October 25, 2018

The ASC: What Is It, Why Is It Important, and How Do You Get In?

ASC President, director/cinematographer Kees Van Oostrum goes over the past, present, and future of the American Society of Cinematographers.

The ASC (American Society of Cinematographers) is an organization that has been around almost since the dawn of cinema itself. Founded in Hollywood in 1919, it began as a loosely affiliated collective of cinematographers on either side of the U.S. coming together to find solutions for common cinematographic problems. Today, it has become a world-renowned organization that aims to "advance the art of cinematography" through the progress of its artistry and technology, and give cinematographers a space to come together to exchange ideas, techniques, and promote the art form. 

If you're a new cinematographer who doesn't know much about the ASC, Cooke Optics TV sat down in with the ASC president, director/cinematographer Kees Van Oostrum to talk about the history of the organization, its plans for the future, and the important role it plays in cinema today.

Being accepted onto the ASC roster is certainly a dream that many burgeoning DPs have at some point along their journey and with only 395 active members, it's definitely an honor not bestowed lightly. Award-winning cinematographers like Roger Deakins, Rachel Morrison, Bruno Delbonnel, Reed Morano, and Chivo Lubezki are just a few artists that appear on the list. 

However, just to get an idea of what it takes to get into the ASC, Van Oostrum explains the process. Three ASC members have to write letters of recommendation on your behalf detailing the merits of your work. After that, a committee of 15-20 active members interview you, look at your work, and then vote on whether or not to grant you membership. Simple as that, right? Just give Roger, Rachel, and Reed a call and let them know you're interested.     

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