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Meet Tawan Bazemore of Cinema Optics in Studio City

Today we’d like to introduce you to Tawan Bazemore.

Tawan, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
Born in Paterson New Jersey, I spent most of my life living there and it was incredible; challenging at times but it’s home. I was in the 5th grade when I briefly lived in South Orange, New Jersey. At ten years old I got the surprise that ultimately changed the direction of my life.

I went on a school trip to Lincoln Center to see the Opera “La Boheme.” Before we went the whole class had to learn the Opera in Italian, French and of course English. To a ten-year-old it was incredible experiencing it in a massive theater. I laughed, cried and had a deep interest in the Arts from that point forward. I would sit for hours, a few inches from the T.V. watching “Alfred Hitchcock Presents.” I danced for the family, had a fascination for painting and telling great big-wonderful lies to get out of trouble. All of that made sense. I was meant to entertain for a living.

But the road to doing what I love didn’t come easy. There were these weird series of unfortunate events that seemed to follow any measure of my success. Whether it was a house fire that destroyed a lot of the scripts I wrote and displaced me and my family. Or the bad relationships, both platonic and romantic ones. This was all before Los Angeles.

Living in Los Angeles has its advantages and disadvantages. The cost of living here and maintaining a roof over my head resulted in me putting my hopes and dreams on the shelf for a later time or never because I needed a regular job. I was a Prep Cook, Insurance Claims Adjuster, and Web Designer. It wasn’t until 2007, that I decided to feel the full weight of pursuing filmmaking. I had taken a few Continuing Education classes at NYU in the ’90s for Cinematography. In doing so I learned about Color Timing. Color Timing is balancing the color in a movie, or creating a look, using a photochemical process. I took those skills and applied them to digital video as a Colorist.

This decision to pursue Color Grading as a way to break into the industry had brutal results, in the beginning. I ended up homeless, couch hopping or sleeping on the floor in friend’s breakfast nook; all while building my brand as a highly technical, artistic and skilled Colorist. This was slowly opening doors for me. I landed medium-size projects to large corporations like Ford, JCDeceaux, Victoria Secrets, HBO, Disney and the like.

In 2015, my life took another turn for the better. I got an apartment I loved and developed a great concept for a short film. In July that same year, I met the woman who would become my wife and star in that short film concept, which is called “SOUND.” My mind, soul, and heart have been gifted challenges in life which made me stronger. I’m better in tune with what’s happening around me; centered, more creative. Ultimately, I am a better man for my wife, Crystal Porter-Bazemore and a better filmmaker for myself.

I am a member of the Colorist Society International, on the IATSE 700 Industry Roster for the Editor’s Guild of America and a Director of the multi-award-winning short film “SOUND.”

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
It hasn’t been smooth or hard…it’s just been ‘life.’ It’s all apart of the success story; the good and not-so-good. Life doesn’t give a good damn what you want to pursue. It only cares about getting to the next sunrise or sunset…so we all have to pursue in the confines of that fact. What’s more, we don’t live on this planet alone. So, while we are going for our goals, others are going for theirs and sometimes those things clash and cause setbacks. One of the biggest challenges for me was living with the fact that those I have helped move forward in their careers have never reached back when they made it. It could easily make one jaded if you’re not careful. I know my success is not tied to one person. What is meant to be will be–and God orders my steps…so, there’s that.

Cinema Optics – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
My company is Cinema Optics. We are a new multi-award-winning company with a focus on high-quality cinema and television, in all budget tiers. Our first film is the award-winning short film “SOUND.” The film has won 33 awards including Best Short, Best Thriller, Best Director, Best Actress, Best Sound Design, Best Editor, Best Cinematography and Best Original Score.

Cinema Optics loves unorthodox stories with a concentration on thrillers, dramas, and off-beat comedies. We like to maximize the quality of the cinematic image and the filmmaking process, using industry-standard tools as well as create proprietary tools; be it software, lenses or camera system accessories.

What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
The highlight of my career so far is a toss-up between two events. The first is how well my short film “SOUND” is being received by critics and audiences alike. The number of awards we have won is a beautiful accomplishment. The other is having my family and friends in New Jersey attending the Golden Door International Film Festival to see “SOUND.” They were able to see the result of two and a half years of work. On top of it all, we won the ‘Best Short Concept’ award!

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Image Credit:

Raymond Wood, Jalisco Wayne, Tawan Bazemore

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