We had the good fortune of connecting with Matthew Skala and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Matthew, why did you pursue a creative career?
Creative work gives me the most satisfaction, sense of fulfillment and purpose. Doing it with others in a collaborative business like filmmaking compounds these attributes exponentially. And as a Cinematographer, the act of serving another creative–a director and his/her vision–keeps things fresh, challenging and energizing.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
These days, Cinematographers shoot an average of 1-2 projects per year, including shorts and TV. I’ts nearly impossible to sustain a living this way, unless you are shooting well-budgeted projects–which I am not. To help supplement my income, I’ve been working as an editor on narrative and documentary features. For the last 3-5 years I’ve been leaning heavily on the editing and haven’t been shooting those 1-2 projects each year. I’ve used the pandemic downtime to start re-orienting my efforts more toward shooting, with an emphasis on strengthening my weaknesses on the business and social side of things. Around that, the biggest challenge for me has been finding those “absolute yes” opportunities and getting the attention of those I want to work with most.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Take a drive on the PCH, check out a couple of the smaller beaches, eat at Neptunes Net. Go on an architectural tour, check out Frank Lloyd Wright homes, grab a bite somewhere at Sunset Junction. Go on a hike through Griffith Park, stopping at the observatory, packing a lunch. Drive by some of the major studios, Take a tour of one I have a pass for, get a Pink’s hotdog or have a meal at Mel’s Diner in Burbank. Shop for vintage fashion in Los Feliz, Silverlake, and on Melrose, eat at Mozza. Explore the LA river and bridges downtown, check out the arts district and choose a place to eat there. Catch a film screening at The Egyptian, The Beverly or LACMA. 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?
My High School photography teacher, Jim Payette. He was the first one who saw my potential as an artist and made extra effort to encourage me in pursuing a creative career.