Michaela Angelique is proud to be a geek. In fact, she has made a career out of it.
Angelique is a camera department specialist for film and television, and has always had a “nerdy” love for cameras that has paid off in her later life.
“Cameras are changing every year,” she said. “They always release new cameras each year, and I am not talking about still cameras, I am talking about motion pictures.”
Angelique, who is from Jakarta, Indonesia, has been having success in Hollywood behind the camera. She has worked with Snoop Dogg, Melissa McCarthy, Jake Gyllenhaal, Julianne Hough, Will Ferrell, Amy Poehler, John Hawkes, Michael Kelly, Dick Van Dyke, Ioan Gruffudd, Vanessa Hudgens, and Mariah Carey, to name a few.
She recently worked on the film Kiss Kiss Fingerbang starring Buck Henry (The Graduate), Kate Lyn Sheil (House of Cards) and the late Anton Yelchin (Star Trek). The film was written and directed by Gillian Wallace Horvat. The film is about a young, sweet doctor discovers his dark side when he discovers his girlfriend’s hidden passion, which the title alludes to. The film premiered at Beyond Fest at the Egyptian Theater last October, and has since been in many other film festivals and competitions.
“Working on Kiss Kiss Fingerbang was a lot of fun. There are not many movies that describe this kind of story. I found it very genuine and odd and sweet, funny, and quirky.” said Angelique. “What I really can remember is working with Anton. He was such a great actor. He was a true professional to work with.”
Angelique also worked closely with Olivia Kuan, the directory of photography on the film.
“We had fun amazing time together. Olivia is always great to work with,” said Angelique.
The two have worked together in the past, and it was Kuan who recruited her to work on Kiss Kiss Fingerbang after being impressed with her talent in the past.
“Michaela is always my first call when I have a film coming up. She is always eager to work with me to make the movie as good as it can be. Her demeanor is poised and confident when she is on set. She collaborates well with the actors, producers, and all other departments. To the other people in her department, she is a firm but fair leader. She keeps all the gears moving as she manages her crew without losing her cool. All her ideas are intuitive to story and the visual telling of it. When she offers them, she does so respectfully,” said Kuan. “Her technical knowledge is invaluable to me and I can trust her fully with caring for the equipment. But most importantly, she is an excellent focus puller. She is easily the best in my roster. A movie with out of focus shots risks failure, but this is not a risk I feel I have to take if Michaela is on board. She is a perfectionist. If anything feels even minutely wrong with the timing or look of a shot, she will speak up to ensure we can get it right.”
Pulling focus is a term all not may be familiar with, but it is one of Angelique’s specialties and contributes to her many achievements.
“People don’t know sometimes that when the shot has two actors where one actor looks soft and another one looks sharp, it’s actually the job of the first camera assistant. They pull the focus to anything and anyone that needs to be sharp,” she described. “The camera does not move itself. That’s my job.”
And it’s no easy job. Angelique has to change lenses, filters, and carry around the camera, which is no small feat, as a camera weighs between forty and sixty pounds. I always try to get a prep day from production so I know that what cameras and gears that can fit into it together.
“I am in charge of changing all the settings and all the gears on the camera and accessories that fits into specific situation,” she said.
Angelique enjoys every aspect of her job, which is everybody’s goal.
“I love my job,” she concluded. “It is always different, each set is different, and working with either the same people or new people is always awesome and interesting.”