We had the good fortune of connecting with Eric Lombart and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Eric, is there something that you feel is most responsible for your success?
Success, in my experience, comes from a combination of many converging factors: research, practice, experimentation, personality, networking, luck, etc. Before I ever made a single dollar as a cinematographer, I laid a lot of groundwork through years of honing my craft. Even now that I’m working professionally, I spend a good percentage of my downtime researching and experimenting with new techniques as well as refining my image-making through still photography and personal projects. It’s important to stay sharp and be prepared for any opportunities that come along. The opportunities, however, don’t just appear out of nowhere. Once I built up my skills to the point of having value for other people, I realized they were useless unless I was connected with the people that needed them. I started attending workshops, screenings and lectures to ingrain myself more in the filmmaking community. Those things haven’t always led directly to paid jobs, but it’s good to get some real-life face time. People need to know who you are, appreciate your work and actually enjoy spending time with you, which is why having a good personality is another important factor. There is a lot of talented competition out there and your personality is an inherently unique trait that helps separate you from the crowd. Developing a strong network of collaborators is the key to longevity. A career in filmmaking is especially tied to referrals because people need to know they can trust you to deliver a quality product within the designated budget. Literally every gig I’ve ever gotten has been by referral, so I always aim to do my best work and bring a positive attitude to each set. It’s all a constant work-in-progress, though, and I’m always looking for great collaborators. If you find yourself feeling the same way, feel free to hit me up so we can make cool stuff together 😉
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I’m primarily a cinematographer, but I have spent a lot of time directing, acting, editing and shooting still photographs as well. Dipping my toes in every discipline of filmmaking has helped keep me employed as well as made my own content much better quality. You don’t always have the funds to pay a full crew, so it’s been nice to be able to flip into whatever role is needed for a particular project. For example, I made a music video on my Youtube channel called “I’m The Sh*t” where, in order to make it happen, I had to be the actor, which meant teaching my friends and family how to operate an iPhone gimbal. Or a series called “Tough Love Film School” that I was able to make completely on my own at the beginning of the shutdown in March 2020, when merely being in the presence of other humans suddenly felt scandalous. I believe it also makes me a better cinematographer and collaborator because I know what everyone needs and I’m able to provide advice to the director or actors on set…when it’s solicited, of course. It certainly isn’t easy to build a career in the film industry. A lot of time and hard work and luck is required. The biggest challenge for me at the moment is deciding which projects are worth taking on and having to negotiate a rate every single time in the non-union world. It’s a tricky dance to balance what you think you’re worth with what people are willing to pay. Ultimately, I’ve had to accept that time is precious and not every project that comes my way is actually meant for me. Plus, if someone doesn’t recognize your value, why work with them? The bright side to saying no to some things is that it creates more space for other things I really want to explore. I’ve begun to specify my artistic desires and focus my efforts on going deeper instead of broader. I hope that leads to a “brand” filled with a healthy combo of beauty and levity, much like myself 😉
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Assuming there’s no pandemic and places are actually open. I lived in Burbank for many years and my favorite spots to eat were Sushi Dake and Casitas Taco Al Carbon. One of the most special dining experiences, though, was at The Bazaar by José Andrés. I would definitely take someone there if they had a penchant for enjoying unique dishes and burning cash by the hundreds. I’m also a rock climber, so if my friend is an outdoorsy-type, it’d be fun to do some climbing at Stoney Point, Malibu Creek or Texas Canyon. Climbing and camping in Joshua Tree would be on the activity list for a weekend trip outside of the city. El Matador is the beach I would take them to because of the small size and awesome rock formations, though Point Dume is pretty great because you can actually top-rope right next to the ocean. DeBell is a lovely little public golf course in the Burbank hills with some epic views of the valley. I would want my friend to experience the rush of ringing that bell on number 12. Ooooh yeeeahhh.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I want to shoutout Sara Zanville for recommending me to Shoutout LA. She’s a nostalgia expert who throws fun ’90s events that I’ve had the pleasure of photographing many times. I’d like to thank Melissa Tabares for all the unconditional support and valuable feedback she’s given me over the years. She’s an amazing hairstylist and we’ve had a good time teaming up for portrait sessions to give people the extra glow that makes their inner light shine even brighter. I also want to recognize an old friend and cinematographer named Dave Selle, who taught me so much when I was first starting out in the professional world. My good friends since college, Mark Zuckerbrow, Brian Bellinkoff and Brad Gage have consistently hooked me up with a lot of cool opportunities over the years. They’re all in the film industry and definitely worth a Google search. Honestly, the list is very long and I feel bad that there’s not enough space to name everyone individually, but that’s a start for ya.