Clubhouse Conversations — Based on a True Story

In this episode, cinematographers Michelle Lawler and Mark Shwartzbard are joined by interviewer Patrick Cady, ASC to discuss their work on Season One of Based on a True Story — the dark-comedic thriller series about a couple who use their friendship with a serial killer to capitalize on America's obsession with true crime stories.

In Based on a True Story, Ava and Nathan Bartlett (Kaley Cuoco and Chris Messina) find an opportunity to help relieve their financial and marital struggles when they realize their friend and neighbor, Matt (Tom Bateman), is a serial killer. Following their discovery, the couple blackmail Matt into co-creating a podcast, and are soon thrust into circumstances more dire than they bargained for.

In this interview, Lawler and Shwartzbard discuss their methods for naturalistically lighting house interiors; how they strategically crossed the line multiple times throughout the shoot; what they've learned about the value of assertiveness when working as a cinematographer, and more.

Michelle Lawler is a cinematographer whose credits include the series The Dropout (2022), The Shrink Next Door (2021) and Hudson Valley Ballers (2013-2015), as well as multiple award-winning short films.

Mark Shwartzbard is a cinematographer whose credits include the series Reservation Dogs (2021-2023), The Next Thing You Eat (2021), Watch the Sound with Mark Ronson (2021) and Master of None (2015-2017), as well as the 2020 feature The Photograph.

Patrick Cady, ASC studied filmmaking at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, and has since carved out an extensive cinematography career in both film and TV. He broke out in 2000 after shooting his first feature, director Karen Kusama’s award-winning drama Girlfight, and went on to shoot many series including Cold Case, Rectify and Insecure, for which he earned a 2018 Emmy Award nomination.

You’ll find all episodes in our ASC Clubhouse Conversations discussion series here.