7 Unrealistic Expectations of Film Industry Jobs

88 Cinematographers Share the Best Professional Advice They’ve Ever Received

88 cinematographers and ASC members reveal thoughts, advice, tips, and tricks they've received that helped them throughout their professional careers. Their responses range from the simple to the complex, the obvious to the specific, and the easy to the hard – but all of them stand to help you make the most of life in the film industry.

“What’s the best professional advice you’ve ever received?”

That’s a question famously asked in American Cinematographer magazine’s ASC Close-Up – a series of brief interviews with various ASC (American Society of Cinematographers) members.

It’s also an extremely telling question as it demands ASC members dig for the one piece of advice most important and most effective for them. The question doesn’t just ask for general guidelines or good advice, but the best advice.

At the suggestion of reader Martin Warrilow, I went through AC magazine’s online archives and pulled the answers to this question from 88 different cinematographers. Some are well-known while others are still under the radar. Yet all have crucial insight, wisdom, and knowledge to share that could help you in your filmmaking career.

So get ready as these 88 ASC cameramen and camerawomen drop some serious knowledge…

“What’s the Best Professional Advice You’ve Ever Received?”

When I was an AC, a gaffer told me, ‘Don’t run on a set,’ because you show everyone that you probably forgot something. I still don’t run on set, and I try not to forget too many things.
Bruno Delbonnel

‘Keep it simple.’ It’s always exciting to try a new piece of gear, but sometimes two grips pulling a camera on a blanket is still the best solution.
Glen MacPherson, ASC

‘Never pass up the opportunity to keep your mouth shut!’ What they don’t tell you in cinematography training is that your job is 50 percent cinematography and 50 percent diplomacy. I’ve learned the hard way that when things go south, as they sometimes do, it’s best to pause and reflect on what’s happening and why before opening your mouth and blurting out what first comes to mind. No one remembers what you didn’t say, but they will certainly remember something you said in haste.
Bill Bennett, ASC

When I was in college, Nick Ray came to show his films, and I spent the whole night talking to him in the lobby rather than watching the films. As he left, he said, ‘Remember, it’s a way of life.’
Steven Fierberg, ASC

I’ve learned so much from reading American Cinematographer, and the best professional advice I ever received was from an interview with Gordon Willis. In it, he stressed the importance of always having a point of view when approaching a scene. It’s the first question I ask myself when I’m designing my coverage: what is the point of view, or whose? Once I’ve answered this question, everything falls into place with much more ease.
Ernest Dickerson, ASC

From editor Irving Lerner: ‘Cut out all the comin’s and goin’s.’
Jack Couffer, ASC

‘There’s only one way to shoot this thing: two ways.’
Barry Markowitz, ASC

From Owen Roizman: ‘There’s no need to have an ego as a man. Let your work on that screen be your ego.’
Crescenzo Notarile, ASC

Jim Danforth taught me the value of critical thinking, especially about your own work, and how to see your work as the audience will see it. And during The Empire Strikes Back, George Lucas showed me a helicopter shot and asked if I could add a creature running on the ground, which at the time seemed impossible because of the six-axis camera motion. He said, ‘Give it some thought,’ and within 15 minutes I had a solution. That taught me that a right answer might be one thought away.
Dennis Muren

Don’t shoot your demo reel. Be true to the story.
Tobias Schliessler

From George Miller: ‘Just be bold, Dino! Be as bold as you want!’
Dean Semler, ASC, ACS

I received early encouragement from Woody Omens, ASC; and Walter Lassally, BSC taught me many crucial concepts over the course of several projects. I also appreciated the opportunity to be on the set of Fat City, where Conrad Hall was executing innovative ideas like using 8K (4x2K) umbrella lights for the fight scenes. In dailies, John Huston would just put his head down and listen, trusting Conrad to deliver their visual plan.
Tom Houghton, ASC

It was actually given to my son when he was getting ready to direct his thesis film at the American Film Institute. Jay Fortune, a New York gaffer I’d just completed a film with, suggested to him, ‘Don’t lose your sense of humor, even when everything seems to be going in the opposite direction.’
Dante Spinotti, ASC, AIC

