12 Questions: Mark Gambol

Hello, I’m Mark Gambol.

IMG_2787_400pxI am a director of photography, cameraman, still photographer, director and producer, production manager and coordinator; but my biggest hat is that of a problem solver!

I graduated from Penn State in 1993 and started my career in 1994 for a small production company in Philadelphia. While there I was able to learn the ins and outs of production, production managing/coordinating and more specifically – camera work. I started MG Pictures in 2000 and I haven’t looked back. I’ve worked on hundreds of projects covering broadcast television and cable, Emmy-nominated television shows, documentaries, “reality tv”, professional sporting events, national news, and non-profit groups.

I surround myself with a other highly skilled and dedicated professionals to capture stories for a wide-range of clients. When I begin a project for a new client, I do a lot of listening.  I am interested in learning about who you are as a person and what your story is all about. I ask a lot of questions! Even in my personal life I want to know about the people around me.

My adventures and hobbies – both in and out of the production world – have taken me all over the world. I am an explorer, traveler and adventurer. I need to see every town, city, village, mountain, ocean, jungle or dessert that I can before I die for work and for pleasure.

You can read and see more about me and my company at www.mg-pictures.com or give me a call at 484-431-4824. I’d love to meet you and see if we can work together on your next story. Email works too! [email protected]

And now, the 12 Questions.

1. What kind of kid were you?

Athletic and adventuresome. Freshman year of High School introduced me to rock climbing and from that, the ability to handle extreme situations and believe in myself.

2. What influences have shaped you?

Of course my family and friends, but my high school physics teacher was and still is an amazing teacher outside of the classroom. And my mentor whom I met on my college internship at 6ABC here in Philly. She introduced me to a much bigger world filled with different races, religions and ideas. This suburban kid is forever in debt to her for what she showed me.

3. Ever done anything really dumb?

Of course! Who hasn’t? But I just can’t seem to make a great decision when it comes to buying cars… I don’t know what it is but it always frustrates me.

4. How’d you learn to do what you do?

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On the job training with a small company where I could get my hands dirty and make mistakes. Watching others do their job. Reading and watching movies and tv shows for inspiration. But I’ve also continued to learn and grow by hiring people who aren’t necessarily better at what I/we do, but those who do it differently and can show me a new way of approaching the same old shot. One piece of advice I’ve always tried to give someone just getting into the business is to “Learn what not to do.” I still live by that credo!

5. What are you working on now?

A series of spots/psa’s for Big Brothers/Big Sisters on becoming a mentor and getting back in touch with old clients to start working on new projects.

6. Walk us through a typical day at work.

I wish I had a typical day! I would love to “work” everyday but that isn’t the reality sometimes for a freelancer. So on those days when I am not on set I am working on finding new clients and projects or reaching out to old clients to touch base and see what’s new.

7. Who do you love?

I love my family and friends. My daughter and her friends. My straight friends and gay friends. As long as you are a good person there is plenty of room for you in my life. And if we don’t get along I promise to be open to your views, opinions and beliefs. I just like good people no matter where you are from.

8. What are you passionate about?

I could take the answer from #7 and put it here as well. But I find myself passionate about work and getting better at what I do. I love photography of all sorts. I love looking for a new adventure or place to travel. Finding out what is around the corner excites me. Trying to grill the perfect steak!!!

9. What are you proudest of?

Raising my daughter and being able to support my family while doing something I truly love for my career. I am proud of myself for reaching my goals and setting new ones every year. I don’t think people say they are proud of themselves enough. I depend on myself and my attitudes to get me through the good and bad. Be proud of yourself and stand up for who you are and what you’ve done.

10. Describe a great night out.

Grilling out for friends on the back deck on a warm night. However, I have grilled out in the snow for friends as well.

11. So what’s next for you?

The new seasons for “Awesome Adventures” and “Awesome Planet” will be starting in February. It’s a great show produced by Steve Rotfeld Productions here in the Philly area. I have been the DP for the past three seasons for these nationally syndicated shows. I’m getting my carnets in order and gear all packed for what promises to be another great year of adventure and travel in the US and abroad.

12. What will your epitaph say?

It wasn’t the right way, it wasn’t the wrong way… It was my way.

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