Ready to Get That DP Job? Here's How to Write Your Cover Letter and Resume

Getting work as a cinematographer starts in the same place as other jobs, with an impressive cover letter and resume.

Cover letters and resumes: they're not the most exciting things in the world, but they're incredibly important for landing that DP gig you've been eyeing. But as a DP, what information do you include? How do you compose them? How do you direct your potential employer to your demo reel so they can see your amazing cinematography skills? DP Matthew Workman of Cinematography Database walks you through the application process so you can impress the producers, directors, or production companies that will be considering you for the job.

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Workman's approach to writing a cover letter and resume for DP work is a great place to start, but it may not be exactly how you want to represent yourself. However, the advice he shares about other areas of the application process is ironclad and will really help you look good to potential employers.

Researching the company you're applying to is a great idea for any job. It shows maturity and intention—and no company wants to feel like they're receiving one of many boiler plate applications from some DP who's just looking for a gig—any gig that will put money in their pocket. Furthermore, it'll help you understand the needs and expectations of the specific business you're applying to. This also helps you put your cover letter into context. 

Another tip from Workman: include only DP jobs you've had on your resume. Even if you've worked on a ton of films as an AC, PA, or whatever, it's not going to impress a company that is looking specifically for a DP. 

DPs, what do your cover letters and resumes look like? What tips can you share with someone who may be applying for a DP job for the first time? Share down in the comments!     

Your Comment


I'm sure I'll get some demerits for this and, resume writing skills aside, at $500 a day, Matt Workman is part of the problem. Especially if he is including his camera package for that amount. And, he is just one in a large, ever-growing group.

Kids... you are shitting in your dining room here!
You are contributing in the 'race to the bottom' syndrome that is a pox on the cinematography landscape and bringing about your own demise and making a bad situation worse.

A DP's rate should be, at least, $1000 if not $1500/day, camera package NOT included.


I could write more but, I'm too angry at the moment.

September 24, 2016 at 8:47AM, Edited September 24, 8:51AM

Richard Krall

While I would love to have $1000 as my pay-floor, it is becoming less and less realistic. I am a consistently working DP in Los Angeles and have had some decent success in my career, but if I only worked gigs that paid $1k or more, I wouldn't work near as many days as I would like. Budgets are shrinking. That is the reality.
I'd also like to add that chasing a paycheck has never been my priority. Chase the job. The money will follow.

September 24, 2016 at 10:00AM, Edited September 24, 10:40AM

Andy Rydzewski
Director of Photography

The reality is, one of the main reasons budgets are shrinking is that people are allowing it. In this particular case, DP's.

So, Andrew, by your logic, your are working more for the same $.
Thanks. Hope your happy with that and the position it puts the rest of us in.

The fact is, there are too damn many people vying for the few jobs around so, I get it... you want to be a DP so, you undercut the other guy.

When you do that, you lower the pay bar for everyone.

An old argument that everybody's aware of but, guys and gals doing this are hurting themselves and the industry, in general.

And to Indie Guy... if that's not his day rate, why did he put $500 there? He didn't say it was an example.
Doesn't look like an example to me.

September 24, 2016 at 12:15PM, Edited September 24, 12:15PM

Richard Krall

He put it there most likely because that in the range for craigslist jobs. If you want to find out his rate, watch his videos, he's very transparent.

September 24, 2016 at 3:54PM, Edited September 24, 3:54PM

Indie Guy

I agree with Andrew. I'm also a Los Angeles based DP(just moved here) at the early phases of my career, and I'm not expecting to be paid $1000-$1500 a day at this moment. Also, I try to chose projects I am passionate about(documentaries) versus projects that necessarily pay the most. Lastly I doubt this article is really geared towards people who make that much a day, but rather to help us beginners on our path to that level.

September 24, 2016 at 1:53PM

John Haas

Thats not his day rate, $500/day was an example.

September 24, 2016 at 10:09AM

Indie Guy


April 12, 2017 at 12:54PM, Edited April 12, 12:56PM