The roadmap to becoming a professional cinematographer is not clearly marked. In fact, the journey is different for everyone. However, Matthew Workman of Cinematography Database wants to help you navigate this confusing and unforgiving terrain by suggesting 5 things you can do to launch your career in cinematography successfully.

As a quick overview, here are the 5 tips Workman talks about in his video, but I highly suggest you check out his blog post, where he goes into each one in more detail.

  1. Shoot, curate, and share video
  2. Network online and in person
  3. Know your local market
  4. Learn cinematography online
  5. Take your passions and combine it with your filmmaking

Now, there is no special sauce to getting noticed in the industry—except maybe if your parent is a studio head, producer, or director (Hollywood isn't—not known to have its fair share of nepotism). However, there are two things you can do immediately and regularly that will help you get to where you want to be, and those two things are shooting stuff and networking.

People want to hire people who are great at what they do, but they also want to hire people they know, or who knows someone they know. If you're like me and a total introvert who doesn't live in a place you'd call a hotbed of cinematic activity (our Animal House fame is all but dead with this new generation), this might seem like a total bummer, but don't despair. 

In the same way digital cameras have democratized filmmaking by making it cheaper and more accessible for everyone, the internet has also democratized networking in a lot of ways. This is why you should absolutely be on all of the relevant social networking sites, like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Follow people, like their posts, and slide right into their DMs. Join groups; meet up with those groups. Go to conventions, events, fim festivals, workshops, whatever—because the more people you know, the more opportunities you might be given. (But, as Workman points out, don't be a creep—be an uncreepy creep.)

Again, getting into the industry can be extremely tricky. Sometimes there are setbacks, sometimes you'll feel like you're getting nowhere, but keep going and keep trying. I think this quote from one of the greatest minds of our time sums it up best:


Source: Cinematography Database