We had the good fortune of connecting with Brendan Uegama and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Brendan, how do you think about risk?
Taking risks is so important for creative satisfaction in your career and personal life. It can lead to growth and artistic/personal fulfillment when it pays off. As a cinematographer.. risks are presented daily on set and with each job I decide to take. Sometimes risks don’t work out.. but that doesn’t mean they aren’t worth it in the long run. Without them, work and life would be rather dull in my opinion.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
What I love most is taking on a new project and figuring out what it is and how it should be photographed. Then putting in all the work throughout prep, shooting and post to finally watch the results and see how it came out and effected people. Thats what I get excited about.. the full process from concept to audiences. As I started out in my career, I always shot films, rather than assist other cinematographers, which is a common way to go. But for me, I wanted to stay creative and work on my craft from the beginning. Year by year I would shoot projects with more exposure and more of a budget. It took time and wasn’t easy. The biggest lesson I’ve learned is to be uncompromising with your work. On film sets there are so many obstacles of time, pressure and a hundred other things. But before you cave in to a default approach to something, you must keep pushing to make it more special and to make it be strong for the story. It’s great to have a few tricks up your sleeve when you are pinned in a corner and need to shoot.. but always save those for when its absolutely necessary. There are so many films made each year and there is so much competition. If we don’t strive for excellence then we may as well do something different and simpler with our lives. But that isn’t an option for me.
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.
Malibu is my favorite place around LA. I lived there for 2.5 years and absolutely love it. So if a friend from out of town was visiting, I would start by taking them there and going for a surf. Lots of great food and places to have drinks around Malibu. Then Venice, then West Hollywood.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
When I think back upon my career, I feel there are multiple points where someone or something really helped make a difference. But the most consistent support I’ve had is from filmmaker/actress Nicole Leier. She has always been there and supported my decisions. She has helped when times were tougher and always pushed me to be better and better. ery driven and has encouraged me to always push harder. A massive shoutout and props go to Nicole.