I’d like to introduce you to Nathan Maulorico, co-owner with his wife Megan of Unknown Films, based in Springfield, Missouri. I reached out to Nathan in advance of the upcoming season of “American Restoration“. Nathan is the Director of Photography for Season 7 which will premier on the History Channel on Friday, January 1st at 8:00 pm Central.
Introduction: Nathan Maulorico has been wielding a camera for the television and advertising industry for over 15 years. He graduated from Drury University with degrees in Advertising, Public Relations, and History. Although he regularly works in New York and Los Angeles he’s always called his place in Springfield, MO home. Over the years his own production company Unknown Films has produced short films that have screened across the U.S. and Europe. In the past few years he’s operated camera for popular cable network shows like Extreme Couponing, Dance Moms, Food Paradise and the Arkansas based Clash of the Ozarks. His most recent work has been as Directory of Photography for the newest season of American Restoration on History Channel, which premier’s January 1st at 9/8c.
MOMMA: The life of a freelancer has many steps, and flights in your case, needed to become a Director of Photography for cable network shows. What steps did you take to end up working for the History Channel and other production companies?
NATHAN: Making the choice to be a freelancer isn’t easy. You can’t just sit around and hope people call you for work. Being a freelancer should be handled in the same way as running a business. No matter how many productions I work on or how many people I work with I still have to keep marketing myself or people will stop calling. I have to keep track of quality control and customer service too, because if my product becomes lazy and difficult to work with then it’s essentially useless. There aren’t really direct steps in a lot of creative based jobs but two of the most important factors I’ve found useful are communication and traveling.
Creative talents are one thing, lots of people are incredibly creative but not a lot of people are great at communicating. Communicating includes maintaining honest relationships with fellow crew and potential clients. Having a drink with coworkers after a long day at work goes a long way in this industry. Getting to know the people in your network helps mutual understanding of idea and solidifies relationships, which inevitably benefits both sides. Leftfield Pictures, the production company behind American Restoration, knows me because of a lasting work relationship, which started with Clash of the Ozarks. On set communication is vital too. As a cinematographer it’s easy to only think of what’s in the frame. Everyone on set doesn’t think like a cinematographer, though. A good communicator respects the many various jobs in a production. Everyone plays a key role and if communication breaks down then so does the overall production quality. When making decisions I consider my own point of view as Director of Photography and then also consider what the Producers and Director are thinking too. When everyone is communicating on the same page the true collaboration can create the best possible product.
Secondly I feel traveling is another key, which actually enhances communication. I recommend traveling as much as possible because it makes you aware of the world around you. Experiencing and engaging with people, cultures, buildings, and landscapes allows a person to have a more open mind, which can lead to new creative avenues. It also allows you to see other points of view and learn how to communicate with people outside of your comfort zone. Traveling prepped me for the new age of a mobile workplace. Being ready to work anywhere with anyone made me a more valuable asset to production companies, whether they knew it or not.
MOMMA: With a bulk of your work taking you out of state why do you still choose Missouri as your home base?
NATHAN: My wife, Megan, and I have enjoyed traveling a lot around the United States and Europe. We’ve also spent many years in New York. At the end of the day we’ve always called Missouri home because of the good quality of life available here. It’s true that the industry is largely based in New York and LA but I believe the notion of being required to live in one area to get work is changing. Production companies are expanding their possibilities and discovering entertaining stories that exist around the entire country. American Restoration is a perfect example of that by featuring multiple shops around the U.S. Of course building a solid network has been key in this industry since day one, but mobility is quickly becoming a major factor to getting work as well. I sincerely hope that the future brings more productions to Missouri and not just for selfish reasons. Missouri has a lot to offer from everything from talent and crew to scenery and cityscapes. Cities like New York, LA, and Atlanta are benefiting from TV and film productions. There’s no reason cities in Missouri shouldn’t be too. Missouri needs to take the initiative to invite productions to the state and demonstrate its capabilities.
MOMMA: Is there anything you can tell us about the new season of American Restoration?
NATHAN: I can tell you that this season is going to be the best yet from a cinematography point of view. A reality show can be tough to film. Trying to infuse a sense of cinematic style makes it even harder. The entire cast is extremely talented so I really wanted to showcase the beautiful antiques and automobiles they restored. I wanted the audience to feel the hard work and excitement that went into each restored item. We took as much time as possible to film the details in interesting ways. At times I also made it a point to keep the cameras distant from the action with foreground so the audience could see the various spaces the cast works in and allow them room to focus on their craft. Little touches like that hopefully help to create a style that’s interesting aesthetically as much as it is entertaining overall.
MOMMA: What’s in store for the future?
NATHAN: This year I’ve worked on a handful of TV shows and locally at The Alchemedia Project, of which included traveling for nearly seven months straight. I’m ready to take a short break and enjoy the holidays with friends and family. Next year I’ll continue to be working on American Restoration as well as finally editing the second part of my short film series, Linea 3 5 10: Barcelona, featuring train metro systems around the world. I think it’s going to be another great year!