Guest Article: The Art of Television Cinematography – Interview with Maja Zamojda from the UK series “Skins”

Growing up, the cinema often referred to celluloid projected on the big screen. Television was a platform left to dramas, soaps, and hospital or crime shows made on a tight budget. However, as more and more content is becoming readily available across many multi-media platforms, the “cinema” vibe is flourishing everywhere. And for the better.

Television productions are now made with a similar attention to detail as feature length films. That, combined with great writing has made online binge watching become a current trend.

As I develop my filmmaking career, I often wonder what the creative and technical process behind those great television shows looks like. One of the currently popular shows is the UK series ‘Skins’. A teen drama that explores struggle and triumphs of several British youngsters.

Effy (Kaya Scodelario) in the episode's opening shot

Effy (Kaya Scodelario) in the episode’s opening shot. Source: “Skins”

For the start of the Series’ final season, the story wraps the character arcs of several of the show’s protagonists, one of them being Effy (played by Kaya Scodelario), in a two part episode titled Skins: Fire. Once a party-hard rebel, Effy is now a young adult facing the real world as a financial assistant for a high-end firm in london. However, an illegal scheme disguised as a career opportunity lures Effy and thus begins her downfall.

I became immediately hooked with the story and especially the way the cinematography was utilized to drive the narrative , so with a bit of research came into contact with the episode’s cinematographer, Maja Zamojda.

Director of Photography Maja Zamojda

Director of Photography Maja Zamojda. Source: Vimeo

In a very informative Skype interview I asked Maja her creative and technical process behind shooting the episodes as well as her origin as a filmmaker and her inspiration.

For more info on Maja check out her official site at: http://www.zamojda.com as well as her vimeo account.

richard-alexander-article-authorRichard Alexander is a Los Angeles based Commercial Editor and DP.

His most recent work can be found here: https://vimeo.com/89271367
Contact: Contact.RichardAlexander@gmail.com

 

Here is the full transcript:

Richard Alexander: Let’s start with your journey in becoming a cinematographer. Can you talk about your inspiration, your education, and how that lead to your professional career?

Maja Zamojda: Okay, cool. I’m from Poland and I moved to London to study here. What happened was, years ago, I got accepted to a really good film school called National Film and Television School, and that was quite a big dream of mine. Maybe I wouldn’t say I always believed in education, but I knew that this particular school is exceptional. They only take on eight students per year and there was a two-year course, which was really intense and high quality training. So in that school I was mentioned by Brian Tafano, who was basically the head of the department. The course didn’t disappoint me. It was really incredible. It was basically like a little mini film factory, where you have a lot of very talented and creative people, and they basically mix and match during different projects. So we had access to very interesting tutorials, and we basically had practical or training throughout the two years. That lead up to the graduation. I would really recommend that. That’s been a kind of lift through my career, because generally it’s quite difficult to work on productions which have maybe a little bit more budget, a little bit more comfortable, and also the right people. So they kind of bring everybody together and put it together to create something – a lot of small shots, some twenty or thirty minute films. And then there’s travel further. If you’re lucky, and that’s the way it is, they sometimes go to festivals and it’s a kind of boost in your career. So if somebody was asking me about the education and how that’s influenced my career at the moment, then yes, definitely I would recommend NFTS or any other major film school. However, I know that sometimes people go directly in to work and I think that’s also a great path or rout because they just learn and practice and that’s also very good. But I guess with film school, I guess if somebody wants to get into narrative cinematography, music videos and commercials, and more about telling the story, then that’s the time you can really discuss those stories, because you have time in the way you can spend lots of time with directors, editors, and producers to discuss how you can improve them from a cinematography level. So for narrative cinematography, film school is really great. And then, you know, I live in London. I do TV dramas. I did Skins and that led to Dates and recent series of Fresh Meat. And now I’m trying to move to feature films. So now I just came back from a month and a half in Goa where we were filming a feature film with Robert Sheehan, a very interesting actor.

RA: From Misfits, right?

MZ: Yah. And so that was a really interesting experience. Again, different than drama. It’s funny because people say that TV and feature films are so different. I think it’s interesting because I think in the past there was that feature films would obviously have a slightly higher budget and obviously be more comfortable. At the moment, there’s such a waterfall of micro budgets and low budgets that there is still change, but what is still there is maybe you have a little bit more creative freedom during shooting a feature film because it is more of an author film with slightly more responsibility or decisions stay with the director. And also it’s quite interesting. I really enjoy it. More creative freedom, I guess.

