Nerds & Beyond: Can you tell us a little bit about your background and what pushed you to pursue cinematography?

Chuck Ozeas: I grew up in Pittsburgh, and I was a child actor and did everything you can do in Pittsburgh – which, you know, Pittsburgh Opera Chorus and everything else that was professional companies – but also Mister Rogers’ [Neighborhood] shot in Pittsburgh, so I was on Mister Rogers’ a lot. Yeah, kind of funny growing up, but I got cast in their Christmas special, which was shot in Los Angeles. So, they flew me out to Los Angeles, and I think I got bit by the filmmaking bug pretty quickly.

In addition to that, I always had a camera in my hands growing up. Somebody gave me a camera when I was very young, whether it was a still camera or the Super 8 camera. It’s funny when you look back at pictures of me from the age of eight on, I’m literally always the one with the camera in my hand. So, somehow, those two things came together, you know, the acting and the photography. And kind of late in high school, it’s funny. I remember the moment that was sitting on the couch watching Sophie’s Choice, the movie, and funny enough it was on HBO [laughs] randomly – the only movie station at the time – and it was  shot by Néstor Almendros, who’s the master of cinematography. It was the first time watching images in a movie that I thought to myself, “Wow, this is beautiful,” you know. And the first time I thought this must be someone’s job to do this, to be the photographer that does this, and I really want to do that job. So, I started researching film schools, etc., etc., and ended up at USC film school.

Read the full interview here.