• Lee Peterkin
  • 'I always think to myself, 'How can this shot be better than the last?'' says Lee.

Lee Peterkin

Lee Peterkin is the perfect example of today’s multi-tasking creative. He’s an actor, director, writer and videographer – but for him, it all rolls into one effort to “capture raw, interesting, unrehearsed moments in time.” Most recently, he shot behind-the-scenes video at Tim Hamilton’s menswear presentation at New York Fashion Week, where Oribe session stylist Ramona Eschbach and her team were responsible for models’ closely cropped ‘dos.

Here, Lee tells us how to shoot a great video, what makes hair stand out in film and where he finds true beauty.

If you had a slogan t-shirt, what would it say?


At age 5, you wanted to be…

A pilot, a racecar driver, an astronaut, an actor and a director – all at the same time. Not an exaggeration.

You took behind-the-scenes footage at New York Fashion Week. How did you get involved?

I had an opportunity to shoot Tim Hamilton's presentation at Milk Studios and took it without batting an eye. I always think to myself, "How can this shot be better than the last?" I make sure that the beginning and end of a shot are composed well and at any point along the way can be paused and turned into a great still image.

What is your definition of great hair and beauty on the runway?

My version of beauty is in simplicity and originality. As for hair, preferably down…any shade of blonde, brunette or red as close to natural as possible. Full of body and flow. My mother is a hairdresser, so whether I'm conscious of it or not, I'm paying attention to hair.

How do you balance being an actor, director, writer and videographer? Do you have a favorite? Do they all feed into each other?

I love directing the most, but I love to direct the stories I dream up and write down. If there's a role I like and am certain I'm right for, then I'd enjoy the opportunity to play. Maybe I should speak for myself, but videography is something I think a lot of directors fall into because of the mere fact that we like to capture raw, interesting, unrehearsed moments in time.

What are a few tips for shooting and editing a great video?

For a good end product, it begins with the material. If it doesn't feel good on paper, don't go any further. Next is the execution of shooting great footage by staying true to the subject (concept) and using original ideas and shots with intentions that will edit well together (not to mention talented actors and an immense respect for and special attention to sound). Finally, the edit must flow and make complete sense to the audience. This includes, but is not limited to, the actual cut itself, color grading, post sound design, musical composition and a final mix-down.

How can someone make hair stand out in film?

It depends on the concept of the film. Hairstyling for film should demonstrate the talent of the stylist, meanwhile staying true to the story or concept of the overall idea.

What kind of equipment do you use?

I've shot on many different formats. I strive to shoot on 35mm film, but I've shot on 16mm, DV and HDV. Currently, I’m happy to be shooting on my Canon 7D.

What filmmaker’s diary would you most like to read?

I think I'd keep them all a mystery.

What’s your cultural library?

I like so much music across so many genres, but I've been listening to a lot of Radiohead (looking forward to their new album), Phillip Glass, Clint Mansell, Mogwai, Sigur Ros, Explosions in the Sky, Little People, Audioslave, Arcade Fire, The xx, Thom Yorke, Blonde Redhead, The Temper Trap, Sufjan Stevens, Fleet Foxes and so many more.

What is your current state of mind?

I'm excited for the future. I've never been surrounded by so many good people [with so much] talent. I've been listening to a ton of good music. And I’m constantly pushing to propel myself and my career further.

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