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Tuesday, 30 July 2013 21:04

On the Rise: Director/Cinematographer Connor Daly

Written by  Dyana Carmella
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Conner SMAs films and episodic series stream on the Internet at speeds faster than a cheetah powered by Red Bull, it’s easier then ever to share your creative content with the planet. Los Angeles-based Director/Cinematographer Connor Daly is well versed in the language of online content, and he’s proving himself as one of the hardest working young shooters in the industry. The versatile 28-year-old has already served as the director/DP for “My Roommate the,” DP for the comedy web series “HELL. A,” editor for the upcoming feature film Sand Castles, digital content producer for the FX series “BrandX with Russell Brand,” director for the web series “The Wankers,” and producer/DP for the TV movie Venice Heat

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. 

Conner SM 2P3: 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.

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