I was born just north of Toronto, Canada and my first camera was an old Pentax K1000 with a 50mm Prime Lens my father had passed down to me. Little did he know, that it would trigger a completely overwhelming passion for Photography and Cinematography that would lead to a career in Film and Broadcast alongside many festival awards, screenings, and travel to filming locations throughout the world.
Darkrooms became classrooms, AGFA film became my notebook and my hands would smell of Developer, Stopper and Fixer. That red lit room and stopwatch became the life (and sometimes death) of my images in Secondary School. Then later on, came a chance to step onto a very low budget film project with the main goal of being screened at our end of year assembly; the Academy Awards to us in Grade 12. Shot on a Hi 8 tape camera and under completely natural light, scored and mixed in a farmhouse basement near Uxbridge, Ontario this piece was finally ready and was screened to our peers and under-years. Cheers started before the end credits and the ovation as our classmates applauded the Director (who stood shyly then thanked the crew for helping) turned a my love for photographs into a lust for motion picture.
I switched my post-secondary application immediately after the assembly: Meteorology and Climate Studies became Film Production much to the dismay of the High School guidance counsellor (who repeated to me 3 times I had 90's in all of my Science based courses and only a 75 in Drama). But I was consumed by Film and Photography and there was no going back.
Niagara College had the 3 major benefits any film student needed: Film Professionals teaching the courses, strictly 16mm filmmaking for the first 2 years of productions (which is unfortunately a rarity these digital days) and an alumni network that speckled the Canadian Film Industry. Streamlining my studies for Cinematography and eventually becoming a tutor to students in first year, I armed myself as best I could and stepped out into the world of Canadian Film and Broadcast.
BravoFACTS!, National Screen Institute, National Film Board, Telefilm ... the list goes on of who was funding the short films I had volunteered on in those first whirlwind months with the screen credits (or even uncredited) as "Swing" or "Lighting/Grip/Driver/Misc Crew" or "That new guy we hired after he replied to a crew call on a website" . The set experience flowed in and my skill set developed further. Then I jumped onto my first paying jobs and then soon after started as a 'Daily' for IATSE 873 Lighting and Grips Crews on some of the biggest films being produced in Toronto: The Hulk, Traitor, Time Traveller's Wife, Flash of Genius, Jumper and more. The days were long but rewarding; gaining the trust of a Gaffer is not an easy thing to accomplish as a daily.
Flash forward a few years through the Film and TV Writer's Strike of 2009 and a stint in the Royal Canadian Air Force working as a Media and Image Technician out of the base at Downsview then a contract at CTV/Bellmedia in Digital Original Content under Mike McKenna and we get very close to the present.
Recently, for Director Lee Skinner, I have had to opportunity to lens his unique and visually attractive music videos concepts. As the Director of Photography, the challenging part of working with Lee is always making his style and vision come to life in the camera. With those music videos have come great rewards. Please check out my Cinematography page to see recent examples of films and music videos I have shot and my Photography page for a portfolio of my work shot from within Canada and around the world.
Sean G. Marjoram