Is that because Executive Producers have more control in television?

MZ: I think so. I think there’s more layers in terms of expectations in TV. I mean, it’s not a bad thing. I think it’s because they, the channel and the execs, know specifically their audience and who they’re communicating with. I think so. They’re more aware of where this film will be seen and who will see it, so they might have more to say in the way that they have more opinion that they will be doing it in that specific world. Where I think in a way feature films are more of a gamble. Like I asked producers recently, “Do you know your audience?” I remember they said they are not talking to one specific audience. It’s more about making the best possible film. I don’t know. I was thinking about it. What do I think about it? I think it is important to know what is your audience because you can be more able to create a certain effect on this audience if you know who this audience is. It’s interesting to think about. I don’t know if there’s solutions, but it’s interesting to think about them that way.

RA: But if you noticed, television is starting to look a lot more like film.

MZ: Television is becoming a lot more cinematic. Absolutely. And I really like that. When talking about Skins and how to shoot it, it kind of naturally came up that it should be very visual and slightly noir-ish and slightly mysterious. Also the story, because it’s also a sequel or a kind of continuation of the story of Effie, it should definitely feel like the mood or the tone of the film would move on, slightly change, but still keep the great elements that they designed in the past. So kind of mixing it, taking the traditions of Skins in the past and making it slightly different, having a different approach to it as well. The story will move on because it is now set in London. She is now a grown up. The setting has changed. The tone has changed. She has changed. Yes, and generally I think, I don’t know, I think TV has become very cinematic I think recently because the expectations of the audience have risen. It doesn’t really matter if you’re watching something at the cinema, on TV, DVD, or any of those internet streaming services. It’s more about just the story, because it all just got kind of homogenized together. It’s more about the stories and the way they’re told. Those borderlines are disappearing.

RA: Was there a specific film or television show that inspired you?

MZ: Let me think, let me think. Yes – I hate those questions!

RA: What was the ultimate moment that you realized you want to do this, like “Oh, I want to pursue filming”? And what was it that made you choose specifically cinematography?

MZ: I’ll start with the second question. Cinematography because it’s a kind of language that operates on a non-verbal level, something that plays with your imagination, thoughts, memories. It’s just above the linguistics and the verbal sphere of life. I find it fascinating that you can communicate and visualize things, say what you want to say, through that process without actually using words. Like a kind of special secret language of human beings, you know, that is actually operating above logic. That we are so not aware of how we register those images, a very generic audience unless you study it, unless you study it and try to become more psychological about it. But generally, it’s so intuitive that to kind of master that intuitive approach – it’s psychological, isn’t it? – how to deliver that information in the right order, how to show things and hide things in the frame and the story, and how to create these emotions. I found that very fascinating. Yes. The first question. Let me think. As a teenager, obviously I was very fascinated with Lynch. But I don’t know if that was the first time. I often have films that I remember, like Lost Highway I watched three times in a row. Maybe that’s not very original, but as a teenager, I watched it three times in a row. It really affected me. I really enjoyed that. I also loved more of an intense cinema, like Fight Club. How they take you on a journey and your mind totally shuts off from the first to the last moment. So that was quite powerful for my younger days. Maybe those two. Maybe not very original, but I remember those were the two films that I found really extremely powerful.

RA: Great films.

MZ: Yah, they are. Those are the films I watched really twice in a row, once after another. In cinema one, and the other on DVD. I just stayed in the cinema and watched it again. I think those are really the two films that that happened to me that I was influenced.

RA: Cool. Do you have a library you go to to watch for reference or inspiration?

MZ: Yes, I do. Maybe those particular films less so, but I do try to collect films and try to kind of put them in little folders for references. Folders that would be maybe divided in tones, films that are slightly more delicate in terms of storytelling, more ambiguous, more controlled and a bit more-

RA: Less stylized and a little more narrative driven?

MZ: Yes, and the way that they communicate those emotions. Some films are just kind of laidback and let you observe things and those that really manipulate that narrative.

RA: Have you seen Hunger?

MZ: Oh, yes. I love it.

RA: Remember that 20-minute shot that’s just static.

MZ: I was lucky because Sean Bobbitt actually gave us a three-week master class in NFTS. It was really interesting because I had actually met him. He is incredible. I am a really big fan of his films. Hunger is subtly shot but some shots are just so right and so symbolic for the story. So absolutely, Hunger, but Shame as well. Shame as a story I just enjoyed even more. And obviously 12 Years a Slave, fantastic few shots. And some of them are just little graphical inserts. And some of them are just how he frames people and some shots a bit longer. I think that’s probably his signature. He just lets the audience watch a scene without cutting, without moving the camera and kind of experience it through that.

