We had the good fortune of connecting with Kaitlyn Scardino and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Kaitlyn, how do you think about risk?
“If you’re not living on the edge you’re taking up too much space.” – Stephen Hunt. This is a quote that has stuck with me for years now and I often find myself applying it to my personal life. Not literally of course, otherwise I would constantly be one wind gust away from my demise. I have a very personal relationship when it comes to risk, but I think it’s important to explain what risk means to me first. Whenever people ask me what my biggest regrets are in life, I tend to draw a blank. I do everything I can to live every day like it might be my last. I do this because it very well might be, and I don’t want to look back on my life when I’m old and realize that I blew my one chance. In this life, we get one shot to get things how we want them to be. There is no time to sit back and play it safe, it’s now or never. Many people’s regrets in life come from risks they didn’t take because they were too scared. As people we don’t grow unless we take risks and put ourselves in uncomfortable situations. If you fail, it is okay, you will get back up and keep moving. You have no choice, because life doesn’t slow down or stop for anyone. Always take the risk, because best case scenario: you taste the amazing reward, and worst case scenario: you learn something new, get up, and keep going.

When I was 17 years old I had a very risky choice to make. I was in a magnet program in high school studying to go to medical school. I was also in my high school media class, which was oftentimes just treated as a joke. My entire life I told people I was going to be a doctor because I thought that’s what everyone else wanted me to do. I would go to school, get a job, make money, start a family, and live a cookie cutter life. Deep down, though, I knew I would be leading a miserable life. I have been filmmaking since I was a little girl. My sister and I had our own little production company and we would film skits on her iPod touch. I always thought of filmmaking as a hobby, never a career. I used to cry to my mom at night because all of my other friends knew what they wanted, they had their dream schools, their dream jobs, but I just wasn’t so sure that I wanted the cookie cutter life. I had to make a decision. I could either follow my brain or follow my heart. If I went to medical school I would have a guaranteed career, I would make enough money to support myself, and I would feel ‘accomplished’. If I went to film school I would be constantly looking for work, be seen by my peers as a ‘starving artist’, and I would always be wondering if my choice was worth it. But I would be happy, I would be doing what I love, I would be fulfilling my passion. So at 18 years old I decided to move all the way across the country to Los Angeles to pursue a career in filmmaking. It was the best decision of my entire life. Filmmaking is in my blood, in my soul, and in my heart. I can’t imagine a world where I didn’t take this risk, because the reward could not have been more worth it. Taking the leap of faith was terrifying for me, I didn’t know anyone, didn’t know how to live independently, but I did it. I did it because if I didn’t, I knew I would regret it for the rest of my life.This experience has taught me the benefit of risk taking. There are certain risks that aren’t worth taking because the sacrifice is too large. But if you are holding yourself back out of fear, you are living your life wrong, because a life without risk is a life full of regret.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
When I was a little girl, all I wanted to do was change the world. I always assumed in order to do this I needed to become a doctor, or politician, or an activist. It wasn’t until a few years ago that I realized you can change the world through art. As an artist my goal is to tell stories that portray the uniqueness of this beautiful world. As a white woman I grew up seeing myself in every film, but as I grew up and discovered my sexuality I realized that the LGBTQ+ community wasn’t represented anywhere. This made me open my eyes to the lack of diversity and inclusivity in the film industry, not only on the screen but as I got older, behind the scenes as well.

I started out at 18 years old going to school that only taught film. I felt lucky because I knew what I wanted, but that ended up changing a little ways in. I started out as a director, and I still am but after trying out all of the different positions on set, I fell in love with lighting. Lighting a scene is a beautiful combination of creativity and logistics. You choose the look of the film and then you figure out how to achieve it using lights, flags, rags, power, gels, etc. The more I started shooting projects and working in the lighting department the more and more I loved it, and I quickly started getting more and more jobs. I was learning more and overcoming technical difficulties that I forgot the one thing always standing in my way. My gender.

I have always been a huge feminist and it comes out often in my artwork. I am proud to be a woman, I am strong because I am a woman. Unfortunately I chose a job and career that is at its core, sexist. I have worked in the lighting department many times under the title ‘Best Boy’, I have had men tell me that I don’t belong in the lighting department because I am a woman, I have had men hit on me while working, alongside many other things. So many women in the industry deal with these problems, but we don’t stop working. Because in order to change the industry we need to keep fighting, we can’t back down. It can be so difficult to be fighting an uphill battle that you know you may never see the end of. Whenever I feel defeated or less than, I think about all of the little girls who want to be filmmakers but don’t think they can, because when you type in 50 best directors of all time, all Google shows you are white men.

Being a woman in the industry I know that I serve as an example to others, and I know that my films will also serve as an example to others. That is why my films touch on real life problems, from people coming from all walks of life. To change a person’s life through cinema is to change the world.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Recently my best friend flew out to Los Angeles to stay with me for a week. Normally I would’ve taken her to all of the touristy spots, but I felt like that wasn’t showing her the real Los Angeles. Instead I took her to all of my favorite places that I feel represent the LA lifestyle.

The first day we picked up lunch at Lemonade and then headed over to the Observatory for a picnic. We brought board games and took cute pictures and just enjoyed the beautiful view and beautiful weather. On the way home we picked up some stuff to make dinner and stopped by one of our favorite movie locations ‘Murder House’ from American Horror Story.

The second day we went for a Malibu hike and went to one of my favorite streets ever, Magnolia Blvd. There we stopped into Halloweentown, the Mystic Museum, That’s a Wrap!, and for lunch we grabbed a bite a Romancing the Bean.

The third day was one of our favorites. We drove down to Ameoba Music, and spent hours collecting records, posters, t-shirts, and movie. After that we went to City Walk to walk around and enjoy a nice dinner at Johnny Rockets.

The fourth day I took her to my favorite tattoo shop One Truth Tattoo, where she got her first tattoo! Then we stopped by Melrose Trading Post and got some super cool clothes. For dinner we stopped at Greco’s, my favorite pizzeria on the West Coast.

The last day we went Downtown and stopped in the worlds best bookstore ever… The Last Bookstore. This place is HUGE. It’s two stories and filled with books, records, and art. We could’ve spent hours there (and I’m pretty sure we did). After that we walked a few blocks to the park to read and when we got hungry we went to the Grand Central Market and got some super good food. We also stopped at the infamous Cecil Hotel and we wanted to go to a museum but due to Covid they were all closed.

Finally after she packed her bags, I took her on a drive down the Pacific Coast Highway, but to get there we swerved through the Topanga Canyon mountains, which is my favorite drive. As we finally exited the mountains onto the PCH the sun was setting and we watched on the rocks, then I took her to LAX to say farewell!

She had an amazing time getting to see the innards of LA, without having to be surrounded by tourists. She didn’t want to leave and I didn’t want her to!

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I would like to dedicate my shoutout to my little cousin Evelyn. She inspires me every single day to be the best version of myself that I can be. She is in the midst of her own risk taking dilemma, but I hope my story inspires her to follow her heart and follow her passion.

Website: https://kaitlynscardino.weebly.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kaitlynfilms/

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kaitlyn-scardino-945866119/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kaitlyn.scardino

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCpGuM7lMR1HyTGMd22kWvHg

Image Credits
Photo credit: Ryan Nelson, Alyssa Arzola

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