Life is like an airplane: you either get onboard, or you don’t. It’s up to you.
Xavier Grobet, ASC, AMC

When I was a focus puller on a movie with Adrian Biddle, BSC, I told him I did not have focus marks, and he said, ‘Feel the Force.’ I use that advice all the time.
Dan Mindel

‘The edges of the frame are often more interesting than the center.’
Luciano Tovoli, ASC, AIC

On my first day on my first job as a PA, the production manager was late, and a grip said, ‘It is disrespectful to be late on a shoot day.’ That made a big impression on me.
Rodrigo Prieto, ASC, AMC

Listen to your gut instinct and believe in it. And remember that the craft-service person on this job might be the producer on the next.
Roberto Schaefer, ASC, AIC

Stay calm, listen, observe and lead by example.
Jonathan Taylor, ASC

Don’t try to be someone you are not.
Alar Kivilo, AS, CSC

1) Learn how to listen; 2) Choose one strong idea per film; and 3) Really understand your motivations, why you do something and not something else, and the direction you take in your work.
Darius Khondji, ASC, AFC

The film business is like a prizefight: It’s not how many times you get knocked down that counts, it’s how many times you get up and go again.
Sam Nicholson

Michael Chapman told me that if I didn’t want to shoot a project, I should just double my rate — that way I could be happy doing it. I’ve never tried it, but he made me laugh.
David Boyd, ASC

Know what you want to see in the shot before you plan logistics.
John Newby, ASC

After hearing complaints from an actor that I was putting too much light in his eyes, an executive producer called me into his office to remind me that I could be fired and he could be fired, but the actor could not be fired. It was a great lesson in political reality.
Robert Primes, ASC

From George Folsey Sr.: ‘Whenever you go into production, eat a good breakfast and sit down whenever you can.’ Good advice.
Peter Deming, ASC

Cinematography is 10 percent cinematography and 90 percent bladder control.
Seamus McGarvey, ASC, BSC

Don’t let yourself become too obsessed with technology. Find a balance with your creativity.
Jerzy Zielinski, ASC, PSC

Find a way to keep shooting, no matter what. That is how I have learned and how I have grown.
Newton Thomas Sigel, ASC

My gaffer in England, Martin Evans, advised me to say nothing during the first three weeks of production, to just watch and listen. I wish I had followed his advice more closely.
Stephen Goldblatt, ASC, BSC

‘Every producer, every lab, every equipment house and every crewmember (from director to caterer) is your family.’
Russell Carpenter, ASC

From my agent: ‘Be the happiest guy on set.’ He was right.
Frank B. Byers

From Tim Beiber: ‘Show up early, don’t sit down, and act like you give a shit.’ It’s easy to remember and has far-reaching implications.
Jim Denault, ASC

Lee Rothberg’s mantra: ‘Keep calm, cool and collected at all times.’
Dejan Georgevich, ASC

I’m not sure it’s the best advice, but when I first began working as a camera assistant, Joe Ruttenberg, ASC lived next door. He took me into his house one day and showed me his two Academy Awards and told me to become an editor, because they had more control of his art than he did. It didn’t deter me, but it made me aware that I wasn’t in complete control of the finished product. It’s a lesson I’m still learning.
Charles Minsky, ASC

From Jordan Cronenweth: ‘Minimize compromise, be prepared for rejection, and save your money
Thomas A. Del Ruth

From my grandfather, Carmine Coppola: What you do with your non-working time is more important than what you do with your working time.
John Schwartzman

It’s the director’s movie. The director is always right.
Fred Elmes

Have a clear vision, design and objective for every scene. Then, by lighting with your instincts along with your intention and setting your own level of excellence, you will find satisfaction.
Rene Ohashi, ASC, CSC

The advice I got the first day I worked in the film business: Always be five minutes early to work, never five minutes late. But more importantly, live on the edge when it comes to your photography — take risks. Put your ideas on film and fall down a few times; it will make you a great filmmaker.
Salvatore Totino

Invest in yourself, and if you’re not willing to risk everything, then don’t bother doing anything.
Paul Cameron

