July 23, 2014

What Does It Mean to Be a Cinematographer? This Beautiful Video Explains It All

There are many jobs in the filmmaking process. It all starts with a script, a story waiting to be told. Then there's the director, the visionary, the person with the plan. But we all know that filmmaking is highly collaborative, so a team begins to emerge, with a group of like-minded artists all striving towards the same goal. You've got your art directors and production designers, and new worlds are created. You've got your editors, who lovingly craft the footage into the final piece of art. You've got your makeup artists and VFX artists and loads of other craftspeople who ultimately shape the film in some unique way. And then there's the cinematographer, the person behind the lens. But what exactly does a cinematographer do, and what does it mean to be a cinematographer? The following short video from the EFTI School of Cinematography in Spain has the answer.

A bit fluffy and overly poetic? Sure. But this video hits the nail on the head in terms of what cinematographers actually do from an artistic perspective. We craft images from scratch -- with the help of the art department -- and use the tools at our disposal in order to ensure that the images not only drive the story, but that the images themselves are inherently meaningful in some way or another. It's all about having a unique vision for what you are creating, then using your knowledge of lighting, lenses, composition, etc in order to fulfill that vision.

The video also makes a tremendously pertinent point (especially considering the speed at which technology evolves) about what cinematographers do. We can have cameras better than the human eye, and lights more powerful than the sun, but it's all useless unless the person behind those tools has a distinct vision for what they are creating. Ultimately, the purpose of all of this technology is to provide us with a set of tools to do our jobs effectively. If we don't use our unique vision to make the most of that technology, then we're only as good as our equipment. And nobody wants that.

Link: EFTI School of Photography -- Vimeo

Your Comment

133 Comments

Wow, good work right there.

July 23, 2014 at 5:23PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Andrea

*Agreed.*

August 2, 2014 at 7:36PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Guest

I love cinematography more than any element of film-making... But I did chuckle a bit when he said "like the world before god created it"... Maybe a tad excessive... Unless you are called Roger Deakins.

July 23, 2014 at 5:27PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Jake Whitehouse

Yeah. That line makes me snicker every time I watch this. A tad excessive indeed.

July 23, 2014 at 6:08PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Robert Hardy
Founder of Filmmaker's Process
4295

It's like they haven't heard that joke about the difference between God and the DP.

July 23, 2014 at 8:34PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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LOl +1

July 28, 2014 at 9:42AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Cosmin Gurau

+1 :-D

July 28, 2014 at 11:30AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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I think it's a perfect analogy. It's all about a creator with a blank slate and only the idea of a creation.

July 24, 2014 at 12:12AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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More so if your a writer as they actually start with a blank slate ; a piece of paper.

July 24, 2014 at 12:50AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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matt

Absolutely more so for the writer, both start with a word. Thoughts appearing on paper, a beautiful metaphor.

July 24, 2014 at 11:10PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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I think he says "conceived it".. But, yeah. Not much better lol

July 24, 2014 at 11:18AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Will

Camera guys are way too dramatic. When they're are no producers around to keep things pragmatic, everything just turns cheesy.

July 24, 2014 at 5:38PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Josh

+1

July 24, 2014 at 6:49PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Awesome!

July 23, 2014 at 5:39PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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That is extremely pretentious.

July 23, 2014 at 5:48PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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phil

+1
And music is way too loud.

July 23, 2014 at 6:06PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Premini

Pretentious is EXACTLY the word I thought of too.

July 23, 2014 at 6:53PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Scott

haha its makes you cringe a bit.

July 23, 2014 at 8:02PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Could this video be any more self-important? I'm sure dude is a great guy, but seriously get over yourself, man!

July 23, 2014 at 8:56PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Ben

Hipster with a bike and a beard.

July 24, 2014 at 4:37PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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andrew

This video made me cringe.

July 24, 2014 at 1:31AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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RidingtheDragon

Post it to r/cringe.

July 24, 2014 at 11:31AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Nick

You couldn't cut the pretentiousness with an axe in this video. Also I don't think his cinematography (specifically framing) looks very good. I hope the accent is fake.

July 24, 2014 at 10:10PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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You couldn't cut the pretentiousness with an axe in this video. Also I don't think his cinematography (specifically framing) looks very good. I like to think the accent is fake.

July 24, 2014 at 10:10PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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I couldn't agree more, I found this to be extremely pretentious, and cringed at the thought of filmmaking becoming a place where hipsters compare themselves to God. I prefer the actor Robert Mitchum's approach, who when asked about acting would say, 'Acting? There's nothing to it, just turn up on time and know your lines,' Simple, just be prepared and do your work.

