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 director Alain Uy about his work. This is what he said:
Where are you from?
Alain Uy: I’m originally from the Philippines. I was born there and moved to Los Angeles when I was 6. And have been here since. I lived in London for a year and a half and was bicoastal (New York) during my 20’s.
When on set, what is typically your title?
Alain Uy: It really depends on the project – if I’m on camera or behind the camera. But typically, I’m the director on set.
What got you interested in this industry?
Alain Uy: What got me into the industry is the storytelling aspect of what we do. I’m an actor by trade. I’ve been acting since I was a kid. I fully immersed myself in the theater. I’m actually still an actor. But it’s definitely the storytelling that got me into the film industry.
What’s the first thing you do on set?
Alain Uy: I typically gather my entire crew together for a quick morning brief and chat. I usually give a little pep talk and make sure everyone feels safe, comfortable, and ready to have a good day. Then I hand it over to my AD who will crack the whip to make sure everyone does their job.
What movie inspires you?
Alain Uy: So many… wow… that’s a hard question to answer. But I think a current movie that really inspired me was “Her” by Spike Jonze. I think it was an amazing piece of storytelling – both visually and literally.
Do you have a director or cinematographer that inspires you?
Alain Uy: I’m a huge fan of David Fincher and Quentin Tarantino. But I’m truly inspired by Barry Jenkins and folks like him who push their vision to fruition.
What inspires you?
Alain Uy: I spend a lot of time looking out the window. Some people think I’m just day dreaming or people watching but what I’m really doing is existing in a world beyond the here and now. I’ve learned that inspiration can come in many forms. And it’s really up to you to be open enough to receive it. In the past, I wasn’t mature enough creatively to understand this. And now, I try to keep myself open to whatever comes my way.
Why did you choose this field?
Alain Uy: Frankly, this was a happy accident. I’m an actor and I have a strong affinity to storytelling. I’m also a photographer and I value visual storytelling. But like most folks, I had an unfulfilling day job. It was a good job in publishing (magazines) and I learned a great deal about advertising and marketing. However, I never felt that I was optimizing my potential. So I decided to quit… This was during the great recession of 2008. I decided to start a photography business with my wife. And we never looked back.
How does Filmtools help you?
Alain Uy: Filmtools is AMAZING. Filmtools has been so extremely helpful by giving my team advice on the kind of equipment we’ll need for a specific shot or project we’re doing. And if you don’t know the answer, you guys have always gone above and beyond in helping us explore the possible solutions to the challenges we have encountered. And I think that’s a valuable asset to have.
What’s the coolest project you’ve worked on before?
Alain Uy: One of our clients is Hakkasan Group and there are countless projects that they have commissioned us to do that have been absolutely amazing. But the coolest project we’ve ever been involved with had to have been with Pharrell Williams. We did a long form commercial for this I Am Other Foundation. Pharrell was so giving and so grounded. It was refreshing to know that someone of his stature can be so affable and humble.
Do you have any projects that we can help promote?
Alain Uy: There are actually quite a few projects we have lined up in 2017 that we’d love to promote. We’ve decided that once a month we’re going to produce a 3-5 minute narrative short. And each shoot will be accompanied by a series of BTC (behind the creative) video called “Case Study”. This BTC will allow access to anyone who’s interested in how we developed these project – from concept to finish – breaking down all the challenges we had to overcome, the failures, and hopefully the victories.
Do you have a piece of essential gear that you don’t leave without?
Alain Uy: Yes, we can not live without our Hazer and our Smoque 1 filter. We love those two things.
What advice would you give to people interested in this industry?
Alain Uy: I think a piece of advice that I can give to people interested in this industry, or any creative field, is to go out there and fail. And fail fast. Because failing means you’re trying. Failing means you’re putting yourself in uncomfortable positions that will force you to grow. The faster you fail, the quicker you’ll learn that there really wasn’t anything to be afraid of. You’ll also be one step closer to eventual success.
Where can people follow you on social?