Words: Deborah Lampitt-McConnachie
Chris Hummel doesn’t remember exactly how he heard about the Centre for Arts and Technology. Indeed, he doesn’t even remember contacting the college, but when course advisor Michael Thorpe returned his email, he thought to himself – “yeah, let’s try that”. “It was fate,” he declares.
“I’ve always watched movies, and loved movies – between my wife and I, we have about 500 movies on DVD – a wall full. I liked watching how they were done, and how they were made, and I thought why can’t I get paid for that? Those guys do, why not me?”
The 36-year-old Ontario native moved with his wife from Edmonton, where he had been working as a machinist, to Kelowna to attend the Centre for Arts & Technolgy’s Digital Filmmaking program, and is set to graduate at the end of this term. “I’ve been in Kelowna exactly one week longer than the program,” he laughs.
Chris has found a career niche in location sound, and is in the enviable position of already having a number of film and TV credits under his belt. He has worked on short films ‘Lost Souls’ with Allegiance Studios, and with Zan Klien and Sarah Klassen (another Centre for Arts & Technology filmmaking alumni) on “Heartless”, their script- to-screen winning project from Horrorfest.
Ever practical, Chris’ response to why location sound is a sensible one. “There is lots of work.”
“Honestly, the way it came to me was that nobody in the class wanted to do it. We would all take turns doing things, but no one really likes doing sound, and I didn’t mind it. Then Victor Poirier (Program Manager of the filmmaking department), told me there were good career prospects, so I thought, ‘I’ll try it’.”
He has also done a lot of work with Artaban Productions out of Vancouver, working on their documentary ‘Eddie’s Kingdom’ (about the guy who tried to start a theme park on Rattlesnake Island here in the Okanagan), and a number of episodes of their web series ‘BC Was Awesome’. He has done ADR (Automatic Dialogue Replacement) on a couple of short films as well.
“It has been challenging getting hired out on productions, while working on projects for school, and I also work on the Converstion crew at Prospera Place.” Not to mention that Chris and his wife, Marcy, are first time parents to a new 10-month-old daughter named Hailey. “It’s been fun,” he chuckles, “It’s been busy.”
“Sound keeps me busy. It’s challenging but not super difficult. I’m not doing post-production, I am recording dialogue on set. You have to pay a lot of attention to it.”
The best thing about CAT, for Chris, has been learning about all the equipment. “I had absolutely zero experience coming into this. I didn’t have skills with any cameras or this type of equipment. I was completely green.”
His biggest tip for aspiring film students? “Don’t turn down an opportunity. If someone comes and says they just need an extra pair of hands on set – just go! Even if you don’t have the experience and are just moving equipment – go. And ask questions and talk to people.”
For the near future, Chris and his wife want to stay in Kelowna, and he has a potential series in the pipeline. “I’m waiting for that phone call.”