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    • The call for entries usually happens around August. And I suggest that anybody that’s interested in submitting to the festival extensively goes through all the previous winners of the festival - you can find all their links on the website - to understand what the competition is like. What’s the level of filmmaking that’s winning the competition? And also people should understand what makes a drone film in general interesting, and differentiates itself, because that’s what’s going to be a winner. As far as getting involved with the film festival itself, people reaching out, letting us know what their skillsets are, we definitely have a lot of room for people that can help, especially when it comes to press and getting the word out there. We’re a small team, and it’s always important for us to get the word out as best we possibly can. 

    • I think the most challenging aspect of using drones in general public understanding is that drones are tools for spying, or nefarious uses of drones. And while drones can be used for things like that, the majority of people are just trying to enjoy themselves with a hobby, shooting beautiful images. Anybody who’s had any issues with drones, as soon as they start using them themselves, those melt away. Drones aren’t great tools for spying. They are really fun, and there are many amazing aspects of them that are overlooked. It’s a tech tool, and therefore when you learn to use it, you’re enriching yourself. It’s a creative tool. It’s a tool you can use to make money. We can never quell people’s fears, because people who are fearful will always find a way to feed that beast in themselves, and because drones are so new, they will be on that list, but people have already started to forget about that sentiment. 

    • Your reel as seen on YEAH DRONES is incredible. How have drones opened up previously out-of-reach creative possibilities? When you watch films from the 80s or 90s and you see what’s clearly a helicopter panorama, or a shot from a crane, how would those scenes differ now with what’s available thanks to drones?

    • That’s an interesting question. What drones really do best is they open up the space between where a crane can reach and what a helicopter can do. Helicopters can only go so low, and cranes can only go so high, so there’s a space in-between. And drones navigate from the ground to about 400 feet really poetically. So filmmakers are starting to understand they can get a lot of bang for their buck with these tools, to tell something that’s quite complex, not a shot from 100 feet just looking down. I think a lot of shots from the past would be different if they’d had drones. If you see the opening shot to THE SHINING, where the helicopter is following the car deep into the Rocky Mountains, I’m sure that Stanley Kubrick would have used a drone for that now.

    • Some of your recent projects as listed on YEAH DRONES include The Twilight Zone, Ray Donovan, and even an interview with Will Smith on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. What’s been the most surreal project you’ve worked on thus far with your drone photography and why?

    • Because I’m a director, I’m a bit jaded, I’ve spent a lot of time with pretty amazing people. So I wouldn’t categorize any of my drone work as “surreal” per se. But for sure flying with Will Smith and Jimmy Fallon was amazing, and a really cool and fun project. It was the first interview done by drone on the Tonight Show, and what was fun about that, being the pilot that flew it, at first it was quite nerve-racking to fly a drone so close to 2 huge stars, but when we got into it, it was fun and enjoyable, and I was using it almost like a puppeteer. So I took the creative license to interact with them AS the drone. And it was really fun and enjoyable. I think sometimes when we’re put in high pressure situations, it’s easy to stick to the rules sometimes. But I think that with experience comes the comfort to do what you think is necessary and use your judgement in these various situations. And ultimately a lot of the biggest creatives in the business want that. They don’t want you to go off script necessarily, but they want you to come to the table with something. And luckily I came to it from a director background, and when I get onset with directors who are way bigger than I’ve ever been, they want your creative input for the most part, and more often than not they appreciate when you come to the table with ideas. You’re making a creative dialogue, as opposed to “You tell me what you want.”

    • I think for me I’ll always try to find the most fun and creative ways to make projects interesting. That being said, there are a lot of places around the planet I’ve never been I’d like to go. Some places in Asia I’d like to go. I think more than just even locations, for me, I’m always more interested in pushing the limits. Doing things that are really interesting, and expanding my creative horizons, and even though that sounds lofty, what that really means to me is always progressing in some way or another. Don’t get me wrong -t here are times when a plain old day on set is just fine. Using your drone to direct or shoot a commercial, I live in NYC, I have to pay my bills. But my pie in the sky is always to work on cool projects that are interesting. As I mentioned before with the Cheetos Pet thing, you get to work on really creative projects, but more often the really creative projects aren’t really well-paid. So there’s a balance between doing those and doing things that are more run of the mill, so you can make money to afford to do the other things.