So pleased to be on episode 8 of the A2Z Podcast talking about our film, The Example.
So pleased to be on episode 8 of the A2Z Podcast talking about our film, The Example.
Meet Wyatt Cagle
Article by VoyageHouston
See the original article here.
Today we’d like to introduce you to Wyatt Cagle.
Every artist has a unique story. Can you briefly walk us through yours?
Since establishing CGL Studios, the award winning editor, cinematographer, and director Wyatt Cagle has completed several multi-award winning independent film projects including his latest film “The Example.” “The Example” has screened at over 30 film festivals all over the world, collected 13 awards, and has distribution on Amazon Prime Video. Cagle has also been involved with several award winning advertising campaigns as editor for companies like United Airlines, Dr Pepper, Miller Lite, Verizon, and many more. Cagle is not a stranger to television as well. He was director and lead editor for the PBS series “Profiles with Greg Scheinman” that aired for two seasons. He was also post production supervisor and lead editor on the Fox Sports Southwest series “Shooting Stars.” A show about young soccer players in the Houston Dynamo development league. Although Cagle travels all over the country he calls Houston home and continues to advocate and foster new talent in the city.
Please tell us about your art.
I’m a filmmaker and storyteller. It can be a 90 minute feature film or a two minute social media post. I tend to focus on narrative story telling because as humans, this is how we have passed down our morals and culture. You can tell a lot about a society by looking at their art and what they find valuable. I create films to tell stories that are unique and can hopefully move people to look at the world a different way.
Take my latest film “The Example” for instance. It took years to produce the film but I believe the message about being the example for our children is universal and valuable. Because the film deals directly racism in America’s history it is also important multiple levels. I hope people see that my work has multiple layers dealing with today’s issues in addition to having a core of truth that is timeless.
Do you have any advice for other artists? Any lessons you wished you learned earlier?
I tell young filmmakers a few things. First, you have to know why you are in this industry. If you want to make a living doing it you have to remember it is a business and respect that. I also tell people to make a list and work your list and start. So many people lock up in planning for years. Sometimes it’s better to fail fast and move on.
How or where can people see your work? How can people support your work?
The film is available on Amazon Prime Video, streaming now. If you don’t have Amazon Prime it is available to rent or purchase.
You can go to examplemovie.com to learn all about the film. We have many behind the scene videos there the writer, producers, and I talk about why we did the film along with the process.
Also liking us on Facebook helps us share and spread the message of the film.
You can see more of my work at CGLStudios.com
Indie Activity interviews Wyatt Cagle
Wyatt Cagle grew up in Texas where his dad gave him an old VHS camera and two VHS players that were broken. From there Wyatt learned to fix VHS gear and how to linear edit (Well, he didn’t know it was called that at the time). Started making films in high school. From there went to college for film and worked at a production company at night doing weddings and local events. I learned enough to get a job in Poland for a travel show as a camera operator.
On my return to the states I DoP my first feature The Breakdance Kid in Austin. Those two experiences taught me a lot about what I didn’t know. I went to work in post-production at some large commercial facilities in Houston, Texas where again I learned about ‘shooting for the edit’ and serving the story. From there I’ve filmed for several TV shows, commercials, documentaries, and films over the years. It’s been a crazy ride.
indieactivity: Did you study cinematography?
Wyatt: I’m still studying. In college they just scratched the surface. I still take classes from time to time but really, I learn by studying other artists. Cinematographers, photographers, and painters all understand light. The joy for me is the addition of movement to the image. That is what makes cinema so compelling to me.
indiactivity: Tell us about your most recent project?
Wyatt: I just came back from Los Angeles where I was filming some scenes in an airline jet. Space is at a premium so getting rails in for the Dana Dolly and moving around the aircraft without damaging it was challenging. Plus we only had a certain amount of time that we could shoot, a long shot list, and only a few Arri M40s outside on a lift, that was our daylight. Because it was raining and we had zero sun. The Quasar Science Q-LED lights were a huge help in the small spaces. It gave great fill with a little footprint, overall it was a nice shoot with a great crew. I was also tasked in grading the footage, RAW out of an Sony FS7, and it all came out great.
indieactivity: How do you prepare for work on a new project?
Wyatt: I begin with asking the director, what is most important thing we are trying to convey. What is our core, our touchstone. That way I can always go back to that if I get lost in my own opinions. My goal is not to just make pretty pictures. I want to take the vision out of the director head and put it on screen. Answering the ‘why’ is the most important. “Why is the character here? Why would they do that? Why are we make this film?” The answers will dictate a lot of what we do with the camera and light.
indieactivity: Who is your favorite cinematographer?
