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DPs turned Directors


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#1 Tyler Leisher

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Posted 19 June 2009 - 12:53 AM

So, one of the books I have been reading ("What I Really Want To Do On Set In Hollywood") says that the move up from DP is to Director, while a lot of DPs dont make this jump for many DP's.. but it is possible.. so I'm curious how many actually make the jump?

Barry Sonnenfeld comes to mind as one of them off the top of my head, Im sure theres plenty more though.

Is it a usual thing, or a rare thing?
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#2 Andrew Koch

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Posted 19 June 2009 - 04:29 AM

A couple come to mind. Ernest R. Dickerson, Jan de Bont
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#3 Dimitrios Koukas

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Posted 19 June 2009 - 05:20 AM

Phedon Papamichael Jr. :rolleyes:
Oh! and me sometimes...but not in Hollywood lol.
For some years now there is a new kind of title director/cinematographer and mostly in tv commercials.
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#4 chris dye

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Posted 19 June 2009 - 10:02 PM

Some directors act as their own DP's like Peter Hyams.
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#5 Charles Talbott Jr

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Posted 19 June 2009 - 10:10 PM

Steven Soderbergh has shot many of his own films using the pseudonym Peter Andrews.

Also, David Fincher was a special effects cameraman for ILM (although not a DP, it's still interesting...he has a great eye)

Edited by Charles Talbott Jr, 19 June 2009 - 10:14 PM.

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#6 Jamie Metzger

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Posted 20 June 2009 - 02:56 AM

Makes sense. I'd like to get into music videos.
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#7 Kevin Masuda

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Posted 20 June 2009 - 07:36 AM

Zhang Yimou, before becoming a director was a DP on Chen Kaige's first film "Yellow Earth." He also graduated from the Beijing Film Academy as a cinematographer.
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#8 Tyler Leisher

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Posted 27 June 2009 - 09:53 PM

This may have deserved it's own topic in a seperate forum but I figured I'd keep it all together since it has the same purpose for me.

So my dream job and goal in life is to be a Producer/Director (Heavy on the Director). Like Stephen Soderbergh, Ron Howard, Michael Bay, Judd Apatow, etc.

With that being said, what is the best career path to take for me? I understand that the best way to be a director is to make shorts and write. But in the mean time, to make money, whats the best for me?

PA -> 2nd 2nd AD -> 2nd AD -> 1st AD -> UPM -> Producer (and then Produce a film and set me up as Director)

or

Camera PA -> 2nd AC -> 1st AC -> Operator/DP -> Director

Like you guys said, there's been a lot of directors that have come from being a Cinematography.. and I've done a little research to find that some DPs on TV shows have directed a few episodes.

I've also been told that a lot of editors make the jump to directing, is that true? If so would something like this be better? Some editors who made the jump to director is Lee Unkrich and Jon Poll.

Post PA -> Assistant Editor -> Additional Editor -> Editor -> Director

The real question is, what do I do for money before becoming a director that will best prepare me for the job once I get there? As they say, Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity, so I want to be as prepared as possible.

I'm a very technical and organized guy, I have worked as a 2nd AD and 1st AD on some shorts and stuff but I really only did that because it was the only job available on those projects and I just wanted to get my foot in the door.. that plus I was coming from a PA background, and I had worked in the AD department for pretty much any industry job I had. But that hasn't stopped me from being a tech geek and drooling over new cameras or being interested in how things are photographed.

From my understanding, the career ladders look like this:
Camera ACs / Camera PAs move on to be Cinematographers.
ADs / Set PAs move on to be Producers (1st AD -> UPM -> Producer)
Post PAs move on to be Editors

Is that true, or is there more to it then that? Do ADs often move on to being UPMs and then Producing their own films? I understand that this might seem like a loaded question, but hopefully I can get some good info from you guys.. I know that you get the a different answer out of people based on the audience you ask, so most of you will probably say Cinematography.. but I figured why not ask as this is one of the best forums for film makers on the internet.

Edited by Tyler Leisher, 27 June 2009 - 09:56 PM.

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#9 Ronney Ross

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Posted 19 July 2009 - 03:15 PM

A couple come to mind. Ernest R. Dickerson, Jan de Bont




I know this is an old post but I found it interesting that Ernest R. Dickerson, ASC shot 2nd unit photography/asst. Directed the movie "Miracle at St. Anna" which was shot by Matthew Libatique, ASC. was just glad to see its still a working relationship there between Dickerson and
Spike Lee.
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#10 Dan Salzmann

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Posted 19 July 2009 - 06:56 PM

I know this is an old post but I found it interesting that Ernest R. Dickerson, ASC shot 2nd unit photography/asst. Directed the movie "Miracle at St. Anna" which was shot by Matthew Libatique, ASC. was just glad to see its still a working relationship there between Dickerson and
Spike Lee.


Ridley Scott was a cinemstographer before becoming a director.
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#11 A. Whitehouse

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Posted 19 July 2009 - 11:24 PM

Ridley Scott was a cinemstographer before becoming a director.


I'm not sure that's correct. In the Biography I read he was in the Art Department at the BBC and was involved somewhat in trying to rise through their ranks to become a director. When he left to make commercials he would sometimes operate but not shoot and he carried this on into "The Duellists" which he operated.
He talks about wanting to work with young cinematographers early on because he could tell them exactly what to do. Another interesting thing about "The Duellists" is that he was also the films completion bondsman, which seems paradoxical for a director/producer.
Ridley Scott is very good with cameras though and still operates on occasion (at least that's what the pictures in AC suggest (handheld too).
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