Stay true to yourself. When everything is crazy around you and you feel like you’re being forced into making all the compromises, do what is right for you and make the compromises you can live with. In the end, what people see on the screen is what they remember you by.
Billy Dickson

Michael Chapman, ASC said, ‘You have to give the impression you know what you’re doing even when you’re totally confused.’
Paul Ryan

I was working with Don McAlpine, ASC, ACS, and getting impatient watching the director, producer and assistant director endlessly discuss the next setup. Don turned to me and said in his inimitable Aussie drawl, ‘Relax. Sooner or later they’ll have to come over to talk to us.’
Anastas Michos

I was honored to have John Alton, ASC visit my set when I first became a cinematographer. He told me to light the people, not the sets.
Lowell Peterson

I think it was Sven Nykvist, ASC who once said, ‘Take chances, but when you do, lower the ASA setting on your light meter.’ To this day, no matter how great the latitude of the film stock is, I always calibrate my meter to a lower setting than what the manufacturer recommends.
Alexander Gruszynski

When I was starting out, a veteran first assistant told me the 2-Make Rule, ‘Make your leading ladies look beautiful and make your day.’
Aaron Schneider, ASC

When director Gil Cates chose me to shoot a love story starring Bea Arthur and Richard Kiley, he said he liked what I’d done on The Fly. I reminded him that Jeff Goldblum and Geena Davis were in a horror film, not a love story. He said, ‘No, they were in love, and that’s what the audience saw. Sometimes you have to ignore the words and let the pictures tell the story.’
Mark Irwin, ASC, CSC

From John Frankenheimer: ‘Alan, whatever you do in this business, don’t ever let them push you into shooting something you know is just bad, something you’ll end up regretting or hating. Simple rule of thumb: don’t shoot s**t!’
Alan Caso

When I wanted to quit a miserable show, the director, Virgil Vogel, said, ‘Kid, never quit. If you have to leave, get fired. If you quit, it will always reflect on you.’
John Lindley, ASC

Legendary gaffer George ‘Popeye’ Dahlquist used to tell his lamp operators, ‘Boys, if you’re not 10 minutes early, you’re 10 minutes late.’ Readiness is a big part of what we do.
Thomas Ackerman

‘Be yourself.’ I was about to interview for the aforementioned pilot, and I was nervous. My good friend Dominique Fortin said, ‘Just be yourself; they will like you.’ I didn’t try to fake it. I thought it went badly, but in prep, the producer told me, ‘You came in and only spoke about the work, and that’s all Chris Carter cared about.’
Peter Wunstorf, ASC

I was once invited to a dinner where Billy Wilder was one of the guests. He asked me what I was doing, to which I replied, ‘Oh, a small movie.’ He said, ‘There’s no such thing, just good ones and bad ones.’ For the rest, I listened to an inner voice that said, ‘Develop as many interests as you can, as you will need them to fill the long gaps between movies and enrich life in general.’
Peter Suschitzky, ASC

Kate Nelligan, a superb actor, once told me that if I could light women beautifully, I would not only help many careers, but I would also definitely help mine.
Gabriel Beristain, ASC

Spend less than you make.
Don Burgess, ASC

From Harry Stradling Sr.: ‘Never be afraid to take a chance. It may be the best thing you ever did.’
Sol Negrin, ASC

The late and wonderful Phil Gersh, my agent for many years, listed the directors one should avoid working with. I’m not going to publish that list. Reports and anecdotes over the years have been an indication of grief avoided.
Donald McAlpine, ASC

‘Be nice to people on your way up because you never know who you’re going to meet on the way down.’
Ross Berryman, ASC, ACS

At ILM, Dennis Muren, ASC had a simple, powerful phrase: ‘One shot, one thought.’ When we lapse into gilding the lily on a setup, that quote provides a reality check.
Pete Kozachik, ASC

‘Light the set, then turn off half the lights and shoot.’
John S. Bartley, ASC, CSC

When I asked Freddie Francis for his secret to glamour lighting, he said, ‘Put a great big light right over the lens. And get Brooke Shields if you can.’
Bill Taylor, ASC

