Hollywood Reporter

Society and Cinema in the West

"Welcome to world of films and lets meet people who work hard behind the camera while making of a film. It's time to meet Brian Dzyak from Hollywood. He has been in the camera team of movies like Titanic, Star Trek generations and Fast and the Furious 7 which was in the news recently due to sudden death of its lead actor Paul Walker."

Brian has spent better part of his life in telling stories one way or the other. He began his career as an Editor, Videographer, and Producer in Ohio and has shot Top Fuel Dragsters, classical music concerts, movie premieres and just about everything in between. As a motion-picture Camera Assistant for over a decade, his resume includes films like Titanic, Broken Arrow, Murder in the First, Star Trek Generations, and Pirates of the Caribbean to name a few. Television credits include such popular shows as NYPD Blue, The X-Files, Star Trek Enterprise, Star Trek Voyager, Strong Medicine, The West Wing, Charmed, and Tales from the Crypt. He transitioned from "production" into shooting "behind-the-scenes" that are used for marketing and promotional purposes. He worked for movies like Fast and Furious, Inception, Bourne Legacy, Batman- The dark knight rises and American Reunion to name a few.

Let's take a sneak peak into Hollywood and let's learn more about films as Brian Dzyak shares his journey, experience and message for upcoming talent and people in India in this interesting interview , as given to Sumiran Preet Kaur. Click the Questions to view the Answers.
"I don’t know that “Hollywood” is doing itself any favors by cutting corners, rushing schedules, chasing tax “incentives,” and leaning on those “proven” entities,"

I haven't seen a lot of movies lately as my work schedule has been quite busy. The latest film I have seen, though, was "Lee Daniels, The Butler." This kind of film, which seeks to explain the minority experience, typically plays to those who already know all about it so in effect, it is preaching to the choir. Those who could learn from it (and need to) are unlikely to ever agree to see it. At best, a film like this will be seen by younger generations who have not yet been fully corrupted by racism and bigotry, so as they grow older, their more accepting attitudes towards others who are different will replace the aging racists and bigots who will never learn.

The truth is, once you've been on a movie set, you've been on them all. Meaning, the process is the same . you have to rehearse with actors, block the action, then light, set up cameras, bring First Team back in, rehearse again, roll cameras, do multiple takes until it is right, then start all over again for the next shot. What varies are the sets themselves and the people involved. A project like TITANIC is overwhelming at first (it was the only set I could see from several miles away!) but once we got into the routine, it all came back to that routine process to get from shot to shot. Granted, that particular set was enormous (and very wet!), but you really have to put any feelings of "Wow!" aside and just do your job. Every once in a while, I will remind myself to stop and just take that moment to remember how far I've come and appreciate the journey.but then I have to get back to work again.

Oh, I don't know. Every project I work on has something special about it, whether it is something about the project itself or the people I've met along the way. Mostly, I remember the people and the fun we have when we work and when we have time off.

In general, I'm a fan of any movie that really draws me in so I forget that I'm watching a movie. Mostly, I enjoy what most people derogatorily call, "Hollywood popcorn" movies. Star Wars is THE movie that piqued my interest in telling stories when I was a young kid growing up in rural Ohio, so those kind of fun "Saturday matinee" movies are what I like to watch most often and what I'd like to make some day.
That doesn't in any way mean that I don't enjoy so-called "smart movies" or the occasional comedy, but I am more often drawn to the excitement of a good sci-fi flick or action movie.

One of my interests in life is trying to learn how things work. I think that's why I really enjoyed the documentary "The Thin Blue Line" by Errol Morris, which told the story of how a corrupt justice system put an innocent man on death row. The film was instrumental in overturning that conviction and freeing him. Getting to the truth in any matter isn't an easy task, so when film is used honestly to find truth as opposed to forcing an agenda, that's when filmmakers have done their job whether it is a documentary or fictional narrative. Even fiction has to have some element of human reality to connect and make an impact on the audience.

On the rare occasion that a film has a DIRECT impact on lives (such as The Thin Blue Line mentioned above), movies don't often have much more of an impact than creating awareness of an issue or perhaps even helping to set a trend (ie, clothing style, music, etc.)
I'm not one of those people who would dare suggest that movies are "important." They aren't. The world can live without them. But when made well, they can inform and entertain and sometimes, on rare occasion, actually effect real tangible change. Of course, on the flipside, any media can be used for evil intent. Our current "Fox News" continues the tradition that the propaganda films by Leni Reifenstahl established in Nazi Germany.
As filmmakers or creators of any media, we must be careful to use that power for the positive progress of humanity.

For better or worse, I don't really pay any attention to that sort of thing. I don't think anyone in particular is any kind of special genius who deserves to put on a pedestal as being "genius." In my 20+ years in the film industry, I've seen more than enough really skilled and talented people not "make it" purely because politics pushes others into coveted positions merely because they know the right people.
If looking for upcoming "important" talent is important, the focus should be on Writers and perhaps even Producers who choose the stories and scripts that will be made into films. Often, the Directors are just making arbitrary choices based on someone else's work and DPs are doing their best to balance schedules, budgets, and politics while attempting to squeeze "art" in whenever the opportunity permits.
In other words, the very concept of "looking out for" a new Director is suggesting that the Auteur theory is valid, wherein the Director is a single-handed genius who is solely responsible for how a film turns out. Certainly in the big-studio world, that is the farthest thing from reality as there are many voices who ultimately shape the final product.