July 28, 2014 at 6:45AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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lipper

EFTI School of Cinematography, where you learn to shoot and deliver everything super duper flat.

July 23, 2014 at 5:54PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Nolan

Hahaha

July 23, 2014 at 6:16PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Tiernan

+1

July 23, 2014 at 6:49PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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J. Gonzalez

"where you grow a beard and get tattoos , get in debt and shoot cinematic weddings, before god did". ha!

July 23, 2014 at 7:00PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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John Wilton

All I saw here was a commercial for RED and great beards...I did really enjoy being sold on both of those things though.

July 23, 2014 at 6:10PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Way to dramatic, but definitely some beautiful shots in there.

July 23, 2014 at 6:11PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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kyle

Blargh. That this is pretentious is an understatement.

July 23, 2014 at 6:11PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Kjartan

He doesn't mention that you are the first to arrive and last to leave and you are working on the edge of total physical and mental exhaustion for days on end especially if you're working Indies.

July 23, 2014 at 6:14PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Danny

Nah, that's the location manager. The other people I know who are on set first and mostly last to leave are costume and make up.

July 23, 2014 at 6:54PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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JPS

The PA's man, the PA's.

July 28, 2014 at 3:36AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Juan

+1

July 23, 2014 at 9:41PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Tyler

I like how the girl is pushing the guy on the throne

July 23, 2014 at 6:21PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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anonn

may i just point out that you can avoid all of your patronising "man bracket - lets not forget woman - bracket" shit by just using person.

July 23, 2014 at 6:27PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Horton

Beautiful.

July 23, 2014 at 6:36PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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I agree with Horton. Please don't put the woman in brackets. If you are a journalist post 1975, you should use "person". Also, that video is so pompous I think I threw up in my mouth a little.

July 23, 2014 at 6:46PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Angelina

Hipster advert, for being a hipster, not a DoP.

July 23, 2014 at 6:53PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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JPS

A Cinematographer...sound mixes...poorly...

July 23, 2014 at 6:59PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Alex Manning

If had any questions about what it means to be a mammoth douche, this video has answered them all. Needs more lens flares, flat picture profile, beards and overly dramatic music.

July 23, 2014 at 7:01PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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TruthNuggets

I agree entirely, this whole video made me cringe. Extremely pretentious and self serving and full of egocentricity. I realise the DP is a well respected role, but there are truly famous DP's out there who don't have such self centred video's about their work, most are humble.

Why do most DP's now dress like total hispers on set full of tatoes, is that the new image they perceive will make them look cool in indie circles.

July 24, 2014 at 11:54AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Shaun Fontaine

There are many jobs in the filmmaking process. It all starts with the director"

I THINK WE UNDERSTATE THE ROLE OF A WRITER TOO OFTEN. MOST DIRECTORS DON'T WRITE THEIR OWN WORK. TV IS CERTAINLY A MULTITUDE OF WRITERS. IT ALL STARTS WITH THE WRITER.

July 23, 2014 at 7:01PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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t. cal

I think that might be true of Hollywood films and television series, but in independent filmmaking, my experience is that the director is more often than not also the writer.

July 23, 2014 at 7:17PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Robert Hardy
Founder of Filmmaker's Process
4295

It starts with the writer for Pete's sake. They invent the story and the world!

The fact some directors write does not make the 'it all starts with the director' statement true.

Any competent fool can tell departments what to do. Very few people can create worthwhile stories from scratch.

July 23, 2014 at 9:20PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Ant

if you can plan a party or a wedding, you can probably direct.

July 23, 2014 at 11:03PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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VinceGortho

A great director can use vision and paint with the writer and the dp as if they were brushes, turning something mediocre into something great. Take Jarmusch or Lynch, do you think their scripts read like literary masterpieces?

Sure there are directors for hire/air traffic controllers but vision is really what makes a great director.

See It's easy but unnecessary to reduce the role of one to highlight another.

July 24, 2014 at 1:15PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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TruthNuggets

So your saying David Lean would make a great wedding planner??

July 24, 2014 at 7:32PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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It all begins with an "idea." The idea could be from the writer, director, or producer. The writer ultimately puts it down on paper.

July 28, 2014 at 4:13AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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RidingtheDragon

hahahaha someone is really proud of their job. I don't think I can add anything that hasn't already been stated. That was funny though. Thanks.

July 23, 2014 at 7:07PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Garrett Cox

"a man (or a woman)" = a person
just an idea ;)

July 23, 2014 at 7:24PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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shai

The video was really well made but it brings up a topic that I find funny. Let me preface by saying I'm guilty of it and we all probably have been at some point.