Using the Pentax spot meter, John Toon taught me the relationship between incident and spot readings. I have used this method of exposure calculation ever since.
Stuart Dryburgh, ASC, NZCS

My dad told me it didn’t matter what I did for a living as long as I loved it. Also, much later, Richard Leiterman caught up with me at the CSC Awards, where I’d just gotten my fourth consecutive award for a TV series and was on a bit of a roll. He told me not to ‘get too damn comfortable’ and to ‘get the hell back to the USA while ya can!’ A year later, I was divorced, living in my native California, doing my most satisfying work ever, and shooting a big studio feature. My career and life have only gotten better since then.
Rob McLachlan, ASC, CSC

This is directly related to my memorable blunder. When Conrad Hall, ASC gave a lecture at AFI, he was asked what single piece of advice he’d give to aspiring cinematographers. His answer: ‘Get enough sleep.’
Antonio Calvache, ASC, AEC

When Levie asked me to work with him at Corman’s, the pay was $50 a day. Levie said, ‘They’re not paying for experience. Take the job and you’ll meet people.’
Rodney Taylor, ASC

Right after I was accepted into the union as an operator, I was offered a job at Warners as an assistant. I needed a letter from a producer to re-rate me. The producer told me I’d be an idiot not to pursue operating because it might take me 10 or more years to get there again. He was right; it was a struggle. But I established myself as an operator and was working steadily within a year.
Wayne Kennan

I once worked with Irving Penn, who told me a simple rule: less is often better. He used a single soft light for most of his shots. We shot a number of Pepsi commercials that way, and those spots won several Clios.
Torben Johnke, ASC

My dad told me: ‘Always be prepared, do your homework.’ I can only do my best if I know what a scene is about, what the purpose of every shot is, how it needs to advance the story and how it fits into the overall editing puzzle.
Christian Sebaldt, ASC

‘Lead through respect, not intimidation.’ Words of wisdom from Dad.
Christopher Baffa, ASC

Always let the people you’re working with know if you are unsure about something. It’s much better than explaining why a mistake was made.
Steve Gainer, ASC

Learn from your mistakes, not your successes.
Shelly Johnson, ASC

We’re all replaceable.
Ron Fortunato, ASC

‘It’s only a film,’ which, coupled with ‘This too will pass,’ pretty much takes care of it.
John Hora, ASC

Early in my career, as an assistant doing commercials, I found myself sitting at the top of a Titan crane next to the great Phil Lathrop, ASC, waiting for the sun to set for a wide beauty shot of cars. He sat there patiently behind the lens. I leaned toward him and said, ‘I’m just starting in the business and hope someday to be a cinematographer. What advice could you give me?’  He looked at me so hard I felt like bailing off the crane. ‘Only one thing, kid,’ he said. ‘Sit down whenever you can.’
John Bailey, ASC

Do not be afraid to push yourself and trust yourself.
Bill Roe, ASC

The thing that makes you a filmmaker is the act of making a film.
David Stump, ASC

Never give up. Always keep a positive attitude. Attention to detail.
Richard Crudo, ASC

Never take rejection personally if you don’t get a job. There are so many cinematographers vying for so few jobs, and there are many forces at work that have nothing to do with one’s talent.
Nancy Schreiber, ASC

‘There are never any problems, only solutions.’
Vincent Cox, ASC

I was invited to join the cinematographers shooting The Last Waltz, for which director Martin Scorsese prepared an elaborate shooting script for each camera position and every performer. David Myers, an accomplished and wise cameraman of much greater experience than I at the time, took me aside and whispered, ‘Go with your instincts.’ His advice stays with me even today.
Hiro Narita, ASC

While I worked in construction with my dad, he told me that if I gave customers more than they bargained for, they would return and never question the bill. I worked with some of the same commercial-agency clients for 30 years.
Ron Dexter, ASC

Early in my career, an old veteran told me, ‘The industry is a lot of fun, but never forget it’s a business with a lot of money being spent every second. Don’t laugh your way out of your job, and if you stretch your arms out and you can’t touch the camera, then you’re probably in the wrong place.’ Good words to remember.
Craig DiBona, ASC

