We had the good fortune of connecting with Derek Robinson and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Derek, what role has risk played in your life or career?
Risk is inherently part of every experience, relationship, and worthwhile pursuit we engage in, and the entertainment industry can be an intimidating, confusing, and frustrating place to navigate risk and reward. If you approach a creative project from the practical perspective, working based off of previous experiences and leaning into things that pleased everyone in the past, you may miss out on an opportunity to develop new skills and push your work into more interesting areas. On the flip-side, you can lean too far away from your instincts and miss the mark because you wanted to experiment when it wasn’t best for the material. It’s just as much of a risk to follow as it is to lead, and any successful collaboration involves a bit of both from all those involved. You’ve got to have the stomach to graciously accept the silence with the applause, not allowing either to negatively affect your creative contribution or chip at your identity.
Failure is constructive and taking responsibility for what didn’t work arms you with perspective that you couldn’t otherwise have acquired. I haven’t figured out if the juice is worth the squeeze when it comes to the reward side of this industry, but personally, I really enjoy the creativity, company, and lifestyle that working in it has afforded me thus far and have no desire to trade in uncertainty for predictability any time soon.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I love Images, and being part of making them is one of the most satisfying jobs I’ve had. It’s something I’ve always allowed myself to get lost in – compositions, lighting, and camera movements that can stand alone while collectively serving the narrative they’re in service of.
Over the years, working as a Gaffer and Cinematographer, I’ve learned to trust collaborators a lot more and to be flexible. You can’t be afraid to try new things and draw from the experience of those around you.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I love the Arboretum and Botanical Gardens, I like to spend the whole day there with my son and pretend it’s our own backyard. I’d take them on a hike through any of Malibus trails, visit the Getty Center, LACMA, and try to get into the Hollywood Bowl!! Other than that, I’d make sure they got a taste of the diverse culinary splendor that exists in Los Angeles.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My Son Van106
Express Lighting & Grip
IATSE Local 728