Episode 50 Thomas Cantley Executive Producer
Welcome to the lights camera. Pro podcast where we interview entertainment pros about their careers and how they became successful in the industry the secret to their success here every week. Here's your host sean tura. Hey everybody welcome to the lights camera. Pro podcast and your host shaw vittore and i just want to say go to apple podcasts and spotify and subscribed rate in review. We also have movie reviews and television show reviews okay. Today's guest is a great guy. His name is thomas canley. And he's an actor director cinematographer. Hey everybody welcome to the lights. Camera pro podcast. On your host. Sean and tour and today we are here with thomas can't leave. He is a director and producer Thanks for doing this thomas while yeah thanks. Thanks for having me a lucky running. Yeah this is called. you're doing this So you are a director and producer. And i will just ask the first question. How did you know when did you know five or you in high school in college. When did you know that you wanted to be a director and a producer. Well you know. It's it's funny. It started quite quite young Where my mom Sometimes it starts from you know. Mom's parents living vicariously. Kind of my mom started putting me when i was younger when i finished my awkward phase while i went through many awkward phases but at one point when i was like the small window whereas pretty cute she put me into commercials in and did some little bit of tv. Acting as as a child. And i realized i was super passionate about like watching the people behind the camera. And that's kind of where my i love When i was around like ten to thirteen and then cut. I just kind of took a break because i got heavy into sports. And what sports what were you doing. I was a pretty competitive hockey player. Cool through my. I was seventeen. I was drafted Until i having three three concussions of the florida. Panthers oh wow and what position hours right wing. Okay cool yes. You're you're getting knocked around. Yeah all right so so you are on sets and you're seeing the cameras and the lights like this is cool Go from there. Where do you go next well. My mom wanted me to do the typical college route. You know. she didn't truly understand or support like kind of she wanted to be an actor in front but when i started to like really want to take pursuit behind the camera she didn't really understand it so she said to me she goes. Hey thomas to have a sustainable career you need to do get you a bachelor of arts or something like just get good college for four years and you know i kind of rebel so i just kind of all right finding gonna stick me in college than this isn't what i wanna be. I'm gonna drink the money away then. Kinda kicked out of school until you listen to me and i'm gonna go to film school so i only lasted two years. In to my my. My mom was tired of wasting money and she said art fine. Let's let's put in film school. So i ended up going to My dad's from the us and my mom's canadian dual and i ended up going vancouver film. School kick my kick my career. That's kind of where it all started was in my when i was twenty awesome. Indeed did you just take over all filmmaker program or what was your major yet. I took a phone intensive one year program of just the foundations of everything touching into animation. Just every single department and area and that's what kind of kind of got my focus of just kind of figure out where i wanted to be at that point. I truly actually wanted to be a dp camera operator That's where my career took. Its path for quite some time. So do you get a job as a dp or viagra for somewhere to start out after college. What happens next yes so it was funny. I got a funny story. When i was going to school because i was on a typical. You know learner. I you know i mean like any of us a lot of adhd and and i had dyslexia so even when i was informed school was still is very technical is very grades in orientated. I just i wasn't the the grading system would happen like what you were able to do with your final projects were based on your grade. So as my passion was directing. I didn't get to draft any project. So at that point i was like screw this and i was just going to carry out my carry out my degree but then i ended up getting an opportunity to work on a pretty big movie Which is called battle in seattle which was directed by stuart townsend. Shirley was in joshua jackson would be harrelson. The whole nine yards zoo and yet and Stewart came in the drummer or noticed actor. There from vampire i think is. Yeah vampire something. Yeah yeah And so you know he was doing his own. I first indy only one million budget. He had all these actors because everybody's Theorin his wife so right. I remember that yet so i ended up being his assistant and i miss toyota my school and ended up getting called him by the dean saying thomas. We're going to have to terminate you from the program because Because of your attendance in your grades are are lacking and and so. I had to go back to stewart stewart. I got i gotta leave. I gotta finish the program. I'm going to my mom's gonna kill me and he goes dude. I need you because this is where you're going to be learning. This is this is how you're going to gain your experience. He's like lemme lemme figure something out so he ended up writing allowed her. Charlie's dropped me off