We had the good fortune of connecting with Zackary Rayner and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Zackary, what led you to pursuing a creative path professionally?
There are many different directions I could have gone when choosing my career path, and I knew that I would feel most fulfilled and excited to work if I pursued a career in filmmaking and cinematography. There is a line between a hobby and a job, but to me filmmaking felt like neither of those. It was always something that motivated me to work my hardest and achieve the goals I had set for myself. Filmmaking has presented me with my hardest challenges and largest rewards. I knew that a career doing this would keep me moving forward, and excited to take on whatever came my way, and I couldn’t have asked for any more when choosing this path.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I specialize in documentary cinematography and time-lapse photography. I currently do freelance work on music videos, commercials, and feature films around LA, often as a camera assistant or gaffer. On my own, I am very active in taking landscape photography, as well as city and architecture photography. Of my work, I am most proud of the documentaries I have made and shot. I feel that finding and presenting a real-life story to an audience, and the process it takes to construct that story during shooting and editing, is a very difficult but rewarding experience.
My journey to where I am today professionally stemmed from meeting and working with people who had the same aspirations to work in the film industry throughout college and beyond. A career in this profession is never easy, but the fulfillment from being a part of such wonderful projects make it well worth the challenges that come with it. In an industry grounded in collaboration, it is essential to rely on one another to achieve our collective goals. I have learned that is no better tool to the individual creator than their own story, and realizing that is very important. There are stories that are unique to every one of us and we sell the world short of hearing our own voices if we choose to suppress them. In short, to remain true to one’s self.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
There would be several must-see places if I had a friend visiting for a week! Seeing the colors of a sunrise at El Porto beach is something special, and the best place to start your day or trip in LA. Exploring the coast and hiking in Malibu Creek or Topanga Canyon is one of my favorite things to do here and a great addition to spending time on the shores.
Up next, going to see some music performances is an essential thing to do here. Whether it is catching a band playing at the El Rey Theatre or the LA Philharmonic at the Walt Disney Concert Hall, these shows make for the best evenings. The sports outings are also one of the best things to do in LA, there is such an energetic atmosphere at the games that I have been to. As a big football fan, no visit would be complete without seeing a Chargers game at SoFi Stadium. Hockey games downtown are also a great time, anyone visiting LA would enjoy the sports the city has to offer.
As for the food, there are many staple spots around the area and living in Echo Park, I would be sure to take any visitor to my favorite taco place, Guisados. Nearby in Chinatown, another favorite of mine is the famous Howlin’ Ray’s where Nashville hot chicken is their specialty, and their food is as hot as it is delicious.
An activity that is fun for any visit would be shopping for music at Amoeba Records, a place that any visitor would love to explore because going to local record stores is always a fun experience. Seeing a movie in the great theaters we have in LA is a must, my favorites being the Landmark in Westwood or the Laemmle theaters.
Even though there are so many activities to do in a given week, I think that a great way to get to know a city is to just take the time to walk around without an agenda. I have found many unique spots just walking around LA in places I am less familiar with, and I would recommend that to any visitor. With all the diversity LA offers, there is always something for everyone.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Without my parents, I would not have had the opportunity to pursue what I love. They have always encouraged me when making the choice to work in a creative industry and I could not be more thankful to have grown up with such support.
Zackary Rayner Makenna Lee Po Wei Sub Jeremy Owens Emma Forthofer