Reading Roger Deakins

THE VILLAGE, Roger Deakins, 2004, (c) Buena Vista


Here is a lovely piece – not an interview, but a profile – on the terrific cinematographer, Roger Deakins, by way of reading Deakins’ blog. By Noah Gallagher Shannon in The Paris Review.

Read the piece by clicking on the link at the bottom.  Meanwhile, a few quotes from the article:

…The highest achievement a cinematographer can garner, Deakins says, is to have his or her work go unnoticed. If the viewer is made aware of a frame’s composition, the thinking goes, they’re taken out of the narrative, maybe not unlike a reader noticing a novel’s font as they stumble over a cluster of adjectives. A cinematographer should have style, in other words, but only in service of story. Deakins puts it this way: “people confuse pretty with good cinematography.”

…Asked by “rileywoods,” a film student, how he came to master lighting, Deakins replies, “I have been lucky over the years and have been pretty constantly working.” He continues, “I do think observing is important in learning”—meaning, observing the world, not others at work. In a recent thread about how to create the look of a thunderstorm, film students go back and forth on the right diffusion gels and light screens before Deakins chimes in with a one-sentence solution: “You could always shoot at night.”

…Which is partly why I understand him to mean it humbly when he says he’d rather have his art go unnoticed; as a cinematographer, it’s professionally unwise to develop a recognizable style. But now that I’ve read Deakins blog for a few years, I also understand how he might mean it artistically, and honestly so. How having one’s work go unnoticed might in fact be an achievement.

Master of Light

Business Is Business


Philip Morley, a custom woodworker in Austin, recently wrote a short, concise article in Fine Woodworking Magazine explaining how he prices his work using just three main points – based on three main mistakes.

Morley builds and designs his furniture by himself, manages his own website and social media (with 41,000 followers on Instagram), does his own billing, and works directly with clients. Literally, a one-man shop.

Everyone who works for themselves struggles with pricing, no matter their level of experience or number of employees. Replace with “furniture” with “photography” or “graphic design” or even “accounting” and it’s all the same.  He writes:

“First, I have learned to be direct and open with clients.”
Morley says his style of high-touch communication results in clients being sympathetic about why his work has the monetary value he places on it. That sympathy leads directly to sales.

“Second, I have become much more careful with regard to pricing materials.”
Wood, saws, and drills (or computers, cameras, and internet): it’s all about fixed costs, and if you don’t get a handle on those items, the result may mean you will be working for someone else in the future, at which point fixed costs become your employer’s problem, and you’re collecting paychecks instead of producing invoices.

“Last, I no longer even try to calculate what I am making per hour.”
Hourly rates are how some some clients calculate what they believe is a fair price while entrepreneurs have to justify fees that accurately reflect their cost of doing business.  See points One and Two.

It’s not a false analogy to say that Morley’s product – furniture – is similar to any entrepreneur’s product.  Business is business, product is product, and the logic behind how an entrepreneur stays in business is just the same. The price is the price.

Read the article here:

I WORK FROM HOME – from the New Yorker

If you are a solo entrepreneur, work from home, or know someone who is a solo entrepreneur who works from home, well, here is the real real life (but funny).  By Colin Nissan: