The Comeback, Marlon Paul and His Story
As seen in the February 2019 issue of Canadian Cinematographer, read ahead about The Comeback, Marlon Paul and His Story:
‘Eight years ago it was discovered I had a brain tumor; I was having problems moving my legs. After I came out of surgery people were telling me I should retire, maybe start teaching, do something else, but I never thought I would ever put down a camera.
So for me this picture is of a phoenix rising again, this image of me is for the kids out there that have been told they can’t do something, can’t do this, they can never reach where they want to go, to stop, become a plumber, become a carpenter, give up that dream – it’s too far, it’s too hard, there’s too many obstacles. I faced a major obstacle in my life and I smashed it and I just kept going forward.
This amazing camera, the Sony PXW-FS7M2, is a new camera for me. A friend of mine arranged so I could get this camera for a series and this camera is the genesis of the rebirth of Marlon. You know I’ve been shooting for a really long time and it’s a signature camera, cause for me this camera is the camera that’s going to take me forward into the future.
I first began at Citytv in the carpentry room, I was a labourer. I actually started at 99 Queen E. and they were moving. I was cleaning off the Baby Blue tapes that Moses stored back there, and we were packing because we were moving to 299 Queen W., and I saw a cameraman, it was Tony Wannamaker, and instantaneously it hit me, it hit me like a rock and I knew what I wanted to do.
I was already enrolled in university and starting in the winter semester, so every summer I would come back and work in MuchMusic. A dream is something that’s inside of you, not inside of your teacher, not inside of your parents, not inside of your uncle, not inside anybody else, it’s inside of you. And if you want something, you have to chase it and go get it no matter what! No matter what the obstacles are, no matter what the outcome is, you have to put on blinders and go get it. That’s what I did, I put on blinders and I went and I got it.
And after I left MuchMusic, Citytv I wanted to do international news and I put on my resume, ‘If you’re going to hell and you need a cameraman, I’m that cameraman.’ I literally said that, ‘If you’re going to hell and you need a cameraman, I am that cameraman’ and to hell I went – I went to Rwanda, I went to South Africa, I went to Haiti, to all the places that no other cameraman would want to go, but by doing that, I built up a reputation, that if I could go to Rwanda during the war, during the crisis, then it’s no problem for me to go to LA, no problem for me to go to Miami, but I didn’t know I was doing that cause I just wanted to work. So that’s how I started, I put the blinders on and just never gave up.
So for all those kids out there, ya gotta work for it, it is not going to be handed to you it is not your right. Everyone gets a chance to play, but it’s the one that wants it the most, that’s the one who’s going to sacrifice the most to get it… so, it’s not easy, it’s attainable but you have to work for it.
If you have character and you’re good, something is going to happen to you and no one can stop it. So, what is for you, is going to be for you – as long as you work and you show up and you don’t screw anybody. If you hire Marlon Paul for a job and he’s not the first one on set, call 911, something is wrong. It’s because you don’t get a second chance. If you want this you’re going to take the time and get the job done.
So now I’m just finishing on one series and using this beautiful combination of the Fujinon 20-120 Cabrio XK lens and Sony PXW-FS7M2 camera, and I’ll be using them on another series, and it’s going to be a huge series and I’m so looking forward to it.
It’s not about getting there; it’s about the character that you build in this field of cinematography and the close alliances that you build, that’s what will help you through. I want kids to know that you are your character, you are who you say you are and if you’re upfront, you never know what the world is going to GIFT to you, and this is definitely a gift.
No one can stop you, but yourself, the only demon that you’re fighting is yourself.’