All one really has in this business is one’s reputation as someone who can be trusted.
Paul Maibaum, ASC

Make friends early so you have allies in this business. They are the ones who call you first.
Karl Walter Lindenlaub, ASC

Always view your dailies. This may sound silly, but a lot of times, especially today, you never get the chance to see how a shot will look up on the big screen.
David B. Nowell, ASC

‘The only reason to be late for a call is being dead.’ This was drilled into me by Mel London or Freddie Young, BSC.
Jon Fauer, ASC

Always strive for perfection in every image you create, not so much technically but in terms of feeling that you have completely understood what you are trying to convey.
Kees Van Oostrum, ASC

One piece of advice I gave myself was not to follow any rules. Another, from Jean-Jacques Annaud, is, ‘Always wear the appropriate shoes on set.’
Philippe Rousselot, ASC, AFC

Now It’s Your Turn to Answer

Although some of these cinematographers may not have the name recognition or legendary status as a Roger Deakins, it takes incredible dedication and many years of experience to be granted an ASC membership. So, they’ve paid their dues. And if you asked them this same question at the beginning of their career, the answers would likely be different – but none would be wrong.

At various parts of our careers, different advice serves us better. It’s experience and hindsight that lends clarity to what is the “best” advice – what has leant you the most throughout the years?

The answers above cover a wide range of topics – from networking to setiquette to life lessons – and yet all of them are intensely important to our jobs in the film industry.

And so I want to ask you, no matter your level of experience, what’s the best professional advice you’ve ever received? Or alternatively, which is the best advice listed here?

  • Adrian Sierkowski

    From my dad, Don’t run with your choke out, and also, it’s nice to be nice. Basically, stop and think why you’re doing something, and never pass up the chance to help someone out.

    • http://www.theblackandblue.com/ Evan

      Can’t argue with either of those statements!

  • bradleystearn

    Cinematographer/Gaffer Barry Gross told us in a lecture once that the most important thing in the industry is to meet as many people as possible, and to make sure they all know your aims in life.

    • http://www.theblackandblue.com/ Evan

      That is genuinely great advice. Thanks for sharing!

    • Barry Gross

      I didn’t actually say “aims in life,”. It was “obey your wife.”

      • http://www.theblackandblue.com/ Evan

        Haha! Also genuinely great advice :)

  • Harold L. Jarboe

    Light through the lens. The only thing that matters is what the camera sees.

    • http://www.theblackandblue.com/ Evan

      And, in turn, what the audience sees.

  • Steven Parker

    In a moment of despair and self-doubt at a big Mole-Richardson event I ran into Wally Pfister. He said, “One foot in front of the other. Just keep going.”

    • http://www.theblackandblue.com/ Evan

      He said as he slowly backed away – just kidding! I love Wally Pfister. Cool that he stopped to give you that token of wisdom

  • http://www.digitalbodycount.com/ Baljot

    1) Less is more when it comes to lighting. Use a paintbrush to light the scene, not a bucket.
    2) Take every opportunity to sit when you can, but don’t let a producer see you.

    • http://www.theblackandblue.com/ Evan

      I really like number 1. Thanks for sharing!

  • jacenk

    I’d rather walk away then do business with a asshole – Anthony Bourdain

    • http://www.theblackandblue.com/ Evan

      That’s the beauty of freelancing – the ability to walk away from undesirable situations if needed.

      • http://fortyonetwenty.com/ Sean Horton

        I think this might be saying something more along the lines of “don’t be an asshole” but I could be wrong!

  • Michael G. Uva

    When it comes to safety… if you actually have to stop and decide if it’s right or wrong… it’s wrong!

    • http://www.theblackandblue.com/ Evan

      Hah! I love this one. Definitely been guilty of thinking, “Should I do this?” which was always in respect to a terrible idea.

  • Eric Dustrude

    Steven Spielberg told me “don’t name drop”. Or was that Steve Jobs? Can’t remember just now…

    • http://www.theblackandblue.com/ Evan

      Hm, maybe you’re thinking of Steven Soderbergh?

