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Meet David Gutel

Today we’d like to introduce you to David Gutel.

So, before we jump into specific questions, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I have always been a storyteller since I was a young idiot. I never realized I would someday be able to make a living from it.

I am from Orange County CA, where I attended Huntington Beach High School. That is where it all really started. I was part of an after school arts program called The Academy of the Performing Arts (APA), where I was part of the Music Media & Entertainment program. (MMET) While I was there, I learned what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. That is making movies.

In particular there was one moment that solidified it for me. It was my freshman year, I had been sick for three months. I had missed about three months of school. I didn’t know it yet but I had Mono. My father came home with a VHS from the local rental store. He said to me, “David I picked out a movie I think you’ll really like.” It was Monty Python and the Holy Grail. That movie changed me. Not because what it was about, but what it did to me. As I watched that film, I forgot about my sickness, I forgot about my pain. It was a pretty dark time for me as I wasn’t allowed to go out or really interact with anyone. That film impacted me physically, emotionally, psychologically. I realized I wanted to do that for other people.

After that, I pursued the film industry like white on rice. I wanted to tell stories, I wanted to create characters. I finished High school and then attended California State University Long Beach (CSULB). Where I was part of their narrative film production track with an emphasis in directing. I graduated in four years and entered the Freelance World.

My passion is Directing, and when I get to do it I feel like I’m in my element. BUT you gotta pay bills so I started doing 1st AD work. Which really took off. I’m really happy I can support myself through freelance film work.

As I push forward my goals are to direct more and Assistant Direct less. Being an Assistant Director, I feel has made me a stronger Director and storyteller.

Has it been a smooth road?
Nothing in life is really easy, but all things considered, I gotta say it hasn’t been terrible. Nobody in my family works in the industry. My father teaches people how to drive buses for LA Metro. My mother was a stay at home mom.

I entered the Freelance world alone except with those I graduated with back in college. I was lucky enough to have parents that supported me and allowed me to live at home while I built my career.

I’m 28 years old and I just moved out of my parent’s house in April 2019. But I can gladly say I support myself solely through directing and 1st Assistant Directing work.

One thing I always tell myself and others is that when you are starting out it isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon. If you keep running it will eventually connect.

We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
Well, I’m a freelance Director and 1st Assistant Director. I’m known for directing comedies and westerns I think. And as a 1st AD I’m known as being calm, collected and efficient.

Some of my most proud moments being a director was when I was hired to direct a web series, where the producers hired Creed Bratton from “The Office” to be in the series as a guest star. It was such a blast working with such a talented actor. And I’m very pleased with my work on that web series titled “Hello Realtor”. Also, I have been the 2nd Unit Director on a feature and Pilot episode for a series.

As a 1st AD I just actually wrapped one of my proudest jobs. I just wrapped my 3rd Feature Film as the 1st AD. This film was a HUGE challenge. It was 18 days, all overnights, on a boat. Three, six day weeks at the San Pedro Harbor. The films title is “Immanence”.

I also am a hobbyist 35mm photographer.

Is our city a good place to do what you do?
Los Angeles is the heart of the film world.

I believe we are currently starting a new golden age of the film industry.

There are so many platforms and companies looking for content, it’s hard to not find a job. There is so much opportunity out here.

I think the best place to start is here, I think the best place to learn is here.

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