How Do You Find These People? The Cinematographers

Recently I had a lovely sushi dinner with my friend Meryl, a photography-based artist and teacher. She had just watched the clips of A Life’s Work and was taken by the quality of the images. “How did you find such great cinematographers?” she asked.

“A friend of a friend. That’s usually how it … actually, now that I think about it, I found them all through you!”

She was perplexed. Here’s how it went.

Wolfgang Held on the set of Tango Octogenario
Wolfgang Held on the set of Tango Octogenario. Photo by Peter LaMastro.

In the summer of 2001 my film 8 1/2 x 11 was accepted into the Woodstock Film Festival. Meryl, it turns out, had recently bought a weekend home in Woodstock  and I asked if I could stay with her the weekend my film showed, the third weekend in September, I believe it was. She didn’t hesitate for a second and the plans were finalized.

Then 9/11 happened. At the time I worked in Tribeca and I saw a great deal first hand. After that, the last thing I wanted to do was show my little comedy at a film festival. I called Meryl to tell her I wasn’t going to the festival, and she told me I had to, that I had to be there to see my baby. Meryl is a most inspiring person; it’s no accident she’s a good teacher. She convinced me to go. Not to get too far off track, but like everyone else there I felt weird about showing my film at that time, but there was something soothing about that festival. It was very much the right thing to do, to celebrate our ability to create and not succumb to the despair after witnessing our ability to destroy.

Andy Bowley amidst the ATA, Hat Creek, CA. Photo by me.
Andy Bowley amidst the ATA, Hat Creek, CA. Photo by me.

So, because Meryl told me I had to go, I became friends with a filmmaker, K. K., not too long afterwards, sent me an e-mail asking me if I’d be interested in being set up with her friend, R. I didn’t object. We became a couple and when I started looking for cinematographers for Tango Octogenario, she told me I should ask her friend, filmmaker and photographer Robert Palumbo, for recommendations. Both Wolfgang Held and Andy Bowley came via Robert.

Me and Thomas M. Harting, CSC, Mt. Lassen, CA. Photo by Danica Li Roth.
Me and Thomas M. Harting, CSC, Mt. Lassen, CA. Photo by Danica Li Roth.

And Tom Harting was Meryl’s doing, too. Through R. I socialized and eventually became very good friends with Roland Tec, and when I was searching for a d.p. in June 2008, Roland suggested Tom.

I’m not sure there’s a point to this story, except that maybe you can never really predict who is on the horizon of your life and how he or she is going to enter it.

8 Replies to “How Do You Find These People? The Cinematographers”

  1. Great story and so true…I’m finding all the right people I need for my show AND getting all the help re: bus. advice as well (including you David)…synchroncity…LOVE IT !

  2. Thanks for commenting Yvonne.

    It’s trite to paraphrase “The End” by the Beatles, but the help you get is equal to the help you give. So many people have helped me on this film so far, it is my pleasure to help whomever I can whenever I’m able.

    So glad to hear things are working out on the show. Rock on.

  3. Haroon,

    Thanks for leaving your comments.

    I replied, but now that reply is gone. It went something like this.

    I don’t know, the older I get the more I think things aren’t so much yes or no as yes and no.

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