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ASC Master Classes Return to In Person Workshops

ASC Master Classes Return to In Person Workshops

The ASC (The American Society of Cinematographers) has been putting on its in-person master class courses for a long time now. In fact, part of its core mission is to provide continuous learning opportunities for both its members and the greater filmmaking community. On top of the education, participants are able to network and brush shoulders with some of the greatest cinematographers in filmmaking history.

When the pandemic halted in-person classes and meetups, ASC members did exactly what cinematographers do best: they adapted to the situation and used every available resource they had to keep the show going.

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Screengrabs from the December 2020 virtual master class I attended

So in place of the Los Angeles-based master classes, ASC offered remote, online classes to anyone in the world. In some ways, this was almost a blessing in disguise, because just about anyone could take advantage of this incredible opportunity to learn from master DPs, at least temporarily until the in-person classes resumed.

In fact, I attended one of the remote ASC master classes, and it was a thrilling three days of live interactions and presentations from DPs who shot the movies we all grew up with. Capped at only 30 students, there were filmmakers from all walks of life and levels of experience. But for those three days, we were equals as we shared a virtual space with cinematographers who were like superheroes to us.

ASC In Person Master Classes

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The ASC Clubhouse. Image source: ASC

Earlier this year, ASC returned to its renowned in-person events at the historic ASC Clubhouse. If you’re in Los Angeles, the first ASC open house since 2019 is actually happening on Saturday, September 24. In addition to rubbing shoulders with ASC members, you’re also invited to get the new Cine Lens Manual book signed (we interviewed author Jay Holben at NAB 2022 – check it out here).

But without a doubt, the signature in-person event is the ASC Master Class, a 5-day hands-on workshop that is designed for cinematographers with intermediate to advanced skills. Your resume is carefully considered before you can get granted admission to a class. There are live demonstrations of lighting and camera techniques, guidance on current workflow practices, and analysis of feature films.

Limited to only 30 participants, the ASC Master Classes are held in Los Angeles, at the ASC Clubhouse as well as nearby production and post-production facilities. But from time to time, ASC also puts on International Master Classes in partnership with ARRI. There’s no international event currently available to register for, but recent classes have been held in Toronto, Beijing, São Paulo, Bogota, Mexico City, and New York City.

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2016 ASC Master Class in Toronto. Image source: ASC

What do you learn in an ASC Master Class?

Here’s what the ASC has to say about the Master Class program:

Enrolling in the ASC Master Class will enable you to hone your craft while making valuable professional connections that can jump-start your career. Prominent Society members and associates serve as instructors, offering invaluable insights not only on the creative and technical aspects of the cinematographer’s profession but on business-related topics as well.

ASC

Although each class is different, here are some of the topics and activities you might expect from a class:

  • Interactive lighting and shooting demonstrations
  • Presentations about cameras, lenses, sensors and future technologies
  • Engagement with ASC Members, ASC Associate Members and Sponsors
  • Shooting with an LED wall, visual effects with green screen compositing, blending live action with CGI
  • Color grading workshop, along with discussion on color science
  • Analysis of cinematography from notable films of the past
  • Panels and conversations with ASC members and agents on the business of cinematography
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Robert Yeoman, ASC takes questions during the May 2022 session. Image credit: ASC

The 5-day master classes cost $3,250 to attend (with a $1,800 deposit upfront), and given the classes are 8 hours per day with world-class DPs walking you through live demonstrations, it seems like a worthy investment to me.

But understandably, it’s not for everyone, especially if you have to travel a long distance to LA. However, because ASC limits participation to cinematographers who have an intermediate to advanced level of experience, the classes can be focused on developing skills and knowledge that can really take a working DP to the next level.

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David Stockton, ASC (center) talks with students during a session held at the ASC Clubhouse in May of 2022. Image source: ASC

Each class has a cap for the number of participants, to keep the class size small and let everyone have an opportunity to engage. In addition to the students, a very generous number of ASC members join the class throughout the 5-day master class. It’s really a treat to be able to converse with cinematographers who have worked on some of the most iconic films in history. To us filmmakers, these are our heroes, which makes it so special to be able to learn directly from them.

Upcoming ASC Master Class – October 17-21, 2022

The next available master class is coming up in a few weeks. The full schedule and instructors haven’t been confirmed yet, but Autumn Durald Arkapaw (Loki, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever) will be one of the presenters. You can read more about her in this ASC profile.

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Autumn Durald Arkapaw, ASC. Image source: ASC

You can typically count on a great variety of ASC members to lead panels and demonstrations. As an example, here are the instructors from last week’s (Sept 12-16, 2022) ASC Master Class:

Armando Salas, ASC (Griselda, Ozark, Strange Angel, The Terminal List) Craig Kief, ASC (Muppets, The Unicorn, The Kids Are Alright, Tour de Pharmacy) Jon Joffin, ASC (Beyond, Big Sky, Motherland: Fort Salem, Titans) Patrick Cady, ASC (Bosch, Girlfight, Insecure, Rectify) Robert McLachlan, ASC, CSC (Game of Thrones, Lovecraft, Ray Donovan, Westworld) Michael Pessah, ASC (Joshua Tree 1951: A Portrait of James Dean, Saving Flora, Scandalous) Chris Probst, ASC and Jay Holben (Lens Testing Demonstration).

After the October Master Class, the next 5-day session will be held November 7-11, 2022. Here’s a continually updated page with the ASC Master Class info, and I also encourage you to join the ASC email newsletter for the latest announcements – the signup is at the footer of ASC’s website.

If you can’t learn in-person – why MZed Pro exists

There’s nothing that can substitute for hands-on, in-person learning, and the ASC Master Classes are some of the best opportunities out there for you to advance your filmmaking skills. MZed also started as in-person education, and even today many of the online courses at MZed actually came from in-person workshops, such as Vincent Laforet’s Direction Motion, Alex Buono’s Art of Visual Storytelling and Visual Storytelling 2, and The Art and Technique of Film Editing with Tom Cross, ACE. I know how important in-person workshops are, which is why it’s so wonderful that ASC is continuing to invest in live learning.

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Image source: ASC

But not everyone can attend in-person workshops, especially if you have to travel across the world to get there. That’s precisely why MZed Pro was born, to give everyone the opportunity to learn filmmaking, with access to a wide variety of courses, no matter where they are. That’s also why ARRI Academy brought their exclusive certified in-person training to an online experience, exclusively on MZed.

Realistically, no one course or workshop will ever be enough. Continual education is important in every field, but especially in the ever-evolving world of filmmaking. Never stop learning!

What else do you get with MZed Pro?

As an MZed Pro member, you also get access to over 300 hours of filmmaking education, plus we’re constantly adding more courses (several in production right now).

For just $30/month (billed annually at $349), here’s everything you’ll get:

  • 40+ courses, over 600 high-quality lessons spanning over 300 hours of learning.
  • Highly produced courses from educators who have decades of experience and awards, including a Pulitzer Prize and an Academy Award.
  • Unlimited access to stream all the content during the 12 months.
  • Offline download and viewing with the MZed iOS app.
  • Discounts to ARRI Academy online courses, exclusively on MZed.
  • The majority of our courses provide an industry-recognized certificate upon completion.
  • Purchasing the courses outright would cost over $7,500.
  • Course topics include cinematography, directing, lighting, cameras, and lenses, producing, indie filmmaking, writing, editing, color grading, audio, and even how to launch a YouTube channel.
  • 7-day money back guarantee if you decide it’s not for you.

Join MZed Pro now and start watching today!

Image source: MZed

Full disclosure: MZed is owned by CineD.

Are you considering attending an in-person workshop? Let us know in the comments below!

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