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Rising Stars: Meet Paul Winters of North

Today we’d like to introduce you to Paul Winters.

Hi Paul, thanks for joining us today. We’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
I’m a cinematographer—a filmmaker. I didn’t start as one, but that is who I became. I began as a painter and a printmaker. I studied painting in college and graduated from The California College of Art in Oakland, California. After graduation, I went to New York City and worked for some time as an illustrator. I drew illustrations for magazines and papers like the New York Times. I also drew illustrations for Chanel. I don’t know how it is now, but back then, a woman would purchase some Chanel lipstick, and inside the box was a paper brochure. I drew the lips and the product drawings. I was also selling paintings at the time, but I was restless. Unfulfilled. I realized I wanted to make films, so I moved to Los Angeles and jumped into the film business. My first job was drawing storyboards for commercials and music videos. I did quite a lot of those. I slowly started writing and directing films, and suddenly (after many years), I had a career. In Hollywood, I directed and produced Indie films and began pitching shows to the studios. I sold quite a few of my projects and ended up with development deals with all major studios. Still unfulfilled, I threw myself into being a cinematographer on narrative projects. I did some acting along the way, joined the screen actors guild, and got an agent. I haven’t looked back since.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not, what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
Becoming a cinematographer was smooth once I got on that path. It seems like all green lights, and open doors have been since I committed myself to that road. But, the beginning of my career was not smooth. Hollywood was a rough and tumbled place.

Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
As I said, I’m a cinematographer—a cameraman. I have shot commercials, music videos, and documentaries. While I love shooting all types of things, I specialize in one area – shooting feature films. Nothing is more exciting than filming a scene with actors and a director. That is what I love to do. I’ve developed a reputation for being able to do great work – quickly. I learned the quick part on super low-budget films. There would be very little time to get the shots, so you had to learn to be fast. The trick was to be good and fast. Everything I ever learned goes into my cinematography. My being a painter plays into it, as does having been an actor. It all helps. Lately, I have been directing some projects that I am also shooting. That’s fun.

Do you have any memories from childhood that you can share with us?
All of my childhood is remembered fondly. It was a good time.

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Image Credits
©Paul Winters

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