We point lights, move cameras, and hit a button. We are court jesters. No...worse than court jesters. We are the people making the court jester look good before going out to perform.

Assistant to the Court Jester.

If it was a video for police officers, surgeons, or even teachers...it would be great. Since it was made BY filmmakers and it's ABOUT themselves (essentially), the "pretentious" card being thrown around here is spot on.

Spot.

On.

July 23, 2014 at 7:36PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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I think that you're correct. This guy (or whoever's responsible for the video) is tooting his own horn and vastly inflating the value of his work and his skill-set. In that sense, the video is definitely a bit pretentious.

At the same time, I sincerely believe that cinematography can be art in the truest sense of the word, and that cinematographers should view themselves both as artists and technicians in order for their work to shine.

For me, at least, there's a danger in self-classifying ourselves strictly as technicians - or assistant court jesters - because that kind of mindset can be detrimental to our work. If we approach our images like an artist would approach a blank canvas, with a sense of artistic intention and a desire to create images with inherent meaning, then the images themselves will reflect at least a portion of that artistic intention, even if the person behind the camera isn't the most stellar technician. In that case, I think that it's perfectly acceptable for a cinematographer to call himself an artist.

However, If we approach our work with a mindset of "Oh, I'm just a technician whose work can be likened to that of the assistant court jester," then chances are that work won't have much personal meaning to you, and as a result, it likely won't be your best or most inspired work.

Ultimately, I'm not sure that any of this really matters in the long run, considering most people wouldn't register any difference between the images created by a cinematographer who approaches his work as an artist would and one who classifies as a technician. With that said, it seems beneficial to view our jobs as a combination of the two, instead of one or the other.

July 23, 2014 at 9:19PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Robert Hardy
Founder of Filmmaker's Process
4295

No, I agree. Most of the time I don't think it ends up mattering to anyone else other than the few people that are involved in the creative process. So if being in that mindset helps you glean an extra few "creative points", then it's better to be there than to NOT be there.

I just think, when you take a step back, and view that mindset from an objective point of view, it's kind of silly and pretentious. I'm completely guilty of it and I usually don't give it much thought...until a video like this brings it to my attention! :)

July 23, 2014 at 9:27PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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It's kind of like a pro athlete. Most of them (seemingly) take on the mindset of "I'm the best, I'm the man, I'm better than anyone else out here." That mindset helps them perform well.

When they come out and SAY it, ala Richard Sherman in the NFC title game, it comes off horribly.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8N1bz1-uKMQ

It's all about presentation, timing, and tone. This video didn't really nail it (hence the majority of viewers finding it pretentious).

July 23, 2014 at 9:36PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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We're definitely in agreement. It's just unfortunate that the video comes off with such a bombastic tone when it has some legitimate insight into what a cinematographer does.

Also, that Richard Sherman clip is never going to get old. Even as a die-hard Broncos fan (who's still sad from the Super Bowl), I can't help but giggle every time I see that.

July 23, 2014 at 9:51PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Robert Hardy
Founder of Filmmaker's Process
4295

Same here buddy. Lifelong Broncos fan and EVERYTHING I have learned about karma in my life so far led me to believe that the Broncos would win. Never saw that result coming...

It was a really well made video and a harmless enough idea (we deserve a pat on the back every once in a while) it just seemed to miss the mark a bit.

July 23, 2014 at 10:05PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Literally, as I watched that interview live I was thinking "Great! Now the Broncos will win for sure. Karma never lets this behavior go unpunished!". Peyton must have some skeletons and built up bad karma that we don't know about...

July 23, 2014 at 10:06PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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You can't have a light more powerful than the sun. Duh...

July 23, 2014 at 8:36PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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NMA

Eta Carinae

(sorry to be pedantic)

July 29, 2014 at 6:13AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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For those of you stating that it's kinda pretentious, excessive, over the top, whatever, I think that's part of being a cinematographer, for better or for worse:

As the joke goes, what's the difference between God and a cinematographer??

God doesn't think he's a cinematographer. ;)

July 23, 2014 at 9:48PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Becka

Our Job isn't this serious.... we aren't curing cancer over here.

July 23, 2014 at 10:06PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Timur, I'm sorry. If you don't have a god complex you're not a real cinematographer.

At least, that was my take-away from this video.

July 25, 2014 at 10:43AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Worst of all, they are convinced it's another smug RED commercial.

July 25, 2014 at 6:42PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Natt

I've worked with that guy before many times though he wore a different face every time...

July 23, 2014 at 10:31PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Allan

Jesus it's ridiculous ;-)

July 23, 2014 at 11:37PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Gireesh menon

Everyone is a cinematographer these days .... including my dentist who is doing a night class in "cinematography”.

