“FTM has allowed me to advance my own opportunities as a camera assistant” – Caley Gibson

20 for the 20th – Reel Careers Profile: Caley Gibson

CALEY GIBSON has worked his way up in the camera department. He has employed his skills on a many number of productions that have filmed in Manitoba over the years, including The Exorcism of Molly Hartley, Curse of Chucky, Home Alone: The Holiday Heist, and Mother’s Day.

When and how did you start in the media production industry?
My first opportunity in the Manitoba film industry actually came as a performer, acting in a Manitoba Public Insurance drinking and driving advertisement for TV. I had so much fun and thought, “maybe I should do this for a living.”

What area of the film industry do you work in now and why?
Acting did not pan out for me (probably for the best) and I moved behind the scenes, starting as an office PA for a few years, then transitioning to a camera trainee before joining the ICG 669 as a 2nd Assistant Camera Person in 2008. For the past three years I’ve been 1st AC, and celebrated 10 years in ICG 669 in September of this year.

What has been a substantial change in the industry since you started?
I’d say the biggest change has been the move from capturing the moving image on digital rather than film. My first two shows as a camera trainee were on 35mm film, and it was very exciting. It was such a learning curve, and the pressure of working with such a delicate medium was energizing. Digital capture is it’s own beast and requires a different set of skills, and I’d say one of the biggest differences to film is that it’s changing all the time. Now an assistant’s biggest challenge isn’t just keeping focus, but learning all the new and different camera systems.

If you could give yourself advice today to yourself in the past, what would it be?
Save money and try not to live paycheque to paycheque. Saving is probably the least exciting thing in the world but it’s worth while to find a financial advisor and start saving early

How did taking FTM training affect your career?
The training offered by FTM has allowed me to advance my own opportunities as a camera assistant, and helped me to make valuable connections in the industry. Any person interested in starting out in the MB film industry absolutely owes it to themselves to take the courses offered by FTM.

What is advice you would give to someone starting off in the media production industry?
Invest in good quality shoes and weather gear. I know I mentioned saving earlier, but get a good rain jacket and pants, and good winter gear. You’re going to be standing in the cold and rain potentially for a long time so be comfortable.

What are some of the films, TV series or even books that have inspired you? How about anything new you’ve been into?
I remember sitting in a movie theatre and watching “Rushmore” for the first time and loving that movie, and being absolutely inspired to make movies. I think that and “Back to the Future” have had the greatest impact on me.

Is there something about you or an interesting past experience that you’d like to share with your colleagues?
In 1996 I rode across Iowa on my bike with my Dad for the Register’s Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa (RAGBRAI).

Is there a film technician or filmmaker that you would really like to work with and why?

As a camera person I think the obvious answer would be the cinematographer Roger Deakins. But there are so many incredible film makers and technicians out there today it’s hard to pick one.

Where do you see yourself in ten years from now?

Camera Operating!  It’s been my goal from the beginning and hopefully there will be an opportunity for me to do that here in Winnipeg.