“The biggest adventure you can take is to live the life of your dreams.” – Oprah Winfrey
Director | Cinematographer
Let’s start off with the basics. Did you always know that you wanted to be Filmmaker? Where did you study?
I believe it was ballerina, secret agent, architect then finally settled on filmmaker by the time I was fifteen. My favourite part of films was always watching the behind the scenes featurettes.
I received a Film, Media and Communications Degree (B.A.H.) at the University of Windsor. Although I would say 85% of my film education was hands on in the field or self taught over the years. I found my way onto my first feature film set, a month after I turned nineteen. I was a production assistant for two days then thrown into the third assistant director position. While completing school I climbed the ranks on several other films, also interned at the local production house and worked at a movie theatre part-time to save up for my own camera.
After I finished university, I partnered at a small production company for a little while then moved out here (Alberta) to work on bigger features, documentaries and my own projects.
You’ve been described as a chameleon of sorts. You do it all: Cinematographer, Director, Camera Assistant, Digital Image Technician, Art Director, Editor and Colourist. Of these – what are you most passionate about?
However diverse my skill set may be, I truly thrive in the field of Cinematography. I love the challenge of creating a story and atmosphere with light, composition and camera movement. I feel most productive and creative with a camera in my hands.
What was the very first video/film you shot solo?
Beyond playing around with cameras for the sake of education, anything I made worth viewing had at least another person’s involvement in it. Filmmaking at its best is a collaborative effort. It’s also another reason why I love working in this industry. A group of people can come together to create something out of pure passion in their own individual talents. It’s this pool of creativity and ideas that make a project worth while and drives us to work endless hours in unique or not always ideal conditions.
What is the best and worst thing about being on set/location?
Filmmaking can be a harsh environment. Sometimes you are working 12-16 hours a day. Sometimes you actually receive proper compensation for your work, most of the time you don’t. Every project is a risk of your time, energy, reputation and sometimes your own money but mostly its your precious time. So much goes into a project from pre-production to filming to editing with hopes that this commitment will pay off in some way, that if its fails, it can be devastating. It’s rough trying to pick yourself up and start all over again. Also being a freelance filmmaker means I am always on the hunt for work, even while working.
On the flip side, filmmaking can be incredibly exciting! Nothing beats seeing your own idea come to life! It’s an industry that is constantly evolving with new equipment and technology to learn. There’s also nifty perks like working with celebrities, being granted access to some of the most interesting or odd places, travelling around the world and constantly meeting new people. I mean where else would I find myself filming in the White House or searching for bears on a mountain top or shooting things exploding?
“Beauty can be seen in all things, seeing and composing the beauty is what separates the snapshot from the photograph.”
– Matt Hardy
I’m a big fan of your photography. Every picture you take seems to tell a story. What inspires your photography and do you always travel with a camera?
I am never without a camera, unless I’ve somehow run out of battery. Honestly, anything can inspire me. I’ll snap a photo of a location, shape, outfit or texture and cache it somewhere as a later reference. I also have notebooks filled with scribbles and sketches along with typed reminders of ideas or thoughts in my phone or on my computer.
Who are some of your industry idols?
My real idols are some talented independent cinematographers I often camera assist for. Some of them have been shooting longer than I’ve been alive. Daron and Shaun are my main mentors and huge supporters of me, especially being a female in a very male driven field. They are constantly teaching me new tricks, tossing me a camera and inspiring me with their stories of adventure.
Beyond my everyday heroes, I would say the more mainstream filmmakers that have influenced me the most are Wes Anderson, Georges Melies, Rob Reiner, Tina Fey, Roger Deakins, Steven Moffat, Ellen Kuras, Charlie Chaplin, Richard Curtis – just to name a few. I don’t really idolize any one specific artist as I do not strive to be exactly like them. I use their work as a guideline for the quality of filmmaking I want to achieve. I intend to create my own style and crave my own path to get there.
Do you have any upcoming projects you would like to share with us?
I always have something on the go. As of now, grants applications and pre-production for new music videos and a couple possible short films are in the works. I’ll either be filming or directing those. I am also working with a couple different production crews, ranging from a documentary to commercials. I have a few things booked but mostly I live like a nomad and travel wherever work takes me!
Since we are a fashion and beauty blog, would you mind answering some personal questions?
I will try. I fully admit to being pretty neglectful to the old skin and bones when it comes to maintaining routine and getting enough “beauty sleep.”
Do you have a daily beauty routine?
I wash my face twice a day with a gentle cleanser (Aveeno) then I moisturize with Non Scented Lubriderm or switch to coconut oil if my skin is really dry. I’ll use toner in the evening to remove any left behind makeup and I also like to use tea tree oil for spots or a face mask every once in awhile.
I only wear makeup if I break out. Just Vichy foundation and Mac powder. I’ll add some mascara and red lipstick for the odd night out or premiere party.
My unruly sleep schedule and some of the greasier film set meals we’re given are the usual culprits behind my random break outs. I try to eat as healthy as possible otherwise. I avoid eating fast food and drinking coffee or pop. I usually drink at least 2-3 litres of water per day.
I’ve also recently tried two new natural remedies as well. One is called “oil pulling.” You basically swish coconut oil around like mouth wash for a few minutes then spit it out. It’s suppose to remove bacteria, be good for your skin and whiten your teeth. The second organic product is a hazel wood bracelet I haven’t taken off since December. Hazel wood is suppose to neutralize acidity throughout the body, soothing a wide range of health issues.
How would you describe your personal style?
Cute, creative and comfortable. I usually play with colour, composition and texture in my daily wardrobe.
On-set I am a total tom-boy. Jeans and comfortable shoes are the way to go especially when you’re wearing them for at least 12 hours straight. I layer my clothes usually a cotton tee and warm zipped sweater. I also have some great NorthFace and MEC weather gear for all seasons.
Off-set I usually have a little more fun but still maintained a pretty laid back look. I love my skinny black jeans. In winter, I usually have a funky sweater, cute toque, fluffy scarf and knee high boots. In summer, I am sport a funny tee or tank, TOMs and board shorts unless I am in a dress. I have a dress addiction, a vintage dress addiction to be exact. I will jump at any chance of twirling around a dance floor in a classy dress.
Let’s hear some of your favourites…
Piece of clothing you own: a tight backless quarter sleeve vintage dress covered in intricate beading and sequin!
Pair of shoes: Blundstones (Tall Chisel Toe Rustic Brown) I could live in these boots forever.
Place to shop: Loft 82, Mink Pink, Vintage Stores, Anthropologie and Forever 21 for cheap basic pieces.
Hair product: A good brush?
Makeup must have: Revlon Victorian Pink Lipstain and any Lip Balm from Rocky Mountain Soap Company.
What is your favourite way to pamper yourself?
A nice long soak in the tub with Dr. Bronner’s peppermint soap suds, something sweet from the Italian bakery and maybe a splash of whiskey to sip on.
Pick three words that describe you best.
Creative, clever and some say delightfully feisty.
“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”
Finally, How does it feel to be living your dream?