We had the good fortune of connecting with Ben Meredith and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ben, how do you think about risk?
I think being a filmmaker in of itself is a risk – never knowing where the next job may come from, operating in an extremely competitive market, etc. So risk just comes with the territory. I let that carry over into my work. If I’m not taking risks on projects, I’m more than likely making something that either I, or someone else, has made before. So then what’s the point? I try to take creative risks to tell or show stories people have not seen before, or add an element that makes them stand out. Risk is my personal opportunity to always outdo myself, which allows me to always learn and grow.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I’m a cinematographer and also own my own production company, Antigua Way Films, which allows me to direct and produce, too. I try to bring all this experience to set with me no matter the role, so I can always offer my skills to help tell the story. Ultimately I think I am most proud of my attitude, and me as a “brand.” I enjoy having a positive impact on sets not just because of the expertise I bring, but the positive and happy attitude. We get to do what we love for a living! I always remember this, even on ‘boring’ set days, and let this idea live through my personality. Getting to where I am at now was definitely not easy. I went down many other paths (journalism, music, marketing) until I came full circle back to filmmaking. However, all my experiences have helped me in my filmmaking. I learned that no time was wasted, even when it felt like it was, because now those experiences are invaluable to me and my current work. The main challenge was jumping in. Actually letting go of full time work and telling yourself it’s time to focus on filmmaking. It is challenging financially, mentally, but so much more rewarding to be able to do what you love. The lesson I learned was like most other filmmakers…to never give up. This does not have to be a “rockstar” or “movie star” job…if you want to be a filmmaker and you simply don’t give up, don’t stop…you can be. And with each year comes more networking, more clients, more opportunities to make a living doing this. The slumps are hard, but if you get through them there is always more work at the end of the tunnel. My main ethos is story comes first. We’re in the business of storytelling, and I want my brand and me as a filmmaker to use this wisely…to tell unique stories that not only entertain, but hopefully touch or help people as well.
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.
If the pandemic was over… I would definitely take them to Dos Burritos in Hollywood. Best carne asada in town, and hottest salsa! If they were a movie buff it’s always fun doing a personal little tour of where movies were filmed. Maybe even swing by Universal Studios (my favorite theme park) to cap it off. I would definitely want to take them to some of my favorite hiking spots or places to take pictures: Zuma Beach in Malibu, Franklin Canyon (shoutout to my turtle friends), and Topanga Canyon. If there was time we could duck away to Big Bear for a day and enjoy the mountains. Casa Vega would be another spot for drinks and food, and enjoy that old Hollywood aesthetic. We’d have to see what bands are playing that week as well, and hopefully catch a show at my favorite venue The Troubadour. Couldn’t forget Griffith Observatory either. We could get our space-geek on and then enjoy the wonderful view of Los Angeles. Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Shoutout to Jaclyn Amor for pointing VoyageLA my way and Agent 86, our new agency.