Wyatt: I grew up loving Adrian Biddle. I notice I tend to go back to his work for inspiration. I obsessed (still do) over Aliens and then saw how versatile he was with Princess Bride, Willow, Event Horizon, The Mummy (1999), V for Vendetta and the list goes on. Such a wide range of great work. Kind of a fan boy. Sad I’ll never get to meet him in person.
indieactivity: What is the difference between a cinematography and a DoP?
Wyatt: I’ll give you my non-scientific answer. All DoPs are Cinematographers but not all Cinematographers are DoPs. A cinematographer is a student of light, composition, and movement. They know a pretty image and they know how to get a camera to convey that image. A DoP does this and more. The word ‘director’ in the title becomes more important because you are ‘directing’ all these other artist and technicians on a production.
You have to have those people/management skills to communicate with the ACs, cam operator, gaffer, grips, director, producer, DIT, etc. It’s not just you going out with a camera. The Dop has to lead a unit. Sometimes it’s two people, sometimes its thirty, but you have to know how to lead to get the shot. That is probably the wrong answer but that is what I’ve got.
indieactivity: What brand of camera is your favourite?
Wyatt: Oh here we go. The great debate. It really depends on the project. For narrative or commercial I lean toward Arri and the Alexa line. But I’ve had huge success with the Canon Cinema line. The Varicam LT is a great one. The truth is all the cameras on the market are good. Some may be a little better in one environment, some in others.
For the ‘look’ of the piece I’m much more focused on my lenses. Different brands give you vastly different feelings then the cameras, in my opinion. Especially after it goes into grading. For commercial work I go Ultra Primes or Zeiss CP2 or 3. For narrative I’ll try to find lenses that embody the story. That could be the latest Cooke lenses or some beaten up Russian lenses from the 1960s. Finding that combo is half the fun.
indieactivity: What do you look for in a camera?
Wyatt: Ergonomics that fit the job. Every sensor has pros and cons. So does every lens package and every camera body. Part of the job is picking the correct combination to tell the story and to help the director make his day. For example, I could demand as the DoP to shoot Alexa XT with anamorphic primes, but that may be a bad call for a travel documentary that is going to broadcast. The camera crew will be bigger, the footprint larger, the workflow painful for a quick turnaround, and all this makes the budget goes up. Then I don’t get hired again. That sounds bad all around because I made a choice for me and not the project.
indieactivity: How do you like to work with your camera crew?
I travel and most of the time I can’t take an AC with me. Because of this I can’t fall back on past relationships. I have to be exact with instructions. Telling the AC, dolly, gaffer, and whoever else is on my team what I need from them. Really it’s about doing your homework as a DoP.
I’ve never met someone who didn’t want to help but you have to enable them by giving a clear direction. Then you can start to open it up for suggestions and because you have a plan you should have time to talk things out with your crew. My 1st AC and my gaffer are my two most valuable assets on set. Give them what they need to do their jobs and they will make you look amazing.
indieactivity: Is there s science behind what you do?
Wyatt: There is but there is a lot of alchemy in the process. I always start with overheads for my gaffer as a starting point. But it is just a start. From there we dial in the look. You have to know what your camera requires so you get a certain image, so there is science there. But to know what is beautiful and what is not. That is harder to get from knowing your light meter ratios.
indieactivity: How do you prepare for a role?
Wyatt: Read the script many, many times. Ask a lot of crazy questions that directors love and sometimes hate. I like to know the soundtrack the director is using for inspiration. I think you can tell a lot about a piece if you know what type of music inspires the story.
I pull together vision boards to dial in the look for myself as well as the director. Trying to get in the director’s head as much as possible. Also talking about how they want the set to run. Some directors like is loose some like it militaristic. Knowing the director and the AD’s expectations helps make the days go smoother.
indieactivity: Describe the gear you will use on a indie film production?
Wyatt: For indie stuff I’ve been embracing battery powered LED lights. Aputure has some nice lights. I like my 120d and 300d because we can go anywhere with them. I typically run with a few Astra Light Panels and Westcott’s icelight 2. Then from there we can augment if we have the finances.
I’m also bringing the MoviPro out more and more. For indie work it is a must to move the camera quickly. The MoviPro is the first one that I really like. I used the M5 and the Ronin from DJI but always tolerated them. The technology is getting so good that it gets out of the way of the filmmaking process, which I like. Camera for indie it depends on workflow and distribution. GH5, EVA1, C300ii, AlexaMini, and RED are all on the table.
indieactivity: Describe the gear you will use on a big-budget production?
Wyatt: That would take too long for this article to go over my wish list. If I could name one thing. I’ve always wanted to film on Panavision glass. Filming with the Millennium DXL would be a joy. I’ve done test shoots with it but never on a real job. That or the new Alexa LF, just because it looks very interesting.
indieactivity: What do you want most from a director?