The DIY / DSLR / Anyone can do any anything boom driven by "film schools" / "online legends in their own lunch time personalities" and "equipment manufacturers" is slowly coming to an end. Thank god.

We are now awash in a sea of mediocre talent who spend most of the time buying and talking about the latest gadget (Yeah but the dynamic range on this one is blah blah blah), getting the latest tattoo (and beard) and shooting pretty average stuff (Thanks to technology), that for the most part will not be seen.

We are now entering the "Anyone can distribute anything" phase ..... soon to be awash in a sea of online content providers delivering more and more mediocre content to the masses who simply have no intention of actually paying for it … thanks Google.

Only a small minority will actually blossom and develop into meaning employment. The rest will slowly realise that long term it is extremely hard to actually earn a liveable wage. Some will do wedding videos, for some it will remain a hobby, but an increasing number will simply sell their Philip Bloom slider and Canon 5D etc and go get a job that pays the rent.

Misleading advertisements like this encapsulates this part of the "industry" perfectly. Cool, Hip, Expensive ... "we will prepare and condition you to work for no money for few years" Keep remembering " You are special and you can do anything".

Actually - 99% of people are NOT special and they cannot do "anything" The 1% that are constantly paraded around as success stories either ARE special, or lucky or both. Not to mention that, for the most part they have worked extremely hard for many years.

Back to my dentist. He’s buying a Sony F5 along with lens etc. He loves talking about all the creative things he wants to do. Has he ever done anything before - no. But according to him, he has always had this “creative streak” in him. But at least he is realistic “It’s just going to be a hobby”.

Of course it is, I think to myself as his receptionist hands me a $2106.00 bill for about hour of his dental work. Of course it is.

July 24, 2014 at 12:53AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Judith

This comment wins the internet.

July 24, 2014 at 1:32AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Robert Hardy
Founder of Filmmaker's Process
4295

I don't like pessimism and I feel like being overly optimistic, even if it's a pipe dream, is the best option. You never know. You never know what will happen if you push yourself and that goes for every single person trying to do anything. Your logic could apply to any career, so why even bother getting out of bed?

If we're being "real" though, you're pretty much on point. There are options out there to make money but there are constantly more and more people vying for that job at a lower price. Ad revenues are a joke. We have 67,000 subscribers and average about $400-$450 a month. It pays a couple of bills and goes down if we don't upload a new video for a while. Not enough to live on until you get up into the 300-500k subscriber category. PLUS it requires constant attention to maintain.

To carve a career out you need multiple revenue streams and the patience/diligence to set those up and then maintain them. It's not easy, at all.

One might say, "well just go to Film School then". I can't say if that's right or wrong, but I know that it adds debt and once you're done you are plopped into the same boat as everyone else (perhaps even a bigger/more competitive boat). Not only that, but then you will experience the same hardships in making a name for yourself and working your way up. So why start off in debt? That was my logic and I can't be sure if it was the right choice, but that's the choice we made.

The "reward" is worth it though. You get to do what you want for a living/career. It's worth pushing, it's worth fighting for, it's worth your time. The path to get there is insane and I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy.

The hilarious part is that by MOST standards, we are not successful. Like, having a decent following on YouTube and a small online presence for your own business is considered "moderate success" in the film industry...if that. If it's been this hard to get HERE...damn. What can you say? It's pessimistic but it's the truth.

That being said, you can look at it two ways and I choose to look at it like this, "if I was able to climb to here, anyone else can, and if other people climbed from where I am now and went a little higher, I'm going to try to as well." Woe is life, right? You could abandon it here, with Cinematography, but you will be presented with the same challenge anywhere else. So why not tackle it?

OK, that reeked of a self help speech. Forgive me. :)

July 24, 2014 at 1:57AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Your on the nose here Luke. We do kind of all suck until we become the next Tarantino or something like it. But some people just want to do music videos, or online content, or doc work, so there are different video content facets that people want to be engaged in since tech has evolved.

And I believe people want to be so quick to judge other people when it comes to actual "filmmaking", and make excuses even when people are successful, like "that person had a 1m budget, etc." The truth is you never know anyone's back line or what they had to do to get to where they are. I love NFS, but a lot of people talk a lot of shit and seem to never put their money where there mouth is when people ask to see their work, that is hilarious.

Most people never imagine making a career out of it, but if you love it so intensely with every inch of your being then you will stay your ass home on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday to study, shoot, and grow. And continue to be a badass. In fact, I was at Adrian Lyne's house recently and I asked him." What's the deal man? What do you have to do?" He told me simply," Just fucking do it already man." It's that Nike shit. Just do it.

