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Motherhood and cinematography compatible?


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#1 Zalfa Chamoun

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Posted 14 June 2006 - 07:12 PM

Hey again,

I thought if I'd make my topic more specific I'd get more moderate reactions. But thx to all that replied to my first post. Can a woman be a DP and a good mum at the same time? Likewise can a guy be a hands on father as well as a cinematographer?
Are women only ever to DP documentaries and independent films?
What do you think abt festivals for women filmmakers?
Why no women DPs in Hollywood?

Let me know what you think.

Cheers,

Zalfa.
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#2 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 15 June 2006 - 12:08 AM

They could be if only women weren't physically and psycholgically inferior to men :D . No actually, I think women have a lot to contribute to the art of making film. It's been proven in studies that women tend to have a better eye for detail in general than men do. I think for a DP this would be a great asset but for all it's bravado about equality, Hollywwod is still an old boys club and it will take time for women to break into the ranks on a regular basis. There are more women directors now than there were in years past but still the numbers are far out of proportion in favor of men than they should be. I think there are stories to be told by everyone and women should be able to tell their stories. The problem is that this business is so compeditive that the only chance women have in most cases to make a film is to go independent and that may not be a bad thing. Some of the best films being made now are coming from the ranks of independnt filmmakers who care more about content than the allmighty dollar.

If there were enough films put out each year for there to be a festival for women filmmakers then I think it would be very cool and probably have a strong following in the right city, but I'm not sure if there are enough films made each year by women to support such a festival. As I said before there aren't nearly as many women filmmakers out there as there are men. But keep the faith, sister! Don't strive to be as good as you male counterparts, strive to be better because it's gonna be a tough road ahead. Your gonna have to make um sit up and take notice of you and it'll be twice as hard for a woman than for a man to get work. Just refuse to surrender. Do independents, do anything you can do to get ahead and help the other girls behind you when you do succeed because being able to work, having the right to work and the acceptence to work is only what is right and is long over due! B)
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#3 Logan Schneider

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Posted 15 June 2006 - 12:41 AM

There are women DPs. Not many, but they are there, and their numbers are growing. Amy Vincent, ASC, Nancy Schrieber, ASC, and Ellen Kuras, ASC are all good examples. I have heard some women say that it has been easier to move forward as a woman because people want to see more women behind the camera now. I have a feeling it will just depend on how good you are, how hard you work, your attitude and luck. My only other advice is not to let yourself be defined by you being a woman. Let it be a part of you and move on.

As a side note, after the incident in the other thread, can we please stop all jokes, even with smiley faces, about women being inferior. They are not funny, even when not serious.

I have always heard that there is family, work and social life, and you can only really have two. It's just like the old saying about good, fast and cheap. Choose two. I think that you can be a good father or mother in this business, but it takes sacrifice and knowing what is most important.

With films such as 'hustle and flow', 'eternal sunshine of the spotless mind' and others, women are proving that they can match any man as a DP. I wish you the best of luck.

Logan Schneider
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#4 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 15 June 2006 - 02:38 AM

I'm not sure why it isn't an equal concern whether men who are in the film industry can make good fathers.

The issue to me really isn't sex, it's the problem for anyone, male or female, working in the industry who is also trying to raise a family. We just lay more of the burden and responsibility -- and guilt -- on the mothers instead of the fathers in terms of having to find a balance between career and child-rearing. Society tends to forgive absent fathers more than absent mothers. It's just tradition, right or wrong.

Now one can argue that it's also part of nature for human mothers to assume more of the burden of early childhood care, a sort of unavoidable and natural imbalance of power between the sexes, or natural assignment of duties so to speak, since human children are so physically vunerable for much longer than other animal offspring, and mothers provide milk, etc.

The question is whether in a modern technological society, rather than a hunter-gatherer world, child-rearing duties should be split more evenly between the mother and father. And even in a hunter-gatherer society, mothers have the support of the whole village for raising children, they don't have to do everything by themselves. In today's modern world, in some ways women have it worse because now they have to work and compete alongside men in the marketplace yet also have the unique burdens of motherhood to contend with, and unless they have the money for a nanny or something, they are doing a lot of work by themselves.

As far as the career issues go... I think Sandi Sissel, ASC and Nancy Schreiber, ASC both had children -- you should contact them.

