Based in Oklahoma City, London Thephachanh works locally as a camera assistant, production assistant and all around crew for film and television productions filming in Oklahoma. Credits include “She Inherited Danger,” “Land Of Gold,” “ Street Outlaws” and “Tulsa King,” in addition to being a student at Oklahoma City Community College, working and striving to be a cinematographer and director.
How did you get started in the film industry?
My first job I day-played on a Netflix film as a still photographer, and then was a production assistant at the end of the last three days of the same production in December 2020. However, it really started at Oklahoma City Community College (OCCC). I always knew I wanted to make movies. I graduated high school in 2020 in the midst of COVID and was robbed of a graduation. I was looking forward to going to OCCC. My first semester I worked on my student capstone film, and I networked. The previous alumni from working on their capstones remembered me and referred me to get my first job. I remember I took my final in Cine 1, the first course in the program, and when I finished, I drove straight to my first-ever production.
Did you have any formal education or training related to the film industry before starting?
Yes, I did. I am still currently enrolled at OCCC. I attended Francis Tuttle Technology Center briefly for Broadcast and Video Production, which gave me a basic understanding, but I really learned a lot more my 1st semester at OCCC and really started to understand the crew dynamic of film.
Did you have any formal education or training related to your specific department on-set?
Being at OCCC, I had access in learning industry standard equipment, and I took advantage. I learned everything I could when it came to the camera equipment and lighting equipment, which they provided to us. They actually gave me a job at the school working in the equipment room, so I learned to take care of the equipment and actually teach other students how the gear works.
What are some of your most recent successes (credits or accolades) related to your career in the industry?
I was graced with the opportunity to be a part of “Tulsa King” in the camera department as the camera utility for the last 11 days of production. It was a dream come true moment with such a rich crew. I learned a lot from that but before I was on that I was a JIB tech for “Street Outlaws” on the Discovery Channel, and I was a 2nd AC on a feature film called “Land Of Gold” that shot and premiered at Tribeca and will be distributed on HBO MAX in 2023
What has your career in the state’s film industry taught you?
Oklahoma crew is extremely friendly and understanding. Everyone supports each other; we all want to work. We have a film crew here, and it’s more than possible for us to make more and more films in the future.
What is the highlight of your career thus far?
The fact that I have been able to support myself being in this industry and the fact that I continue to work with amazing people. It’s all been a dream come true. But, if I had to choose one moment, it’s definitely being there when the 1st AD, Ron Rapiel, called “That’s a wrap!” on the last day of production on “Tulsa King.” Being with legendary filmmakers like Sylvester Stallone… it was a moment I’ll never forget.
What is your favorite aspect of working in Oklahoma’s film and television industry?
It’s the most rewarding form of work. This format is the only art form that you can capture time. I am proud of every single project I have been on this far. A movie doesn’t get made without a crew, and it’s special. There’s nothing like it; it’s a piece of art that I helped create. It’s an amazing feeling, and I’m so excited to see what projects I will be a part of next.
What’s the best piece of advice you have for someone starting their career in Oklahoma’s film industry?
Best advice is to give it your all, just give it your all. I mean do the most you possibly can, and your hard work will not go unnoticed. Be a problem solver; whether that’s picking up after someone – do it with a smile if you can!
How does someone in your field/department best promote/market themselves to those hiring in your industry?
That’s a wonderful question. I’m not sure. I worked really hard. I lived and breathed this from being at school. I wanted nothing but to work, and from every chance I got, I worked as hard as I could. Oklahoma people respect hard workers, and I guess they refer me. I’m constantly searching for jobs. I’m lucky if I’m given the chance to be in the camera department because I will still happily work in the production department or any department for that matter.
Are there any local film organizations, resources or events that have been beneficial to you in your career?
The Film Education Institute of Oklahoma (FEIO) was a huge help with my career. I met the people and learned from the ones who were actually working in the state in the department I wanted to be in, and I was again given the opportunity to work hard and network with those professionals who I now call my peers.
What’s the one item you can’t live without on-set, and why?
I can’t leave my house without my multi tool. It was given to me as a wrap gift on a film I worked on because I didn’t have one, and now I haven’t been on set without using it since.
Would your career be impacted without the state’s film incentive program? If so, how?
Oh, absolutely it would be affected without a film incentive. I wouldn’t have been able to have had the opportunity to work on any of the credits I have achieved so far, so it’s allowing me to be employed and be able to move out and actually start my career and be confident that I’ll make it here in Oklahoma. We need more smaller films as that’s where I got my opportunity, and it’s sad that there’s not a better incentive because it would open up even more opportunity for people like me trying to start a life.
Where do you see yourself – AND – Oklahoma’s film industry in the next five years?
Well, in the next five years, I will be 25. I see myself working on a dozen more pictures and dozen more commercials, but also I hope to be able to make my own films and Oklahoma can become a place for independent filmmakers that can succeed here.
What are you working on now or next?
I just finished an OCCC capstone film that I was the director of photography. I’m excited to see if it gets accepted at deadCenter Film Festival. Next fall in 2023, I’ll write and direct my own capstone film. In the meantime, I’m budgeting and open to any work! I’m working as a rental assistant at a local camera rental house here in OKC called RCR cinema, which has been an amazing experience working and organizing more film gear!
Each featured individual or business is given the provided questions to answer in their own voice. Other than formatting and grammar, the answers are personal to each featured voice, and are not provided by the Oklahoma Film + Music Office.