We had the good fortune of connecting with Kevin Stiller and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kevin, Let’s talk about principles and values – what matters to you most?
When I began my career, I would often dwell on the mistakes I made. I would replay them over and over in my head and criticize myself for hours or sometimes days, even if it was a simple mistake most people would never recognize.
It was not until years later that I began to realize the importance of recognizing and owning up to my mistakes. Once I allowed myself to see them as stepping stones of my craft, I felt a critical and freeing shift in my thinking. Mistakes became opportunities for improvement and growth.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
When I’m approached to film a project that I feel has opportunity for me to flex creative muscles, I often challenge myself to learn new techniques or technical processes that will give me the chance to expand my “visual vocabulary”. For instance, I recently completed filming a commercial for a well-known paint company who approached me wanting to collaborate on a commercial featuring new colors they have formulated. The brand wanted to use abstract visuals in the commercial, but left it generally up to me on how I wanted to interpret the word “abstract”.
I have recently been very fascinated by the way prisms refract light, especially when experimenting with the angle at which a light source enters the prism. When placing a prism in front of a camera lens, you get all sorts of fun and unique visual distortions that give the image a very “artsy” look and feel. Because I come from a technical background, I wanted to see if I could take this prism “magic” a bit further with some technical tinkering.
With a device called an Arduino (which is just a small electronics micro controller), a DC motor, and some off the shelf camera rigging equipment, I crafted a portable and continuously rotating prism that I could mount right in front of the camera. This gave me the freedom to point the camera anywhere I wanted and to always have a moving prism right in front of the lens. The end result, when used in conjunction with the camera recording in slow-motion, created a unique and “dreamy” effect that I felt fit the project perfectly.
I love to give my clients and directors the affirmation that their project has my full attention and care. I hope that my enjoyment for creative experimentation and growth gives them this sense and sets my work apart from the rest.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I love showing off the hikes that Mt. Wilson has to offer. There are a couple notable paths up the mountain as well as at the top that have stunning views. It’s also elevated enough that there are times during the year that you can be hiking in the clouds.
My dad and I have a joke that we want to create a show called “Food Coma” where we feature the small and unsuspecting food joints that are unforgettable. The most recent on my list is “Cilantro Mexican Grill” in North Hollywood. It’s a totally unsuspecting hole in the wall joint attached to a gas station, but once you try one of their burritos it will change your entire world. Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I feel incredibly blessed and lucky to have parents that have supported me throughout my childhood and career. When I told my parents from a relatively young age that I wanted to pursue film, they never expressed even a beat of hesitation or concern, despite the very real financial hardships many face in a pursuit for a career in the arts. Their support and love has been paramount in my journey through life and I can’t thank them enough.
Andrew Batista Eric Hurst