RA: I was gonna ask you about that. For Skins, do you shoot coverage or with a continuous takes plan ahead with a director or producers?

MZ: So it’s a mixture of different scenes. I think it’s good to have coverage generally in films when there are more characters in the scene, because it might surprise you. In the beginning you might think we’ll shoot it this way, but if they all have dialogue, especially in TV. In TV, generally, your characters will talk more. Maybe I am generalizing a little bit. But generally, I think there is slightly more dialogue. The scripts are slightly more packed in dialogue. Television tends to be more verbal, while film is more visual I would say. So you have more characters. When you have more characters, you want to capture them because later in the year you might want to shape a story and you might want to give it a different tone or trim it or this or that. So I think it’s important to have coverage. And then, I think with the more amount of characters. Then you can allow yourself to connect the scene in a slightly more original way, or slightly more moving or brave way where you might lose some lines from some of the characters by going with your perception of what you think is the core or the energy of the scene. If the energy of the scene was moving across different characters and spaces and you can take that risk. And then hope it will actually work in the edit, because sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes you still have to cut into coverage to make the scene work. But if you have one or two characters, you can be much more brave with that. Then yes, I think it’s really nice to just take it as one – I think audience likes to see it. And if you can do it, you should. To offer that experience to the audience, without cuts. For the cinematographer to tell a story by just moving the camera is the best fun and the best kind of mind riddle. How we move it and deliver the information in the right order to how this scene – and offer the editor to just keep it as it is to just one shot. But it’s difficult with more characters, when you are definitely sure that it is the right thing to do for the scene or the story, doing it in such way would become so much of a style that it would really benefit the scene. Or just shoot the coverage and then offer an option to do it later as well. Then at least you have options and the editor or director can decide what works best.

RA: On set there is always the issue of time. How do find the balance and negotiate with the producers or the AD?

MZ: You need to keep the schedule but also make the creativity the most it can to make it special, a little bit original and to make it cinematic. I think it’s definitely a matter of prioritizing. So you have some things that can be shot more simply and some things that are maybe a little bit more emotional, important for the story or the characters, that you might spend a little bit more time on. Usually those two, if it’s important for performance reasons then it will be important for cinematography as well because those are the scenes that have more emotional or story value, more beats in the story. It is important to prioritize it. So if you know you have a scene that is written in a fantastic way and has emotions there and you know the actors will care about it a lot because it is just a very interesting scene then I know that this scene might take a touch more to rehearse as well, so I will have more time to do lights and then just everybody will focus on it a little bit more. So it is important to recognize those scenes. Also another thing is, just a very simple way I understand it, if you have characters that are not really moving in the scene, it is quicker and easier to do lights. If you have characters that are moving, it will take more time. So just acknowledging that. If you have characters that are walking and talking and then moving from one location to another or just though the spaces or rooms then that will take a little bit more time but will have a great effect as well because you take the audience on a journey rather than just pinning them down in the seats. I am always encouraging directors to move because I like those kind of shots where you can travel with the characters and move on sides of the frame disappearing in front of them or behind them. So just being aware, choosing those scenes that are more important for the story, and then also planning how to move with the characters and how to follow them so the story feels dynamic and how to do it in the limited time. That’s important.

RA: Talking about the environment. In Skins, there’s a lot of great examples of symmetry and taking advantage of the environment’s colors. Were you involved in location scouting? And what was behind the process of involving shots in the architecture of the buildings?

