Here is our first interview in our Industry series where we interview people throughout the music business. Filmmaker Taylor Gahm was nice enough to give us his views.
Could you give us your name and what it is you do?
My name is Taylor Gahm and I am a filmmaker from Texas.
When did you know that working with multimedia was something you wanted to do with your life?
About 3 years ago. I got a late start because I was sidetracked by the glamour and prestige of pursuing my post high school dream of being a career waiter at “Los Cha Cha’s” Mexican restaurant.
How did you start off as a cinematographer? What were your initial projects?
I started helping a friend of mine with his wedding videography business. I eventually bought my own gear, shot a documentary for a TV show called MXTV and then won an award for it. This was all within 9 months of picking up my first digital video camera, I guess it just made sense to me.
What do you think the difference between ordinary cinematography and digital cinematography is?
They are very similar acquisition formats. Film is so expensive but the resolution is second to none. Digital is cheaper, more forgiving and can give you similar results if you know how to set things up from pre to post production.
What kind of planning goes into shooting a tour dvd and a music video?
A tour DVD consist of me grabbing my gear and going. I bring clean underwear and jeans and then steal tees and hoodies from the merch table- it’s a good deal. After that I just shoot everything and figure it out in post.
Music videos are a bit different. It’s usually a juggling act between the expectations and ideas of the label, the band, and myself.
How do you go about coming up with treatments for the videos story, etc?
I usually just copy everyone elses ideas- it seemed to work for me in high school…. I don’t really know to be honest. I think it usually hits you when you first hear a song. You initially get an amazing conceptual idea that is so incredible and progressive that a solemn tear forms in your left eye then you take a look at the budget, laugh and go with a performance video.
Interesting. What person has had the biggest influence in your career?
Who is Steve Bache?
He is the drummer for He Is Legend.
Really? How is it that he has had such an influence in your life?
Well he hasn’t really. We just have a sweet deal where we mention each others names in press interviews. Sup dude?
Okay then…. Um, How much input does the artist have on your projects?
It depends. I have helped a couple bands sign to major and indie labels. Generally the unsigned bands come to me with a check and tell me to do my magic.
The Project 86 DVD was a bit different. It was kinda like “idea pinball” during the whole post-production process. I would put clips together online, and then adjust the edits accordingly to feedback.
I am currently working with He Is Legend and Dead Poetic on their DVD’s and they are a bit different. They are pretty much just telling me to do my thing. There really is no “right” way. My take is to just adapt to the ebb and flow of the tour and have fun.
Do you need to be trained collegiately in film to suceed in the business?
No, but it wouldn’t hurt a bit to be trained in business to suceed in film. The same goes for bands’ I think a course or two in marketing or economics would do more good than courses in music theory.
Do you feel that it is important/benetifical for an artist to get signed to a record label?
Sure. But the reality is that most bands look at a record deal as an easy way out. Landing a deal is a ton of hard work and dedication. Landing a deal is benificial, but it isnt totally necessary to be successful.
What does it take for you to work with an unsigned artist?
Talent. And money.
So do you have any advice for the upcoming filmmaker?
Get your hands dirty. Make your own movies. Forge your own path. Don’t wait for opportunity- create it. Don’t listen to negative people- they are jealous and they are wasting away their lives. Cling to those who inspire and support you. Glean from others- keep what you like, discard what you don’t. Brush your teeth. Please don’t drink and drive.
Where do you see the film and music industry going in the future with all of the technology making things easier?
Dude I have no idea. I am sure you wanted something better than that but I got nothing. I am still eagerly anticiapting flying cars like in Back to the Future II.
What do you see yourself doing in the future whether it’s continuing with cinematography or moving on to something else?
I am pretty much counting on marrying a doctor. Once that happens I will probably play a lot of golf. If that falls through, then I would like to be directing music videos for the next few years and then move on to feature films when the time is right.
I am also in the process of starting a non-profit organization to benefit touring musicians. I am hoping that it wont be too long before it is making a difference in this business.
Thanks for your time and insight on your thoughts of the industry. We hope to hear more about you in the future and wish you the best with your work.
Thanks for having me. Take care.