Cameron Kostopoulos, a Fort Worth, Texas native and a freshman at the University of Southern California, always knew he belonged in an industry that required him to use his creativity. Since realizing his passion for cinematography, he has created a number of short films in addition to his own YouTube channel to gain exposure for his art.
From as early as he can remember, Kostopoulos has always been comfortable with a camera in his hand. Although he always knew he wanted to pursue film early on, the desire to work toward this goal was a challenge as he knew the opportunity within the industry was fierce. From this realization, Kostopoulos set out to accomplish his goal knowing he’d have to differentiate himself from other filmmakers in the industry to be successful.
His journey began at a young age, creating short films for his classes that sparked his interest in cinematography. Soon enough, his few “Star Wars” inspired short films turned into a small, profitable business that would produce visuals for small local companies. “I saw a niche for visuals in my area, I provided it at an affordable rate which made local companies see my services as desirable,” Kostopoulos says.
Not only did this allow him to further his passion for film, but it also provided a chance to improve his skills before applying to some of the most competitive programs in the country.
In his decision to attend USC, Kostopoulos admired Los Angeles for the opportunities that would expose him to the realities of the cutthroat film industry. As film production is typically based out of California, leaving home would give him the extra edge he would need to make his work stand out.
With such an ambitious long-term goal of directing his own films one day, Kostopoulos knew his home state of Texas could not provide the breakthrough he would eventually need to gain exposure. “I knew leaving Texas was the only option; there wasn’t enough opportunity,” Kostopoulos says. “It was quite a culture shock moving to Los Angeles, but I love how every day is a new experience.”
The bold transition could have stalled the brainstorming process for most, but for Cameron, it fueled his creative process for several of his films. Originality seems to come naturally to the USC freshman. Also, he has no trouble using his own experiences to convey his messages.
In watching a number of his films on his YouTube channel, it is apparent that his work aims to expose the dark emotions and truths of our humanity. Simultaneously, his work sheds light on the positive changes life confronts many within everyday life.
In Kostopoulos’ film, “Metamorphosis” he displays his skill of producing avant-garde works. The film showcases the dark realities of transformations; by the end of the film, I realized that each individual faces different harsh changes throughout our lives. “I wanted to highlight the idea that change is not always beautiful,” Kostopoulos says. “I went through a lot of changes in high school; sometimes it was suffocating and sometimes the change isn’t always a beautiful process.”
His obvious talent and eye for filmmaking is apparent in his work “In the Light” and “Einstein on the Beach” that both take on his own perspectives of reality and the beauty of simplicity.
Cameron Kostopoulos’ newest film and my personal favorite, “The Silence” provided an in-depth perspective on humanity’s good and evil nature. Touching on the sensitive and controversial occurrences of our world today, the short film allows viewers to take a critical look at humanity.
While his films succeed in showcasing his improvements and getting his message across, he knows that this isn’t always the case. Yet, that’s what makes him different compared to other filmmakers: an open mind and acceptance that failure is inevitable. “Failure is a part of human nature,” Kostopoulos says. “I remind myself daily of the lessons I have experienced, it’s impossible to avoid failure and I want to make sure I grow as an artist and a person in a positive manner in any way that I can.”
Drawing inspiration from Guillermo del Toro, the award-winning director of “The Shape of Water,” Kostopoulos strives to be just as successful as Toro in all aspects. As I watched each of Kostopoulos’ films, it was apparent that he strives for improvement in each aspect of his projects before starting a new one — just as Toro does.
Although Kostopoulos’ work seems near perfect in the eyes of the public, he still sees room for improvement in each of his films. Moving forward, he plans on continuing to push himself to improve his communication and directing skills to ensure his future success.
Using social media to gain exposure for his art, Kostopoulos keeps a structured mindset on focusing on his craft rather than the feeling associated with follows and views. Although social media can often be a measurement of success for some, Kostopoulos does not let it define his success. “I would love to grow my platform as much as possible” Kostopoulos says. “As much as I love having YouTube as a platform to showcase my work, I don’t let numbers affect how I view my success.”
Aside from his radiant personality and immense drive, Cameron still has a few years to go before making his big break in film. Until then, he does not plan on hitting the pause button on his projects.
In fact, it is likely he’ll be showcasing many of his upcoming projects in film festivals around the nation in the year ahead. His social media platforms are unlikely to die down either as he uses his following to showcase his new short films.