What an incredible Summer 2012 turned out to be!
After being inspired by a visit to the City of Angles in 2010 post Sundance, I decided that I really needed to spend a Summer in LA.
I didn’t really know anyone in LA, but felt it was a must to join in and be part of the filmmaking mecca. Plus I can’t lie the California weather, beaches and general beauty helped draw me in a little too…
The American Society of Cinematographers (ASC) is located in Hollywood and becoming a member is like my own personal holy grail! I have been subscribing to their magazine for over a decade (when I didn’t really understand it). Over these years the ASC magazine has given me an amazing insight into the minds and work of some of the very best Cinematographers. It has essentially been my mentor! If you don’t subscribe to it, you should get on it now Friends of ASC.
After 14 years self taught filming I thought it was time to try and find one of my heros featured in the magazine and find a real life mentor. This was my LA goal. I think having a mentor is the only way anyone can move up to the next level. Imagine the Karate Kid without Mr Miyagi? Danielson would still be getting kicked in the A…
I timed my trip so I arrived in perfect time for an ASC breakfast meeting where Karl Walter Lindenlaub ASC would be speaking. Karl has shot films including Independence Day and Star Gate and was going to be talking about his first 3D feature Dolphin Tale.
It was an amazing experience to be at the ASC clubhouse in Hollywood especially with such a friendly bunch of people. It was also very inspiring to hear Karl talk about his career and how he too started off shooting documentary films.
In my quest to find a mentor and learn I went to a Lighting demonstration given by Oscar winning legendary Cinematographer Vilmos Zigmond ASC and Ueli Steiger ASC who has shot such films including Godzilla, Austin Powers the Spy who shagged me. He was talking about The Day After Tomorrow Directed by Roland Emmerich. Hearing these two great Cinematographers speak was such an education!
I thought that I really had nothing to loose so when the talks were over I made a point of hanging around (like a bad smell which no one wants to be) and chatting to them both. They were both incredibly friendly and later in the week Ueli kindly invited me to a dinner he was hosting for some of his camera department friends. It was superb, not least because of Ueli’s cooking.
It actually shocked me how accessible and genuine members of the ASC and people who work there are. I guess at the end of the day we are all Cameramen who share very similar passions, it’s just they are doing it on a much bigger scale.
After a few meet ups with Ueli he went off to shoot a feature in Germany. So still on the trail for someone I could call a mentor I luckily managed to meet Yuri Newman ASC and was enthralled by what he was setting up with Global Cinematography Institute (GCI).
Essentially, it’s a film school set up over weekends. They only take a small group of students who all have to be working professionals. We were are taught by top cinematographers including Yuri, the lengend Vilmos Zigmond and the Music Video gods Daniel Pearl ASC and Chris Probst between these two they has shot almost every chart topping artist from the Rolling Stones to Pussy Cat Dolls.
I would highly recommend the GCI course to any serious cinematographer young or old looking to improve their craft.
I learnt so much that I am already incorporating into my work today and now have what I was looking for, but not only one but several people I can call real life mentors!
If you too want to Become a Cameraman then look no further than the books I wrote. They have loads of TOP TIPS www.howtobecomeacamerman.com