Meet The New Wave / Simon Rowling
Meet The New Wave / Simon Rowling
Filmography (so far): Legacy Of Lies (2019), Cognition (BBC Film short 2019), Vengeance 2 (2018), The Grandest Wedding (2018), Acceptable Damage (2017), Vengeance (2016) and Predator: Dark Ages (short 2015).
Where did you train?
I trained in model-making originally at Arts University Bournemouth. From there I did props and on-set SFX. I then crossed over into producing and started a small production company.
When did you discover you wanted to be a cinematographer?
I was working at the production company that I helped set up (aged 23), when we borrowed my mother's Canon 5D Mark II (she's a photographer), and I had to film something for the company. It was my first proper filming experience and I got such a buzz from doing it. It was just an extension from my painting and sculpting as a model maker. From then on, I was hooked. I eventually stopped SFX and producing and went into cinematography full-time.
What are your favourite films?
Blade Runner (1982, dir. Ridley Scott, DP Jordan Cronenweth ASC), Aliens (1986, dir. James Cameron, DP Adrian Biddle BSC), and Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991, dir. James Cameron, DP Adam Greenberg ASC) - for the stunning worlds they created, with amazing cinematography and practical FX. I also love The Big Lebowski (1998, dir. Joel Coen, DP Roger Deakins CBE BSC ASC) for its characterisation.
What's the best advice you were ever given, and from whom?
"Always stay hungry" (Arnold Schwarzenegger)
Who are your DP/industry heroes?
Roger Deakins CBE BSC ASC, Vittorio Storaro AIC ASC and Robert Richardson ASC - for their use of light, shadows and colour.
Have you won any awards or received any nominations?
Awards for the short films I Am Henry (2015, dir. Jan Hendrik Verstraten) and Thessalus & Medeas (2018, dir. Jan Hendrik Verstraten) - both period pieces.
What's been your proudest moment?
Joining the roster at Murtha Skouras Agency in the USA. They have some serious DP legends on their books. It's a real honour.
"I did a POV video game commercial for a week, getting to be the camera operator and the character, shooting guns and doing stunts. It was so much fun."
- Simon Rowling
What's the worst knock-back/rejection you ever had?
Can't remember, it's just freelance life. You have to move on to the next challenge.
What have been your best/worst moments on-set?
Best: I did a POV video game commercial for a week, getting to be the camera operator and the character, shooting guns and doing stunts. It was so much fun.
Worst: When the sun rises and it's a night shoot.
What was the biggest challenge on your latest production?
Filming on an abandoned bridge over three nights in the Ukraine, with limited hours of darkness, child actor restrictions and limited space on-set.
Tell us your most hilarious faux pas?
Eating lemon yoghurt at a charity event I was filming, thinking it was the dessert. Turned out it was the dip!
Away from work, what are your greatest passions?
Family, eating good food, watching films and working-out.
What one piece of kit could you not live without?
My 7" monitor (in camera dept), and a Lite Mat (in lighting dept) as it can just go absolutely anywhere.
Which films are you most proud of to date?
Legacy Of Lies - a big-scale action spy thriller, shot in a country I hadn't been to before (Ukraine), I didn't know the dialect, and it was a production that really pushed us all very hard.
Predator: Dark Ages - (watch in full below) short fan film that we made on next to nothing, but through people's love for the franchise and determination we made it happen!
What's the weirdest place you've ever shot in?
An abandoned bus graveyard.
What's the hardest shot/thing you've had to light/frame?
A commercial for a chrome toaster on location.
Tell us your hidden talent/party trick?
Blowing a Malteser in the air with my mouth and catching it again.
In the entire history of filmmaking, which film would you love to have shot?
Terminator 2: Judgment Day.
What are the best things about being a DP?
Painting with light. The buzz from being on-set. Capturing performances that make you laugh or cry. Getting to paint in post with the colourist.
What are the worst things about being a DP?
Being freelance… having to be patient, and not go insane!
Give us three adjectives that best describe you and your approach to cinematography?
Colourful. Evocative. Dramatic.
If you weren't a DP, what job would you be doing now?
My old job… on-set special effects.
What are your aspirations for the future?
To work on bigger and better feature films. Move into doing more TV drama and to start working more in LA.