Artist Spotlight - Austin Taylor
Austin Taylor is a filmmaker with creativity built in his DNA. His mother an actress and father a musician helped laid the foundation for Austin’s creative process and mind today. Now, his main focus is filmmaking, specifically cinematography and being a legendary Movi Operator. “I currently have my own business as a gimbal operator and technician called Midwest Movi, where I rent my gear and my expertise to various productions around the midwest. In my free time, I like to create music. I play guitar, drums and can fake my way through some piano. My music making is purely self-serving, but it's a great way to unwind at the end of the day or express myself when words just aren't enough.”
Austin’s mom and dad both pursued, and still maintain to a degree, a life of art. His father being a musician and his mother an actress, he was engulfed in a life of creativity and expression at an early age. “I began to narrow in on filmmaking when my mom introduced me to cinema through her own personal edits of some of her favorite movies. She would take the time to rip a copy of an R rated movie and edit it for an 11-year-old audience. One movie that stands out, in particular, was The Matrix. I watched that and felt heavily inspired by what I saw. Once I realized I couldn't dodge bullets, I decided filmmaking would be the next pursuit.”
“I make art because I have to or I'll explode.”
Austin can find inspiration at any moment, he said. “I just have to be aware enough to piece it together.” He turns to music and other outlets for inspiration. “The music I've been working on lately is very retrospective. I've found inspiration in being able to contemplate decisions in my life through the lens of passing time.” When it comes to storytelling, Austin is inspired by authenticity. “In a socially driven world, it's very easy to fall into a trend of creativity. There's always a flavor of the week and it's easy to adopt those themes and incorporate them into your own work. I'm not trying to bash those artists or art -- they're trends for a reason. But what really inspires me are the people who are able to create unique and compelling work that breaks the rhythm. Because then I get inspired to further think outside the box and keep trying to push the limit of my own creative potential.”
“Morals over money. I may not be the richest, I'll probably never be famous, but I'll die knowing that I was never affiliated with a project or decision that didn't align with my character and my opinions of right and wrong.”
When creating it’s hard to know when it’s time to walk away and wrap the art you have poured yourself into. “Is your work ever finished? I guess when it gets to a point where my edits or critiques just become superfluous, I know it's time to let this one go and move on to the next. I always search for feedback from close friends before I publish anything. Be it film or music, I value peoples feedback but also I have the ability to recognize when the feedback is complete and there's nothing else to do to change the heart of your vision.” Austin mentions.
Authenticity is a huge theme Austin is drawn too. When reading a script, he is immediately taken out of the story when the characters are stereotypical or the plot points become formulaic. When he is writing music, he puts a lot of thought into writing lyrics that are specific to his experiences or point of view. “I notice and greatly appreciate when a director or musician puts their personal experiences in their work. That's what makes it authentic.”
When asked about a memorable moment of his filmmaking journey, Austin tells us a little story. “ I went to a film camp in Los Angeles when I was 15 years old. It was a three-week hands-on workshop where I got the opportunity to shoot a short film on the Universal Studios Backlot. The camp culminated with a big screening at the Warner Brothers lot in one of their theater rooms. I ended up making a mockumentary horror film about a boy who could successfully answer any question he was asked and eventually predicted the end of the world. I interviewed teachers at the camp and fellow students and kind of turned it into this Blair Witch style, meta, short film. The twist at the end was revealed in the last line when the boy said the world was going to end the evening of the screening. The audible gasps from the audience followed by the thunderous applause will always stay with me. I don't like to talk about my success because it will always feel braggadocios, but this is a memory that affirmed to me that I was pursuing the right thing.” We think Austin should share his moments of glory more often!
“In the film world, we are in the wake of a new renaissance lead by people who have formerly been underrepresented. As a cisgender white male, I feel like my story has already been told ad nauseam. As a cinematographer, it's my job to visually communicate the vision of the Director to the audience. As an artist in 2019, it's my job to help support the artists that have unique stories to tell.”
When Austin isn’t teching or teaching Mōvi Pro Workshops with Camera Ambassador you can find him at:
In celebration of Camera Ambassador's new Cine-Mod™ Mamiya Sekor-C lenses, we’re doing a deeper dive on this beautiful glass. With the help of Matthew Duclos of Duclos Lenses, the industry leader and trademark-owner... Read More
In the midst of lockdown, these two resilient artists persisted and are thriving.Bridget Johnson (BJ) is very interested in the spiritual sides of things, having just made moon water the... Read More