Directors of Photography — are they really less important than writers?
Dear IMDB Community,
something has bugged me for years.
As an actor, I know that movie-goers are always keen to know who "the stars" are — so it makes sense that a handful of them always make it onto the top of the main page for any film. And, of course, more discerning movie-goers (and finaciers) love to know who the director is. So they get top IMDB billing too. And then, of course, we couldn't do it without the writers — who, I suppose, deserve a good deal of credit for the intellectual inspiration for any film.
Who's missing from this list?
OK. Well, here's my take on it.
Cinema is a visual art. Since the earliest days of film, the people who tell the story are the people who assemble the shots. No doubt the editor (more often than not, under directorial supervision) is key to this process. But editors could not possibly assemble shots if they had not, in the first place been planned, lit and filmed by a visionary cinematographer — or Director of Photography.
Like the rest of the unit, these work under supervision of the director — but here's the thing: if, under inspired direction, a "star" should happen to give the performance of his/her little life, it will still go entirely unnoticed without the craft of a great photographer to catch it, light it, frame it, and DWELL on it — not just missed by the editor but, ultimately, by the audience — and the film WILL FAIL.
So can someone please explain to me: why, on IMDB, does a DoP not get second billing — right under the name of the director?
In my opinion (as an actor and would-be "star"), the cinematographer is second ONLY to the director in ensuring, through their craft, the ultimate success and endurance of any film.
Of course, without a great producer, capable of raising finance, many great films never get shot. But the SHOTS depend on the DoP.
Who's with me?
Can we not offer cinematographers a prime spot on the front page of any IMDB listing?