Alumni Success: Thomas A.

Walker on "Deadpool" and "Star Trek 3"

February 9, 2016

“The best part of being a creative professional is all the cool projects you get to work on. Filming underwater, explosions, and car chases.”

Freelance Camera Assistant, Worked on “Deadpool” and “Star Trek 3”

Thomas Alexander Walker has seen his share of major motion picture work—and admits that it’s exciting to see a finished product on the big screen. But he adds that it can be just as rewarding to complete a small, independent production. “The big feature films are the best to work on—the pace is professional and things are done properly. We can spend an entire day setting up just to get one shot and a bigger budget means you’re paid better, treated better, and there is better food on set. [However] the smaller personal projects are just as good, because you’re in charge and no longer an assistant.”

Thomas is a freelance 2nd director of photography, responsible for keeping track of gear, dealing with the rental houses, and working closely with the production department. He’s worked on two feature films—“Deadpool” and “Star Trek 3.” “I really enjoy being a part of the team. When you’re working with people for over twelve hours a day every day, you become a really close family.”

On The Set Responsibilities

While on set, Thomas helps the 1st assistant [with] marking actors and slating at the beginning of the shoot. He typically begins prepping for a shoot the night before work begins, waiting for a call sheet that tells him when he needs to be on location. He explains that no job is the same, and that each leaves an impression—especially those with eye-popping visuals. “The best part of being a creative professional is all the cool projects you get to work on. Filming underwater, explosions, and car chases.”

As a freelancer, he has control over the projects that he takes and utilizes networking to keep him in the loop regarding upcoming jobs. Thomas says that he sometimes takes breaks between jobs to travel and explore. But he mentions the downside of being self-employed. “Sometimes I do get a little worried when I don't have any upcoming work.”

Thomas earned his Digital Film & Video Diploma from The Art Institute of Vancouver in 2013, and says that it’s important for current students to volunteer on projects that build their portfolios. He emphasizes that the industry is difficult to break into and that his career requires dedication and atypical work hours. “Finding jobs can be a little bit backwards. A lot of the work is through word of mouth. So I usually get a call out of the blue asking if I'm interested in working.”

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