The Cinematography Podcast Episode 256: Greg Irwin

Gregory Irwin is an extremely experienced A Camera First AC who first got into the business 44 years ago. He received a 2016 Society of Camera Operators Lifetime Achievement Award for Outstanding Contributions as Camera Technician. His most recent project is the Joker sequel Joker: Folie à Deux coming soon.

Greg frequently gives talks on the importance of character and credibility in the camera department. The camera department is in a leadership role on any production. There’s always going to be challenges on set, but it’s important to remember that if the camera department seems like they’re panicking, it affects the rest of the production. A good camera department is always helpful, no matter what department needs it. Never be rude or show panic, even when things aren’t going to plan. Greg says, “I want my team to know everything at all times, and I want them to be better than me. If I can develop a young camera person into a rock solid, good human being as well as a good camera technician then I’ve done my job.”

Greg discusses:

  • Character and credibility in the camera department- remembering you are in a leadership role
  • Taking a business approach to the camera department
  • Interacting with the director, cinematographer, producers and showrunners
  • How to hire others in the camera department- be sure to vet your camera crew before hiring them
  • Be a “one minute manager”- choose people you don’t have to micromanage
  • Handling the first phone calls with the filmmakers and producers: save talk about rates, money, deals until about the 4th phone call so you can get to know the person who you’re negotiating with
  • Generally talk rates/business aspects for your camera team as well
  • Prep for the camera prep day: prep should already be done ahead, including what you need for your camera package
  • Prep and budget: build everything you need for prep based on meetings with the filmmakers & DP, timestamp prep lists to keep track of everything. By draft 10, you should be clear on what’s needed and camera budget should be very clear at that point
  • Look the part- better to dress like a professional
  • Be organized and don’t have a sense of entitlement
  • How to get noticed and move up in the camera department

Find Greg Irwin

Close Focus: An article in Variety takes a close look at how streaming services overspent on content. Meanwhile, YouTube has grown to be the most watched entertainment provider online.

Ben’s short end: Jodorowsky’s Dune, a documentary that came out in 2014, is available on Max. Director Alejandro Jodorowsky tried to adapt Dune in 1974, 10 years before David Lynch’s Dune. It was never made, but his creative and casting choices set the stage for a ripple effect into other movies. Visual effects artists Dan O’Bannon and H.R. Giger were introduced by him, and later made Alien together.

Illya’s short end: Hacks Season 3 is back on Max.

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Podcast Credits:

Producer: Alana Kode

All web and social media content written by Alana Kode

Host and editor in Chief:  Illya Friedman

Instagram: @illyafriedman @hotrodcameras

Host: Ben Rock

Twitter: @neptunesalad

Instagram: @bejamin_rock

Editor: Ben Katz

Composer: Kays Al-Atrakchi

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