P3 chatted with Daly to hear his thoughts on being a filmmaker in a changing industry, his cameras of choice, and the advice he would offer to young film students about the real world of production.
P3: What was your inspiration in getting started in the film and television industry?
CD: I grew up filming and editing BMX videos with my friends. When one of our friends cracked his head on the ground, I managed to sell the footage to a show called “You Gotta See This.” I was working my first job as a bus boy around the same time and I thought filming would be a much more exciting way to make some money.
P3: What is your camera of choice and why?
CD: I work mostly in the independent world, so I’ve only had the chance of working hands-on with the RED and DSLRs, primarily the Canon 7D and 5D. We shot a lot of 16mm footage in college, which was an awesome experience, but in today’s world it’s rare that someone with a low budget will want to go that route. I guess I haven’t yet shot in my favorite medium.
P3: Who are the filmmakers that inspire you?
CD: Guys like Mel Brooks, Larry David, Jerry Seinfeld, Tom Shadyac. One of my favorite movies is Strange Brew by Rick Moranis and Dave Thomas. I also grew up being only allowed to watch “Sports Center” and “Seinfeld,” so it’s hard for me to not laugh through horror movies and serious dramas, though that may be a subconscious defense mechanism to hide my inner emotions.
P3: How would you describe the industry you’re in?
CD: I think it’s like any other industry except that getting a job is sometimes almost impossible. I still look like I’m 20 years old, so that doesn’t help. I do believe that focusing more on doing the best I can with every opportunity and trying to stay positive in general has made my last three years in L.A. an incredible experience. I think the best part of working in this particular industry is the chance to do so many different things, and you’re constantly telling different stories. I always hear [jaded production] people on set say, “same crap, different day,” but those people are idiots.
P3: What important lesson have you learned while shooting and working with a team?
CD: You have to have a great team to do great things. Also, being able to recognize when a relationship isn’t working and being able to either resolve it or separate yourself without burning bridges.
P3: Do you feel that the industry is changing?
CD: For me, so far, it’s just easier to shoot and edit for practically [no money]. I’m part of a generation that is highly benefitting from cheaper production equipment.Before the DSLRs and lens adapters became more available, it was way more expensive to get a more legitimate look.
P3: What advice would you give anyone who’s just starting out in the film industry?
CD: Honestly, I don’t care about fame, but money would be nice. I would love to get to a point in my career where my college would contact me to come speak to the students. I would tell all the filmmaking students to drop out immediately. You can find unpaid work on set as a P.A. very easily, and you will learn production 100 times faster. A teacher won’t yell at you when you’re late or if your project sucks, but an A.D. will make you feel like crap when you’re late and a producer will stop hiring you when your work is crap. I’d rather be an unpaid intern or P.A. and get real experience than to pay $40,000 a year to listen to someone talk about what it’s like to be [on set]. I wish someone would have told me that [when I was in school]. Mind you, this advice is only for aspiring filmmakers. Doctors, you guys can stay right where you are.