3 World-Class DPs Want to Teach You How to Build a Career in the Film Industry

Advanced Filmmaking, Pfister, Kaminski, Papamichael
Whatever your opinion on film school, we can all agree that one of the best ways to learn about filmmaking is from individuals who have built successful careers in this notoriously difficult industry.

Wally Pfister, Janusz Kaminski, and Phedon Papamichael, three of Hollywood's finest and most prolific cinematographers, recently put together a website called Advanced Filmmaking, which aims to fill the knowledge gaps left by a traditional film school education. Here's the trailer for the site:

At this point, you're probably wondering what kind of educational content is offered by Advanced FIlmmaking, and more importantly, how much it will cost you. The site features lengthy and uncut video interviews not only with the three aforementioned DPs, but also with successful directors, producers, editors, gaffers, and production designers who have made names for themselves in the industry.The videos cover a wide sampling of non-technical topics ranging from how to get your start in the industry and how to build a professional network to strategies for creative collaboration and maintaining balance between personal and professional lives. These are the types of topics that you would be hard-pressed to find clear and concise information about outside of a resource such as Advanced Filmmaking.

Unfortunately, I'm not able to embed any of the sample content from the site, but you can check out some free interviews with Wim Wenders and Alexander Payne to get a sense of the type of content offered by Advanced Filmmaking.

Now for the pricing. Unlike some of the other online educational resources for filmmakers like Shane's Inner Circle, which charge a monthly fee for access to the content, Advanced Filmmaking offers its content on a pay as you go basis. So if you feel like hearing Pfister, Kaminski, and Papamichael riff on technology and equipment, you can watch the 50-minute video for $4 via Vimeo On Demand. If you want to know where to place a key light or how to motivate your camera movement, the videos offered by Advanced FIlmmaking don't have much to offer. However, if you're looking for practical advice on how to build a successful and sustainable career in the film industry, these videos are definitely worth a few bucks a piece.

You can learn more over on the Advanced Filmmaking website    

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Your Comment


This trailer seems kind of bad for a place trying to sell good filming techniques. The audio is weird, the shot style changes dramatically from shot to shot, and even the interview composition for some of the shots is off.

Even so, the information that is there might be great.

November 3, 2014 at 1:33PM

Alex Smith

What I've learned is this:
Unless it's technical advice on gear or tips and tricks on applying that gear to composition, etc., it probably isn't worth much to you. How these people "made it" more than likely will not apply to you. Different times, personalities and circumstances.

The best advice I've ever heard is "just go out and make movies" and I don't even remember who I heard that from, because the important part was just that call to action.

If you end up successful it's because you have the right qualities at the right time in the right place with the right connections. But you still have to go out and do it. There is no linear path to success in anything. Listening to other peoples success stories is at best motivatonal and entertaining, but at worst will lead you to think you can go down the exact same path and have the exact same success when that path has probably long been closed off.

November 4, 2014 at 3:00PM

Mike Tesh
Pro Video / Indie Filmmaker

Makes good sense...... someone totally unrelated to the film industry, once taught me that wisdom is teached from the bottom up.
If there's one thing you can't learn from old timers, it's about how you achieve today what they achieved "back then".
It's almost as stupid as the whole "oh we gotta save film" debate that Scorsese was part of as well...

Old timers always try to maintain some kind of status quo because they like what is, rather than accept what is coming. Of course their way of doing movies will fade away... it's called progression and that's the way it should be.

In 20 years, the young generation of that time will look back at today and try to argue that we all have to keep LED lights in the streets. And they wont even mention sodium...

So yeah.... movement, motivation, techniques and so on, those things are almost inherant to human nature, because in most cases they will try to act as how you'd react in the given situation. If you go out and make movies and are succesfull in using those techniques the right way that compliments the film, then people will begin to notice you as a cinematographer.

Unless ofcourse you just happen to know the right people...... that little detail can never be underestimated. Nepotism is a bitch, and unfortunately works very well.

November 4, 2014 at 11:04PM

Torben Greve


That's a notion I was in great need of. And the ultimate reason for our society's misallocation of resources and talent.

So yeah, nepotism is definitely a bitch. But I'm not certain it works well though...

November 6, 2014 at 4:22PM

Raph Dae
Screenwriter & attempted director


I personally didn't have so much of an issue with the video's lack of continuity in production value as much as I did with the misleading nature of the title of this article and the utopian nonsense heard and seen in the clip.

It's always the same motivational bullshit. There's no secret to success, but there's a 'secret' in the fact that we often omit luck, manipulation and circumstance in the promotion of success... Plus the fact that mediocrity is protected by businesses so forward-thinking artists will always be cut off by institutional endeavours - the Galileo's of our time have to show that public acknowledgment towards the idea that the Earth is round can generate revenue if they want to be taken seriously.

November 6, 2014 at 4:20PM

Raph Dae
Screenwriter & attempted director