End rant Part II.

July 24, 2014 at 6:57AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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It's true. "Just do it". So cliche...so true.

July 24, 2014 at 11:22AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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"Just do it" is such a terrible cliche. Just like having a sexy lab assistant,..

July 26, 2014 at 11:37PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Really helpful to here the truth, but still with a bit of optimism! Like, no one would become a well-paid cinematographer if no one was optimistic enough to believe in themselves. I don't know if I will succeed, but I DO know that I love what I do, even as a 16 year old.

July 24, 2014 at 10:17AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Olof

"Actually – 99% of people are NOT special and they cannot do “anything” The 1% that are constantly paraded around as success stories either ARE special, or lucky or both. Not to mention that, for the most part they have worked extremely hard for many years."

Agree 100%. I'm glad someone came out and said it. Even if you threw in the "worked extremely hard" phrase which can mislead. Though the phrase is absolutely true, this coupled with the "you can do anything you set your mind to" mantra misleads many people into thinking they can become the next Tarantino if they only work hard enough.

To use your excellent dentist example, if you poll kids on their senior high school year and ask them whether they prefer to be a a dentist or the next Tarantino, they would probably all say Tarantino. If you do the same poll and replace Tarantino with "struggling filmmaker", the results will be vastly different. But since they have been indoctrinated to believe they "can do anything they set their mind to", they don't consider the struggling filmmaker option, and instead believe they can all be the next Tarantino. That's right, all millions of them believe they can be the next of which there are only maybe 100 in the entire world.

Simple fact is the world has a lot more job openings for dentists than for Tarantinos. So it would stand to reason that there would be more people on the dentist career track, that on the Tarantino career track. But we find the opposite is true. And so the condition of very slim job openings and a gargantuan pool of people jockeying for those jobs creates the race to the bottom that you find yourselves in; where working for free is completely normal, encouraged even, and free work is incredibly, not the bottom. The new bottom is actually PAYING to work, which what many aspiring actors and screenwriters do to get auditions or have their script read. In the end film school is also PAYING to work when you think about it.

It is so bad that celibacy (s in unmarried, not sexually abstinent) has more or less become a pre-requisite to making a career in film.

I've said the same things for those who are trying to "break into" the video game industry. If fact if you are on a career track where you need to "break into" anything, it is highly likely you are wasting your life away in a pipe dream because you have been indoctrinated by propaganda from an early age. Some people are indoctrinated to beleive they have a harem of virgins waiting in the next life and if they do crazy things in this life. Others are indoctrinated to believe that they can become the next if they put up with poor life quality for 5-30 years. Both are crazy IMHO.

July 24, 2014 at 10:45AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Jorge

Why do you care? Do you think your dentist bill would’ve been less, had he not been interested in filmmaking?When I was growing up, we could only dream about ever making a movie with decent equipment that would potentially be seen by people around the globe. Now that this is actually possible for everyone that has ever had a dream, why are you so bothered by it? Should they resist and keep their dreams unrealized or untried? Would it be better, to say, “I’ll probably never be any good at this and will never be the 1%, therefore I won’t even bother”.
If we are “awash in a sea of mediocre talent” do we not still have the excellent talent to view instead? Why do you care so much about tattoos, beards, and the equipment that other people buy and talk about? Why do we care so much about “hipsters” and what others are doing, or what others want to talk about, or about other peoples dreams, or how they choose to make money, or not make money for that matter, if that is what they choose?
Whether they truly believe they can be the next Tarantino or whether it is a hobby or whether they just want to express their creativity for no other reason then just simply to ‘express”, why does that agitate you?
In the world today, wanting to be a cinematographer, growing a beard and buying a slider is not the problem. Having no tolerance for other people however, would be. Live your life, and let others live theirs.

July 24, 2014 at 11:48AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Jeff

@Jeff ... I believe in freedom of expression and right for one to follow ones creative dream whether it be in cinematography, creative writing or naked line dancing. I was simply making an observation with regard to the misleading advertising / marketing video pitch shown in the original post. My observations are based on fifteen years in the music industry followed by a similar length of time shooting pictures.

More importantly they are also based on being a parent with teenage kids, who despite being exposed to the industry first hand, are looking at other career options. I surmise working for no money (paying money to work in some cases) on projects that people expect not to pay for does not appeal to them. Funny that. The irony is, that my kids and their friends "are" the Google generation. Happy to pay (well I still pay actually) $230 for a pair of shoes that cost $2.60 to make, happy to pay $5.80 for specialised cup of coffee that took 2 mins to make but refuse / do not understand why anyone would pay for any content (music / books / films / TV shows) that took in most cases, a large number of people many months to make and cost quite a bit money to produce.

