Ryan E. Walters, Cinematographer

Cinematic Excellence at 24 Frames a Second

A New Way Forward For Creatives



A New Way Forward For Creatives ...

Over the last 5-10 years, our industry (film) has undergone a massive change. The tools are cheaper than ever, their quality continues to rise, and it is easier than ever to deliver content directly to specific audiences. On the one hand this makes for an exciting time, as we creatives are no longer beholden to the "big studios" telling us what we can and cannot produce. We have the tools, and we can create!

On the other hand, as I have noted before, this has also resulted in the death of the specialist, and the further abuse of our fellow technicians in our industry. And while I still maintain that it is bad business to be a cinematographer, I am seeing market trends and a societal shifts that are opening up new doors for creatives to not only succeed, but to thrive in this new world.

There is an exciting way forward for those of us who are willing to jump out and take a risk. All it requires is that we abandon our "traditional" thinking and approach.
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A Human Life= $2,633.64 & We're To Blame


In 1997, Brent Hershman fell asleep at the wheel and drove into a telephone pole, killing himself after working a 19 hour day that was preceded by four 15 hour workdays as a second assistant camera on the film Pleasantville. Assuming he was getting the standard rate for that position ($38.73/hour*), that equates into $2,633.64 in overtime pay.

Alternatively, to put it a bit more bluntly, $2633.34 is the monetary value that the production felt that it was worth to push Brent to the point of breaking, in order to make their film. Is this what it has really come to? Do we Americans value the dollar so much that we knowingly abuse each other, and allow ourselves to be abused, in order to make an extra dollar?

After watching the documentary Who Needs Sleep, by Haskell Wexler, ASC, I'm convinced that there is a HUGE problem out there, and that problem is us.
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Three Reasons Why It Is Bad Business To Be A Cinematographer

Photo By: Levi Moroshan
As someone who is committed to lifelong learning and continual self-reflection, this last year has brought with it an evaluation of where I'm at and where I am headed. I've come to the conclusion, after a lot of soul searching, that it is bad business to be a cinematographer. That is not to say that I do not love what I do. I feel very blessed to be paid to do what I love. I still can't believe that people give me money to do this! But that doesn't mean it makes for good business. Here are three reasons why it's bad business, and what I wish I knew 5-10 years ago.
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Asking The Right Questions


Over the last month or so I have been asked at least once a week the following question: "If money wasn't an issue, what camera would you shoot with?". While I get that the people asking this question are trying to determine what I think the best camera is on the market currently, I think that this question is fundamentally the wrong question to be asking. What is the "right" question after the jump ...
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How To Get Better At Negotiation


Cinematographers are great at what we do because we care about our craft- we put in a LOT of time learning, experimenting, and preparing for what our job requires of us - and we LOVE IT. :) However, we are usually horrible business people. The creative side of our brain is massive and strong, while the business side is anemic - as is often the case with people in the creative world. This translates in to our inability to negotiate appropriately when landing a job. I know I've made a lot of mistakes over the years in this area. Unfortunately, I haven't put in as much time as I should have learning the business end of it as I have put in learning the creative and technical side of cinematography. Fortunately, however, it is never too late.

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