Young cinematographers, artists find real work

Khushi Kadakia

High school is a time for students to explore their passions, but as the young photographers and cinematographers of CHS hone their artistic skills, their age presents numerous challenges.

Junior Ally Weitzman of Marlboro enjoys creating movies, but believes her age makes it more difficult for her to find actors.

“When I need to get actors sometimes it’s harder, because I’m a high school student. It sounds like it’s just for a school project when we’re really trying to be professional,” Weitzman said.

To combat this, Weitzman maintains a professional tone when discussing her film work.

“When I talk to adults about my film work, I show them what I’ve done, and I talk about how I planned and go over the details to show them that it wasn’t just a silly thing I shot on my phone last minute,” Weitzman said.

Film festivals are a popular and useful way for cinematographers to display their work. Weitzman, however, finds that it is difficult to get her work out to the world, because many film festivals require a fee to enter, limiting the amount of festivals she can submit her movies to.

“If you get in [to film festivals], it’s really fun and cool since you can be appreciated not just across New Jersey but across the country. The con is just that some cost money to submit to them, so if you don’t get in, it’s kind of a waste of money,” Weitzman said.

Senior Carly Drabeck of Oceanport has filmed PSAs for small companies for free in order to showcase her work.

“It’s good experience and looks good on resumes… The cons are just that it takes up a lot of your time and there’s really no monetary benefit,” Drabeck said.

While students run the risk of being scammed on a job, Drabeck finds that students can avoid this through experience.

“Before I take a job, I weed out who’s a scam and who’s not. Salowe’s told me, which people come to you and how they approach you, you can tell if they’re a scam or if they’re not,” Drabeck said.

Because of these restrictions, young photographers and cinematographers are utilizing social media as a medium for showcasing their work. Weitzman is planning on creating a Vimeo account. As a video sharing website, Vimeo allows filmmakers to upload their short films to the website for other people to watch.

“In the future, I will have my own Vimeo page. Actually, I will make one really soon,” Weitzman said.

Instagram, an app that allows users to share pictures and videos, is also used widely by young photographers and cinematographers, including junior Marissa Ho of Marlboro.

“Right now, I have a photography Instagram account @marissahophotography where I put all of my work from my journalistic photos from school or just artsy photos I take… one of the benefits is just getting your name out there and having people see your work,” Ho said.

While using Instagram can be beneficial for young photographers and cinematographers in sharing their work, Senior Grace Maloney of Middletown found that starting her page presented challenges.

“There are so many photographers on Instagram, it is kind of hard to stand out,” Maloney said.

Ho finds that using social media to showcase her work can be discouraging, as well.

“Some people critique your work and that sort of brings you down… When your photos don’t get as many likes or views as some other people… it doesn’t bring your confidence up,” Ho said.

Maloney finds that confidence is an issue young photographers and cinematographers struggle with, but believes that this should not intimidate young artists from practicing and gaining experience.

“I just feel less comfortable personally. That’s a struggle every artist has to get through at one point. I think there are definitely people out there who will look down on you for being younger… but the only way to gain experience is by doing and practicing, so you might as well keep going and be confident in yourself,” Maloney said.

Ho agrees that in the end, student photographers and cinematographers are not defined by their age but by their work.

“I’m sure people take work less seriously for anyone of younger age, but I think it really just depends on how good your work is and not how old you are,” Ho said.