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Meet Layne Inselman

Today we’d like to introduce you to Layne Inselman.

So, before we jump into specific questions, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I was born and raised on a farm in rural Oklahoma. I had always thought I would be a meteorologist, even though I loved taking photographs. I would use disposable cameras to take pictures of my friends and family, steal my mom’s camcorder and make “documentaries” about our farm, and even stage photoshoots in our garage, making friends dress up and wear crazy makeup. When I got to undergrad at the University of Oklahoma, I realized that I wasn’t cut out for the intense physics and computer science of meteorology, so I switched majors to Media Art and specialized in photography and video art. The time-based stuff we studies and created really inspired me, and I eventually decided that I should go into filmmaking. So I applied to film school at Florida State, and two years later had a graduate degree in Cinematography! Along the way, I developed my aesthetic sense, critiqued my own work to improve myself and my art, and found many people to collaborate and develop friendships with. Those people I studied with are now my closest friends and collaborators out here in Los Angeles.

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?
As with any artist who challenges themselves, there have been difficulties! I feel very strongly about what kind of photographer I am, but when I began working in Cinematography, I felt lost and unsure about myself. I knew the technical side of things from my previous time studying photography, but artistically, Cinematography was a whole different ballgame. I look at some of my earliest work and cringe at what I did! Additionally, as any aspiring creative who moves to LA knows, getting established in this town can be very exhausting physically, emotionally, and monetarily. I’m in an industry that is loaded with older gatekeepers, which can easily read my youth and flamboyancy as uneducated and/or naive, so I do feel like I’m constantly having to prove myself. I sometimes have to remind people that I *did* in fact grow up on a farm, so I’m used to getting dirty and sweaty from laborious work! It doesn’t scare me!

We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
I freelance as a Photographer, Cinematographer, and Camera Assistant/Operator. I love working on all kinds of content (narrative, commercial, fashion, music video, branded content, etc.), but most of what I get hired for is in narrative and music videos, and I must say that I do love them the most. Storytelling is why I got into Cinematography in the first place, and music videos combine my love of moving images with my love of art and music. You get to be very experimental in music videos, and they exercise a lot of creative muscles. It’s hard to say if I am most proud of any one thing I’ve worked on… I would say I’m most proud of my ability to make each project I work on feel unique, but still belong to the world presented in the script/pitch, regardless of the budget!

What were you like growing up?
I was an only child that lived out in the country, so I often had to find ways to entertain myself (we lived too far in the country for cable even!). I like to think this is where my imagination and storytelling abilities really developed, having to create these elaborate stories in my mind, with characters and locations far away from the treeless prairie I lived on. I was very interested in weather (in Oklahoma it changed every five minutes!), photography, and animals. I still am! My family always told me I was an “old soul,” contemplative and able to have deep conversations with older family members. My upbringing absolutely shaped who I am today.

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