MZ: Yes, we shot in Manchester and I was involved in location scouting. It was a fantastic experience because you walk into a space and it sometimes works for you and sometimes it doesn’t. But it is kind of a spying of what we are going to do later. So sometimes you walk into a location and you feel that this is the right space visually then you think how can this be improved when you talk to the designer, the logistics of it. Does it have big windows? How high is the ceiling? Is it an open space or does it have a bit of a labyrinth feel to it because maybe this scene needs a bit of a caged in or confusing way we understand the space. Yes, I love being involved in location scouting. Because you can just simplify your life so much by being involved in location. You can just save time and energy and create much better effects. So very important. All the instances I haven’t been involved, I just thought, “Aw, this isn’t right.” Because sometimes if it is not the right location, especially for cinematography, you might end up struggling a little bit by just bring a cinematographer on board slightly earlier to say, “If we go with this location we will finish slightly earlier or save this amount of time. Sometimes you walk into locations and you are almost ready to shoot and can shape the lines around your characters just around them on their faces and bodies or journey. But the background is suddenly fantastic because it is what it is and it is just beautiful. Very important, generally. So what was your second question? About composing the shots. So definitely a factor. First, planning the coverage, then whether we will go handheld or fixed or dolly in this scene. What would enhance the story? So that’s very important. That’s the most fun part of the collaboration because you then kind of try to make something very special in every scene where the camera is telling you something about their emotions. So this character in this scene might be feeling a bit low so you choose the right angle to express that. Or this character now is emotionally high or in love or just happy or inspired, so then again how do you express that? Maybe a lot of camera movement, again maybe the angle. Maybe you go handheld just kind of follow whatever the actor is doing because he has a kind of improvised scene. So, yes, with director, and then many cinematographers suggest things. Some directors are more visual, others aren’t. But generally they are and they kind of have an option and an idea of which way to go. On Skins, the director was very visual and had an idea of how he wants the scene to play, which is great. I love working with directors who are visual because then I can support them in that vision and add extra layers or suggest, “How bout we do this?” in the same kind of subject in the same style. Generally the process is my favorite. I really like doing this. And watching references and scene films that could be inspiring.

RA: Can you tell me more about your color palette choices?

MZ: We wanted Effie to feel much more designed and controlled in a way in the office areas, which was supposed to be kind of cold and blue-y, with some primary colors, but much more colder and cold as an environment as well in terms of colors. And home was a much more relaxed environment, so sometimes natural or a little bit more. So anything related to her work, which was this dream of hers, which is much more controlled, which she starts controlling in her life, was supposed to be more designed and more colder. The friends area of her life or her personal life we were planning to make a little bit more free and less designed and composed.

RA: I actually liked the rooftop scene.

MZ: Oh yes, the rooftop scene. Yes, yes, yes.

RA: Did you use artificial snow? And was it all natural light?

MZ: Yes, we did use artificial snow and I think I used some light just to add a bit more detail to the snow. Then we used polyboards and bounced the light for their faces. But to be honest it was a very lovely day and a very lovely location. It was on top of an actual hospital and the space had so much texture because it was all metal pipes that goes kind of behind the actual official hospital area. So it was a lovely location, very natural lighting, and very strong performances. The snow added a lot to the kind of breaking point as an additional layer to the visuals. It kind of almost – the story is almost ending and this is kind of a beat where the emotions break.

RA: That was a really good scene.

MZ: Thanks.

RA: On to the technical aspects, what kind of camera did you use?

MZ: We used Alexa and to be honest in drama, we mainly use Alexa. Quick work flow. Yes, apart from the latitude, the way it’s reading, it just has very good movement. Whenever you move the camera, whenever people move in front of it, it just looks very smooth, very filmic, and that was my camera of choice for a long time. I was considering RED for the film I shot in Goa because I watched some clips and I have been shooting on Alexa for so long that I forgot the difference. I noticed something is not quite right, the movement is noticed there, it’s breaking or something. Alexa is just so much smoother. It has this very soft feel to it. I generally prefer seeing softer images.

RA: How is the mobility with the Alexa? It’s a pretty bulky camera.

MZ: Yah, it’s not an issue. I think it’s absolutely fine. I don’t know how much it weighs. With the accessories, it’s generally 28 kilos. It’s fine. In a small space, this is not a big camera. I think once we used a Sony camera for a taxi scene where we had to keep it two shots and we wouldn’t have been able to do that unless we had a fish lens so we went with a smaller camera to physically bring it inside. With handheld shots, I think it’s great because it is a very well-balanced camera. I love it. Like the film I just shot was 100% handheld, running around behind my characters, and it was fantastic. I think it’s just balance, how much in the front and back and tall it is. It just sits on your shoulder in a comfortable way. So I have fun with Alexa.

RA: Cool. You like the feel of it?

MZ: Yah, absolutely. It’s great. The lenses are very important as well. I think we shot it on Cooke S-4s and lovely, fantastic lenses. We had one Alura zoom lens and that was a great lens for all the kind of office and city shots because to add that kind of saturation was really nice, especially on bigger locations and exteriors. Also we are shooting in Manchester to make it look like London, so that was very useful for us. We could still see the textures of tall buildings that were in the background. But you wouldn’t be able to see the detail because it is a very long lens. Again, you want to make it believable that it’s in London, but you still want to see something there. So the zoom lens is very believable if you just want to see quickly, you can find that point where the background, choose the way it blurs by adjusting your focal lens and the distance in character and the aperture as well. I like those kind of compressed looks for the story as well. The characters are very isolated in the frame instead of being compressed. So that was a very good thing to do as well.