  • jmob

    “Be the happiest guy on set” is definitely the one that resonates with me. I got a job in props from a mate, nearly chopped my hand off with a stanley knife on my 3rd day… But the crew and my propmaster knew i wanted to do camera so got me in as a ‘shadowing trainee’ and by lunch of the first day the two ACs had placed a lot of responsibility on me to test me… I loved it! slogged my guts out for a week, learnt a ton of useful stuff that I now employ on my university degree and I got on the wrap party!
    The AC who took me under his wing most has actually offered me work since, which is really flattering. Can’t wait to graduate and get out there.
    Make yourself a team player!

    • http://www.theblackandblue.com/ Evan

      I’d say you don’t even have to be the happiest. Just have a great attitude. Be someone crew want to sit with at lunch and have a chat with. And then when they toss some responsibility your way, kick ass at it.

  • Tommy Soulier

    From my first two gigs as a 2AC: “Don’t run on a set, it stress all the set and show you’re not in the good rythme” and “Even when you’re a technician, the job is 20% technics and 80% social” I’m not the social kinda guy,I’m still learning to deal with it!

    • http://www.theblackandblue.com/ Evan

      I have to say, there is a fair bit of politics at play when you’re working as an AC. Becoming adept at juggling it all is a good skill to have.

  • Scott Auerbach

    From my dad, a DGA Honorary Life Member:
    (Many of the above, plus)
    1- Do your homework. Do your homework. Do your homework. Then, once it’s time to actually do the show, always look for the unexpected opportunity.
    2- Always support your profession in gaining the respect it deserves.
    3- I do the very best I can. But soap operas are like toilet paper; you use them once and throw them away.
    4- “The train was off its marks.” (His excuse for breaking his ankle while boarding a NY commuter train on his way to direct a show.)

    • http://www.theblackandblue.com/ Evan

      Haha your dad sounds like a great guy! I can’t agree enough with number one there. If you do your prep work, then you remain calm in those unexpected situations and your reaction is natural. It allows your instincts to take over in the best way. Otherwise, if you aren’t prepared, you panic and often make a mistake. Thanks for sharing, Scott!

  • http://www.facebook.com/scollard Christopher Scollard

    From Beda Batka:1) Light the actors first. 2) the 3 most important aspects of filmmaking are pre-production, pre-production, and pre-production.

    • http://www.theblackandblue.com/ Evan

      Insufficient pre-production is a great way to lead to insufficient funds in post-production

  • http://www.theblackandblue.com/ Evan

    Alternatively, the audience never knows what you didn’t have. They’ll judge what’s on the screen — so make it the best you can.

  • ShadyProps

    If you’re early you’re on time, if you’re on time you’re late, if you’re late you’re fired.”
    – Lloyd Ahern II, ASC


    Lee Krosskove (Chris’s Dad) one of my second or third Key Grips pulled me aside on the first morning of our show. “I only want one thing from you” he said. He touched his right ear and then his left ear. “Just one. That’s all. Your choice.” I was sharing that advice, thirty seven years later, a month before my retirement.

  • Peter Jordan

    After screwing up a take, the 1st.AD took me aside and said “Remember, it’s the little things that’ll kill you”. Which is why I pay attention to detail.

  • Tom

    As 1st AC for a musicvideo, the DoP give me the camera and told me to film the actors during shooting break, because they act are more natural. If he saw how i frame the picture he wispers: “Be brave, risk something!”

    Thats close to the Advice from Liciano Tovoli (‘The edges of the frame are often more interesting than the center.’ Luciano Tovoli, ASC, AIC)

  • Giorgio Sironi

    From an older, wiser and more experienced cameraman: shoot the action, don’t be the action!

  • Eduardo Santillán Salas

    Once a professor told me: “No matter if they tell you not to do it, before shooting prepare a damn storyboard”.

  • Jesse M

    This saying has been going around in my neck of the woods, although it relates more to producers, managers, and coordinators, rather than the average toolbelt person on set: “Perfect Pre-Production Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance in Post Production”

  • Philippe Manderscheid

    Give 100%, but after all we are not curing cancer.

  • Paulie Larson

    I learned this on the last movie I wrote and directed. When you’re leading a project, treat your people good, damn good…but remember that they answer to you, not you to them.

