We had the good fortune of connecting with Walter Mirkss and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Walter, do you have some perspective or insight you can share with us on the question of when someone should give up versus when they should keep going?
I would say that one should never give up but readjust, if necessary. For me, personally, giving up would mean completely abandoning something that I’m passionate about and going in a completely different direction, just because I did not achieve what I wanted to achieve. It seems a little bit extreme. Instead, I would say there are plenty of ways to readjust and stay within the field that makes you happy. For example, if your goal is to become a successful film director and you’ve been working on that for years and years and years, yet seem to be stuck in one place – instead of giving up on that dream and becoming, for example, a real estate agent – why not look into teaching directing at a community college or university? Or looking for a job that keeps you close to that career path, even if it’s not exactly what you had in mind. I believe that is a much nicer option than just full on giving up. Chase your dream and keep going as long as you have the energy, motivation and environment for it. And if it doesn’t happen, don’t give up – readjust and keep on going.
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.
I’m a Latvian filmmaker currently living and working in the U.S. My emphasis is in cinematography and directing. From early on I was obsessed with cameras and the way one can use them to tell a story. I find magic in the way a cinematographer can paint with light and shadow to create the perfect environment for the story being told. I think every story, even a sad one, has beauty in it, and I try to find that beauty through the lens of my camera. I originally started my work behind the camera in a small town in Latvia – filming little LEGO sets I had built with my brother and experimenting with practical special effects as well as recording short comedy sketches we’d come up with. Through years my journey has now led me to work in the world of commercial film-making which includes filming ads, music videos, commercials, product documentaries and the occasional corporate video. But I have not lost my connection with the narrative film world as I regularly find myself behind the camera on a set of a short film. The journey was never easy and still comes with a lot of challenges every single day. It’s a very competitive field which means educating myself and trying to improve my skills is something I do every day, otherwise it would mean falling behind, and that means losing work. You have be on your toes. All the time. The industry doesn’t rest so neither do I. However it is something I love dearly and would gladly do for the rest of my life. For me, overcoming challenges has always been about finding the beauty in what I do. Focusing on the positives and trying to share those positives with people around me.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I’m a huge nature lover. I absolutely LOVE the national and state parks in the U.S. Whenever I have the time and opportunity to be outdoors – I do it. Camping, hiking, backpacking or just exploring the wild, I love it all. So I’d say I’d drag someone out of the city and into the wild, for that’s where I feel the happiest anyways and I’m pretty sure they’d enjoy it as well.
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 brother William has been a huge influence throughout my journey as a filmmaker. From very early on, he was there to support my artistic voyages – from being the main actor in all of my early attempts at film making, to just being generally excited about the things I do now. He is just that kind of a person who gets you excited about your own work and career, even on days when you don’t feel that excitement at all. Same goes for my wife Lane – she finds the beauty in things I do even when I can’t or don’t want to see them and that means a lot to someone who’s motivation depends on seeing the beauty in the work I do.