RA: Did you shoot it raw? Or pro-res?

MZ: It was pro-res. I don’t remember if it was 444 or 222. I think 444. It wasn’t raw, no. It was suggested form our post-production supervisor. It worked really well. It still had a lot of post-production latitude to grade later.

RA: Were you involved in the grading?

MZ: Yes, absolutely. It has been a very nice process. I remember we kind of wanted to keep it similar to what we shot, so the color palette would stay similar. We played more with contrast, isolating characters in the background just to have the eye a little bit. I remember there was a scene in the office area, I don’t know if you remember, but it was Kayvan Novak smoking a cigarette in the empty office. That was such a difficult thing to shoot. We had no time. I think that was the most stressful day of the whole shoot. Very, very little time there. I must say it was also the end of the day and I think it was the day that the time changed and we started to run very badly out of lights. We managed and seriously Alexa has been so good for those kind of slightly low lighting situations, because it’s a massive space and there’s not much to do with shooting 360 degrees in such a space. There’s almost nowhere to hide the lights. So I think we had a little polyboard and went with it in the natural way. It was just natural light with a little poly, because it is what it is. It was just an empty space with very soft light, some light behind the window. And we wanted to shoot it rotating around the characters so the only way potentially we knew how to do it is top lights above them but then it would destroy the whole softness and natural feel of the floor, which has no lights so we just went with it. And I remember that once you go with no lights, you can add lights somehow suddenly because of the light dropping. It would destroy the texture. It was just a little bit stressful but everything was okay at the end of the day. Alexa had loads of space more than the human eye can see. We just had a little poly. I really like it because it was kind of natural.

RA: Were the containments because of the time crunch? Or was it already planned before?

MZ: This particular one, we had a steady camera that day so we wanted it to be moving. I remember we were thinking of doing something else and then on the day when we realized how little time we had, we went for this solution. But it was kind of slightly influenced by the fact that we were running out of time, which is quite funny because I think it works so well. It was just kind of lucky because we wouldn’t have shot it this way if we had more time. But we had to roll almost continuously. It has only one cut I think. It was an interesting style and it works great for the story, the scene. It creates tension. It just reminds you to embrace the limitation and just kind of go with it. It works out. If you look for solutions, they’re there. And it might actually be really good for the story.

RA: Right, exactly. Were there any other happy accidents?

MZ: We didn’t have any weather problems. That empty floor was the one when the plan changed and it turned out even better than we thought. What else? The roof of Effie’s flat when she’s with Dominic and he’s explaining her everything. I really like that scene. There weren’t any accidents, but it was cool. We had a jib, a little crane and we played around with it and did a whole montage. I really enjoyed that kind of top shots and him explaining her how the trading works. So that was really nice.

RA: Was that scene rehearsed? When he was drawing the outlines and the planning and stuff.

MZ: Yah, that was rehearsed. The camera was more improvising. The only thing we did want to do was end up on the top shot wide zoom. So everything was improvising. I would operate zoom and come closer, a little hands and feet and a lot of dynamic shots from the top and the sides that would be moving as well. It was all about creating the more dynamic it felt, the better. And then when the camera goes up for the top shot, wider lens. That was where it was supposed to end up to kind of reveal the whole complicated structure and map of intense learning in a half an hour.

RA: What was your lighting setup in the night scene with Effie and her boss?