To answer "why do I care?"

I care because taking a creative license with young peoples lives and money is not something I condone. This is not the year 2002, the paid work is simply not there. Perhaps film schools should be required (as other industries are) to run a factual disclaimer, i.e.: “Please note that less than 1% of students are likely to find paid work on the completion of this expensive course”. This "could" be seen as a classic example of bait and switch advertising. Walk in paying at the door expecting a glamorous, exciting work and life style only to find you get years of working for no money on not so glamorous projects that don’t generate any income that you will see from your “points share”. Not to mention the very real dangers for young people working on dodgy sets and environments. Sadly a couple of recent tragedies have highlighted this growing phenomena.

With regard to “Having no tolerance” when one works with with “artists” on all levels for many years and has teenage kids, one would not last a day in life without an enormous amount of “tolerance for other people”. But this is not about "tolerance" this is about selling unrealistic dreams and making money. Well, making money for Film Schools and Equipment manufacturers.

Back on point, this video sales pitch also does not mention the fact that, just as digital Cinema has inevitably replaced film, over the next 10 years (possibly sooner) CGI Cinematography will encroach on if not replace traditional Cinematography, so employment opportunities for 95% of traditional long form / feature film DOPs out there at the moment is decreasing by the day, this is NOT a growth industry, in fact clearly the opposite …… yes, yes … cue laughter.

Again, these are just my observations.

July 24, 2014 at 2:32PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Judith

PS: Please refrain from passing any negative comments re: Naked Line Dancing. (each to their own).

July 24, 2014 at 3:36PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Judith

So, are you going to Dentist school now?

July 28, 2014 at 4:22AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Truth

Thanks for your reply back. Your last paragraph was well taken. I'm not so much referring to just traditional cinematography (although I realize that is the topic of this post) but digital media arts in general, and all the various offshoots. Sorry, I should've been more clear and on topic, and that probably changes things a lot as far as your view on it. I'm not certain if that 1% figure pertains to just cinematography or an industry as a whole, but nonetheless, I always would encourage, rather than discourage.

I have also been in the music industry 20 plus years and counting, and recently added video production the past 5 years, and ironically, have 4 sons (2 teens, 2 in their 20's). I've tried to really encourage them to pursue the arts, if that's were their heart was at. My one son just graduated from Full Sail two months ago with a degree in Digital Media Arts and Design. A month ago he packed it up and moved to Brooklyn (the Hipster capital, lol). Whether true or not, I would never say anything along the lines of, "You know only 1% ever make it, blah blah" that would've killed it for him. Instead, I told him him to "burn the ships", here's the full quote from Napoleon Hill (just in case anyone else may be inspired by it)

"A long while ago, a great warrior faced a situation which made it necessary for him to make a decision which ensured his success on the battlefield. He was about to send his army against a powerful foe whose men outnumbered his own. He loaded his soldiers into boats, sailed to the enemy’s country, unloaded soldiers and equipment, and then gave the order to burn the ships that carried them.
Addressing his men before the first battle he said, “You see the boats going up in smoke?” “That means we cannot leave these shores alive unless we win.” “We now have no choice, we win or we perish.” They won."

He knows he cannot rely on me to pay his way while there, a little help, sure. But it is up to him. He's currently networking, getting resumes out to studios, and has landed a few well paying freelance gigs. Most importantly he is happy to be pursuing a field he is interested in. We both feel he will make it. His other graduating friends are there as well, one who is pursuing a career in Film. They are all doing remarkably well, for just arriving. He's not getting the "full rate" for his work right now, and has to throw in some freebies here and there, but he's building relationships and referrals. I think that's important when you're new in an industry.

If that 1% rule is at all accurate, I think maybe it could be because we tell our young people that, and plant a seed of doubt which sometimes kills it for them. If you burn the ships, it's amazing how providence changes, and how your general outlook can change. Things tend to fall into place.

And if not, well... I always have the spare bedroom here. (but don't tell him that...)

All the best to you and your family. :)

July 24, 2014 at 4:22PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Jeff

@Jeff ... All the best to you and your family. :) ....

And to you too.

July 24, 2014 at 6:11PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Judith

...Can't wait to see your dentist's crowning achievements that will bite through the infected cavities of our souls and form a bridge that represents more than the gleaming veneers of our past. ;-b

July 24, 2014 at 3:46PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Guy McLoughlin

Excellent! :)

July 24, 2014 at 4:26PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Jeff

I was thinking perhaps a re-make of "A Bridge Too Far"

July 24, 2014 at 9:22PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Judith

hahaha!

