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Janusz Kamiński, Wally Pfister, ASC and Phedon Papamichael: How to Get Started in the Film Industry

In this video, three old friends – Janusz Kamiński, Wally Pfister, ASC and Phedon Papamichael, ASC – look back on their early careers together with an eye to distilling crucial lessons for today’s aspiring filmmakers. These master filmmakers recall the mindset and choices that put them on their paths to success, individually and as friends, sharing hard-won nuggets of knowledge and inspiration gathered along the way. What is the connection between Roger Corman quickies and the cinematic art of The Diving Bell & the Butterfly? How did this trio of talented cinematographers with disparate backgrounds connect with each other? And what is their invaluable advice for those starting out? Find out – and find inspiration – here.


Wally Pfister, Janusz kaminski, Phedon Papmichael

00:10 – Discovering a passion.

6:25 – A sense of poetic visual storytelling.

9:15 – Artistic sensibility versus commercial drive.

10:50 – Substance vs slickness in student films.

12:18 – The difference between American and European aesthetics.

12:45 – Being smaller is not necessarily a disadvantage.

18:30 – Variations in the development of young filmmakers. The importance of a rebellious spirit.

19:45 – Finding work; the importance making sacrifices.

26:45 – Don’t get cornered by your lifestyle. The freedom to make choices.

28:55 – The filmmaking lifestyle – its attractions and consequences.

30:18 – Doing great work is not enough. Competition and the relentless pursuit of work.

35:30 – Connections and breakthroughs. The importance of finding like-minded allies.

38:11 – Working for Roger Corman: The birth and refinement of style. Bad stories, good cinematography.

44:32 – The connection between Roger Corman and The Diving Bell & the Butterfly.

46:51 – Fill your hard drive. Push boundaries.

48:20 – Storaro and Apocalypse Now.

49:33 – How an indie background helps on the big films. The importance of resourcefulness.

51:20 – Cinematography is a way of life. Observing and recreating. Know what you like and why you like it.

53:03 – Face your fears. Take risks.

54:45 – How to connect with and understand your collaborators.

59:13 – Pursue your passion.

1:00:48 – Fill yourself with knowledge and inspiration you can tap into. Throw yourself into situations.