April 19, 2024

Amy Vincent ASC on A Nice Indian Boy, Hustle & Flow, Eve’s Bayou

Amy Vincent, ASC did not originally set out to become a cinematographer. While studying veterinary medicine at UC Santa Cruz, she got a work study job hanging lights for the theater department. She fell in love with the creative art of lighting, and soon transitioned to the theater arts department. Amy found her natural affinity for math and science matched the skill set needed for technical theater production. She began making short films at UCSC, moving to Los Angeles after college to pursue a career in film. Amy’s first job was as an assistant editor, but she really wanted to work in the camera department. So she began working her way up from camera intern to camera assistant, working with notable DPs such as Bill Pope on Clueless and Robert Richardson on Natural Born Killers.

A few years into her career as a camera assistant, Amy decided to go to grad school at AFI. She shot many student short films for free before meeting writer and director Kasi Lemmons. Amy could tell from page one that the script for Eve’s Bayou was something personal and special. They made the short film together, then over the course of three years, Lemmons raised enough money and interest to turn Eve’s Bayou into a feature. It was Amy’s first movie as a cinematographer and it became her first big breakout.

One of Amy’s frequent collaborators was director Craig Brewer. She was given a copy of his first film on VHS, then the two met to discuss making 2005’s Hustle & Flow. “I think the beauty of where my collaboration with Craig and the process of making the movie was what the movie was about. The two folded over on each other. I mean, it’s the idea of making music or making a movie by whatever means necessary. And there was something that became so apparent in the process. For example, we tried on a whole bunch of different formats, like, what are we going to shoot? At one point we were going to shoot Mini DV, because that’s what Craig knew and then we settled into Super 16.” She and Brewer went on to work together on Black Snake Moan and the 2011 Footloose remake.

Throughout her career, Amy has enjoyed collaborating with directors on smaller movies. Her most recent project, A Nice Indian Boy, had a very low budget and it had to be shot quickly before the actors strike. “It is so cool to have a really funny rom com that’s gay and Indian. It would have been great to have more time and more money to make that movie, but I love all of the things that came together to make this simple little movie. It’s really important to me to be able to make a movie that means something to a slightly different community.”

Amy recently received the ASC Presidents Award, which recognizes her long career as a cinematographer and a mentor to new cinematographers. She’s also an artist in residence at Loyola Marymount University, where she teaches film classes and mentors students making short films.

You can see Amy’s recent work on the show Parish with Giancarlo Esposito on AMC+.

A Nice Indian Boy premiered at the SXSW Film Festival to critical acclaim, and is seeking distribution.

Find Amy Vincent: https://www.amyvincentasc.com/
Instagram: @amyvvincent

Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras www.hotrodcameras.com

The Cinematography Podcast website: www.camnoir.com
Facebook: @cinepod
Instagram: @thecinepod
Twitter: @ShortEndz

March 13, 2024

House of Ninjas showrunner and executive producer Dave Boyle

The Netflix series House of Ninjas has become a hit show, rising to #1 in the streaming service’s top 10 list. The story follows the Tawara family, who have been ninjas, or shinobi, for generations. Tragically, the oldest son and brother disappeared six years before in a battle with their rivals, leading the Tawaras to stop being ninjas. But the family must fight together again as the rival clan gets more powerful and threatens the entire country.

Showrunner Dave Boyle was first brought on as showrunner for House of Ninjas by an executive at Netflix Japan, who knew he was familiar with the culture. Dave’s second language is Japanese, which he studied as a Mormon missionary in Australia. He had written and directed a few independent Japanese American and Japanese language films, such as Man from Reno, Daylight Savings and Surrogate Valentine, which all took place in the U.S. This was his first experience with shooting anything in Japan. He was drawn to the tone of House of Ninjas, which combines both drama, action and violence with comedy and warmhearted playfulness. “Tone was the reason why we all wanted to make this project. It’s more than the plot mechanics and the story. It was all about creating this atmosphere, this tone that an audience could sink into and enjoy for many, many episodes. And so I think that tone was something that we were talking about from the very, very get-go and something that we really wanted to nail and get right.”

Once he was on board, Dave began working on the preproduction and show bible for House of Ninjas. The show bible had to be written in three weeks, which is a very fast process, especially since Dave knew the show’s foundation required a deep understanding of shinobi culture and history. He found the preproduction process in Japan to be much different from the U.S., with casting happening even before the show’s scripts were written. The script format in Japan read from right to left, and the top half of the page is left blank for the director to draw storyboards and a shotlist, as a clear way for the director to show what they’re planning to do.

House of Ninjas is available on Netflix.

Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras www.hotrodcameras.com
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The Cinematography Podcast website: www.camnoir.com
Facebook: @cinepod
Instagram: @thecinepod
Twitter: @ShortEndz