As fas as women not shooting more commercial studio films, Ellen Kuras has done films like "Analyze That", "Mod Squad", "Summer of Sam" -- and Amy Vincent did 2nd Unit DP duties on "Lemony Snickett's A Series of Unfortunate Events" (and this entailed a lot of work -- a number of her shots are in the final movie) and "Bewitched".
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#5 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 15 June 2006 - 03:42 AM

As a side note, after the incident in the other thread, can we please stop all jokes, even with smiley faces, about women being inferior. They are not funny, even when not serious.

Logan Schneider
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Oh lighten up, Logan. This PC crap is becoming tiresome. It was meant as a joke and you know it so don't start poop where there isn't any. If you read the rest of the thread you know exactly how I feel about women in the industry and I don't need a lecture from someone who obviously wouldn't know a joke if it came up and hit him in the face with a pie .

Admin Note: Capt Video's ability to post has been suspended until 6/19 due to his comments in this post.
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#6 Adam Frisch FSF

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Posted 15 June 2006 - 07:00 AM

Don't forget Carolyn Chen (ASC?) who's been very busy in commercials. The late Brianne Murphy, ASC, was also a pioneer.
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#7 Richard Boddington

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Posted 16 June 2006 - 09:52 AM

No clue what it would actually be like for a woman with children to make it as a DOP.

But....it's certainly much tougher for a man to have a successful career in the early years when there are small children at home. The reason of course is that when you're starting out you are not making that much money and you're working here and there, not on a regular M-F 9-5 schedule, so there's no steady paycheck every two weeks. This can be tough enough on a single guy, when you add a wife and two small children the difficulty level goes up considerably.

I've noticed that in the film industry people across the board tend to get married later than average, it takes a long time to get established, and it's very difficult for a young married person with kids to compete against the single people who have zero family responsibilities at home.

I just finished casting and crewing a feature I'm shooting this October, every one on the crew is single, men and women. On the cast side only one male actor is married. This I have found is pretty common place.

Then there are the guys who do get married and try and make it film, but their wives grow tired of living in a tiny apartment and never having a vacation, or even a car in some cases. Try applying for a mortgage as a freelance film worker, the banks usually laugh you out the door. So at some stage the man decides to give up on the film idea and get a "real job." i.e. Steady paycheck every two weeks and benefits.

I have no idea how men who have a wife and children and work as freelance film workers manage in the USA with the healthcare situation?????? At least in Canada your family has health coverage whether you're freelance or not, in the USA it's much more difficult of course. I know lots of single guys that work in the film biz in LA and they just skip the idea the health coverage since it's just them, with a wife and kids you can't take that risk.

R,
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#8 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 16 June 2006 - 10:43 AM

I've always wondered if the divorce rate was also higher in the flm industry because it sure seems that way talking to people on the set. I've never met so many divorced 30-somethings except on a film shoot.

Financially, it doesn't make sense to start a family until you have a stable income, but the reality is, like marriage, these decisions tend to be emotional, not logical. Difference is that the decision to have kids have much larger ramifications than the decision to get married.

Unfortunately for many of us in the film industry, financial stability is a rarity, and even a fairly stable and decent income might not appear until you are in your 40's, a bit late for some women to start having children (though posssible of course.) It almost makes the argument for having kids when you're really young so that they'll be over 18 and gone by the time your career really starts getting full-steam... (or at least, I've heard that justification from some who had kids at an early age.)

Once you get past the baby & pre-school years, the issue of whether a mother can also work as a DP, to me, depends a lot on the kind of support they are getting from a spouse or someone else, to share the responsibilites. It also depends on the nature of the work - a successful commercial DP may be able to spend more time at home and only be gone for a few days at a time compared to a feature DP. I remember back in the mid 1980's when Owen Roizman made the decisions to take-off several years from feature shooting so he could be home more often with his family.
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#9 Chris Keth

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Posted 16 June 2006 - 11:39 AM

It would seem to me that parenting while working on set would be a much easier proposition if you were a commercial DP. Shorter schedules would seem to make it much easier.
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#10 Sidney King

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Posted 16 June 2006 - 11:49 AM

Another name would be Shona Auerbach, she was director and DP on the feature "Dear Frankie," starring Emily Mortimer. It's a lovely film, and looks terrific. Apparently she is a still photographer of some renown, as far as I know "Dear Frankie" is the only film she's DP'ed or directed. Anyone familiar with her or more of her work?

Obviously she can work with actors as well, the performances were great.
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