AJ Nutter ’10 brings his filmmaking expertise to campus for Artist Talk

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Monday, March 6th, 2023

Being ready to “jump in and help,” AJ Nutter says, is one of the best skills that those who aspire to work in the film industry can cultivate. 
The 2010 graduate of PCA&D has just finished working as Director of Photography on Transient, a sci-fi/horror feature film dealing with loss, grief, death, and the ghosts of our past. He visits PCA&D Tuesday, March 7, as a guest of the Photography & Video Department, for a panel discussion along with Assistant Director and Producer Tony Marion and actor and Assistant Camera Austin Greene. 
We reached out to Nutter to talk about lessons he still uses from his time at PCA&D — and ways people interested in his industry can start to make their mark:
black and white photo of man sitting on box holding camera above right shoulder.

AJ Nutter ’10

Where there a challenge you faced as Director of Photography on “Transient” that you haven’t faced before? If so, how did you overcome it?
AJ Nutter: Working on a small indie film with a tiny budget was usually the overshadowing daily challenge. The biggest hurdle day to day was lighting the scenes and finding creative ways to move quickly so we could stay on schedule and save time. The movie has a very moody atmosphere that required a lot of detail and attention to the lighting of each scene. We used everything from giant hot lights, to LED panels, Moonlights, we even use small pocket lights at times that could be hidden easily in a tight space. 
Besides technical skills, what are some skills that people just starting out in your industry should be aware of developing?
AN: The biggest thing is to jump in and help. Do not wait for someone to instruct you on what to do. The most helpful and successful people on set are the ones that will jump in and move a light stand because they know it needs to be done before it is asked.
What is a lesson you still use from your time at PCA&D?
AN: Learning to practice and build good circles for criticism. Learning to ask for feedback, and being able to look beyond what is on the surface as it relates to art.
In your role in filmmaking, what is one too often-overlooked film that people should see who are interested in your part of the filmmaking process?   
AN: I think a good way to answer this is Chris Ruppert, the director of Transient, put together a very solid list of movies that had similar atmospheres and visual styles that we wanted to incorporate with this particular film. We spent a lot of time talking about having the movie look natural and wanting to use a lot of practical lighting options such as desk lamps, and standing floor lamps.
For Tone and Atmosphere: Possessor (2020), The Dark and The Wicked (2020), Ex Machina (2014), Flatliners (1990), and Primer (2004)




Transient (2023) | Official Trailer from BMN Films on Vimeo.