As I begin prep on a new pilot in Los Angeles, I harken back to a conversation I had with Haskell Wexler, ASC in 2007.  I recently came across a transcript of it and was taken by his sentiment, which is something I have touched upon in this blog on several occasions.  While you might detect a little more depth in this moment, I’m taking it as a challenge to broaden my perspective beyond the usual nuts and bolts of what a cinematographer does.  I’ve tried to live up to it for quite some time, with varying success; let’s just say that a certain degree of maturity is required to cut through the distractions and really meet his expectation.

            Right now, there’s no question that I have reached that epic tipping point.

            Have you?

            Wexler’s words can apply to any occupation, in any walk of life.  I’ll keep you posted on my progress. But I’d also like to hear from those of you for whom the following paragraphs resonate…

            “The journey is the destination.  So much of our lives are spent working on films, and what counts most is the friendship – the camaraderie, the teamwork, the respect we have for each other.  Certainly, we want to work on films that reflect something decent, something good, that exposes something wrong.  We think of ourselves as artists.  But most of the time we are doing routine things and sharpening our skills.

            We are not finding a cure for cancer, we are making entertainment movies.  I tried to concentrate on communicating in images.  It is a responsibility to society and a responsibility to yourself.  What is meaningful in life, what lasts, is not something you can see on a clip reel, it’s not what you can read on a resumè.  Making a successful film is not the destination, getting an award is not the destination.  What’s important are your personal priorities.”


5 thoughts on “A FRESH START…AGAIN”

  1. Of the entire quote, what strikes me the most is the part “We are not finding a cure for cancer, we are making entertainment movies.” It’s true, but I also believe that people need to release their emotions, they need a cathartic experience. It helps them mentally and emotionally… it’s a healthy process and Art does that. Science cures the bodies, Art cures the minds and the hearts. So I believe that it’s our duty, as storytellers, to communicate a message using the artistic medium we are both skilled and passioned about. As Mr. Wexler says “It is a responsibility to society and a responsibility to yourself.” I believe I contribute to the society with my work. Thank you, Richard, for this amazing website full of pearls of wisdom, anecdotes, lessons, Q&As and Tips&Tricks!

  2. Richard, your words are always so insightful! Your conversation with
    Haskell Wexler and transcript was very interesting. It’s great you knew
    such a legend. I think our journeys are all about the people we meet
    and the friends we make along our life’s path. Along with the support we
    receive from our friends and family. Also the support we can give to
    others. An interesting book to read is “The Boys”, the memoirs of
    Ron and Clint Howard growing up in Hollywood. For me the book is
    is mainly about their parent’s Rance and Jean Howard’s
    sacrifice, support, and love they had for their sons on their journey
    in the acting business and Ron later as a director. In the book, it mentions
    the guidance Haskell Wexler gave to young cinematographers
    Jan D’Alquen and Ron Eveslage during the making of American
    Graffiti in 1972 in Petaluma, California. Filmed in six weeks with a
    $700,000 budget. He stated that Haskell essentially commuted
    nightly to the set north of San Francisco from LA arriving in time for
    the shoots and flying home first thing in the morning to do his regular
    job. Talk about sacrifice!

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