Dear Oliver,
In your March 2 column you said that there isn't really a "club" of cinematographers--at least, not to the extent that the magazines would have us believe--but do you ever get to work with other D.P.'s? Do you have a group of friends in your field, or do you ever go to meetings/conferences about the trade?

Thank you,
Micah Johnson

It's encouraging to know that someone actually reads this column! DP's really divide into 2 camps: those who went “through the ranks” and those that didn't. I belong in the latter category so I'm not the most “connected” guy in the industry. Since I've never worked for a DP, the ones I have met have been just through co-incidence or because I went to an ASC or BSC function. Occasionally I have to hire a second unit DP so that leads to a temporary working relationship for that particular movie. I went to film school in the UK and am still occasionally in touch with fellow graduate DP's - we'll tend to e-mail each other about who to hire on a crew but not a lot else.
Plently of DP's go to trade shows and spend a lot of time with friends in the industry when they are not working. I'm a country boy, so my friends tend to be outside the industry, but that's just me.


My question is, what is necessary to become a member of B.S.C. or A.S.C association as a foreign cinematographer? Thank you in advance. ??--Marijan

The rules are slightly different for the two organizations (look on their web sites), but in principle you have to have shot a number of feature films (as opposed to TV) and be proposed and seconded by existing members. Neither organization will get you any work! As far as I am aware, there are no rules about admitting foreigners to either organization. (Actually the BSC is for Brits: not sure about the ASC).


Hi, I'm an aspiring filmmaker and I've watched thousands of movies like everybody else and I just wanted to know that when a movie's opening credits are shown and they show the cinematographer what does the abbreviations B.S.C. and A.S.C. stand for? Example: Director Of Cinematography, Oliver Stapleton B.S.C.

A.S.C. is the American Society of Cinematographers and B.S.C. is the British equivalent. They are "invitation only" societies that have various rules to help the members decided who should and who shouldn't be asked to join. Belonging to one of these groups (many countries have a Society) is a good way for the members to get together and swap stories, have screenings, as well as promote good cinematography. The web sites will give you some idea about these institutions: but remember that like all institutions, if someone does not belong it does not mean that they are not good at what they do.

There is a certain atmosphere that comes with "clubs" and that is not everyone's idea of how to spend an evening. Without them, however, cinematographers would not have achieved the limited recognition that they have, as the members work hard for the rights of cinematographers in various ways.

Animation Techniques
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