July 24, 2014 at 10:01PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Jeff

You are exactly right.

July 25, 2014 at 7:13AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Russ

Actually, I'm a guy with a good 8-5 job (not a dentist), that also has a good script I want to produce into a movie. I have no delusions of being director or DP - my movie deserves a lot better than I know I can do. But I did go out and buy a nice camera and lenses because I want to educate myself on cinematography. I did take 6 semesters worth of filmmaking classes at the local community college because I want to educate myself on the process of making a movie, as well as do some networking. I have made several short films, again to educate myself (some for film school, some just to engage myself with others similarly interested). I will never be Tarantino, nor do I want to be. But, I have accomplished what I wanted - education.

BTW, I always paid my talent in my shorts - even if just enough to cover their transportation and food. It always got me better talent, and a professional environment goes a long way to making a better production. Cheesy acting and poor sound will kill any good script or awesome cinematography...

July 28, 2014 at 8:07PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Judith's Dentist

That was unbearably pretentious.

July 24, 2014 at 2:14AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Jeff Macpherson

This video is a metaphor for everything that is wrong in this world.

July 24, 2014 at 2:25AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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awwww hipster bullsht, cmon... natural light, shoot in flat... then boy, powergrade it. yep cinematography has advanced (ahem!!!)

July 24, 2014 at 5:22AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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george

Straight haterade all over the place Georgie.

July 24, 2014 at 6:46AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Cinematographer is when you live in a city, where everybody wants the product in 4 days, you don't have money to buy a new camera, everything is punk, you sometimes don't sleep for days and still you haven't given up.

This hipster shit makes me sad. Do it in two days with 60D and one reflector and then call yourself a cinematographer.

July 24, 2014 at 6:06AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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music is horrible, voice is pretentious, or is it a comedy?
photo is technically good but boring and the egotrippin' text is out of this world.

July 24, 2014 at 6:14AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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jack

The DIY / Indie film scene is a profitable one for companies that make videos like this. It's about making money and nothing else. They don't care you think the video is hipster, they want your cash.

The DIY / Indie market never touches on the fact the cinematographer job is more about leading people then behind the lens. You need to lead a team of people on set to create the film. How often do you see articles on this site about the leadership role of a DoP on set? Being an effective communicator and leader is just as important to the "process" as selecting the right lens or light. That's the unglamorous side of the whole process and the most over looked part.

July 24, 2014 at 10:37AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Lauchlan

Replace the word cinematographer with hipster and this video is really funny

July 24, 2014 at 10:50AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Mike

if that's is Cinematographer, cinema is dead ...

July 24, 2014 at 11:24AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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batou

Why do you care? Do you think your dentist bill would've been less, had he not been interested in filmmaking?When I was growing up, we could only dream about ever making a movie with decent equipment that would potentially be seen by people around the globe. Now that this is actually possible for everyone that has ever had a dream, why are you so bothered by it? Should they resist and keep their dreams unrealized or untried? Would it be better, to say, "I'll probably never be any good at this and will never be the 1%, therefore I won't even bother".

If we are "awash in a sea of mediocre talent" do we not still have the excellent talent to view instead? Why do you care so much about tattoos, beards, and the equipment that other people buy and talk about? Why do we care so much about "hipsters" and what others are doing, or what others want to talk about, or about other peoples dreams, or how they choose to make money, or not make money for that matter, if that is what they choose?

Whether they truly believe they can be the next Tarantino or whether it is a hobby or whether they just want to express their creativity for no other reason then just simply to 'express", why does that agitate you?

In the world today, wanting to be a cinematographer, growing a beard and buying a slider is not the problem. Having no tolerance for other people however, would be. Live your life, and let others live theirs.

July 24, 2014 at 11:45AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Jeff

Sorry this reply was supposed to be for Judith

July 24, 2014 at 11:47AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Jeff

I hated the grading/ post processing. No black point. No contrast. And, I really was cringing as I listened. Way over the top.

July 24, 2014 at 11:53AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Elliot Kramer

Maybe its just me, but he sounds Scottish, and I took this whole piece to be a joke. That dry UK witish humor (yep, wittish- with much wit).
I think many here are taking it a bit too serious. Would love to see the creators response to these comments.
IMO, it was a satirical take, like those firefighter videos, heroes in the making kind of thing. It made me laugh. :-)

July 24, 2014 at 3:08PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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tbonemain

Haha. But we need people to poeticize our craft so that it feels immeasurably more important than it really is!!

