I’ve produced and shot quite a few national spots for PetSmart over the years.  They’ve been a phenomenal client and we are proud of the work we’ve done for them.  This year I just completed a great collaboration with Frootloops as well as an architectural project with GQ featuring Edgar Ramirez for Revolution Pictures.

 Best craft services food?

 Cameron Trejo: Yerba Mate!

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

Cameron Trejo: A few years back I directed a feature length documentary entitled POWER’S WAR.  The film tells the story of Arizona’s deadliest shootout.  The cabin where the shootout took place still stands today however it’s a long hike into wilderness area to get to the cabin.  We took five different trips into that area in order to capture key visuals, including some stunning time lapses.  So many things went wrong on each of those trips, yet it still remains one of my favorite projects to date.  

When you arrive at set, What’s the first thing you do? 

Cameron Trejo: Breathe.  Then I shake hands or hug all of the rad people/crew on set.  I’m a firm believer that everyone has something unique to contribute to any project, regardless of their position or experience level.  Setting a good vibe by showing a bit of love and gratitude up front seems to go a long way.  I think it is also important (especially in light of recent news in our industry) that everyone feel respected, even if it is a simple gesture like being acknowledged at the beginning of production.

What challenges have you faced?  

Cameron Trejo: We deal with the same things that so many other productions struggle with – smaller budgets – shorter timelines – limited resources.  I think it’s forced us as filmmakers to align ourselves with collaborators that facilitate creating amazing content within those restrictions.  Then it is up to the filmmaker to decide whether or not that is a good thing or a bad thing.  Challenge is refining and good for the soul.

Piece of essential gear?  

Cameron Trejo: My HydroFlask is about the only really critical piece of gear I haul with me to set everyday.  Water is vida.  Next would be my iPad pro, which has become an invaluable tool during prep and production.

Current TV Obsession?   

Cameron Trejo: Vikings from the History channel has been such a great series.  I will confess I don’t watch a ton of TV.

Binge Watch?

Cameron Trejo:  I have five amazing kids who are constantly on the go so binge watching isn’t really a thing for me either.

Piece of Gear have my eye on?

Cameron Trejo: I’ve been giving a lot of thought to the Alpha Wheels for Movi/Ronin as of late.  I’m a huge fan of the Lambda head and the speed/options it provides on set and love the idea of creating a solution that can be used in just about any situation with a Move/Ronin.  

How did you break into this industry?

Cameron Trejo:  Still working hard on that. 

What challenges have you faced?  

Cameron Trejo: We deal with the same things that so many other productions struggle with – smaller budgets – shorter timelines – limited resources.  I think it’s forced us as filmmakers to align ourselves with collaborators that facilitate creating amazing content within those restrictions.  It is then up to the filmmaker to decide whether or not that is a good thing or a bad thing.  Challenge is refining and good for the soul.

Camera own or rent?  

Cameron Trejo: Renting when you are starting out is simply smart business.  Taking that approach gives you freedom to try out different camera systems and see what works for you as well allowing you time to obtain a better sense of what your particular market demands.  Don’t be known as the DP with the camera, rather, be known as the DP with the amazing lighting technique.

Lenses?

Cameron Trejo: Rent!  You always want the best glass you can get your hands on AND you want the ability to choose which glass will work best with each job.  

Preferred camera system/lenses?

Cameron Trejo:  Alexa mini is my preferred camera system and recently I’ve been really pleased with the look of the Cooke S5’s with that sensor.  I’m also a big fan of the Angenieux Optimo primes for more run and gun style projects.  

Currently working on?  

Cameron Trejo: We are currently in pre-production on a fun concept for one of our long time clients that will shoot in three different countries over the course of three weeks at the beginning of 2018.  Really stoked for that one.  

Advice for people interest in this industry?  

Cameron Trejo: Network.  Find collaborators who align with your personal voice and be committed to them and expect the same from them.  It is difficult to go very far in this industry if you are alone.  

Where can people follow on social?   Instagram, Vimeo, 

 

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