Finding inspiration

In November I had the chance to meet one of my new idols. If you’re not familiar with Vincent Laforet, he’s a former New York Times photographer that got people going nuts over DLSR filmmaking.

When Canon released the 5D MarkII, he took it for a test drive, resulting in the short film, Reverie. He’s been doing video ever since, and after Canon released the C300, he was there again to show what it could do with his short film, Mobius. In November, he spoke about his experience at an Apple Store in Chicago.

Speaking at the Apple Store

Not only is he talented, but he is constantly sharing insight into his process. On his blog, he talks about why he makes certain choices creatively, and then talks in depth about how he executed those shots. He has hours and hours of videos on his website detailing his workflow. I shoot on the 5D and edit in Premiere CS5.5 64bit. So does he, and he posted an hour-long video of the settings he uses when he edits. It’s pretty cool to be able to get that kind of detail from a successful professional. He also just posted a video showing the Adobe workflow used to do some effects editing for Mobius.

When I listened to him speak to the crowd at the Apple Store in Chicago, one great piece of advice he had for the crowd was to not try following the footsteps of your idols, because those paths are already obsolete. Working for a the New York Times and then being chosen to demonstrate breakthrough camera technology worked for him, but that’s not going to happen to anybody else. He says to keep doing what your doing and make your own path, and that was really refreshing. I spend so much time looking at what other people have done, it’s hard to realize that they weren’t concerning themselves with the work and success of their peers. They were just concentrating on doing good work, and the success followed.

Listening to him talk about his days at the Times also rejuvenated my enthusiasm for my job. I already love what I do, but hearing him describe his process made me think about different ways I can approach my own work. It was also nice to see that he enjoys taking pictures of himself in cool places. Now I don’t feel as narcissitic.

Laforet on the Empire State Building. Click to read his blog!

Suddenly I don't feel so brave for climbing up this water tower...

But the main thing is that he’s a genuinely nice guy. When I saw him in Chicago, he wasn’t pompous or pretentious. He was a talented artist happy to share his experiences with fellow artists. No question was stupid during the Q&A, and he gave everybody equal time and respect.

Afterward I was able to introduce myself and get a picture taken with him.

And no, I didn't copy his hair and beard on purpose...

Before I left, I couldn’t help asking him to sign my clapboard. I felt like a huge nerd until a few fellow filmmakers started to regret not bringing theirs.

Autograph book » Hugh Sullivan Video - April 10, 2013 - 1:22 pm

[...] when I was going to meet photo/video master Vincent Laforet, who I swooned over last year, I wanted to bring something more unique for him to sign. Since he was a big inspiration for me, I [...]

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