The American Society of Cinematographers

Loyalty • Progress • Artistry
Return to Table of Contents
Return to Table of Contents May 2012 Return to Table of Contents
Game of Thrones
Presidents Desk
DVD Playback
ASC Close-Up

This is my final column. Next month the ASC Board of Governors will elect the officers who will begin a new era of leadership for the Society. Because of the lead time necessary for the magazine, you may continue to see the previous roster of officers for another couple of months, but by the time you read this, the transition will have happened.

In this column, I tried to impart a little about what it takes to be successful in this profession, as well as the importance of balancing personal life with business. They were mostly stream-of-consciousness musings, things I thought might have some resonance for others. I appreciated everyone who came up to me at different events around the world and told me this column helped them in some way, either by acknowledging that we all go through the same kinds of things, or by revealing that there is also life outside of the camera lens.

Serving as president of the ASC has been both rewarding and demanding. When you are the president of anything, many times your desire to do the right thing can be misinterpreted. No decision you make will be satisfactory to everyone, yet you have to make those decisions for the good of the organization you’ve sworn to serve, regardless of your personal opinion. But the good experiences far outweigh the difficult ones. We have seen the Society’s return to the Clubhouse after years of meticulous renovation, the development of new Internet-based methods to interact with our supporters, and the forging of new tools like the Toland Digital Assistant; in addition, we opened the door to greater communication with our fellow cinematographers by hosting the International Cinematography Summit Conference to discuss where our craft is heading. Also, there is a momentum in our collaborations with other industry organizations that will continue to build.

I was often asked how I liked being president. I never knew how to answer that, because being president was still an abstract concept to me, even when I was doing the job. I respected the responsibility I had to honor the legacy of the ASC, and I took seriously the mandate to move the Society forward. Above all, I was gratified by the trust my fellow members gave me to look out for their best interests. In the ASC Board Room, there is a wall with photos of every Society president. Only now, at the end of my term, does the weight of that position make itself felt. Each of those men contributed to the ASC’s legacy and changed the course of the industry’s perception of us, or they weathered the storm of technological changes affecting the tools we use. Only time will tell what kind of impact I’ve had.

In my first President’s Desk, I wrote about the things I believe in. Today I find that all those things are still true. I would only add this: One does not have to be the head of something in order to be the heart of it. Throughout all my interactions with ASC members and associate members these past three years, I realized that every single one of them carries with them what makes the Society special; it’s a quality of caring for your fellow craftspeople, of devotion to making the industry better, and of wanting to equip the next generation with more creative opportunities than you had. That’s what makes the ASC what it is, regardless of who is at the helm.

As I finish clearing my papers from the President’s Office, the pride I feel is not derived from anything associated with the title I carried. Instead, it comes from one simple thought: I’m a member of the American Society of Cinematographers. It doesn’t get better than that.


<< previous || next >>