1. Always be loyal
A cinematographer is a person who stands behind a camera and is patient and loyal and understanding of actors, directors and producers.
You’re kind of a key person on the set. You deal with everything to do with the visual language of the film or television series or moving picture.
Everything that travels through your eye and into the camera, it’s up to you to bring together all the hard work of many, many people, to create a hopefully unanimous agreement of what makes a lovely vision.
2. Take your time
Over the years I have learned that one image can mean a thousand and one different things to people. I find that fascinating and that’s what I call the start of something or the beginning of a great career in cinematography. It’s very unhealthy mentally to go into this vocation without being aware of the potential frustration of not being credited or noticed or applauded. Please take your time.
3. Give up your Ego
The final personality of a film has a great deal to do with the cinematographer, but it has more to do with the alliance, trust and understanding between you, the director and the producers.
Once the machine starts to get going, the identity and ego that you give up as a cinematographer disappears in the equation of film-making. You have to give up your ego. The drive and the passion you invest in a film doesn’t always pay back. Sometimes you feel your work deserves some public recognition and it doesn’t. Let it go that’s how it goes
You have to sign an invisible agreement accepting you’ll be comparatively invisible, compared with say actors and directors.
4. Move both yourself and the camera
Why and how you move the camera is an essential part of your job .Whether you are working in photography or film, it’s about contrast, luminance, density, exposure all of these things are things you should know about.
Where you move both yourself and things move in the frame and the light changes, that’s the big, difficult jump. Controlling the light, for the fraction of a second that the picture demands it is so important.
5. Never stop learning
Learning is an unending process. I would say is the bigger picture of life. If you don’t know what you’re doing, you’ll soon be out. So if you work against something, or you don’t understand or you just don’t liaise well with people then the machine won’t work properly – the film will suffer, the actors will suffer, the whole process will suffer, the whole art form will suffer too.
6. Avoid conflicts
Cinematography Is all about social engineering, it’s not just about making everything look good and having enormous technical knowledge, it’s integrating all of that with your personality and integrating what you have to offer.
If you fight, fight for the right things and always know when to step away for professionalism’s sakes You have to avoid that sort of thing and that’s part of the training.
7. Decide on what moves you
Revisit the script and let yourself react to it simply and emotionally for what it is and decide if it motivates you. If the material doesn’t touch, challenge and engage you at some level, then what’s the point of working on it.
Simply stay away from it. If you are as honest as you can be about who you are and what you want then that makes sense to me.
8. Don’t give up, find out how to open doors of your career
I had a drive and a determination inside me and I could not find the outlet for it. The ability, talent and drive can be there, but first you have to find the door, then find a way to make it open, then take the right steps to go through it.
It doesn’t matter if at the age of 20 the door isn’t open. What’s important is believing that it will open and believing that even if it takes five years longer to find the door, keep believing, keep yourself active, and stay inquisitive about the world and the people that surround you.
If you wait those five years, they will make your steps so much longer, so that when you do get there you’ll be able to take bigger steps than you would have done if you arrived earlier. My career went in leaps and bounds and I do sometimes think that is because it took me a while to get there, so don’t give up!