The trend in what movies are made has been leaning toward the safe and proven for quite some time. Since Hollywood studios were bought out by larger parent corporations, the emphasis has been placed on producing "proven money makers." The safe-bet allows studio executives to keep their jobs and high incomes. Giving a green-light to an unproven property, an unproven Director, unproven Writer, unproven Actors, or anything else that is not a known quantity puts real jobs at risk. That's why the majority of films that are produced at the studio level originate from proven novels, comic books, or are sequels or remakes of previous movies. If one of those fails, the studio executive who green lit it can remain relatively safe in his job. But taking a chance on something new could be career suicide. Movies are treated like investments, not art. Where this leads to, who can say? Established movie stars enjoy their big paychecks which means that the cost of making movies will never go down, at least at that level. And that means that any star-driven production will have to be based on a proven entity to attract the financing necessary to deliver those paychecks. It's a vicious circle.

I'm not really qualified to rate anything beyond offering my unsubstantiated personal opinion. That said, I think that too often, finances and politics play too much of a role in what movies get made and how they get made. Movies go into production without finished screenplays nor adequate prep time for the crew, so if the final product happens to be "good," then that was a lucky break. But movies that are written and prepped aren't necessarily good either, so .. Shrug.
A well-told-story is basically what audiences want to experience and they don't particularly care what happened to get that movie in front of them on a big or little screen. But I don't know that "Hollywood" is doing itself any favors by cutting corners, rushing schedules, chasing tax "incentives," and leaning on those "proven" entities.

I'm not big into rating actors or any behind the scenes cast or crew. I have a couple of favorites, actors who I like to see on screen, but the story is really what's most important, not so much who is in a movie. However, I'm a fan of Kevin Spacey, John Cusack, Bonnie Hunt, Denzel Washington, Amy Adams.

To be fair, I don't consider myself to be a "cinematographer." That title has always had a connation of pretentiousness to me as if I'm out creating "art" or something. Yes, I have to light and create shots that tell a story while being "pleasing," but I wouldn't say that those are my primary mission when out shooting.
For the most part, my number one priority is to create a "shot" as efficiently as possible as time and resources are always lacking. I first choose a frame based on appearance and logistics. Both are considered equally. I could WANT to light the most beautiful shot that ever existed, but if I don't have the time nor resources, then why bother even thinking about it? }
So a lot of times I'm setting up shots with a sort of "Noir" sensibility. I'll choose frames that carefully crop out unwanted elements and light to hide other things that I can't frame out. My work tends to be a bit more on the dramatic side.less bright and more shadowy. Some of that is just because I prefer it that way, but it is also driven by the logistics of just not having a lot of lighting resources, people, or time to do more.

At this point in my career, I feel that I have a second-nature ability for the basics of photography which is important so I'm not wasting time experimenting with the camera and instead investing time in lighting and framing shots. It's important that cameras are made with easy to access and adjust controls so that my time isn't taken up with unnecessary fumbling around just trying to get the "machine" to do what I need it to do.
Without the camera, I am "seeing" the kind of shot I want to achieve and it's important that I'm able to adjust whatever camera/lens I have to get there as quickly and effortlessly as possible.

I began my career back during my University education when I worked at a local PBS (Public Broadcasting) station. It wasn't movies nor film, but I learned the basics of camerawork, editing, sound and production with limited resources.
After graduation, I packed my things and moved to Los Angeles with no real idea of how to get a job in the movie business. I was armed with a list of names gathered from friends and family of people who lived in Southern California. I called all of them and one of those calls resulted in me going to work for free on a UCLA student film as a film loader. There was no money, but I was more than excited to do it for the experience. From that one job, I began meeting a progression of people who eventually led me to larger projects, to movies that paid, and eventually to studio movies where I could get in the Union (IATSE Local 600).
It was a hard road, but I was so single-minded about making it in Hollywood, that I didn't notice and just enjoyed every step of the process.

I have a few screenplays and other ideas I'd love to have made or have the chance to direct myself.
And because I'm such a huge Star Wars fan, it would be fun to get to work on the new saga that is being filmed soon.

I don't know that I look to any one person for inspiration. Inspiration is one of those things that must be renewed constantly because this can be such a challenging business to be in. So I'm always on the look out for anyone who manages to rise above their circumstances to achieve something great no matter what arena or business they are in. People who don't give up, who struggle, but come out the other side smiling are inspirational.

It would be nice if there was some kind of official mentorship program where aspiring "filmmakers" (in ALL departments) could learn from experienced working Above-the-Line and Below-the-Line people. Too many people who want to do this simply can't because of financial constraints. Others never get the real opportunity to learn correctly. Many who do learn and have experience don't have the opportunities to get their skills, talents, and ideas in front of the right people.
Overall, the film industry is just organized chaos which allows a few talented people to achieve, but it also prevents many of them from rising to the top while rewarded too many who don't really deserve to be there. People do not always rise to success based on their merits. I'd love to see that paradigm change somehow.

The best thing anyone can do is to figure out what they specifically want to do as soon as they possibly can. Just wanting to be a "filmmaker" isn't enough. Do you want to be director? Or a writer? Both? Or a Producer? Or a DP? Or Editor? Or Grip?
Point is, the sooner you choose the specific job, the quicker you can make choices that lead you toward that end goal.and you won't be wasting time with jobs and projects that won't get you there.
And while you're doing that, find a way to keep that flame of enthusiasm alive. You have to want to do this. It is too hard and there are too many other people vying for those jobs and if your entire heart isn't in it, your chances of success fall.
And be a really nice person to be around. The production days are too long and they stretch into weeks and months. Nobody wants to spend that much time with a person who isn't friendly and just pleasant to be with. So smile a lot!

The same thing I'd say to anyone in any nation who wants to be in this industry: Love what you do and make movies that you want to see. You can't ever second-guess what the audience might like. But if you're making movies that you want to see, then even if the movie fails at the box-office, then at least YOU have something to sit down and enjoy when you're done!