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Interview:Kevin Tostado

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On August 7, 2008, an interview with the Director of Photography Kevin Tostado was conducted via email.

Heroes Wiki: Both of your work has to make the viewer to believe that it is a genuine documentary/news report. Is that challenging?

Kevin Tostado: My work on the camera side is fairly easy in this regard. I believe that it's the combination of the script and the acting that make it believable for the audience. Without the historical context or the personas delivered by the actors, it would just feel like someone telling a fairy tale. But putting the actors on set with believable props makes my job of filming them that much easier. With green screen, it's a matter of lighting the talent in a believable way that will match the backgrounds that you later key in.

How long did it take to shoot the Sword Saint documentaries?

The Sword Saint pieces were all shot in one day on Stage 2 (I believe) at the Sunset Gower Studios, which is where some of Heroes is filmed.

You were a Director of Photography for the Global News Interactive pieces on Richard Drucker, what does a director of photography do?

The Director of Photography is typically responsible for the "look" of the project. The gaffer works with the DP to make sure that the lighting reflects what the director and the DP are going for. The DP also is head of the camera department and on smaller shoots, may also be a camera operator. When I worked on the GNI pieces, I was happy to be working with Danny Toback (the gaffer) and Miles Watanabe (key grip) as they both made my job extremely simple.

Did you enjoy working on Heroes? Was it different from any other jobs you have had?

I've been a huge fan of the show since the first episode of Volume One. So while I haven't gotten to work with any of the talent from the show, except the "curator" played by Mio Takada, it's still a great feeling to know that I can be involved with the Heroes universe.

Do you have any stories from your work on Heroes?

Unfortunately, my time with Heroes has been really short and I don't have any good stories to share.

If so do you have a favorite character or episode?

In general, my favorite character on the show is Hiro Nakamura. I've really enjoyed watching how he has come to grips with his power while struggling with the greater conflict of how much is too much when it comes to rewriting history.

How much of the Global News Interactive pieces was shot on set and how much on green screen?

The news anchors had a desk and the wall of clocks behind them, and the "Charlie Svenson" interview was shot in an actual office. The rest of the shoot was all done with a green screen background.

You made a film called Yellow Lights, can you tell us a bit about it?

In my senior year of college at Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering (, a friend and I decided we were interested in pursuing a career in film and television. As such, we decided to make a full-length film together. We wrote the script over the summer, had auditions in the fall, started shooting on weekends (since we were all college students, we had to work around classes & jobs), and finished a rough cut by our graduation. Once we finished the final edit, we started submitting it to film festivals. This film was Yellow Lights, a college drama with comedic elements, kind of a cross between Garden State, Good Will Hunting, and Sideways.

At Indie Fest USA 2007, Yellow Lights won "Best Feature" and "Best Cinematography". In addition, Yellow Lights recently received a Bronze Telly Award and a DV Award. You can find out more about the story and watch the trailer for the film at, where you can also pick up a copy of the film on DVD. And as a special bonus for Heroes fans, you can use the coupon code "heroes" in the store to save $3 off the DVD.

You are working on a documentary called Under the Boardwalk about MONOPOLY, can you tell us a bit about this?

I'm producing and directing a documentary about the game of MONOPOLY and those who play it, currently titled Under the Boardwalk. The film will cover the history of the game, follow people from around the world who will be competing at the 2009 US & World MONOPOLY Championships, footage with collectors of the game, and show how MONOPOLY has become such a huge phenomenon worldwide. MONOPOLY is one of the few things that regardless of your age, gender, language, or race, you can come together and enjoy a game of MONOPOLY.

Filming will be taking place around the US and in a few other countries with some of the top players around the world. Shortly after the World Championship in October 09, we'll finish the edit, submit to film festivals, and hopefully obtain a theatrical distributor in time for a 2010 release, to coincide with MONOPOLY's 75th anniversary. You can check out a few clips from the interviews and sign up for the mailing list at

Do you know if you are doing any more work for Heroes in the future?

As of right now, I'm not, but I'd love to work on any aspect of it again!

Once again, thanks for agreeing to do this interview!


Interviews edit

Sally ChamplinAlex FernandezMike FoyJames Kyson LeeNtare Guma Mbaho MwineJoshua RushJames RyenRoberto SanchezDiana Terranova


Adam Armus and Kay FosterYule CaiseZach CraleyNate GoodmanChuck KimTim KringJason La PaduraDebra McGuireJoe TolericoKevin Tostado

Graphic Novel Crew

Robert AtkinsMicah GunnellR.D. HallJoe KellyChuck KimKotzebue brothersRyan OdagawaJG RoshellMark Sable

Specific Works

BlackoutDark Mattersdirectors / writerDestinyEvs DropperGolden HandshakeInto the WildiStory (follow up) • Nowhere Mandirectors / writersThe RecruitRoot and BranchSlow Burn

See Also: LinksInterviews