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Meet Charlie Cole, Freelance Cinematographer in Hollywood

Today we’d like to introduce you to Charlie Cole.

Charlie, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I first began my art studies at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY where I studied Drawing and Illustration. That was always the direction I saw myself going in. I love drawing and its intimacy, but I was having a hard time confining myself away to get the work done. I like working with and being inspired by people. I was able to take a film class as an elective, and everything just clicked.

Shortly after, I switched my major to Film and began the deep dive into filmmaking. My Undergrad Thesis film won a few awards and got into some major festivals, which gave me the support and confidence I needed to keep going.

The film was very abstract and sensory-driven, which a lot of people didn’t connect to. But a few did, and they showed me that if you pursue something honest (for yourself), others will respond to it. Filmmaking, in my experience, is just as much a conscious presentation of the world/story you’re creating as it is an internal exploration. We make films about things we want to understand and engage in. Maybe even because we’re afraid to do it in real life. It opens up a window for you to intimately and safely peak through.

So, I kept going and going and the work got bigger and better. After 2 years of freelance work as both Director/Cinematographer in NYC, I hit a wall. My own drive wasn’t enough to push the work to where it needed to go. I applied to American Film Institute in Los Angeles for Cinematography and that’s where I am today. I feel that I grew from a self-indulgent Artist to a more critical Cinematographer. This school taught me the importance of mastering your craft. I have now begun that lifelong road, and am just as enthused to hone the craft as I am about understanding myself and why I make the work I make.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Getting into the arts is scary. You know that it’s the best thing for you to be doing, but you are also reminded of the potential for failure. There have always been doubts, and probably always will be. But, I think that’s an important drive and reminder for certain people. I love proving people wrong. So, bring on the doubt. It’s fuel.
The hardest person to prove wrong is myself.

It’s important for younger artists out there to realize that we are always a step over our heads. If we’re not, we’re not being challenged. I learned most lessons from mistakes I made on real jobs with real opportunities at stake. Just smile and work hard. Prepare as much as you can. It’s alright not to know something! Just ask, confidently. You can only find out how to do if you’re not afraid of the problem itself.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with Freelance Cinematographer – tell our readers more, for example, what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
I’m working as a freelance Cinematographer/Filmmaker based in Los Angeles. My cinematography work is known for its intimacy towards the subject matter and unique camera work, while my films explore sensorial storytelling. With an emphasis on experimental narrative and sound design, these films challenge how we communicate with one another on a purely emotional level.

So, what’s next? Any big plans?
I’m about to graduate from AFI with an MFA in Cinematography and I’m very excited to be working on some larger-scale projects soon.

Currently looking for a feature to pour my soul into.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:

Behind The Scenes Photographer – Kylie Shaffer

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