We had the good fortune of connecting with Gabrielle Sundberg and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Gabrielle, what role has risk played in your life or career?
When I was younger I always thought I would go through life taking the safe route, making the easy decisions we are “supposed” to do, until I took one of the biggest risks of my life a few of years ago. I made the decision to drop out of college after my 2nd year and move to Los Angeles, California to pursue my dream job to be in the film industry. I have always been told that you cannot get anywhere without a college diploma, yet I knew that college wasn’t the right route for me. Next thing I know, I’m packed and on my way to pursue my passion in Hollywood. This was one of the riskiest decisions I have ever made. When I moved to LA, I had nothing in my pockets and no where to live but on a family friend’s couch. I stressed for months thinking and doubting the decisions I had made… Am I gonna get a job? How will I get one with no degree? Do I have enough experience to get hired?, Am I actually going to make it?, Did I make the wrong decision? I never let any of the fears get to me, my passion and hope for achieving my dreams outweighed the stress and fear. I knew how much I wanted this. I applied for jobs over and over, thinking this had to pay out. When finally after two months I landed my first film job, actually two film jobs. I became an event videographer for VIP Productions, shooting weddings, bar mitzvahs, and corporate events; and started my producing career working for Get Me Out Productions. Looking back on it today, if I had stayed in the safe bubble and done everything the “right-way,” I would not be where I am today, living my dream in the entertainment industry. Taking risks is what made me who I am, and as I’ve come to understand, this industry is all about risk, which is why I fit in, and why I’m thankful to have taken mine.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Getting to where I am now has definitely not been easy. I think you’d be hard pressed to find anyone in the film industry who had an “easy” way in. After I moved to LA and got hired, I put everything into learning the industry and fulfilling the knowledge I skipped out on in college. Learning everything practically and hands-on though, you get more bang for your buck, as I get credits for working (which is everything in this industry) in addition to the knowledge. I’ve done my best to stay creative and to work on as many project as possible, and now I’ve finally positioned myself in three jobs that will grant me access and knowledge to different facets of the film business I couldn’t get anywhere else. Being a stage manager at Quixote studios, I learn and handle equipment staging, and oversee productions build, maintain, and tear down sets. Watching production sets come in and out, I get a hands on experience of how productions create the world you see on film. As a videographer for Weddings, Bar Mitzvahs, Temple Services, and Corporate Events with VIP Productions, I get to shoot the worlds that are created. Being behind the camera gives me great insight to production, how sets work, and how the people are every bit what makes a film set both in front of and behind the camera. Shooting these beautiful parties and ceremonies, being a part of my clients lives for those moments, and editing the special video they can keep forever is priceless. Lastly, working at Get Me Out Productions as a producer I get the big picture. I have the opportunity to start the production and finish it. This is the job that gives me the artistic freedom to come up with ideas, bring them to life, and sell them into distribution to be shared with larger audiences. I’ve learned through all my experiences so far, that this (and probably other industries) are all about how hard you are willing to work. If you want something, you have to be willing to go get it, to take the risks and strive to keep your goals in mind. I’m lucky my jobs not only grant me the stability to stay in the city of film but also to work in it. I love my jobs, the knowledge I learn on a daily basis, and the path I get to continue down. I work hard to do what I love, and want to make sure my work and dedication shows others that you don’t have to take the conventional route to do what you want.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Anytime one of my friends or family come to visit me; the first place I always take them is to the Santa Monica Pier. The rides, fun snacks on the pier and getting to bike along the sand with a beach view is something so unbeatable. On another day I’d take them to Melrose Avenue, where you can shop at some of the coolest and most unique shops in all of Los Angeles. To start any day off though I’d take them to Hugo’s Restaurant where you can get the famous ‘breakfast pasta’ and I know it sounds weird, but trust me it’s out of this world. Now if we were going out on the town for food or a drink then the West Hollywood strip would be the first place on my list to go, the energy and atmosphere makes you feel so alive and at home. But if I really wanted to show them my favorite part of LA I would grab dinner to go at Osteria Mozza (Italian Cuisine), drive up to the top of Mulholland Drive right before sunset, eat dinner while watching the sun set over the ocean and mountains.
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?
Geez… This is such big question. There are so many people in my life that deserve a shoutout for supporting me and helping me get to where I am today. For starters, my friends and family. Their love and support through every decision I’ve made has been what drives me to continue to do more and more; I could never thank them enough. Especially my best film buddy; Sydney Kasahara. Secondly, my “uncle” Dave Goldberg who let me sleep on his couch when I first moved to LA, who introduced me to so many amazing people in the film industry, and who pushed me until it was unbearable to be in the field of work that I love to do. Lastly, my beautiful late grandmother who always made sure to tell me she wanted to walk down the red carpet with me one day for one of my big movies, she has given me the drive that I needed out here. She will always continue to be one of my biggest motivations to work to be as big as I can be.
Other: @smileygabbieee on TikTok
Sydney Kasahara Rafael Reyes