Maya Bankovic

Cinematographer

I was born/grew up in: I grew up in Toronto, Ontario

I now live in: Toronto, Ontario

I completed my training/education at: I have an Honours Bachelor of Fine Arts from York University, where I studied Film Production.

Describe what you do at work.

I shoot movies. That means I spend my days choosing which lights and texture of light will look best for a scene. I decide where to hide lights out of the shot while still getting the desired effects, and which lens focal lengths to use to get the photographic composition I'm after. All the while, I have to communicate a certain creative tone for the scene and move a story forward. I didn't pursue science in high school because I thought that I was pursuing a career in the arts. But I use science every minute of the day and have had to learn a lot about physics on the job! This includes such things as understanding optics as well as understanding the technology in the devices we use in the film industry. For optics I had to learn such things as how or why a lens is flaring or distorting or giving me the angle that it is. I had to learn the science behind light and color so that I could make sure lights are placed in the best place to give the best effect. Physics in particular is essential to understanding how to achieve the cinematic techniques we use as visual storytellers.

When I was a student I enjoyed:

How does your job affect people’s lives?

People love movies. Movies provide us with entertainment and education. It often feels like my job isn't that important - we don't really save lives in the way that other STEM professions do - but art is important for us as humans because it mirrors back our experiences. As long as people want to keep watching them and I want to keep shooting them, it seems there will be a reason for cinematography to continue developing and expanding on the technology it uses.

What motivates you in your career?

I thought I would become a photographer, but I realized that would be a pretty lonely life. I love working collaboratively and working alongside other very technically-minded people. We are doing everything we do with an artistic goal in mind. But our conversations in carrying out that creativity are all completed rooted in the "how". That's what I love about cinematography. The art is what drew me to the career, but the science is what makes me stay.

When I was a student, I would have described myself as someone who:

Describe your career path to this career.

I started making surreal little films in a high school video class. I did this using 35mm darkroom photography, which my school also offered. I enjoyed getting lost in the process and realized how much it suited my personality. I like focusing on details and getting something right on a technical level. And I liked working with people, and film sets are a big circus!

What activities do you like to do outside of work?

I make collages, do photography, listen to podcasts, read and hang out with family and friends. People in my industry "talk shop" a lot, so it is a challenge for some of us to learn how to relax!

What advice or encouragement would you give others seeking a similar career?

Keep shooting with any camera you can get your hands on, play with lenses and light and find your own taste while you develop your eye!

CurioCity Careers

We hope you enjoyed learning about this great STEM career! The information in this career profile was provided by this individual especially for CurioCity. We hope it helped give you a sense of what this type of job is really like.

Let’s Talk Science is pleased to provide you with this information as you explore future career options. Many careers require a background in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Even jobs that don’t use specific STEM concepts on a day-to-day basis benefit from the skills gained through a study of STEM. People with a STEM background are very much in demand by employers across all career sectors. If you would like to learn about more careers that have a STEM connection, visit http://www.explorecuriocity.org/careers.