at the front of the school and came in and was stewart. Came in with me and and to his teacher said just. Don't kick this kid out of school. He is such a hard worker. He's just an awesome guy. And i need him. Let's kula yes. It was kind of like that really. I just fell in love with behind a kevin smith to my school. That was one of the one of the reasons why ended up wanting to go over there But i was. I was in the self-discovery mode of where i wanted to be in what i wanted to do. And that experience was stuart and just kind of working so closely with the director and the actors and everything and just really shaped my passion for the industry relies. That school was great. I got my foundation which was amazing But you know the onset experiences just the absolute truth of where of truly where you learn at all. Yeah absolutely agree so another movie or do you go on and get a job. What's next. I kind of hopped around peeing. Just trying to insert myself anywhere possible. You know like you know. The biggest thing is i recommend people always is just. Your personality is so important and who you are where you put yourself out so just always marketing yourself constantly because a lot of crews will bring the same people along so i ended up kind of hopping around a lot of shows from good luck chuck peeing in working my way up As a location location manager and Working on the l word not the reality show but the actual tv show And on that for a couple of seasons You know worked my way up to eighty hours a trainee eighty and then i started like looking into the camera apartment and shadowing some cam rops and stuff like that. Just kinda trainy training there. I didn't go union but just was kind of you. Know kind of out of shaping my career in realizing that. I didn't want to be in the ad. Y- pa were all that. I was really interested in the camera department. And that's what kind of took my career to the next level where i ended up deciding to move to new york city and leave canada and take a giant step and at and take the next opportunity where the rest of my career for fifteen years was in york very cool and i'll just throw in a quick little. Pa story because i was a pa. New york. I was an actor in the theater but i was trying to work in movies. I did some gripping But i was pa for a while at five in the morning to shoot a busta rhymes video. And it was actually. I think it was at a strip club actually and You know everybody's setup. He was supposed to be there somewhere around noon. Maybe one o'clock and he's showed up at midnight. Everybody everybody got double pay. We didn't get out of there to like eight. The next morning it was insane. Some of us had other jobs to go to's insanity but the guy showed up about eleven hours late for his music. His music video wasn't even like someone else stephanie. Little story so where do you go from there. Yes so for me. It was like new york assisted totally different beasts. Do you know any place. You go to uri from new york. No massachusetts but i was there for twelve years in. Yeah i tell you everything. Moves faster in new york for sure. Not yeah exactly so. I'm not really you know grew me as A producer essentially. Because when i got there. I was in the generation of like when dsl ours like just coming out. Like i think my first camera in purchasing. Because i was like okay i need to do all i ended up getting the cannon forty But also the time had the panasonic but the p two. I had the p two and so i ended up getting these cameras. Had no idea what i was doing because i was like everything was just thrown out from film school. Because now i'm like here. I am the real deal. I'm like shit. Lenses lenses. Everything and then i ended up you know because i was in that generation to select two thousand seven. Two thousand eight was that transition of those cameras where a lot of people were shooting photo video and i ended up doing a lot of photo work in the beginning because i ended up. I was just hanging out during fashion week at bryant park and i saw this one photographer guy and his name was rajini and he was shooting for interview magazine. And he's a pretty big pretty big dude in the industry that are still is and i just went up to him and i said hey man i got i got my My pizza i got my cannon. And i was just like can i just come shadow. You can i just like. I don't even know you hold your bags. I'll do whatever community camera. I'm here like you know. I have experienced. He's like you don't pay me anything on for the whole week. I'll just come common shadow yuna goes sure all right so just as awesome dude. I went in and he goes like all right. You take the garin. Can you sit in the pet. So i ended up here. I am like have my cannon around my neck. you know. Have my camera carrying his staff in the pit and you know shooting lacoste. And just while he's doing any show stuff they're shooting a little bit like another angle for him and he just teaching me things and he's like dude. I love how you're just on your toes your quick. You're ready to learn like as like. I'll come here every day for you and deuteronomy do and i did that with him and i created a relationship with him where he kinda ended up being his camera. Cest and jumping around a photo shoots working with anthropology. And i ended up working my way up Shooting stills and video for an apology. I went from you. Know a third cameras To