10 Questions with Scott Thiele

June 26, 2020
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Scott Thiele is a Chicago-based Director of Photography, who lives in a Bridgeport-area apartment with his wife Megan and dogs, Mars and Roo. Like so many Local 600 members, he’s been anxiously waiting out the return of production, while also being excited for the future release of his two last projects, Broadcast Signal Intrusion and Candyman.

Mars and Roo on the lookout.

Have you attended or participated in any live Q&A’s with industry peers?
I haven’t participated in any of the Q&A’s, but I did go back and watch a few of them later. My favorite was seeing [Guild Director of Photography] Pete Konczal on the Go Creative Show. I day-played for Pete just before the shutdown and enjoyed my time working for him.

Any chance to improve your cooking skills?
It was cold for much of the pandemic here in Chicago, so I’ve spent a lot of time roasting – pork shoulder, belly, chicken, rib roast, and pot roast, with sorts of fresh vegetables, kale, brussels sprouts, and cauliflower getting repeated attempts. I’m not particularly consistent yet but those meals have all been relative successes. There’ve been all sorts of failures, but luckily, I’ve been able to spread them out a bit. Now that I don’t want to turn the oven on, I’ll get a chance to make new mistakes.

Any old film classics on the TV? Favorites for cinematography?
I’ve re-watched a lot of Alan Pakula and Gordon Willis’ work from the 1970s, and All the President’s Men stood out as it felt so current. I’m watching Season 2 of Homecoming right now, and love what [Guild Director of Photography] Jas Shelton and the entire camera crew have pulled off. It’s stunning.

What music is at the top of your COVID playlist?
My playlist has been centered around Moodymann, Nicolas Jaar, Shabazz Palaces, and Thom Yorke the last few weeks. I also tend to keep coming back to [Miles Davis’] Sketches of Spain and John Wesley Harding as reset albums.

What charities have you become involved in? And why did you choose?
I’ve done a couple of days packing boxes for the Chicago food depository, but I settled into a Monday through Friday schedule delivering for Meals on Wheels. Honestly, it felt good to get out of the house, have a schedule, and to do something for a portion of the population that has the most at stake during these times.

Any favorite books to recommend during shutdown?
Most of my reading has been scouring the internet regarding the current research and recent developments in the progress of the pandemic, but I did take breaks with a handful of scripts and rereading Carl Sagan’s Cosmos. I also just picked up Hillbilly Elegy a few years late after running into an interview of JD Vance on a podcast.

Once the restrictions are lifted what is the first thing you want to do?
I can’t wait to visit my sister, grab drinks with friends, and walk over to catch a Sox game.

What is the one thing you miss most about being on a film or television set?
It’s definitely the people. We work with and for the most interesting people, and some I get to call my friends.

How has the Union been able to help you through these tough times?
I’ve appreciated the work being put into sorting out the health benefits and the IA’s participation in pushing through the CARES Act. On a local level, [Local 600 Loader] Tom Zimmerman and [Local 600 Camera Utility] Betsy Peoples have been going above and beyond keeping the Chicago community up to date and informed.

How do you think your outlook on life will change post-COVID?
I do hope to improve my critical thinking, to be able to better parse out the nuance of all the conflicting ideas and information that we consume. I’m also hoping to be part of a society that values empathy, science, and our mental and physical health over divisiveness, dogma, and the dollar. I get the sense that this pandemic has brought to the surface all that was easy for most of us to ignore.

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