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Greenlight Script Coverage
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American Gem Short Script and Literary Festival


Cinematography page 9


This is certainly true in life in general, but most particularly, in the endeavors of a cinematographer. No matter what venue I work with, however, I love what to do. I get to travel to a lot of places- challenge myself (climbing glaciers or hanging from a harness)- and learn about different people and different approaches to life. Now, who can tell me that isn't a great way to make a living."

Dante Spinotti has come to believe that each movie speaks a specific language. It is as if one film speaks Spanish, another English, another Italian. "The language of any particular film is determined by all the decisions and choices made from the time the first word goes on the paper, to the screening of the answer print. The cinematography is an important part of the language.

Photographing a movie means understanding that particular language."  John Schwartzman recalls advice given to him by cinematographer Vitorio Storaro, "don't try to be friends with everybody in production. When the movie comes out, no one will remember you were a nice guy. But, everyone will remember the film. That lives on forever. You fight for the image you believe in. He also told me something that is very hard to follow but I try. It's more important to say 'no' than 'yes.' Cameramen are so thrilled to do what they do, they want to do everything. It is the project that you choose that's important. You can only be one person, not three people at a time. You have to turn things down."

In cinematography, you have choices. You will use what is right for the tone of the picture.

Every time a cinematographer shoots a film, they are trying to create an experience for the audience. They always have something in mind. "You aren't there to shoot the pages, you are there to let the feelings you have come out," states Schwartzman. "The work is all about going for that gut level. As a cinematographer, we only have ourselves to offer. That is what makes our work unique from each other. Sure, when you are doing projects like Armageddon, the Rock, or Pearl Harbor, there is a lot of preplanning. However, you still have to have the freedom to create and improvise on the day you are shooting. That's what our work is all about."

 FilmMakers recommendation 

Cinematography Screencraft by Peter Ettedgui

From Script to Screen : The Collaborative Art of Filmmaking by Linda Seger, Edward Jay Whetmore

The Moving Image by Gorham Kinden

More Contemporary Cinematographers on their Art by Pauline B Rogers

Painting With Light by John Alton

The Five C's of Cinematography : Motion Picture Filming Techniques by Joseph V. Mascelli

Film As Art by Rudolf Arnheim

The Film Encyclopedia : The Most Comprehensive Encyclopedia of World Cinema in a Single Volume (Film Encyclopedia, 4th Ed) by Ephraim Katz, Fred Klein, Ronald Dean Nolen

Every Frame a Rembrandt, Art and Practice of Cinematography by Andrew Laszlo, Andrew Quicke

The Art of Visual Effects: Interviews on the Tools of the Trade by Pauline B. Rogers

Visual Effects Cinematography by Zoran Perisic

The Motion Picture Image: From Film to Digital by Steven Barclay



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