In the 7 years since he’s graduated, cinematographer Alex Chinnici, ’09, has been Director of Photography for shorts, features, commercials, music videos, documentaries and more.
What is the most important thing in life? Family? Love? Happiness? I think we can all agree that it depends on the person, but not many would disagree with Happiness. To me, Happiness is doing what you love. I do what I love and, boy, am I lucky! I have been working as a professional Director of Photography since graduating from the School of Visual Arts in 2009.In high school, I gravitated towards filmmaking immediately. I was lucky enough to find a wonderful group of fellow filmmakers and collaborate on silly toilet humor videos before transitioning to those serious short films most of us end up making at SVA. I had assumed that you had to be a director if you wanted to be a filmmaker, but I quickly discovered my true calling: Cinematography.
At first it was about shooting whatever I could, accumulating footage for a reel, and most importantly, learning as much as possible while in school. Education is a life-long, day to day state of mind for me and I don’t expect that to ever change.School opened the doors to professional work, in which experience is everything. I learned not to take any and every job. Saying no is just as important as saying yes. Consciously shaping my career is an important a skill that continue to craft. It’s really come into sharp focus in the past year or so; it’s hard to say exactly when the transition happened, since it’s been a solid four years and counting.
I have finally found the type of material what I’ve always wanted to shoot: Feature films and high-end commercials (specifically, car commercials). This has been my emphasis for the last two years.
One constant has remained with me ever since I was a student at SVA. One of my favorite teachers, Igor Sunara, gave me the best advice I’ve ever received. He said “Treat every job the same. Big budget, small budget…high stakes, low stakes. Always give it 110%. Your quality of work, your reputation, they’re everything.” That has stuck with me no matter what.