all the way to shoot in For the client and in that transition point. I ended up really working in that fashion world where i ended up doing doubling up shooting video as well so a lot of these big fashion designers ended up getting on a show called project runway in the season and started shooting a lot of behind the scenes and just kind of creating my own business now at this point and confidence and notoriety in the fashion world. What was that like working on that show. Because everybody's seeing that show is like forty seasons twenty so funny i was. I was in the season. He's not. I came in with when christian million is like now. He's the judge in kind of run the show now like i shot him before he was nobody. I remember you know being there. And he was just so shy and quiet. And some of the other artists got to work with a carried on cruise with kevin He is a relationship and partnership. He did I did a video for him. On the side with k. mart. And adam levine. Doing so mike side the work for them doing their collaboration line for kmart. But like i mean. I did about four seasons of project. Runway is pretty cool. Show like just working with all these designers and then also on the side like being in that place as well where you know. Video is so hot and that kind of behind the scenes raw little indie. Look like getting ready. All that stuff was. I was in that whole beginning. Stage now was that guy ended up working also for justin timberlake for his william. Rast line doing all the behind the scenes video stuff like that for fashion week daily in all that cool. Did you ever meet justin to see him. I did i met him. I met him said okay to speak candidate. Joe yeah. I was backstage in a shooting. His stuff in and Just standing there waiting like you know. I think it was putting a card and justin was like looking at me giving me dirty luck. And like who's his guy and designers. Thomas who shoots are back to anyway she just kind of like you know like who is guy. Who's a slight pictures. Yeah he's like who's dish like you know but but yeah he's just. I mean not the friendliest i mean you just kinda gave me a nod in there. I mean he's he's got big things going on and he's doing his thing but it's you know to me. He didn't have the out of all the celebrities that i work with the matt. He wasn't the nicest i would say. Right we just talked to somebody who worked with catherine zeta jones and they were like She's not the most approachable person house. We'll just leave that there. Go any deeper than that. But she's a legend and she has to rush the whole thing but yeah so that's interesting just to hear that story about what happened to you with him. So what's next is the pilot next. Or is there some other gigs or so so yeah i mean a lot of it was You know i just. I went to doing these students. Music videos in working and and don't take it too far off course but i ended up strong passion for documentaries so ended up getting hired advice media and i was a producer advice there independently producing and shooting and directing Some smaller for the online sections Nothing that went streaming or anything. But it's more like the online portions like your new yorker. Probably in the same time when i was there too and was like a you know was around and they had their like live page stuff so i was like a lot of my stuff was for web on vice and That point ended up getting cancer so hit me at a nowhere. You know twenty six years old All this that happened here is on the time span of six years Explained to new york just goes so fast and then a kind of set me back a little bit. But then i put myself as a As subject so. I ended up creating awareness campaign pushing a giant ball across america which i got a time media coverage new may or may not hurt about it button. I was in every single me. News media outlet and it was a documentary called mr ballsy and That was kind of my. I like big big independent project. That i did on my own. And then which. Which that did you have someone with you or did you just set up these extension arm cameras extreme selfie cameras yay go pros and then i had a buddy of mine. Who was with boom pitcher. Do you know boom pitchers. Have you heard of them. So the guy there but a mind map ginsburg who created the show. Inked ended up kinda going. I was like you know kind of allow always a hustler. Kind of pitching my concepts and south. And i said hey man like i just need to come up with a cool idea to i cancer like i don't wanna do the same story that everyone else does you know just typical documentation and he goes so him and i it on getting this giant six football and he said you know you really need to draw people in so we collaborate on the idea of just starting from a. to new york and just doing kind of like craigslist. Joe like we had organically get people and and we had to completely rely on food shelter and travel all through the kinds of people. Because i had no money and i was like all right. This is a great idea. Because then i have no money so i can shoot this whole thing run. Do it do it all in kind in that way. So it's like indie film again at the most and then a buddy of mine who have and i went to school together. He shoots her amazing race. And he was actually. He's originally from malaysia. You need as the australian chosen savvy. I got tenure visa. Denial come down and shoot your tour for you. So cool