As an audience, we get to see the final production of a work, but we often put little thought into the long process that goes into creating whatever it is that we are watching. We see the actors, but we never get to see the person behind the lens that we are also looking through. Brandon Smalls is that guy. Cinematographer for the web series Brains, Smalls is responsible for giving his vision life and helping to create what we see on our screens.
Brandon spoke with Talk Nerdy With Us about his role as cinematographer, the unique way in which Brains is filmed, and his likelihood of surviving a zombie apocalypse.
What is it like to be the person behind the lens of the camera?
Challenging, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Every shot in found footage has to be so much more truthful than its conventional counterpart, but that allows for more parsimony when it comes to problem-solving.
The series is shot in the form of a vlog that Alison is doing. How does this affect the cinematography and other stylistic choices?
The protagonist being in charge of the camera means the camera wants to act along with her. When she’s berating another character (I won’t say it happens often, but we all know Alison) I can’t help but tilt the camera a little as my hips shake. It’s kinda like being possessed by a super snarky demoness.
Would you say that filming the series in this way makes it seem more personable to the audience since it is as if they are also in the world that Alison is in and watching her daily life?
I really do. Alison does see the world in a very specific way as she’s cataloging it, but I don’t think this precludes the audience from putting themselves into her shoes.
Do you think that vlogging is a smart idea in the post-apocalyptic world?
History is written by the victors, as the saying goes. I think by putting herself at the forefront of the post-apocalyptic narrative Alison is taking ownership of the human victory over the plague and cementing her place in history. Responsible? Absolutely not. Smart? Absolutely.
If you could have only one weapon during the zombie apocalypse, what would it be?
I’m a spearman myself. Gotta rep my boy Oberyn.
What would you miss most if there were a zombie apocalypse?
I love camping, but I don’t know if I’d be able to enjoy it as much with another contender in my tier of the food chain.
Do you think that you’d be able to survive a zombie apocalypse?
I wouldn’t survive. I’d thrive. I’m as adaptable as they come and more ruthless than my babyface lets on. More of a Shane Walsh aesthetic going on. Bring it, zambambos.
Our website is called Talk Nerdy With Us, so what is something nerdy about you?
I’ve managed to reference Occam’s Razor, Game of Thrones, and Walking Dead in a single interview, so there’s that. Also, I’ve written fantasy novels since I was 10 so that’s usually as nerdy as I get.