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Meet Carmen Cabana

Today we’d like to introduce you to Carmen Cabana.

Carmen, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I started my career in cinematography in 2006, I was in film school when I felt the impulse to shoot a documentary about a street kid growing up in a neighborhood of gangs in Venezuela. The film received attention at festivals and very quickly other filmmakers were asking me to photograph their projects.

Then one project led to another and so did referrals, thanks to a lot of people who believed in me and gave me an opportunity to show my skills I was able to build what currently is my career which includes over 23 features and three TV shows.

Has it been a smooth road?
I don’t think the road to success is ever smooth, but that is precisely what I love about our industry. Every challenge and set down exists for a reason, you become stronger and better with every experience, especially the difficult ones.

You just have to remain conscious and focused and not take things too personal, I think career struggles while building a name is a very reasonable thing that we collectively share as human beings.

We’d love to hear more about what you do.
I am a cinematographer for narrative content meaning feature films, short films, and episodic TV. My past work includes shows like Netflix: Narcos S2, Starz: Vida S1 and S2, Amazon pilot: Los Angeles and HBO’s pilot: Sterling. My features have screened at many festivals and have had theatrical releases.

My job is to tell stories and emotions visually through lighting and camera work guided by the script and the vision of my director. I am also the leader of a large department that works in unison with other departments to make it all possible with quality, within schedule, and within budget.

Every cinematographer is unique, I have my own unique eye, I also like to operate the main camera and do it quite well, and I am very much a team player and production conscious. I consider this an artistic job of service, and I love giving good service and having my clients come back over and over.

Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and the least?
I love that our city is a melting pot, there are so much culture, variety and many people that are truly passionate about arts and filmmaking. It is also a city of endless possibility, the networking is fantastic and so are the educational events, screenings, and workshops. If you are driven, have your ego in check and are strategic, Los Angeles is one city where you truly can make your dreams come true in reasonable time.

What I like the least goes hand in hand with what I like the most. Many times I do wish I could have regular friendly conversations without it being related to the industry, it’s hard establishing sincere connections because many people have work agendas and that can be a turn-off. Also when you work so much, you often want to unplug, but most social parties turn into work again.

Fortunately, over the years I have formed my tight circle of friends, but it took a lot of filtering to get to the friendships I currently have.

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