Chapter 8 of 19 from Spike Lee

Collaborating With Your Director of Photography

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Learn what to look for in a director of photography, including how to “audition” a DP and how to create a plan of action, once you’ve found the right collaborator.

Topics include: Audition Your Director of Photography • Your DP Should Elevate Your Vision Find a Flexible, Efficient DP • Plan Ahead and Know Your Shots • Crawl Before You Walk

Learn what to look for in a director of photography, including how to “audition” a DP and how to create a plan of action, once you’ve found the right collaborator.

Topics include: Audition Your Director of Photography • Your DP Should Elevate Your Vision Find a Flexible, Efficient DP • Plan Ahead and Know Your Shots • Crawl Before You Walk

Spike Lee

Spike Lee Teaches Independent Filmmaking

Academy Award–winning filmmaker Spike Lee teaches his approach to directing, writing, and producing.

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Make films with an impact

Spike Lee didn’t just direct his award-winning 1986 feature debut, She’s Gotta Have It. He was also the writer, star, truck driver, location scout, electrician, and caterer—because that’s what it took to get his film made. In his first-ever online class, the visionary behind Do the Right Thing, Malcolm X, and BlacKkKlansman lets you in on his uncompromising approach to filmmaking. Learn about writing, self-producing, working with actors, and making movies that break down barriers.

Spike Lee opens the doors of his Brooklyn office to teach filmmaking through scripts and storyboards from some of his greatest films.

A downloadable workbook accompanies the class with lesson recaps, assignments, and supplemental material.

Upload videos to get feedback from the class. Spike will answer select student questions.

Reviews

4.7
Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars.

Each and every lesson with Mr Lee was highly fulfilling and exceeded well beyond my expectations. I look forward to pulling from my overflow of notes and putting everything I've learned into practice! Thanks again for all you do for us Spike! Now it's time to run it back!!

WHEWWW! SPIKE- It may be hard being the "Battering Ram" But Someone must... Thank uuuuu Loved working with u in Malcom X

It has inspired me a lot!!! Congrats to Spike and his outstanding advices and speech about cinema and life!!! thank you man!

I just appreciate the way that Spike interweaved stories about life and history into his masterclass. It was more than just a "how to" course. It covered a lot of the "why" we do.

Comments

Sophia E.

I’m aiming to be a DP. Women behind the camera is rare. I would like to change the games.

Max D.

At 5:27 on the subtitles they wrote “inaudible”... Spike said “Storaro”. Vincenzo Storaro, a 3 Oscar prize winner as DP

Jim C.

"You have to get your day." That's what it comes down to. Coming off shorts to my first feature (Donovan's Echo) was such a vastly different experience. I had storyboarded most of the screenplay, only to realize that there just wasn't the luxury of time (4 week shoot) for the setups I conceived, especially with the multiple locations that my partner and I had written. In the end, we got what we needed, but it was an important learning experience that I had to go through firsthand as a filmmaker to fully appreciate the challenges that arise on a day-to-day basis. I looking forward to taking those lessons learned, and Spike's great advice into my next production.

Eduardo

I often realize that directors or producers sometimes forget that the most important thing about a film is its history. You can have beautiful photography, million-dollar effects, fantastic actors. If the story, or the way of telling it is weak, everything else becomes absolutely meaningless. As a writer, photographer and aspiring director, I always try to keep in mind that story is the most important thing and that all the other available resources have to be at the service of it. Innovations, style, mannerisms, all this comes with time, of course. Have the focus on story. And, of course, try to use the best resources available to tell that story. Great lesson.

Damon D.

I used a lookbook on my last project. Really helped my DP understand where I was going. Great stuff! Love this Masterclass!

Michael D.

WOW, I don't mean to sway off topic classmates, but I just finished watching the film "Blackklansman," and what a piece of brilliant filmmaking. Amazing, brilliant, and hope fully will provide mush needed discussion about race relations in this country. BRAVO, Mr. Spike Lee. I Love the way you not only made a great film, but also provided us with a prism to look at history.

Deborah R.

I like the idea of using a Look Book to prepare before shooting. It's similar to a test to see if you and your DP are sharing the same vision and what the DP brings to the table to enhance the vision.

Loue G.

Best lesson . it is happened with me when i try to chose my team and we go with shooting ...it is very different when your DOP tall you and you see him on the floor . i can also tell that ,,is not enough to see his work , you should try him also , and i know it will take a lot of work , but also you will save a lot of time and work

Jaime F.

DPs who want perfect become the enemy to done! Finding the balance in getting someone who understands your vision and then elevates it while not making a fuzz and being efficient is the key in working with the right DP. One has to do the work as a Director to communicate one's vision well based on the shots and style they are aiming for.

Ray U.

Audition everybody, wow. Hire DP’s who have more experience than you. You have to be very rigorous and diligent with people who you are entrusting with ‘the look of the film’. Someone who can elevate your visual sense! I loved hearing Ernest Dickerson talk. DP needs to be fast. Hit it and quit it. Plan ahead. The look book! Boycott Sal’s! Learn the basics first!