Flylords caught up with Oliver Sutro, Who is a full-time freelance filmmaker and photographer. His work has been featured with many brands across the industry including Columbia Sportswear, Yeti, Stio, Julbo, Skida, Costa, OPST, Temple Fork Outfitters, and Grundens. Check out the interview below to learn how Oliver makes the magic happen.
Flylords: What is your favorite part of being a filmmaker?
Oliver: I like making things. I think everyone likes making things.
Flylords: Tell us about your camera setup? How important is gear to make it this industry?
Oliver: I started making films with my iPhone. My first paid gig was shot on a canon 6d mk1 and that iPhone. I couldn’t afford anything else. If you don’t have much, you have to embrace it and get creative. A good story can even the playing field. If you have a $100,000.00 camera, but your story is bad, your story is still bad.
When you do get a camera, blackout all the logos with gaffers tape. I think it’s a good message to yourself and others that this number or letter doesn’t matter. You’ll find a lot of people asking what model it is, perplexed, “Is that a prototype?” “I can’t really talk about that.”
Flylords: Do you have any tips for licensing music?
Oliver: The struggling musician is the struggling filmmaker’s best friend. If you make money, the musician makes money. That’s my rule. You would want the same for yourself.
Flylords: What is your favorite software to use for editing?
Oliver: I started on Final Cut Pro, but I have used Premiere when the job calls for it. I personally prefer FCP. I think it is more intuitive and faster. Having said that, learn either one well and it doesn’t matter at all.
Flylords: How do you try and stand out from other filmmakers in the outdoor industry?
Oliver: I focus on subjects that I really care about, and try to stay true to my inner voice, which is pretty weird. Temple Fork Outfitters (an awesome rod company) let me open a scene with a port-o-potty (See video below). How’s that for inner voice? I’m now best friends with a lot of the guys over there. Turns out I’m not the only one that thought pooping was funny.
It also makes the first scene on my film reel (Below)!
Flylords: Any advice for pitching clients on a project or how to get funding?
Oliver: Huh…I was going to ask you the same question. I’ve got a few awesome projects that need funding…
Make work that speaks for itself. Building a portfolio of strong, unique work is invaluable. It’s a chicken-egg scenario, where you need funding to make a good portfolio, and you need a good portfolio to get funding, at least that’s what you think. It turns out, you don’t need funding to make a great portfolio, you need time and effort.
Flylords: What is the best way to find models for a shoot?
Oliver: Friends are models. Be friendly, make more friends, then ruin your friendship by making them work really hard, and then build the friendship back up again by showing them the thing you made about them. It’s a super healthy loop.
Flylords: Any advice for people who want to break into the outdoor industry?
Oliver: Get ready to work harder than you ever have in your life and then see nothing come of it. Making it as a freelance filmmaker/photographer can be brutal, especially when you’re starting out. Success does not happen overnight. Make good work, be good to everyone you meet and always follow up on an opportunity, big or small.
Flylords: How do you juggle taking photos and videos?
Oliver: Basically, every stills/video camera being made right now does a great job at both. Sometimes it’s a bit of a hassle, but I really love doing both, so it’s a gear problem that I’m willing to solve every time I pack my bag.
Flylords: Do you have a favorite project you have worked on?
Oliver: By the time I’m done working on a film, I’ve experienced it hundreds of times. It can be tough looking back, even cringy. My favorite project is always the next one.
Flylords: Anything else you would like to add?
Oliver: Right as we were setting up to shoot that port-o-potty scene, a poop-pumper truck showed up to pump out the toilet. So he watched us as we shot that scene and then he proceeded to pump poop. I still giggle thinking about it.