We had the good fortune of connecting with Ben Long and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ben, why did you decide to pursue a creative path?
As a kid, I was lucky enough to get to pursue hobbies that had immediate interest to me: sleight of hand, drawing comics, cooking, writing. What resulted was a set of skills that didn’t really fit into any typical technically-oriented career. When I discovered filmmaking late in high school, it revealed itself as the perfect blend of technical craft and artistic outlet. I can’t really imagine doing anything else now, but at the time it seemed like a paradigm shift of understanding what all these different disciplines could fit into.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
My work tends to focus on extreme detail and hyper-realism. Whether I’m framing a shot for a narrative film or creating abstract macroscopic landscapes, my goal is precision. I really like to tune in to the distinction of the emotional differences between a closeup of an actor on-axis or just off eyeline. When I’m creating a fluid-dynamics practical shot, a single bubble, even if it’s only a few pixels wide, is enough to start the shot over.
I would definitely say a challenge for me has been learning that perfection is sometimes the enemy of very good, and learning the contexts in which very good is what’s called for.
The biggest lesson I’ve learned is that filmmaking is a collaborative art form and that technical expertise needs to serve interpersonal relationships, not the other way around.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I love hiking in Angeles Forest, so I would definitely take them to one of the trails near my house in Altadena near the Hahamonga.
The Thai food in LA is probably second best only to actually travelling to Thailand, so I’d have to take them to Pa Ord Noodle on Sunset for some drunken noodles and Thai iced tea.
My wife and I have recently discovered Descanso Gardens and have been taking our 7-month-old daughter on weekends to see the camellias in bloom.
Finally, a trip to the Getty is always visually breathtaking and intellectually invigorating, so definitely worth the trip.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
The filmmaking program at Bard College where I attended undergrad was the perfect place for experimentation and learning from all of my artistic blunders in a safe environment.
My older sister was also integral to the development of my interests. She got me interested in drawing, and she was the first person to show me magic tricks, which fueled a lifelong obsession with optical deception.
Josh Huval Celine Layous Ben Long