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Not so memorable a blunder.


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#1 Denzes Shah

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Posted 06 May 2014 - 05:41 AM

The thing I do look forward to with every copy of The American Cinematographer lies in the last page. Reading the many blunders made over the lifetime of a career has always given me some amount of solace and confidence when trying to push the work just that little bit further while trying to make sure it doesn't fall off the other side of the cliff.

 

Which brings me my point, and question. I shot a commercial recently. It turned out to be one of those shoots where the agency in my opinion -- more so then usual-- killed any potential it had to it looking credible. It was one of those projects which had me scrambling back to my past works to remind myself that I am half decent at what I do. or did. I'm not sure anymore. Good sense and experience tells me that it is a Ludacris thought to entertain 

 

Now, while it didn't look bad, I knew I could have done better. So much better. Which does make it somewhat my shortcoming. It wasn't a singular blunder which defined it but rather a culmination of everything, not cinematographic related, which defined its look. I know the wealth of experience here would attest to the importance of the many various dept which has an affect on the work that cinematographers do. And managing it all successfully is what separates the good from the ugly. 

 

I'll stop short of making this sound like the need for group therapy (although I hope you guys don't hold it against me for coming here with that exact motive).

 

In my search for some amount of comfort, fully knowing that this will pass with business as usual resuming the moment I start the next project, I'm curious to know how other cinematographers deal with the feeling of not being good enough, by the standards we place on ourselves (healthy or not) on a given project.

 

 


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#2 Michael LaVoie

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Posted 08 May 2014 - 08:04 AM

I became more methodical about my approach to shooting spots after shooting lots of awkward specs on my own and realizing that I can't use a narrative storytelling approach, TVC's are a different thing.  Even though they're creative, it's a different sort of expression.  Not as internal as film.   In spots there's rarely coverage and framing often has to be highly effective cause there's fewer shots.   It helps to have directed and edited a lot of specs though to get a feel for how it all gets put together.

 

When it comes to narrative film I've maintained that as long as I'm not on autopilot when doing a narrative, I'm in good shape.  Many creatives are in film for the art of it and that's where it's important for me to not rely solely on my experience but to try to approach each new project in a fresh way as if it's my first.  In the end I will be the only person who knows if I did my best effort.  So for that reason, I'm more likely to push myself, take risks and go out on a limb on purpose.

 

That said, the perils of production like you mentioned are many and no matter how much prep you do, the curve balls thrown at you on the day with regard to location changes, schedule changes, script changes etc.  can make lots of careful planning and prep work almost seem like a waste of time.  I still do as much prep as possible though for as many risks as possible so that I'm not just on autopilot falling back on my instincts and experience and just making the day.  Cause that's when you'll end up watching the film later on and thinking, "Damn, I could have, should have, would have".


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#3 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 09 May 2014 - 01:42 AM

Nobody bats a thousand every time you step to the plate. Some days you're gonna hit nothing but foul balls, swing and strikes or get walked. Its the nature of the game. The trick is to be consistantly good as often as you can, knowing there will be a slump or two you gotta ride out. Now if you're striking out too often at bat, you may wanta address you swing, readjust your style and see how that works out for ya but chances are you'll discover there was nothing wrong with your swing in the first place and you only needed to step back from the plate for a moment, center your stance, then lean in and knock it outta the park. Once you got your swing back, nobody's gonna stand in the way of you and annother homerun.

Edited by James Steven Beverly, 09 May 2014 - 01:44 AM.

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#4 Mark Dunn

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Posted 09 May 2014 - 04:51 AM

James, I'd venture the national sport of the prior posters is not baseball. It's certainly not mine.

Although kids do sometimes play rounders on the beach here.


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#5 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 10 May 2014 - 02:12 AM

Maybe not, but they seem to hold a command of the langauge and culture so nture to speculate they probable at least get the gist of what I tried to get across. Why even a British subject like youself I'd be willing to bet, has at least some knowledge of the game although I whould imagine you might prefer a soccer game instead. Understandable. I was sitting right next to my small colectionof childhood baseball artifacts at my desk when I wrote it so that might have had something to do with it. I also have several vintage R/C aircraft, cars and a large sailboat in my office so I could have gone with a flying higher theme or racing across the finishline after being stalled in the pits OR a bright day on a clear blue sea after the storm thing and that doesn't even cover my collection of helmets, toys, weird little objects, hotrod posters and girls, King Tut statue, movie memorabilia, props and cameras. Be thankful I limited it to baseball.
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