ASC Education & Outreach

Committee chair George Spiro Dibie, ASC (center, seated) with a visiting student discussion group at the ASC Clubhouse.

The ASC Education & Outreach committee programs a busy slate of free events for emerging filmmakers and industry professionals in an effort to promote greater understanding of the cinematographer’s craft.

To that end, ASC members volunteer their time to participate in panel discussions, Q&As and lighting/camera seminars at the historic ASC Clubhouse in Hollywood and at trade shows, schools, film festivals and other industry events around the world. 

Students from such schools as Loyola Marymount University, Tulane University, College of Southern Nevada, Queensland University of Technology (Australia), California State University-Fullerton, California State University-Northridge, UC Los Angeles, UC San Diego, George Washington University, New York University and Compass College of Cinematic Arts have visited the ASC Clubhouse to learn from this in-person interaction.

“The experience and knowledge we have gained over many years of hard work on the set is what
we’re offering them.” 

George Spiro Dibie, ASC

These events — entitled “Dialogue with ASC Cinematographers” — are programmed and moderated by Education & Outreach committee chair George Spiro Dibie, ASC — an award-winning cinematographer, veteran educator and the former president the International Cinematographers Guild. And for Dibie, creating these unique opportunities for film students — no matter their area of primary focus, whether it be cinematography, directing, producing or writing — to interact with members of the professional motion picture industry is a vital role for the ASC. “The experience and knowledge we have gained over many years of hard work on the set is what we’re offering them,” Dibie explains. "You can’t learn that from any book or by studying films, whether it is regarding the creative process or working relationships." 

The discussions are informal with no set agenda, and following brief introductions of the members of the panel Dibie has assembled on any given day, he immediately asks for questions from the students. “We’re there to honestly answer their questions, with no agenda or bias,” he says. “We just give them the truth; the reality of what it is to build a career, assemble a crew, collaborate on the set and — most importantly — to understand that everything cinematographers do is about understanding and telling the story visually. It can be a feature film or TV series or commercial or any other motion picture project. Everything we do — lighting, compositions, camera angles —  has to be about the story.”

Questions that are technical in nature are neither encouraged nor answered. “What difference does it make what camera or lens or lights I might have used for what I did?” Dibie asks. “You will probably not have those same tools that I did — and that's what they are, tools — so we try to instead focus on ideas and the methods of creating an image and the process of storytelling. That's what is truly unique to everyone; their perspective and their process. And if you can explore and understand that, then you can figure out all the technical stuff based on what you have to work with, including time and budget. So we do not address technical issues.”

ASC members Donald A. Morgan, Donald M. Morgan, Dean Cundey, George Spiro Dibie and James L. Carter talk with students visiting from Tulane University.

Here’s some of the feedback the ASC has received from students who have attended these Clubhouse discussion events:

“It was a truly incredible experience to meet members of the ASC and to hear everyone’s career paths and advice. It was really interesting to learn about where such talented people draw their inspiration and hear some of the challenges that cinematographers face, especially when creative differences come up between a cinematographer and a director, writer or actor. It was extremely generous for the panel members to take time out of their day to meet with us and to give back to the community.” — Keira Reiner

Thank you so much for arraigning our visit to the ASC Clubhouse. It was such a privilege to meet you and be part of the panel. I learned so much and have the utmost respect for what you and all the other members of the ASC do. I look forward to seeing the future accomplishments of the ASC from here on.” — Maude Reilly

Thank you for speaking with my group and allowing us to sit and listen to you and the other cinematographers. I enjoyed hearing about the various experiences you’ve had. I feel like they will help me a lot in the future. Thank you for commenting on my loud voice — it seems to be an advantage to have in the film industry. — Taylor Grodin

It was wonderful to meet you. Thank you so much for speaking to us and arraigning for the other cinematographers to sit down and answer our questions. It was amazing to experience the collective insight and knowledge from everyone. It was something I never thought I would be able to do. It was an honor to meet you all.” — Lauren E. Hall

Thank you so much for meeting with us at the American Society of Cinematographers. It was an honor to meet with you after the panel and I am excited to continue my journey through filmmaking after this class trip with Tulane University. I really enjoyed listening to your industry experiences and your advice on how to be an effective communicator. During the rest of our trip and visiting other production studios, I found myself thinking back on the discussion at the ASC. I found myself having strength behind my words as I wanted to communicate more clearly.” — Ashley Elizabeth Brown

“Your colleagues taught me a lot about filmmaking since I had never before had the fortune to meet cinematographers of your caliber. I really appreciate your willingness to share your knowledge and help out students like us. Thanks again, and please pass on my gratitude to Mr. Cundey, Mr. Carter and both Mr. Morgans [Donald A. and Donald M.]. — Nicholas Bonin

From left are participating ASC panel members Chuck Minsky, Michael D. O'Shea, Donald M. Morgan, George Spiro Dibie, James A. Chressanthis, Nathaniel Goodman and Peter Moss.

ASC members who have participated in these discussion group sessions includes Bill Bennett, Oliver Bokelberg, Stephen H. Burum, Patrick Cady, James L. Carter, James A. Chressanthis, Dean Cundey, David Darby, Steve Fierberg, Michael Goi, Nathaniel Goodman, Peter Levy, Stephen Lighthill, Paul Maibaum, Chuck Minsky, Donald A. Morgan, Donald M. Morgan, George Mooradian, Peter Moss, David Mullen, John Newby, Michael D. O’Shea, Daniel Pearl, David Perkal, Jaron Presant, Cynthia Pusheck, John Simmons, Ueli Steiger, John Toll, Amelia Vincent, Lisa Wiegand and Ken Zunder.

For more information about ASC Education & Outreach, email Patty Armacost or call (323) 969-4333.

The next “Dialogue with ASC Cinematographers”
events will take place at: 

TBA 

This all-star team of Society members held a “Dialogue with ASC Cinematographers” session at Cine Gear Expo in 2016 at the Sherry Lansing Theater on the Paramount Studios lot. They were (top row, from left) Daniel Pearl, David Perkal, Chuck Minsky, Michael Goi, Bill Bennett, James Neihouse, Dean Cundey, Guillermo Navarro, Lisa Weigand, moderator George Spiro Dibie, Donald A. Morgan, Dave Klein and Cynthia Pusheck. Photo by George Leon.
This all-star team of Society members held a “Dialogue with ASC Cinematographers” session at Cine Gear Expo in 2016 at the Sherry Lansing Theater on the Paramount Studios lot. They were (top row, from left) Daniel Pearl, David Perkal, Chuck Minsky, Michael Goi, Bill Bennett, James Neihouse, Dean Cundey, Guillermo Navarro, Lisa Weigand, moderator George Spiro Dibie, Donald A. Morgan, Dave Klein and Cynthia Pusheck. Photo by George Leon.