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ICG Article about my AFI thesis film


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#1 Andrew Wheeler

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Posted 06 December 2011 - 12:23 AM

http://www.icgmagazi...ents/#more-1799

An article was published today on ICG's website about me and my experiences at AFI (cinematography) and my thesis film which won the Gold Student Academy Award this year. People have different things to say about their time at AFI and its different for everyone but, my experience was really great and the things that are happening for me because of AFI would at the very least have taken a lot longer. There are technical details about the film as well.

Here is a link to the trailer


If anyone has any questions about the film or AFI feel free to ask. I'd be happy to answer.

Andrew
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#2 Marcus Joseph

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Posted 06 December 2011 - 01:18 AM

Your film looks great, I'd be very interested in seeing it, great subject matter too.

How have things been going after finishing school?
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#3 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 06 December 2011 - 08:52 AM

Looks interesting!
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#4 Francesco Bonomo

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Posted 06 December 2011 - 12:28 PM

Looks really good, Andrew! Congrats! Would love to see the whole thing
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#5 Andrew Wheeler

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Posted 07 December 2011 - 03:57 PM

Hello Marcus, thanks for posting. I've been shooting pretty consistently the last 7-8 months which was one of my first goals after AFI. I had worked as an electrician for a few years before AFI and really didnt want to have to continue that for very long once I got out. I shot a feature this summer and have mostly been doing music videos and smaller commercials. I've definitely still got a long way to go!

Here is a music video that I shot recently. Nothing groundbreaking but.. itll give you an idea.


As for my thesis film it has been serving the director and I well post AFI. He is directing episode 15 of HOUSE this season and we should hear this week if the film is shortlisted for the OSCAR live-action shorts.
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#6 Gregory Earls

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Posted 07 December 2011 - 08:54 PM

Great job! I need to see this. I'm an AFI cinematography alum, but I moved into a studio job. I'm real proud of the work you and other AFI DP's have displayed. Strong work!

Edited by Gregory Earls, 07 December 2011 - 08:58 PM.

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#7 mo samra

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Posted 10 December 2011 - 03:44 PM

Hey guys, since there is allot of posts from AFI cinematography alumni, can i ask you guys a couple things?
my dream is to go to AFI for cinematography. how was your expereiences there? is it worth 60grand a year? and does that school help you start your career after you graduate?

thanks, im sorry im off topic im just very interested.
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#8 Andrew Wheeler

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Posted 11 December 2011 - 04:42 PM

Hello Mo. AFI was worth it for me. There will be other people who say otherwise. I would say however,if you are expecting a gold ticket to success that won't be the case. There are cinematographers from my class who are struggling to shoot no budget projects and maybe they won't "make it." who knows. Like anything, it will be what you make of it and there is no quick path to success since its different for everyone. Being at AFI will present opportunities for you, but if you're not proactive then nothing will happen. In your 2 years at AFI you have to position yourself (when you get out) to take advantage of the breaks you get because they don't happen often especially when you are starting out. You need to make relationships with producers and directors at the school and also with vendors and people outside AFI who are willing to help you.

The opportunities and people I met is the best thing I got out of AFI. I certainly learned a lot about myself (how I want to work) and the process of how to think about and apply a visual style that enhances material you will be shooting. As for technical things, you will learn by doing but if your looking for someone to teach you "how to light" that wont really happen. You learn from your fellows and by working nonstop on each others films the first year. Most fellows come out of camera or grip/elec departments and some are really experienced and can teach you.

All that said, it is a lot of money and I will be paying that back for a while. I moved to LA for AFI and in a many ways it made the transition much easier than coming here cold turkey. I was never going to become a DP in Philadelphia where I moved from and I knew that. There is no one to learn from there and the culture of filmmaking doesn't really exist. You're a big fish in a small pond there. Outside LA, I couldn't go to watch a screening of Tree of Life and hear Lubezki speak about it. I couldn't visit the ASC or ICG or have access to successful DP's, new equipment, so on and so on. Also there weren't enough opportunities for the scale I wanted to exist within in Philadelphia. Every movie above 500k 3/4 of the time had a DP from LA and the rest of the time from NYC or another country. My experience was as an electric so I had a base for lighting already entering AFI.

I still have lots to learn and always will, but AFI gave me the confidence to speak as a cinematographer.


Hope this helps, feel free to ask anything.
Andrew
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#9 mo samra

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Posted 12 December 2011 - 07:10 PM

Andrew, thank you so much on that in depth response. i really appreciate it! The acceptance rate is very low for AFI if im not mistaken? I'm just extremely passionate about cinematography, and i want a school that can help me get to where i want, which is shooting films and have a steady career/ income.
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