Film Talk

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Why Don't Cinematographers Have Production Companies? (1 reply)

10 months ago
Durden10 10 months ago

Hi Roger,

This seems like almost a taboo question, but as a business-minded cinematographer who has my own production company shooting commercials, I'm wondering why we never see the best feature cinematographers also running feature film production companies.  In the commercials world I'm often the lead producer on projects with my clients, and I hire writer/directors I like to come on and work with me.  In features it seems different though.  Many established actors, writers, and directors form their own production companies, what stops other established craftspeople in the industry from doing this?  What economic and political forces might be at play here?  I've seen only one example of this, and that's Lance Accord being both Cinematographer and Producer (through his production company Park Pictures) on the film "God's Pocket".  I love your artistic and personal sensibilities and would personally love to see you have your own production company.  What are your thoughts on why we don't see more established cinematographers and other craftspeople with their own feature film production companies?


Trent Watts

The Byre
10 months ago
The Byre 10 months ago

Not Roger, but I'll chip-in with my 30 cents worth -

I have spent many years as a sound technician and, when living in Germany, went on to write about audio for various US and UK magazines and on the back of that, went on to create a news agency for such mags covering all kinds of subjects from hydraulics to mobile phones.  

My wife studied business studies and I did an economics degree, so we were tuned to the ins and outs of business.  But not everyone has a business mind.  A regular crew member finds a solution to a problem or difficulty and is happy.  A business person looks at a problem, thinks of a solution and says to themselves "How can I develop and make money out of this?"

And there's another issue - do you want to create great art and be involved in ground-breaking developments - or do you want to run a business?

That's an important question!  Do you want to be the guy who gets that perfect scene, or do you want to be the backroom guy who employs that person?  Are you the bricklayer, the chippy, the plumber, the electrician, the architect or the property investor?

Some brickies go on to become builders and from there they become property investors, but most prefer to be hands-on.  Many property investors become badly unstuck - just as many movie-angels lose their shirts!

I sold my agency and went back to the rockface of recording music and movie scores and now I'm moving into film production.  I love the world of business but I like being reasonably close to the rockface!

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