We had the good fortune of connecting with Andrea Damuding and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Andrea, any advice for those thinking about whether to keep going or to give up?
It is very hard to find something you love and even harder to continue doing it for 30+ years, I didn’t know what I wanted to do before sophomore year and I was constantly panicking of not having any passion for anything. Until I started taking film analysis, film language courses, I finally found what I love to do and I just couldn’t picture me doing anything else, so it is also why I came here to LA 3 years ago to keep pursuing this dream as a Cinematographer. Another important factor is my family are very supportive, especially my parents, they encouraged me to go out and see more of the world, broaden my horizon on viewing things. I feel it’s very essential to have someone supporting you, it’s a very lonely road to walk down if you are doing it alone. I know personally I will do better if I’m not alone, after all this industry is all about team work and coordination, I think that suits me very well and that’s why I never thought about giving up!
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I think if I have to say what am I most proud of is definitely my growth over the past three years, I studied Film Theory and Film Critics back in college so I didn’t have many hands-on experiences comparing to other cinematographers. It was definitely a tough journey for me, also painful for me at the start to see all of my friends getting jobs, shooting projects after projects while I was a part of the production only because my friends felt bad and wanted to help out. Biggest challenge I face is myself confidence, many times I doubted myself and questioned myself, especially if you made a mistake on set or lack of experience, is basically hundreds or thousands of dollars thrown away. Under such a high pressure environment where every second counts, I was constantly stressed about it. All you can do is tell yourself you walked so far, been through worst situations, why not keep moving forward? Make sure you don’t make the same mistake. Don’t just stand there when you are in a dilemma, always speak up, share your concern when you needed help or you’re uncertain, with the help of everyone we can fix this together. I think that’s what I learned in the past three years, sometimes we are just scared and overwhelmed by the situation or the stress, is important to find a way to express and not holding it in. I am still on the learning process as well, all I can share it’s how I deal with doubts and stresses when it comes to my work, I hope it’s helpful!
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I personally like to go to places that gave me some of the best memories, and if it’s really my best friends he or she would know I am also showing places where I went once for a shoot! For hangouts, I will take my friend to Angel Point, Griffith Park/Observatory, The Getty Museum and even Yosemite or go to San Francisco if they are really up for it! But if it’s their first time here I would still take them to Universal Studios and take the studio tour bus, and explain to them the behind the scenes stories and the making of the sets we are driving pass. For food, naturally I love Chinese cuisine and Italian cuisine, so I will take them to San Gabriel and Alhambra where we can find tons of authentic Chinese food, and Sunset blvd for some good Italian cuisine and real espresso made my Italians! Unfortunately I don’t normally drink but I would recommend HUO, a place near Venice Beach, they make really good whiskeys and cocktails, quite an amazing place!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
When I got here, I have zero friends and family relatives over here. I always lived in Beijing, China so first time living abroad it was a brand new experience for me. I really want to shout out to my first group of friends that I met here, they had more experience than me in terms of work and they also taught me lots of things about LA, which is why we are still close friends after 3 years and kept working with each other whenever we have a project, big shout out to them! Secondly I want to show out to David Armstrong, Mike Williamson, Travis Hoffman, Tommy Upshaw Maddox and Suki Medencevic. They are very experienced Cinematographers based in LA and two of them are ASC members, just wanted to shout out to them for sharing their wisdom and experience with me, even though it was only a short period of time but really helped me to be certain this is what I want to do with my life and made me more confident than before, shouts out to these extraordinary cinematographers and life mentors!