The Creators of NYC: CollegeHumor’s Vincent Peone
Josh Wool spent a decade as an executive chef, opening restaurants across the south. But all that changed in 2010, when the carpal tunnel in his hands meant he could no longer work. To keep from going stir crazy, he picked up a camera and found his next calling. Two years, thousands of portraits, and a move to New York later, Wool is documenting the people who inspire him on a daily basis. Welcome to Creators of NYC.
For the last seven years, director and cinematographer Vincent Peone has been making comedy shorts and feature films. He also works for CollegeHumor. I met with Vincent in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, to talk about his work and experiences.
How’d you get involved with the CollegeHumor crew?
I was a student at the School of Visual Arts studying cinematography when my old sketch group, DutchWest, got recognized by CollegeHumor. We had been producing these shorts (some not so short) and putting them up on our website before YouTube became a thing. CollegeHumor was making the jump from strictly aggregated content to original content. They first hired Sam Reich to head up the department, and soon after, myself and my cohort, Josh Ruben, to shoot/direct the originals. Those roles have evolved slightly, but the biggest change has been that we have all developed a good amount of smile wrinkles.
What does a typical day for for you entail?
When it isn’t shooting, it’s editing a project, or planning a new one — storyboarding, pre-production, casting, color-correction, writing (when there’s time). It’s all part of the everyday. This is the kind of field you have no choice but to devote your life to. That’s not to say you can’t find time to enjoy yourself, but I think a big piece of being a filmmaker is that you’re resigned to the idea that it’s filmmaking you enjoy most.
How has living in New York affected your work?
New York, like anywhere, is what you make of it. For some, it’s just a cold place with a lot of bad attitudes. Historically it represents a shore for the weary in search of a place to practice beliefs freely, so its got that cultural hub aspect to it. Ostensibly I think I’ve stayed in New York because it keeps me closer to Europe. Nothing clears my head like a trip to a cold, foreign city. Cue Midnight In Paris soundtrack.
Do you think social media hurts or helps the film industry?
While aspects of my work trace back to the birth of cinema, my role specifically didn’t really exist until about 10 years ago. The idea of creating a viral spectacle that can reach millions of people in every corner of the planet is totally unique to this century. People are carving out new and exciting ways to get their stories told. Because of the way the internet works, the cream rises to the top, essentially putting the power of choice directly into the hands of users. You’d be crazy if you thought Hollywood wasn’t taking note.
Do you like cinematography or directing more?
I find directing to be the most satisfying way to feel like you’ve left your impression on a piece. You form an intimate relationship with a script, your cast, and crew that is unmatched by any other role on a set. As far as shooting is concerned, I find myself wanting to shoot something when a director comes at me with great enthusiasm. It becomes contagious. Or if I feel like I can learn something from the experience. It’s important never to get caught up in thinking there is nowhere to grow.
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