Eli Writes

A cinematographer.
That’s what I want to be. 

When I was younger my passion for films was only eclipsed by my passion for video games, and eventually the former overtook the latter. 

Watching movies always fascinated me, because of their dedication to engulf the viewer in their universe. My favorite type of film is one that really stirs up emotions, that really succeeds in sucking you in to the story. I wanted to be a part of this. But I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. For a long time I thought I wanted to be a director. I idolized Martin Scorsese, Ridley Scott and David Fincher. When I realized that that the director wasn’t as in control over *how* the movie looked as the Director of Photography, my interest switched over just like that. I loved the way you could make movies look with editing and color correction. That was part of what I found so enchanting in them. I learned about a ton of stuff, like the sepia/blue contrast rule, on my own, but I had no idea just how much effort being a cinematographer really was. They didn’t stand around sipping coffee and barking orders all day – they were the ones glued to the cameras, obessively framing each shot to get the maximum effect, adjusting the lighting when necessary, doing a whole bunch of the labor. 

When I found that out, being a cinematographer actually became even more appealing to me. I didn’t want a job where i didn’t work. I wanted to matter. Learning about cameras was something I felt like I could do, and framing movies so beautifully had to have some merit. 

To this day I have not bought a single camera. Why is that? Well, I’ve spent about $5,000 over the past year on drugs. That gives you an idea of how much spare cash I have (none). I hated seeing the best cameras with the most up-to-date technology go on sale, because the tempting prices were still out of my price range. I wanted a camera terribly, and still do, and yet I have to sate my monster first. I think that shows just how powerful drugs can really be. Being a cinematographer was something I really took interest in, and I still think I want to pursue it. I had no shortage of passion, and no real lack of motivation. But my focus was different. Drugs definitely came first, so the camera was just never bought. I would love to change this. 

When I’m not stoned and I watch movies I’m often reminded of their beauty that captured me in the first place, and really made me decide right then that I was going to be a part of the world. A great example is “The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford.” The cinematographer, Roger Deakins, is a master of the trade, and he really goes to extreme detail in the film and takes great care to get the best focus in the shot. It’s fascinating to watch, even though it moves so slowly, and has the loveliest music accompanying it. I watch that movie and I decide that I want to film like that, like Roger Deakins. 

But I really need to stop doing drugs first. 

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