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#1 Ashley Barron

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Posted 24 September 2007 - 10:36 PM

Hello,
I have always wondered what are the guidelines and pre-requisites to becoming a member of the American Society of Cinematographers. I tried looking through their website but couldn't find anything.
I assume you would have to have a certain amount of feature films under your belt etc. and I know membership is through nominations by your peers..but what are the specifics?
Thanks for your time,
Ashley.
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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 25 September 2007 - 12:53 AM

You have to get three letters of recommendations from ASC members who feel that your work is of a certain caliber plus that your character is good and that you would be a valuable and active member. Then your work is reviewed by a membership committee, who also interviews you. The committee votes and then your name is passed to the Board of Governors for approval. Then your name is posted to the membership at large, who have 30 days (I think) to file any sort of objection. After that, you're invited and there's an initiation fee.
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#3 Gunnar Mortensen

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Posted 25 September 2007 - 12:56 AM

you have to work on enough features to be recognized in the 1st place, mind you these are usually big studio features. Then after having a good track record you have to be nominated by 3 members and then they'll just call you randomly and ask if you want to join. Pretty much you just keep making movies until you are invited. or you can be an associate member which is the same but in the support dept like working high up at Panavision.

erik gunnar mortensen
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#4 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 25 September 2007 - 02:03 AM

you have to work on enough features to be recognized in the 1st place, mind you these are usually big studio features.


Well, at the time I got in, my most recent, and biggest, feature was the indie film "Northfork", which had a 1.5 mil budget. And I had only been in the union for one year at the time I was invited to join. I still think it's a bit of a miracle that I'm in, but they liked my work (and to be specific, I had shot 25 features by then, though low in budget) and my writings, my internet work, my devotion to researching and teaching about cinematography, all played to my favor despite the lack of studio credits.
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#5 Andy_Alderslade

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Posted 25 September 2007 - 04:14 AM

my devotion to researching and teaching about cinematography, all played to my favor despite the lack of studio credits.


Hi David,

Do you ever teach open courses or classes?

Cheers,
Andy
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#6 Kevin Zanit

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Posted 25 September 2007 - 04:27 AM

Your in one now! ;)
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#7 Andy_Alderslade

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Posted 25 September 2007 - 04:38 AM

Your in one now! ;)


Ha, I see your point!
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#8 John Sprung

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Posted 25 September 2007 - 12:19 PM

you have to work on enough features to be recognized in the 1st place, mind you these are usually big studio features.

The organization has evolved over the years. Thirty years ago and more, it was pretty much a small club of guys who shot big studio pictures. Today it's bigger, more diverse, and more concerned with the art, no matter what the budget. Eight years ago, their standards had declined to the point that they actually let me in as an associate. ;-)



-- J.S.
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#9 Michael Most

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Posted 25 September 2007 - 12:39 PM

you have to work on enough features to be recognized in the 1st place, mind you these are usually big studio features.


Not true. The ASC has members - a number of them - who have never shot a feature in their career. Many of those members come from television, and a number of others come from commercials, and it is their work in these mediums that was used as part of the criteria for membership.
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#10 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 25 September 2007 - 12:43 PM

Traditionally, the ASC mostly only let feature film cinematographers in, but expanded to include TV cinematographers by vaguely limiting membership to people who shot "narrative" works -- but recently, they have expanded again to allow commercial cinematographers in like Bill Bennett.
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#11 John Sprung

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Posted 25 September 2007 - 01:39 PM

.... -- but recently, they have expanded again to allow commercial cinematographers in like Bill Bennett.

And it's great that they did. There are things to be learned from the commercial guys that I never woulda thought of in a million years.

For instance, Bill uses a special ground glass that has his operators shooting very loose. Then after the commercial is cut together, he goes into telecine, and re-composes every shot. It's just like a still photographer making the final composition in the darkroom. No way would even the biggest feature budget be big enough to let you do that on the whole show. Fascinating stuff....



-- J.S.
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#12 Chris Keth

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Posted 25 September 2007 - 01:56 PM

And it's great that they did. There are things to be learned from the commercial guys that I never woulda thought of in a million years.


Most definately. A lot of commercial lighting that derived from stills lighting like glassware is difficult stuff to do. Then you add the dimension of motion and it becomes a couple steps shy of impossible. I have HUGE respect for commercial cinematographers.
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Ritter Battery

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The Slider

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Wooden Camera

Willys Widgets

Rig Wheels Passport

Paralinx LLC

Glidecam

Abel Cine

Aerial Filmworks

CineLab

Technodolly

Tai Audio