  • Hassaan Islam

    Most advices have the same underlying principles such as discipline, confidence, being calm and specifically following ur instincts/intuition or ur inner voice. i find all of this very valuable as they somehow reinforce the same ideas iv learnt over the span of little experience that i have. Thank you for the article! :)

  • Marta Evry

    You can’t always fix it in post.

  • Rick Ashaba

    Be cool headed.Respond to the producers’ instructions.

  • Steven Bradford

    From Haskell Wexler, at a “Masters” class: “Always smile when looking a the light meter”. His point being that the producer might see you frowning, and then inwardly panic “the DP is frowning, something must be wrong, we’re going to go over budget!” Really just another iteration of the earlier poster who recommended to keep a happy attitude on set.

  • Malinahona

    One thing I noticed out of this whole list is that while the advice is great, I’m pretty sure only 2 of 88 quotes are by women.

    • http://www.theblackandblue.com/ Evan

      Yeah it is certainly lacking in that area. Somebody else brought that up soon after I published this and I even went back through all the archives to find more women to include, but I came up empty handed :-/ hopefully that changes in the future with more women joining the ASC and being recognized by magazines like American Cinematographer

  • Chris Brazil

    I love this one, Leonardo. Earlier in the year I started shooting a horror short film, trying to apply what little knowledge I’ve gained from working on stuff up in Wilmington, NC.

    I had awful lightning because I was shooting on some street using only street lamps at around midnight to 1 AM. My first thought was “Eh. I’m sure I can fix this in Final Cut.”

    Since then, I’ve been trying to figure out how to re-shoot the short in black and white as well as different reflectors so I don’t have to spend too much money on lights.

  • Joseph Labisi

    A Cinematography teacher in film school told me “Always shoot every shot of every scene like it is its own complete film” This will force you to focus on the best way to communicate the story rather then make a dynamic yet uninformative shot.

  • http://www.spidron.hu Daniel Erdely

    Be yourself behind the camera, just like in front of

  • Brianna Leigh Morrison

    My mom taught me that what I believe about myself is the truth!
    “Whether you believe you can do something or you believe you can’t, you’re right.”

  • Anne

    From my first camera teacher, an amazing 1st ac and lighting guru: “Check yourself before you wreck yourself”.

  • Oz Strayyamate

    “Be Here, Be Aware, beware, don’t touch what isn’t your direct responsibility” day one in a studio as a stagehand who had just casually lent on a polystyrene Roman column, 35years ago, still applies. Now go get me a bucket of colour bars….

  • ron sussman

    ‘Never pass up the opportunity to keep your mouth shut! No one remembers what you didn’t say, but they will certainly remember something you said in haste.’ SO true and something I still struggle with. Take a moment and breath before reacting. Also, 2 best pieces of advice I received early in my career: don’t be afraid to say no and work to live don’t live to work.

  • Ren

    Be there, be reliable. One of my film professors told us, “I’d hire someone I can count on over an unreliable person with crazy talent any day.”

  • Seanne Culhane

    When working outside, especially on night shoots – never underestimate the importance of clean, dry, warm hands. Get a pair of good grippy gloves and it’ll make your life much easier.

  • http://www.torresmovies.com/index_en.html Ana Torres

    “What the camera does not give, do not lend editing” is the best advice I received ever.

  • http://www.artadamsdp.com Art Adams

    From Brianne Murphy, ASC: “Never say ‘no’ to a director. Get someone else to say no.”

    From director Joe Murray, when complaining to him about several directors who accused me of overthinking during pre-production: “Overthinking is your JOB!”

  • Tony Gay

    At the time of transitioning from analogue to digital, 1995, I got all excited about the new gear, a producer put me in my place with this;

    “Think of a great writer, say William Shakespeare, think of the tools he had, probably an ink quill, now I can go more high tech to say a pencil, or I can use a pen” at this point he pulled a pen out of his pocket to emphasise the point, “I can even go high tech and use a word processor”, pointing to my bright and shiny new edit suite, “but none of these is going to make me a writer, let alone a great writer, it’s not about the gear, it is about how you see things and the stories you tell”.