July 24, 2014 at 3:12PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Brynn

"I hate earnestness in performance. Usually by Take 17 the earnestness is gone." (David Fincher)

I haven't seen Fincher's films, but I have finally realized what he meant in this half-joking quote after I listened to this guy. My god, so unbearably pretentious, these lines, that vocal delivery, that music, ugh, it's just disgusting.

July 24, 2014 at 3:34PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Muzozavr

Oh god this video. It's a piece of shit. Over blown egoist. Makes it feel like he was curing cancer and we need a big huge musical undertone. Whoever made it honestly doesn't know what it truly means. No real artistry.

July 24, 2014 at 4:29PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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andrew

He IS curing cancer! At least he's absolutely convinced he does.

July 25, 2014 at 6:49PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Natt

Pure masturbation. This video post should have a NSFW label on it.

July 24, 2014 at 4:34PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Martin Richards

Yep. The writing for this was such contrived BS. Sound track wasn't exactly subtle either.

July 24, 2014 at 6:28PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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ON

Here it is.

Pitch perfect marketing for a graduate film school like this one. Honestly, consider their target audience and potential recruitment base.

Dreamers/idealistic college students wanting to turn their hobby or side gig into the real thing. They lack the life and work experience true professionals have allowing for this message to resonate.

On a side note, I wonder how many opinions they would have swayed differently by showcasing an Alexa. I bet they have one in the closet, haha.

July 24, 2014 at 8:31PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Referee

HAHAHAHAHA Surely you muppets know this is a joke right? ... RIGHT? Hahahahahahahahaha the serious cometary on this is even funnier than the ridiculous video. Made my day!

July 24, 2014 at 11:32PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Miles

Cannot wait to buy my own Red Epic Dragon carbon fibre cinema camera system (and LED lights) and start shooting all bad ass like that bearded tatted-up guy! Looking forward to showing up on set on my fixie bike after consuming a few cafe au laits at dawn on my penthouse terrace overlooking a grand European cityscape. Of course, I'm willing to use a Blackmagic in the beginning if it means I can keep the penthouse until the big money starts rolling in, so I'm willing to compromise. I just need some advice what are some good lenses that will fit the Red camera. Please, only real answers, as I'm going to tattoo their likeness on my arms, so I need to know what dope lenses the pros use on movies like Iron Man and Avatar or Toy Story.

July 25, 2014 at 1:13AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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James

I pooped my pants

July 25, 2014 at 3:41AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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MHOOD

"Before I walk on set there's just darkness. Like the world before God conceived it."
Makes me think of the old "What's the difference between a DP and God?"
- God doesn't think he's a DP.

It's too preachy, tries too hard - misses the mark, and that cinematography isn't good enough to represent the profession imho.

July 25, 2014 at 7:25AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Ascii

Judging by the voiceover it means you absolutely need to be a pretentious hipster.

July 25, 2014 at 6:30PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Natt

Wow.
I must admit that I'm used to seeing the absurd amount of negative comments on this site now, however this is the first time I've been compelled to leave a comment about it.

This video is someone expressing what being a cinematographer means to them through film making itself. So what if it may seem arty or self-aggrandising? The very act of making content for people to consume is implying that you have something of worth to give to the world that they will hopefully appreciate.

To me film is art and everything that goes in to film making is art. This is what has always motivated me to want to make films; to express myself through the medium of moving images.

The problem with a lot of people these days is that they are scared of the word pretentious; the worst thing that could happen is for someone to label them as pretentious, so anyone else dares to express themself in an artistic and romantic way relating to film are immediately shot down for it.

I'd rather work with a team of artists who believe they have something new to say about the world we live in and the human condition than a group of technicians who just want to treat the film making process as a conveyor belt. That last way of thinking is why western mainstream cinema is the way it is right now.

Prepare for backlash in 3...2...1

;)

July 26, 2014 at 6:12AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Sean

I find it funny that commentators especially on NFS have the nerve to call anything pretentious when those same people spend their lives whining about and criticizing what other people create as if you have the answers for everything.

Too Dramatic? Yea no shit. Seems to me that might have been on purpose. QYB

July 26, 2014 at 12:38PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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PayDro

I think we found out who the hipster in the video is!!!! See above!

July 28, 2014 at 4:28AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Truth

Instead of buying an F5 and wanting to be the next Wally Pfister, Judith's dentist should have bought a Les Paul and a Marshall stack in order to become the next Jimmy Paige.
.
PS. Off the web stats, there are over 800,000 electric guitars (bass and rhythm/lead) sold in the US annually. Some of these guitar playing folks earn a living at it. The majority does not. The same is also true of people owning baseball gloves and the George Foreman Grills.

July 27, 2014 at 3:18AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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DLD

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