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BBHHS graduate explores career options

Posted: June 20, 2017

by John Benson


All right, all right, all right. Brecksville native Chris Leszkowicz is making inroads in his filmmaking career. The 2012 Brecksville-Broadview Heights High School graduate recently worked on the Cleveland shoot of Matthew McConaughey’s new crime drama, “White Boy Rick.”


While that experience as a production assistant provided the aspiring cinematographer a behind-the-scenes view, he quickly followed up the project with two more gigs. That’s just how fast things move in the filmmaking industry.


“Right now I’m mostly just freelance, pretty much doing any kind of job I can do,” said Leszkowicz, 23. “Last week, I did an HGTV job where I was a production assistant. And a week before, I was a grip on a New Balance commercial.”


Out of high school, Leszkowicz wasn’t sure where he wanted to do with his life. After taking classes off and on at Tri-C, the young man found himself working a job as the manager of a local restaurant. 


The long days left him unfulfilled. Unsure of his future, he eventually decided to go into a career that made him happy. This led him to his passion: He always loved movies. 


But how does one go from a film fan to a working member of the entertainment industry?


It turned out that opportunity was closer than he expected. In 2014, Leszkowicz enrolled at Tri-C and began taking classes in cinematography at the metropolitan campus. Early on, he found a home at the campus’ student production office, where he received hands-on training working behind the camera.


“Growing up, I always liked movies,” Leszkowicz said. “Now, my overall goal is to be director of photography, which is basically planning out shots and lighting.”


Despite being somewhat unsure of his future not too many years ago, Leszkowicz recently graduated from Tri-C with an Associate of Applied Business degree in media arts and filmmaking. One option is to remain in Northeast Ohio, where he can try to find work in what’s being called a fast-growing film industry. 


“I’m optimistic, because even though this is a hard industry to break into and make a living in, my time at Tri-C allowed me to make the friendships and connections needed to succeed,” Leszkowicz said. “Everyone I’ve met while doing this has been helpful, and it’s easy to stay optimistic when everyone in the community here is so supportive of one another.” 


That said, he did admit finding steady work can be difficult. That’s why he’s willing to take whatever job he can. With that in mind, Leszkowicz is currently contemplating a move West. 


“It’s not 100 percent confirmed, but I was offered an assistant camera position to work on the first season of a show in Los Angeles for the next four months or so,” Leszkowicz said. “It’s pulling focus and basically moving the camera around. 


“That basically came from the HGTV job, where the director of photography liked me and asked if I wanted to come out. The hard part is it’s super short notice.” 


So what are his friends saying about his career choice?


“A lot of people are surprised, but I felt like I had nowhere else to go,” Leszkowicz said. “I kind of picked what I really want to do. I’m kind of stubborn like that.”


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