New Toy, New Chapter


I feel like some years are "comeback years," and 2013 was a comeback year. For all of the positive goal setting one can do, life will always through you the unexpected and things can change throughout a year. In 2012, I suffered the loss of my mother to cancer, and pretty much just focused on keeping it together for the rest of year. Given how 2012 ended...2013 was prime for a personal comeback.

I'm a pretty open person of faith and at the beginning of 2013 I had a few epiphanies from above. The first, involved Squarespace actually; that's the company that designed the blog template you are looking at right now. For a while, I had been looking for a more comprehensive blog template to house my work and in January of 2013, I found myself hooked on Squarespace. I found a blog template and was designing a site that I really liked. Every morning I would work on the site for a few hours. It just flowed and I felt better about my portfolio than ever.

The second epiphany had to do with moving across the country. The whole story of that can be found on the page, California Love.

The third epiphany was Black Magic Design. Somewhere while clicking away at creating a new blog, I must have wandered to YouTube, seen an advertisement, something, because I suddenly I found myself on the website for Black Magic Design. For a few days, I was in awe of their cinema cameras. I was impressed by the image quality of both their standard cinema camera and their pocket cinema camera.  I'm just starting and learning as I go, I'm not the great technician when we it comes to cameras and lens yet, but I know Black Magic does a good job with dynamic range. Instinctively, based on a lot of gut feeling and watching movies, I was drawn to the footage of Black Magic cameras because well...the footage felt very "cinematic." Of course, like many fans of the brand, I was really impressed and attracted to them because of their price point considering the power and capabilities of the cameras. I had my eye on the Pocket Cinema Camera which was priced just below $1000. To own that kind of quality for that price...pretty good.

Here, in the beginning of 2013, was a new goal: get the Black Magic Pocket Cinema Camera. I had started doing still photography from a love of watching film and enjoying mainstream cinematography, so I always knew that I'd want to create cinematography at some point in the future. Here was the window opening in a way, a first step. I envisioned owning this camera and practicing with it as a great transition into a future of cinematography. 

Again, that was at the beginning of 2013, what would follow was nearly three years of "the same old story." Between moving across the country and settling into Los Angeles, for some reason, purchasing the Black Magic Pocket Cinema Camera became more and more elusive. I mean, it was only $1000...but...debt. I mean, it was only $995! New apartment...Come on, Mal, it's only a grand! New car payment...Seriously, it shouldn't be that hard to save up fo---oh I should really get health insurance again...

I kept telling or having to tell people the same only story about how "I started out a still photographer because I really had a love of cinematography and film, so there's a camera that I'm saving up for (wasn't really saving for it) in order to help me start practicing cinematography..."  I was an Uber driver in Los Angeles and inevitaby  during small talk with passengers, they would ask me about my career or my future and I would have tell that same story over and over and over again, about how I really saw myself owning a particular camera, but...I didn't yet own the camera. I told that story for about a year and half. It was equal parts frustrating, and depressing, like some part of my dream or vision fading away. I was starting to question my future, but here's the moment that affirmed me, that kept me going...

In June of 2015, I was driving around Pasadena, and picked up an Uber fare. The gentleman was middle-aged and pleasant to speak with. He told me about his sons and his career in Science and inevitably asked me about my career. Oh no, here we go again. I have to tell that "same old story." I'm not good at discretion. I could have easily told him I was a photographer and been done with the conversation, but I opened up to him and described yet again that I had been a still photographer for a few years and was interested in practicing cinematography and there was a camera that I was again "saving up for" and just had been able to purchase it yet. Blah, blah blah...Along the way, I told him the price of the camera. At the end of his ride, I pulled into his driveway and he turned to me saying, ""if you don't mind waiting here, I'd like to go inside and get something to donate to your camera fund..."

I was humbled and waited for him to return. I would be grateful for a kind word, let alone receiving any money from a stranger. When he returned I imagined that at most he would give me $20, but again anything would be just unnecessary for him to do.

He returned and I rolled down my window:

"Here you go. Here's 100 bucks. That gets you what about 10, 15% of the way there?"

Wow. Never before...I've never had a stranger do something so kind. Never underestimate the power and kindness of strangers.

That was my sign from God. The pursuit of the camera wasn't in vain. I now HAD to purchase that camera. There was no way that I could let a stranger's donation of $100 go to waste. But again, as the months rolled on, other bills and responsibilities absolutely devoured that $100. I felt terrible. To get a little churchy, biblical and spiritual with took a particular sermon in December of 2015 to finally snap me into place and make a push for the camera. The sermon was entitled, "Cough it Up" and the message, in short, is that sometimes the devil (if you believe in such a being. I do. he's a jerk.) can steal and withhold some of the gifts that God has for us, but with our persistence and effort, God will eventually make the devil..."cough them up." Bingo. That's what I needed to hear. For has often I had been thinking about that camera, I knew that was my new sign, that this camera was one of those gifts.  

After almost three years all it took was one week; I had enough gumption to save up an extra $1000 and I FINALLY ordered the Black Magic Pocket Cinema camera. It's beautiful...on the outside. I'm glad I finally own it. It represents something, a new chapter in my creativity...but I have yet to use it. There are plenty of accessories that go along with it, that I'd like/that I'll need before I can truly get it into action. In particular I need a Metabones Speed Booster in order to properly mount and use my existing Nikon lenses on to the BMPCC. The Speed Booster really will be a game changer and finally get the camera in action. I can finally hit the record button and get some footage into reality. 

But that should be easy to save up for. I mean it's "only" $500...

Here's to making the first step. Here's to doing what you can do...