July 5, 2011
I wrote and starred in a short film, and the director brought Charles in as DP (director of photography). I’ve shot quite a few videos before — always simple setups with a small crew. So when I asked my friend Yitzy if we could use his apartment to shoot a video, I assured him it would be unassuming. Charles, used to working on big-budget TV shows and features, had a different idea. And soon I found myself in Yitzy’s apartment with a gigantic crew, lighting rigs and table after table of film equipment winding its way down the hall. Security called to complain because a huge truck full of gear couldn’t fit in the building’s parking garage. And it went downhill from there. None of this was Charles’ fault. The film, however, turned out looking beautiful.
Charles was born in London and moved to Boston when he was 6. His mother’s a musician, and he inherited her talent. He still plays the saxophone with a band in bars around town.
He went to college at NYU, but after a year he dropped out. “I started hanging around on feature film sets, making friends with the cameramen. As you can imagine, after watching them shoot ‘Ghostbusters,’ going back to school to sit in a lecture hall was less than captivating.”
Eventually he became a Steadicam operator, and though he was working regularly, he wasn’t getting the big jobs in Boston that he had a chance to get in Los Angeles. So, at 30 years old, he moved across the country. He worked successfully for years — he even bought himself a house in Los Feliz — and last year he decided to transition to full-time DP. Since then, he hasn’t looked back.
He likes FAST women. And by that, I mean the acronym he uses for his ideal woman: Funny, Adorable, Smart and Twisted. “It’s something I keep in my head. I like a dark sense of humor — I like to toss a hardball at them and have them knock it out of the park.” Interestingly, Charles doesn’t come off that dark. He’s more like a lovable goofball.
He continues, “I’m pretty individualistic. I have my own thing going on, I like when they got their own thing going on. I’m not into co-dependency. I like the idea that there are two individuals with a middle ground, as opposed to a squashed orb.”
I ask him how important a Jewish girl and a Jewish life are to him. “I’m not Jewy. I don’t practice. But I wouldn’t mind getting invited to a Seder or two. I’d probably like a girl who’s Jewish, but you wouldn’t know it.”
Charles loves architecture. “I like urban history. Coming from back East, I’m used to 350-year-old buildings, but I’ll settle for the 100-year-old ones downtown.” His favorite one is the Bradbury Building. “I want to get married there. I got a job to shoot a film there. I didn’t even ask what it was. I said, ‘Sign me up.’ ” He continues, with an odd expression, “That’s what tickles me — going around, exploring architecture,” and then I remember that, even without the accent, he’s a Brit. So maybe it’s not so odd on the other side of the pond. If you can see past a grown man using the word tickle in relation to his feelings, then Charles might be for you.
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Seth Menachem is an actor and writer living in Los Angeles with his wife and daughter. You can see more of his work on his Web site, sethmenachem.com, and meet even more single peeps at mysinglepeeps.com.