janas did that. Awesome man Is there somewhere. People can see that documentary Right now we're doing a re cut on it It is called mr ballsy but we will resurfacing it again. Because it's just it's kinda like that. I forget what documentary was about a guy who A guy who ended up taking twenty years to finish dock and then. That's kind of where i'm at right now. Thirty six thirty seven and we did a small release version before. And i wasn't happy with it and then that in now it's st doesn't fifteen when i did another cat in that now it's like finally i'm doing another new kuttan twenty man. Yeah made a bunch of short films re edited and with these podcast. It's hard to let him go. It's like oh. I'm gonna fix it. I'm gonna fix outing excited at some point. You gotta just move on. yeah now. it's tough to let stuff go but maybe come back later a decent with it. So is this where we get into the pilot now very close also somewhere so we're in new york ended up my white. I ended up meeting my wife who is a celebrity producer. Shoes at nbc ochre She's an emmy award winner and she's probably someone you might you might want to interview. But she's She's big time. So have you heard of the william per studios in new. I have yes. She is one of the originals. They're like her class was You know i'll leave a lot for for for another time for you to interview her. She would be awesome discussed. she's amazing. she was one of the Her class was amy schumer. A bunch of other major celebrity's in books thought her like balestra who ended up passing away. recently was acting yes in akron studio. It's the top acting studio sort of so. But i ended up meeting her. She's a producer. Nbc and we got married and now have a son but we said we wanted to move on new york city. Where like. where's the next spot. So that was elena so she ended up getting a gig to do Delta delta delta gig. And i ended up in at the same time. We also got another gig to do the nbc olympics. And so i was drafting the commercials For for real the olympics so we ended up moving here and So she was delta at the same time to back and then we were pregnant while she was and then and then i ended up hopping around if you places doing home depot running scripture deepa coca cola and i was doing the producing the e fat tournament in the music video with jason derulo Now at the pilot. So i just kind of gave all set up version. Sure but you know and so in two thousand eighteen yet. We did My wife and i had this should really cool story where it was about a cult and she was in this called and i said we have to turn this into a tv show and she said all right do and because i've just now you've heard my career. I've i've had my hand in like literally. Every single pot run built a great network in atlanta here and so because of the acting studio that she's connecting tunes and stuff like that one of our dear friends who's on the show ozark. He's one of the main characters on ozark. Now he's on. Outsiders is mark chaka He played dursey. Have you seen our. Yeah see plays russ. He plays the bearded uncle who humans getting killed was that i saw first two seasons though yes he was he was the gay guy. He hit the gay interaction with the. Okay yeah yeah okay. so now. He's the lead on outsiders He has a shaved head in. Looks completely different. jason bateman states as like his top actor. While he's he's one of my wife's really good friends and so we wrote him as the lead I said to him. I said oh my god he would be amazing leader and my wife was like kay we can only republi probably won't be able to get him for very long so i wrote the whole entire script based on just using the whole pilot based on Not revealing him until the very end and just avi l. at and so building whole script up so we ended up building a whole entire sixty person crew shooting locally using camera ready program And shooting our whole entire pilot. Doing it crazy. Legs ended up. Doing you know an editor from z. Likes in the post production everything and then we ended up my executive producer Ended up having a great connection with danny sussman who represents quite a bit of celebrities and and currently before copay we negotiations with a guy who is the founder and owner of crackle the streaming network. Who wanted to buy our pilots on our kind of in that phase. Right now where we're just kind of in lieu where everything kind of froze waiting for it to to pick up again because they're interested in buying pilot but now we're like okay. What's what's the most. And can i just ask you like the tone of the show. Is it like the following where it's creepy and there's murder or is it like a comedy or somewhere sick ozark dark it's it's it's more like Like girls so it's it's kinda like meet transparent a little bit like kinda messed up But a lot of humor you know. It's just really dark. Humor not laugh out loud funny but it's like more shocking Okay Sammy testing yes. It's it's a little bit. It's shot more brighter vibrant kennels. Send you private Link as well to but it's Yeah i love it and so you're just waiting to hear because of kobe. Yup yup on very cool man. I mean not many people do that. I've always wanted to do a feature. I made four. Shorts aren't so let's wrap it up with any advice that you have for the younger people. I'm sure you have a ton of advice because you have the school and you had a. I mean you're thirty seven but