Wyatt: Communication. I’ve had a few directors lock up on me with larger set pieces. Even if you don’t know just tell me and we can talk it out. I’m here to help you find the solution, but sometimes I feel directors think the DoP is there to judge them. Part of my job is to make directors feel comfortable enough to talk to me about their ‘crazy idea.’ Many times I really like crazy.
indieactivity: What do you want most from an actor?
Wyatt: Hit your mark. Know that part of your role in all this is to know your lines, give the emotion for the character, and hit your mark. You can give the best performance in the world but if you are standing six inches out of the light I can’t see your Oscar winning performance. The worst is when we change the light to accommodate an actor that can’t hit the mark, because the lighting gets flatter and less appealing. End of the day no one wants a bad image, including the actor.
indieactivity: What advice will you give DoPs around the world?
Wyatt: Don’t get locked up on the gear. If all you have is a 10 year old camera and a window, boom you can make a film. So many people say “I would film this but I don’t have X camera. Or its not in 4k.” I say work with what you have. Also it doesn’t need to be 90 minutes it can be one minute. Just tell stories with images. You don’t even need a microphone.
For the more seasoned DoPs I would say learn Davinci Resolve. Not to become a colorist by trade but understand what the technology can do. It’s also good to learn this so you can protect your look. I’ve started sending LUTs with the footage for clients that don’t have the budget for a colorist. That way it is less work for post. As cinematographers we have to be a little protective of our image in this regard because it can be a real problem on some projects.
indieactivity: Briefly describe your career?
Wyatt: I’m a DoP and editor based out of Houston Texas. I work in commercial, television, and independent film market.
I have had the pleasure of working with Wyatt on many occasions and on varied projects involving spot production, long format and production planning both in the US and internationally. His knowledge of the industry, equipment and data trends and his ability to deliver are unsurpassed in this market. He is a pleasure to work with and always, always delivers to higher than expected levels. I highly recommend him for any project and as part of any team.
Every television, film, or video production team needs a C. Wyatt Cagle. His extensive knowledge of the industry and new technology is unmatched. I have had the pleasure of working with Wyatt on several award winning projects. His professionalism and dedication to his craft is outstanding. Choosing Wyatt as a director, cinematographer, or as an editor will be extremely beneficial to the success of any project.
Wyatt Is a very good director. He understands what is needed to complete a program because he also is an editor. When we work together I have watch him help bring the crew together as a team so everyone understands the final goal. You would be lucky to have him as one of you crew members.
Wyatt's attention to detail and hard working attitude proved crucial for the time he was with us. I have brought him back for some special projects and would not hesitate to do that at any time in the future. Wyatt is a true pleasure to work with.
I have found a few simple truths after many years of training and supervising people in the field of film production and post-production. One of those truths is that if a person "gets it" or has a natural sense of his or her art...you can always help them sharpen their skills and become a great artist. If a person has no natural understanding of the craft, there is nothing you can do to help them.
After spending a very brief period of time with Wyatt, it was clear to me that he "got it" and over the course of our association I watched him grow as an editor and artist and watched the beginnings of his career as a filmmaker.
Wyatt is a talented man, a considerate and dedicated employee with a strong work ethic and would make a valuble asset to any organization or project searching for smart, talented and honest individuals.
Wyatt is an extremely talented individual whose work ethic matches his skill. He has a "can do" attitude and will do whatever is necessary to create outstanding work. Wyatt's knowledge and understanding of the creative process make him a tremendous asset to any team. Wyatt always produced very high quality work and was a pleasure to work with in every facet.
While working at Somnio, Wyatt delivered projects in a very timely manner with great attention to detail. His fantastic personality resonated well with clients. Overall, when working on a video project with Wyatt you can count on it being on time and on budget. I highly recommend Wyatt and would be happy to work with him again anytime.
Wyatt is an abundantly creative artist and is proficient in every area of production from producing and directing to shooting and editing. His client service skills are exceptional. I have had the pleasure of working for him on TBE projects, and as testament to my faith in his skills, I have hired him for my own productions as well. Wyatt brings energy and knowledge of cutting edge technology to every project. He is a major asset to any production.
Wyatt is very knowledgeable in all facets of video production and post. He is highly organized with a great attitude when facing challenging projects and seemingly impossible deadlines. He is very efficient with his work flow and always expanding upon his knowledge in all areas of video production and design. He is also a skilled DP with an eye for composition and balance. It was great to work with Wyatt and I look forward to working with him in the future.
Wyatt is truly a pleasure to work with. He is without a doubt one of the few, that really invests 100% into a project. Wyatt sees every angle, edit, and obstacle, and without a second glance, identifies the fitting path to take. Wyatt's creative and auspicious methods, bring any production to the next level.
Wyatt is a very gifted editor. His command of the medium allows for complete mobility between genres and his insight is indispensable. Working with Wyatt has been a pleasure, and I hope that we are able to join forces in the future on something else exciting.