Watch the light!
If you’re interested in becoming a filmmaker – especially a cinematographer – you’d be wise to ingrain the following statement as part of your daily habits:
Wherever you might find yourself, under every condition…sensitize yourself to what you see.
Forget about the tools and technology of the trade and concentrate on the moods proffered by your environment. Take in the light and the textures that strike your surroundings across the day and constantly ask yourself, ‘How does it make me feel?’ ‘Why do I like this?’ ‘Why don’t I like that?’
Making this part of your routine will keep you sharp and train you to observe things through emotions rather than technical analysis. Anyone can learn the rudiments of cinematography in a couple of hours and there is always a legion of experts available to help get you through the rough spots. But the essence of what we do has never been about how we use our tools…it’s about why we use them in a certain way.
Follow this advice and over time you’ll build a bank of unconscious references. Then, if you’re any good, they might one day be called upon to enrich your work…hopefully to great acclaim!