It took me 7 years to get to this point.
It cost a ton of sweat, blood, tears, paranoia, stress and money.
And there's basically zero eyewitness reports online on how other cinematographers got their O1-Visas.
So I decided to change this, and wrote a long article about the trials I had to go through to successfully obtain my O1-B.
Now, I see some of you jump up in the air: "Holy poop! I'm graduating in six months from Film School, now I can finally get mine!"
Hold your horses - getting the O1 was literally the most difficult thing I've done in my entire life. It could very much be an article on "how I climbed Mount Everest and fought mountain lions".
I'd gladly load and unload 100 5-ton packages out of a truck by myself if that got me the visa.
All this article does is to take some of the tremendous uncertainty off your shoulder. It clears your disoriented vision and puts some practicality into the foggy swamp of the U.S. immigration system for us film professionals. You still have to be a kick-ass DP with a great record of achievement, an "extraordinary ability" - that's what the visa requires.
I don't recommend you try getting the O1 visa before you shot a few feature films, went to major festivals, got featured in major trade publications - your ambitions are not worth the resulting stress unless you feel really confident that you've crossed the 5-year sound barrier in your career. And it costs $5,000-$7,000 - an amount not worth gambling with.
Anyways, here it is. I hope this helps a few of you fellow foreigners who want to contribute their skillset and undying motivation to the U.S. film industry, and make your path a little less uncertainty-ridden than mine was. Happy 2017!