(Patrick just received the SA ACS Emerging Cinematographer grant!)
How did it come about that you became interested in working in visual art?
I’ve always been interested in the arts. Throughout high school, I participated in musicals, graphic design, music composition, and photography. When considering my career choices, film production was an attractive option as it brought all these aspects into one field. During my degree at Flinders University, I came to specialise in cinematography because I enjoyed crafting images and working with light, which was heavily influenced by my years of photography experience. From here I pushed myself to gain more skills and improve with every project I undertook. My passion for cinematography grew during this time, especially with the influence of great creatives around me, notably Ben Raschella, with whom I collaborated with frequently.
When did it become appealing to work in film and what was your first job?
As I approached my final year at Flinders, the inevitable of trying to find work loomed. I had taken an internship with Take Two Media earlier that year, which opened my eyes to the film industry beyond the university setting. I knew this was where I wanted to be, so I made it my mission to seize as many opportunities as I could. Towards the end of my degree, I was fortunate enough to secure funding for a short film called 'Edith,' which I worked on with Ben. It was our first project outside of university and was no small undertaking. This was a period piece shot in Burra on a micro budget. This experience taught me a lot about preparation and collaboration, but it was also incredibly fun, despite the challenges. Around the same time, I landed a paid internship with Breakout Productions, where I worked as a camera assistant and operator, traveling to Queensland multiple times for their 'Super Shark Highway' TV series. After the internship, I was fortunate to continue working with them on a Shark Week episode they were shooting for Discovery. This included operating the third camera during a 45-day adventure along the South Australian coast, where we chased big great white sharks. This is an experience I am extremely grateful for and will cherish for the rest of my life.
Who do you look up to in the industry, and do you have any mentors?
An early inspiration for me was Guy Ritchie, known for his incredible films, 'Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows' and 'The Man from U.N.C.L.E.' Both of these films are unique and beautifully crafted, which excited me about the possibilities of filmmaking. During my university years, while focusing on cinematography, Roger Deakin’s also became a significant inspiration due to his approach to shooting. I was absolutely blown away by the beauty captured through the lens when I watched 'Blade Runner: 2049'. If I could emulate anyone, it would be him, for his passion, craftsmanship, and unique storytelling. I've also been fortunate to have a few mentors who have been willing to help me in my early career. Nick Remy Matthews has been a significant part of that. Despite him living in Spain, we connected through the Flinders mentor program, where we had multiple Zoom sessions to discuss our lives and careers. He was excellent at answering my questions and guiding me in the right direction. I appreciate the time we've spent together and look forward to more in the future.
How do you approach working on or shooting a new project?
One of the first things I love to do is a location scout. After reading the script, visiting the location or reviewing photos gives me a better sense of the space I'll be working with and how I might frame each shot. From there, I go over the script and storyboard the entire film based on the location. This allows me to be as efficient as possible when I get on set, as all the creative ideas have already been sorted, discussed, and approved by the director. This helps us get the job done efficiently, which is crucial for many of the shoots I'm involved in, given their short production windows. This is the process that makes me feel most comfortable leading up to a shoot. The gear I use is mostly based on the storyboard and mood board I create, which helps me ensure I have everything I need on the day without over booking. It also involves discussions with the gaffer and director to align our goals and approach. And finally with a reliable team of camera assistants, I'm ready for the shoot.
What has been your most interesting project so far?
The most challenging yet rewarding project I've worked on as a cinematographer was 'The Mime.' This was our first film outside of university with a significant investment of hiring the Arri Alexa Mini. We had just one day to shoot the entire film due to budget constraints. This day turned out to be an exciting 16-hour shoot with three different locations. For most of the day, I shoulder-rigged the camera to be as efficient as possible. The fast-paced environment made it an exciting day, and we were all very pleased with the end result. I learned a great deal on that day, particularly about organization and quick, creative problem-solving. With the project now complete, I am proud of the end product and look back on it with fond memories.
What’s your proudest moment so far?
My proudest moment so far was receiving the Bronze ACS Award for student cinematography in 2022 for ‘The Shack’. It was an experience I had never encountered in my career before, and it came from a second-year project, which was one of my first attempts at cinematography. This award inspires and motivates me to continue creating stunning visuals for film. I am grateful for this recognition, and it has certainly been a highlight. I hope to keep pushing the boundaries of my work.
What are you currently working on, and what’s your next project?
Currently, I am working as a camera assistant on some commercial projects with Take Two Media. They have been a significant influence on my career since I took an internship with them in early 2022, and they have always been supportive of my endeavours. As I write this, I am about to shoot my second short film this year, titled 'Bird.' I co-wrote it with Ryan Nash, who is also the director and I am looking forward to seeing it all come together. 'Bird' is a dystopian sci-fi thriller, and I am excited to execute some unique framing techniques and ideas I have for it.
Tell us something about yourself that not many people know. Do you have any hidden talents?
One thing that not everyone may know about me is that I am a Christian. I grew up in a Christian family and have carried that faith into my personal life as well. I always strive to support everyone I meet and create a safe and fun environment on the film sets I'm involved with. Being a Christian influences how I approach life with love and kindness towards all. I hope I have been able to create an inclusive and valued environment for everyone I've worked with.
Do you have any advice for other film makers just getting started in this field?
It's challenging, and by no means am I 'there' yet. I have simply taken every opportunity that has come my way, mostly through university and have done my best in each endeavour. Continuously seek and learn about the craft and apply it wherever you can. If you're passionate about it, this should come naturally. However, remember that nothing is handed to you. You need to actively pursue opportunities and put in the effort. By doing so, you'll find yourself surrounded by like-minded individuals who share your passion.