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Home » Featured Film Career for May 2022: Camera Operator
Film Career May 2022

Featured Film Career for May 2022: Camera Operator

Born and raised in Oklahoma City, Sam Taylor works as a Camera Operator with a specialty in Steadicam for movies, TV shows, commercials and documentaries.  Previous credits include: “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” “Reservation Dogs,” “Reagan,” “The Unbreakable Boy,” “Family Camp,” “Ike Boys,” “13 Minutes,” “To The Stars,” “The Bygone,” and several commercials and documentaries.

How did you get started in the film industry?

I’ve always been interested in cameras, and after high school, I joined the film program at Oklahoma City Community College (OCCC) to be trained.

Did you have any formal education or training related to the film industry before starting?

Not a lot of formal training, most of what knowledge I’ve learned I learned while on set.

Did you have any formal education or training related to your specific department on-set?

I have a degree from Oklahoma City Community College (OCCC) in their Film and Video Production (now called Digital Media I believe.)

What are some of your most recent successes (credits or accolades) related to your career in the industry?

  • Camera Operator on “Tiger King” Season 2
  • Assistant Camera on “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” Season 3
  • Emmy nominated Director of Photography

What is the highlight of your career thus far?

My highlight would be seeing my work and my film family’s work displayed for all to see. It’s very rewarding going out to eat and seeing your commercial, or looking at Netflix, HULU or Prime Video and being able to watch something you worked on.

What is your favorite aspect of working in Oklahoma’s film and television industry?

My favorite aspect is the people. Closer than friends, we’ll always be there for each other. It is a very tight-knit group, and we stick together when things go awry.

What’s the best piece of advice you have for someone starting their career in Oklahoma’s film industry?

You must be willing to earn your position. Working as a production assistant (PA) to start then transitioning is the best way to understand a career in any department. One of my first jobs was in the Costume Department. I was terrible, but I learned so much and now have a newfound respect for what they do.

How does someone in your field/department best promote/market themselves to those hiring in your industry?

Word of mouth is the best promotion. While on a job, I’m not working to keep my current job, but rather be good enough to be hired on the next one.

Are there any local film organizations, resources or events that have been beneficial to you in your career?

The International Cinematographers Guild Local 600 has been a great guild to be part of these few years. The Film Education Institute of Oklahoma (FEIO) has one of the best programs for new filmmakers to learn the absolute basics, so they can PA and learn from the best.

What’s the one item you can’t live without on-set, and why?

My FujiFilm X100V stills camera. I like to remember “golden nuggets” (as my professor at OCCC called it) – something to capture the moment and look back to see my progress.

Would your career be impacted without the state’s film incentive program? If so, how?

Without the incentive, I wouldn’t be in the Oklahoma pursuing film, so I’m thankful for that. However, with small changes to encourage productions to hire more local crew and not out of town people, I feel that I could stay indefinitely.

Where do you see yourself – AND – Oklahoma’s film industry in the next five years?

I see the industry growing in the next five years. If productions have the incentive to hire more locals, then I plan on staying. If not, then another market like Atlanta makes more sense for my situation.

What are you working on now or next?

I have a few projects set to release in the summer, and have a few set to shoot then as well.

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