September 6, 2023

Killing It cinematographer Judd Overton

Killing It is a satiric comedy on Peacock starring Craig Robinson as Craig Foster, an aspiring entrepreneur struggling to start his business. The show pokes fun at the absurdities of American capitalism, class, race, health care, and how it’s all stacked against the little guy.

Cinematographer Judd Overton shot all episodes of Killing It for both season one and season two. His approach to shooting the comedy has always been to keep it relatable and naturalistic, even though the characters are going through things that might seem ridiculous. With three cameras, it was also important to create a space for the actors to do their best work- they would often improvise and try to sharpen their jokes on set. Shooting with longer lenses gave them room to move. The composition and lighting also have to play together for the humor to hit. Each of the characters in Killing It have their own episode, and the lighting is influenced by the places they’re in, such as a strip club or a huge mansion. Judd feels that planning is essential, and he had to think on his feet to be able to change blocking or the time of day a scene was shot. One scene in Killing It from season two required a lot of stunt work and fight scene blocking in an automotive chop shop, but the comedy beats weren’t working. Without the comedy beats, the fight scene just wasn’t going to play. They had to stop, reblock and shoot again to work out how to make it feel funny.

Judd grew up in the outback of rural Australia, and his family would buy VHS movies for entertainment and watch them over and over. The kids would then reenact the movies, filming it with a camcorder, and edit them together. Growing up in the driest permanently inhabited place on earth meant that documentary crews would frequently come through, and Judd would go and watch them work. It inspired him to become a cinematographer, so he learned photography in high school and then became a camera assistant through the Australian Cinematography Society. He later attended the Australian Film Television and Radio School (AFTRS), won several awards for his student work and started getting offers to DP on larger films.

Judd’s next project is a feature film called Totally Killer, a slasher comedy that will be the closing night film at Fantastic Fest in Austin. It releases October 6th on Amazon Prime.

You can watch Killing It streaming on Peacock.

Find Judd Overton:
Instagram: @juddovertondp
Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras:

The Cinematography Podcast website:
Facebook: @cinepod
Instagram: @thecinepod
Twitter: @ShortEndz

September 21, 2022

Kays Al-Atrakchi: director, composer, colorist, VFX artist and filmmaker of the upcoming short film, Everbliss Inn

At long last, we welcome longtime friend and multi-hyphenate filmmaker, Kays Al-Atrakchi to the Cinepod!

Kays feels there are film composers who love music and composers who simply love movies. He himself absolutely loves all things film. Born in Florence, Italy, Kays started to get interested in music as a kid and picked up a soundtrack to Dario Argento’s Inferno in a local record store because he liked how the cover looked. It didn’t sound like anything he’d ever heard before, and he decided to listen to more movie soundtracks. Then he bought the soundtrack for John Carpenter’s Escape From New York, and found he could replicate the soundtrack on his keyboard at home. His only connection to Dario Argento and John Carpenter was through the music, since he wasn’t able to see their movies.

As a teen, Kays’ family moved from Italy to Orlando, Florida. He continued to pursue his love of film, music, and composition, and attended Berklee College of Music to learn film scoring. He began scoring student films in Orlando, where he met future friends and collaborators Ben Rock, Dan Myrick, Ben Hershleder, and many others before relocating to Los Angeles. He has composed the soundtracks for several of Ben’s movies, including Alien Raiders. For Kays, composing is more about interpreting someone’s vision and trying to elevate it, and to create through music an emotional connection with the audience.

Kays felt unfulfilled as a filmmaker, so between film scoring jobs, he decided to make his own short, Appntmnt, followed by another short, In Lucidity. For In Lucidity, Kays simply didn’t have the budget to hire someone to create all the visual effects he wanted, so he taught himself how to do all the special effects and color grading by watching YouTube videos. Filmmaking technology has progressed so much, he feels confident that with enough time and self-education, a filmmaker can learn any aspect of moviemaking. Kays loves the collaborative nature of film, but as an independent filmmaker, he finds he has to do the bulk of the work on his projects alone out of necessity rather than a desire to work solo. He enjoys sharing what he’s learned and has created Right Brained Tutorials, a YouTube channel for other filmmakers to learn visual effects.

Kays’ latest short horror directing project, Everbliss Inn, will be streaming in November. Kays wrote, directed, composed the music, color graded, and created the VFX for the film.

You can hear original theme music by Kays throughout The Cinematography Podcast.

Find Kays Alatrakchi:
Instagram: @kaysfilmmaker
YouTube channel: Right Brained Tutorials:

Find out even more about this episode, with extensive show notes and links:

Sponsored by ARRI:
Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras:

The Cinematography Podcast website:
Facebook: @cinepod
Instagram: @thecinepod
Twitter: @ShortEndz