Filmmaker Friday featuring Filmmaker Miguel Angel Duran

Each week, Filmtools takes a look behind the scenes with filmmakers around the world

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 Miguel Angel Duran about his work. This is what he said:  

What is your name and where are you from?

Miguel Angel DuranMy name is Miguel Angel Duran and I’m from San Fernando, Ca. 

What is your primary role on set?

Miguel Angel DuranI’m the director, but like many indie filmmakers I wear many hats.

Who is a person in the industry that is on top of his or her game in your role?

Miguel Angel DuranOh, man there’s so many. In terms of young directors on top, Ryan Coogler, Dee Rees, and Damien Chazelle are killing it right now. They’re my inspiration, but there are many less know directors as well. 

If you had to impress someone with your work, what would be the most “well-known” content that you’ve worked on? – Could be local TV spot or YouTube piece.  

Miguel Angel DuranIt would have to be the short doc I did of my friend Sara, who’s a DACA recipient and successful YouTuber. That video got picked up by Buzzfeed and has over 700,000 views. That’s crazy!

Best craft service food?

Miguel Angel DuranHoney roasted smokehouse almonds! Damn, I’m craving some now.

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

Miguel Angel DuranMy friends and I ran a film festival for nine years in our community of San Fernando. I started when I was 15 yrs old. We showed each other’s work to the community. Thousands of people showed up every year. That has to be one of the coolest things I’ve done. 

What’s the first thing you do on set?

Miguel Angel DuranI try to show up earlier than everyone, take a seat, chill by myself, take a breather and remind myself how lucky I am I get to do what I do. Then I review my notes and move forward with my team.

How did you break into the industry?

Miguel Angel DuranI don’t know how to answer that one because I started making films when I was 15 years old and continued doing so while in college when I made my first feature-length documentary. Then, at 23 I started my first production company with my friends and then left that company to start my own production company in 2012. I’ve been there ever since. So, I guess I “broke into the industry” through my films and companies? Yeah, I stick with that! Haha.

Current TV obsession?

Miguel Angel DuranI don’t watch TV. But I’m currently watching RAPture on Netflix. It’s great to see the personal side of rappers.

Do you binge-watch shows or pace them out?

Miguel Angel DuranI do both. I binged before or after a project never because I don’t want to distract myself. My queue on Netflix gets bigger by the day.

What piece of gear do you have your eye on?

Miguel Angel DuranLike everyone, I want an Arri Alexa or a RED Dragon and like many, I can’t afford it. Haha. But I’m looking at Panasonic’s EVA1 or Canon C200.

Camera – Should you own or rent?

Miguel Angel DuranIt depends on the project. For higher-end projects, I would rent, but if you plan on shooting small projects consistently it’s a good investment to purchase a camera.

Lenses – Should you own or rent?

Miguel Angel DuranAgain, depends on the project. But if you could afford EF lenses, then do so. You can attach them to several cameras–older and newer models. 

What is your preferred camera system? 

I recently got a chance to work with the Arri Alexa and damn! What a beauty. I really enjoyed how easy it was to import the footage to my NLE system. I love the plug and play aspect of it.

Someone that is starting out in the industry, what advice would you give them?

  1. Stay focus. Keep your eye on the prize. Ask yourself how the current project is moving you forward to attaining your dream.
  2. Build a team. If you succeed, they succeed or vice versa. Each person should have a role to play (DP, Producer, Writer, Director etc) You become a force.
  3. You have to give it everything you have. Hard work is an understatement. You have to be ok with being alone, working long hours, missing family events etc. But when you make it, it makes the victory so much sweeter.
  4. It’s ok to ask for help. You’re not gonna know everything.

Where can people see your work?

You can go to my website: Right now, I’m working on a documentary series called Immigrant Voices Of America that will share the personal stories and contributions of immigrants to the US. We were able to raise $16K through IndieGoGo, but we need to raise a lot more. So, if you go to that will take you to our GoFundMe page to learn more about the project and if you want to support it you can make a contribution there. Thank you.

Where can people follow you on social?

Facebook: miguelangeduran84 | immigrantvoicesofamerica

Instagram: @itsmiguelduran |  @immigrantvoicesusa

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