Today we’d like to introduce you to Laura Odermatt.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Laura. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I first fell in love with filmmaking when I watched Wings of Desire. Up to that point, I had always enjoyed writing poetry and photography as separate hobbies. To me, this movie was the perfect union of the two. After that, I was set on becoming a cinematographer.
I went to film school at California State University, Long Beach and collaborated artistically with many talented people on personally meaningful projects. While there, I built up a body of work that I was proud of and showcased in my reel. I have shot on 8mm, 16mm, 35mm, and digital large format cameras.
I am currently a fully freelance cinematographer and camera assistant in Los Angeles. Last year, I got the incredible opportunity to DP a VFX camera test for Glen Ficarra and John Requa, the directors of Focus and Crazy, Stupid, Love. I have also worked on projects for numerous companies including Hello Sunshine, Refinery29, Vogue, Nike, Radio Disney, and Giorgio Armani; and for artists including King Princess and Vic Mensa and G-Eazy.
I am happy to say I do what I love with people that I love. I’ve learned that it makes all the difference when you surround yourself with and choose to work with people you genuinely admire and respect. It’s essential, really. Every project seems to be a new adventure, and I am grateful for each experience and all of the incredible people I’ve met along the way.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
“Nothing worth having is ever going to be easy” has become my freelancing mantra. The important thing is to find a way to keep going despite how tough it is, and I think it starts with being honest with yourself. If you’re unhappy, take time to check in with yourself and reevaluate. Always trust your gut when it comes to projects, and especially when it comes to the people you work with.
Make a constant effort to be knowledgeable about your passion, especially if it is technical and you are dealing with something like cameras. Come prepared, and don’t give anyone any room to doubt you. Be aware of the inequality in the industry, but it’s important not to let it paralyze you. You will have to step out of your comfort zone again and again— it can be scary, but it’s also how you grow.
Please tell us more about what you do, what you are currently focused on and most proud of.
I have shot a wide variety of projects, but my favorite things to shoot are scripted narratives and music videos. Because I have a long-time love of photography, framing has always been hugely important to me. I have always been fascinated with the motion in cinematography, as well— whether it be calculated and choreographed or handheld and human-like.
I also love finding new ways with a director to represent a character’s emotions on screen. I strive to create images with raw and palpable emotion but to make them stylized as well. I love the whole process really, and I think the most rewarding thing about it is when you can discover something within the art and within yourself at the same time.
Often it feels as if the media, by and large, is only focused on the obstacles faced by women, but we feel it’s important to also look for the opportunities. In your view, are there opportunities that you see that women are particularly well-positioned for?
I am extremely lucky to collaborate as often as I do with many awesome and inspiring women. I feel that because of the time we live in, a lot of exciting and new opportunities are surfacing for women, people of color, and LGBTQ+ folks that hadn’t been available previously. I am personally committed to hiring and bringing on diverse crew wherever I can, and I know a lot of people that feel the same. The energy is just different on these sets; it’s inspiring.
Diana Danh, Ace Abance (Pictures of Laura)