DIRECTOR CAMEO WOOD
Interview by Yubo Fernandez for Cult Critic
Asked about where her name is coming from she referred that her mother was inspired by “Cameo Jewelry”. Cameo is a method of carving an object such as an engraved gem, item of jewelry or vessel. In ancient times was alleged that the noun “Cameo” apparently comes from Kame’o, a word used in kabbalistic slang to signify a “magical square”, a kind of talisman whereupon magical spells was carved.
And that’s what female Director Cameo Wood did with her first narrative film “Real Artists” a magical Science fiction spell, Which leave audience asking themselves many questions about the cinematography world.
“Real Artists” is her first narrative film. Cameo had a long career in technology, working in voice over IP and computer security, and then studied artificial intelligence and neuroscience in university. She also opened up the first urban beekeeping store in America. Filmmaking has been her lifelong desire, and she is thrilled to have the chance to make movies.
She actually grew up in the Berkshires – an area in Massachusetts that’s about 2 hours west of Boston and very close to Albany, NY. Then moved to New York when she was really young and started working in internet engineering. Also lived in DC, Toronto, and a lot of other places! Started working in San Francisco about 15 years ago, and haven’t left since then.
Cameo is a woman in film with high expectations, the science fiction field is leaded by men but this bold and prepared woman has proved that there’s no difference between genres in science fiction movie making.
Yubo Fernandez: Its curious coming from technology and sciences, beekeeping, how did you got involve in the cinematography world?
Cameo Wood: It’s been a winding road. In 1995, the internet was just starting to become commercial and consumer-facing. At that time, I’d had some experience in phone hacking and combined that with my understanding of the internet, I began to work in the Voice over Internet field. That’s the technology that preceded things like Skype and FaceTime. I started the beekeeping store around 2008 , and had a lovely time with that for a few years but film making had really started to call out to me. I think the seed had really been planted in high school. I’d been involved in one of the first high school television shows and my job every week was to grab a camera, record a story, and then edit it and show it on TV that weekend. I think that that opportunity at such a young age made me fearless and helped me understand how to make stories work.
Q: How do the stories of Ken Liu influence your work?
A: The story I based Real Artists on had really resonated with some of my past research and study in Artificial Intelligence, Neuroscience, Bioethics, and filmmaking. I felt that this was a story I was uniquely able to tell and I was thrilled to have the opportunity to create my own version.
Q: From your Neuroscience expertise, do you think the method used in Real artist has something linked to the actual process of script writing and movie making?
A: The story of Real Artists relies on the commodification of the storytelling process, similar to stories discussed by Joseph Campbell in Hero’s Journey and Save the Cat. Right now, AI’s being used to generate scripts, animate characters, sort scripts, and edit trailers. We’re not quite ready for an AI to generate entire films but all the signs point to something like Big Semi eventually existing.
Q: The main Actors in Real Artist are women, smart, successful, in the Tech and Science world. What is your opinion as Director and entrepreneur about the Women in Film?
A: The bottom line is there just aren’t enough of us! The Anne Palladin character that Tamlyn Tomita played in Real Artists is a fantastic portrayal of a filmmaker and businesswoman navigating an industry currently dominated by men. The world of Semaphore is a spoof of Pixar to a certain degree – If Big Semi was actually being used in a place like Pixar, the number of women influencing films would have drastically increased. I thought it was important to portray two women discussing work, ideas, and thoughtfulness without needing to dwell on their race, gender and class while discussing the work.
Q: Real Artist has been screened in many Film Festival, can you describe the importance of Film Festivals for our cinematography?
A: Festivals allow films and filmmakers to find their audience and get feedback. It’s also a great way to meet future collaborators, connect with younger filmmakers and offer a hand up, or to find mentors with more established careers. And of course, you hope to find agents, managers, and potential buyers and investors for future projects!
Q: Which is your inspiration in the creative process?
A: I think in any film project, the director has to absolutely immerse themselves in the world depicted in the film. Filmmakers who do that are better prepared to help the rest of the crew navigate and understand the world you want portrayed in the film.
Q: are you planning on stick to the science fiction movies or are open to create something else?
A: I love science fiction, but I’d also consider working on historical dramas, magic realism, or action adventure projects. Those are my favorite genres. I’m not fantastic with comedy or romance.
Q: Some people dream about making movies, even have ideas and script, but think they have to quit their jobs or they are not going to be able to take care of their business while doing so, what’s your advice for them?
A: Write and learn story. They should submit to places like the Black List. They should join a crew as a PA or script supervisor on the weekends. You just do whatever you can to get involved in the film business. You don’t need to work full in the beginning to make a film – you just have to try as many ways as possible to get involved.
Q: Any favorite movies, directors or actors?
A: The actors I absolutely adore are Gina Torres, Michael Emerson, Angela Bassett, Lee Pace, and Grace Park. For directors it’s Kathryn Bigelow, Jane Campion, James Cameron, Luc Besson and Kurosawa. And my favorite movies are The Fall, The Big Blue, The Abyss, The Piano, Strange Days and Ran. As for Television I love anything by Bryan Fuller, Battlestar Galactica, Firefly, House, Person of Interest and Westworld.
Yubo Fernández is an Actress, Writer, Producer, Director and the Founder and President of Obuy Films. She lived in NYC, attended Atlantic Film School Workshops and returned to study cinematography at Santo Domingo’s Altos de Chavon School and studied under Claude Kerven, Chair of the Filmmaking Department at New York Film Academy. “How Do We kill Luisa” and “Peldanos de Dolor” are two films that she’s produced. Yubo is also featured in several films from the Dominican Republic.