MZ: Is that when he was asking her for passwords of her colleagues? And they decide to make a move. I think it’s in the second episode. So well it’s a night scene. I always think of what was there in terms of production. What was cool is that there was a lot of cool flashlights and little strips of kind of feeding information, trading information, so I really wanted to shoot towards them. It was dynamic. Even though it was after hours, a little bit of thrill to the visuals. I always think, “This is there already. I want to incorporate this into the shot.” I think it’s important to see that behind them – something moving, slightly disturbing on the peripheral vision. And then, we didn’t like anything from outside. It was quite high up those offices. I think it was the eighth floor. So I didn’t like anything from outside. It was all inside and just patches of light, just small directional lights with diffusion with a bit of black wrap. I think we had a Kino above them. I use Brick lights a lot because it can be hidden very quickly and easily behind the stationary computer or speakers, so it could just locally lift faces and add a bit of glow and slightly different colors to the practicals as well. I just wanted it to feel very vibrant. The Brook lights are great because basically you can hide them and still move around without limitations or too many stands. Generally if I can, I would hide lights or rig them so then you won’t have stems, because then you’re not limited in terms of your angles or movements at all. The director says, “Why don’t we just put it there?” and you’re like, “Yah, no problem.” Sometimes of course it’s impossible. But here it was very localized. Small patches of light. Just adding some contrast back lights and highlights. What else is great in this scene is we went with slightly longer lenses. There is a lot of distance between them, so we could shoot through the glass. If you find the right angle on it, it would just reflect everything and create more depth and texture. So that’s great because you have the list colors going through their faces. Or if you track horizontally, you will get all those sorts of layers of shapes moving past their faces. So I think that’s a nice things to do. To see what’s on the location. See what kind of light sources are incorporated already by production designer because they are just pings of light that they might want just incorporate and see because they are just vibrant and interesting. And see if there is some foreground, because foreground can help a lot with story, making the image more interesting or dynamic, or maybe you want to have the feeling that someone is being observed from a distance. Or just general texture, which I think it’s nice not to see things in a flat way but having layers and depth to the image those foreground elements will give you that basically.

RA: I like how you maintain that glossy, that texture, the standard narrative.

MZ: Yah, that definitely, texture, I wouldn’t say is my main philosophy. But I think texture helps to make things interesting. It might be more interesting for the audience, just seeing those extra elements. You see your characters in the middle and then a little bit of foreground and then the background, rather than seeing characters interrupted very much in the first layer of the image. I think it’s good to have another layer if that’s the scene, because sometimes you might want to go in wide lens and very close. That happened to us as well. Very often it might be 40mm or even 35mm and you’re very close up and there is no texture needed because it would be very distracting. But I think if you have an element in the scene, where the environment is important, to show it more, rather than be close to emotions, than I would definitely look for those layers and those foregrounds.

RA: Since you’re moving into feature films, do you intend to keep that approach?

MZ: To be honest, I loved working in TV. Now I am moving to feature films, but not so much moving. I love TV. I think it is such a powerful medium in a way. So that’s what I mention before. You kind of know your audience a little bit and that’s great, because then you can be more specific and precise in the way you communicate. I would like to just continue doing both. In an ideal world, I would do both. Just find good stories with good audience that’s the films will be enjoyed by good scripts. Absolutely.

RA: Would you like to also direct?

MZ: No, not so much. I think the visual language, the cinematography is what I enjoy most. It is a really good hobby/work/passion of mine and I’m going to stick to it because I just really love it. I don’t have a need of changing that.

RA: What advice do you have to cinematographers with limited budget and equipment?

MZ: Ok, first of all, in terms of lighting, you can make a light out of anything really. You arrive on the location and the cameras, even if they’re not high end, they are so light sensitive. Even if you don’t have a whole lighting shot you can light things with a torch and bounce off a poly which actually happened to me a few days ago. It’s not a big problem. If it’s closeups, not big dark landscapes – If it’s something that is realistic. Use locations that already have lights there. Things that already do look good and then shape your characters with lights around them. Focus on what’s important to those characters and choose locations wisely. In terms of cameras, handheld is great because you may not be able to afford a dolly or a crane. What is good about handheld is it gives you total freedom and makes you shoot things much quicker and also you can vary your shots, which is a great training for young filmmakers because you can try to – For example, you have a scene where you start on a pen, goes to her face, turns around to see him, he leaves the flat and then goes sees somebody else. You might want to shoot that in two different ways and it’s an interesting training of mind to compare ways of shooting different things very quickly and then by just talking about it with the director learning what would be the best. So it’s a freedom in a way and seeing that as a choice and freedom rather than a limitation is the important thing. So maybe less equipment but not necessarily a big problem. You can still look and make things amazing by just looking to have lights on the face. Sometimes it’s not just about having lights but taking lights away from the faces, so just having a big poly board or a black cloth. Sometimes limiting the light on the faces might give you an effect instead of unpacking all the kits from the lighting truck.

RA: I like that approach of looking at limitations as freedoms as opposed to restrictions.

MZ: Yah, absolutely.

RA: Thank you so much for the interview.

MZ: Thank you. It was a pleasure. I’m really glad I could do it.