you've had a long creative done a lot of different stuff. What is your advice for people who want to work in the Film and tv industry to say. It's i mean it's like our industry like no other and there's any time you can make a job transition if you're someone that's in a job that you're unhappy with right now. I mean it's just it's about making that giant leap and taking that opportunity whether it's you have that regular job and you wanna do something on the side and you just wanna create art. You need that balance. But it's like just so important you know like robinson as you mentioned earlier. It's just it's like it's it's so important to do. do it. Makes you happy and do what you love and you know in our industry all takes is is dr passionate heart. Everything else is trainable. You know you can can learn all through those aspects but having vision Is just we all have our own stories you know in every story has you know has an opportunity to see the light of day with these platforms that we have just out just say cre- content put yourself out there. Take risks don't Don't limit yourself because you know this life is the only yeah absolutely. I was just talking to a woman yesterday who a life coach and she has her own photography business and she also has a podcast and and she works with a lot of people who dislike. I can't do it you know. I can't leave my job. I can't my kids soccer games. i can't i. Can't i can't and she just left her company to a friend who's a photographer and for two years traveled on the road with her husband. Who's musician and lived in a sprinter van and and she absolutely loved it and it. Change your life in recharged. Her creativity and my girlfriend went to paris and lived for three months because she got laid off in something she always wanted to do. And i've done stuff like that so it's like you have to do the things you want to do in your lifetime. Whether it's make a feature film or go live in paris because you only have one life man awesome and this has been great. Thanks so much for doing this. And it's so cool. I had no. I needed to school and the pilot but i had no idea did all that other stuff with the fashion shows and and the school sounds really cool. So thanks for doing this. Thomas thank you thanks. Thanks for having me all out promote anyway. In a way. I can free podcasts. Yeah sharing or do whatever on on social media to get it out there but I will definitely you are twenty eighth and ten. So it'll be awhile. But i'm actually posting two week so cool and hopefully i can continue that because my freelance has stopped for awhile and else i mean if you want my wife to. Because she sam her stories are like you think she's got i mean. She was the producer. Martha stewart will steer went to jail. All like she has absol- she an actress or tissues and actress that slash producer. Okay but very goal. And what's her name. Ashley canley You look up. Her on link dan or whatever or yes absolutely. I mean i could tell you that i will. Also i will text you in a little bit. I'm going to vacation next week on. Like just got a new job and she needs to get out of the house so but we're gonna take a week off and then i will contact her contact you and you can give me her phone number and we'll set up a time to interview. 'cause i love love love talking to actors because i acted for ten years and can totally relate. Oh you will love that and then and let me and yeah when you get back to. I can think of some other. People are pretty big rolodex and if you had a semi some text. I've actually met some incredible people through other guests and also through the friends. I've met people who worked on that seventies show the family guy and the simpsons a guy who just Was the show runner for the new show. Bruise brothers ace Just so many people man. I can't even go through them all that this guy should just worked on is the art director for tenant. Christopher nolan's new movie and he's working mines The rocks black adam. dc and. He's worked on the walking dead. I mean on hunger games. Like i mean really interesting stories man so cool and it's just really a great to do these interviews because i'm learning stuff from people and And i think what i'm creating is not to compete with their school. But i just realized that this is a great resource or will be in the future when i have fifty one hundred two hundred of these people. Oh i want to be an actor. I wanna be a dvr. Just go listen to that interview and against so much great advice and and stories about what. It's like to be an actor on tv. What it's like to be a dp and felt so no totally. Yeah and that's not an you know by any means there's no competition totally different thing. Yeah this is like a you know a half hour long. Walk with your dog or while. you're taking. This is competing with the school at all. But yeah i'll definitely interview. Why if she's interested in any you know and text. That would be great man. I totally appreciate it. Yeah this is an kuhlman. Great day thanks for doing this to all right. Thank you for listening to the lights camera. Pro podcast where entertainment pros talk about how. They made their dream into a career. Go to apple podcasts. And spotify and subscribe rate and review. Thanks to bob. Juergens the rock envio and joseph mcdade for the music. We also have movie reviews and television show reviews. Thanks so much next time.