Faculty Spotlight: Professor Paolo Cascio, Cinematographic Arts – College of the Arts

Professor Paolo Cascio is an award-winning cinematographer / photographer with 35 years of experience on over 120 Hollywood feature films, TV series, commercials, music videos and documentaries. He received a Photojournalism Award and an Emerging Cinematography Award, while leading workshops and webinars at Cameraimage, APU and Zagreb, Croatia with Bill Butler and Oliver Stapleton!

What projects, if any, are you currently working on? Please tell us a bit about it.

I am a brand ambassador for several lighting and photography companies, including Stella Pro Lights, where I help with webinars showcasing new equipment. I recently did a webinar for B&H at the Galileo Stage in June which was a huge success! We set it up as a live TV show, with five 4K cameras, switches, Bryce Simon, and support helping to bring it all together during the pandemic. This Galileo scene is really top notch, it’s really phenomenal what we can do about it. This is a great testament to APU, being on the cutting edge of technology, investing in these tools and equipment, and having staff / faculty showing students how to benefit from them.

I am also trying to get a photographic journal published. It has been a 10 year labor of love, documenting my experience in finding and honoring the last survivors of Pearl Harbor. The really exciting thing this summer was to be contacted by the Chief Historian of Historic Parks of the Pacific in Oahu at Pearl Harbor. They are very interested in me as the official photographer for their 80th birthday this December 7th!

What is your advice to someone pursuing a career in the field you teach?

When I was working for Oprah Winfrey, Alex Haley once told me on set, “We work and live in a very powerful and influential industry. Be aware of the choices you make, as this will determine where you end up. Sometimes it’s better to say no to good opportunities that are bad than to say yes for the money. I had to make a lot of personal sacrifices to stay true to my divine standards, and I even ended up living in my car as a result. I like to say: “it is not the height of logic, but the depth of conviction”.

What are you passionate about teaching your particular subject?

The biggest reward is seeing these kids learn the process of filmmaking and storytelling. They can pull something out of the imagination and bring it to life. We take people on a journey to find out what we have to offer. At the end of the semester, we have a first night to celebrate them. Also encourage students to embrace the process and not get discouraged. The sooner they embrace this, the more daring and courageous they become with the things they do. My father always told me: “a calm sea never made a skilful sailor.” You have to take up challenges to learn how to navigate better.

Do you have any study advice for students taking your courses?

[I like to ask my students,] what kind of movies and shows inspire you? What turns you on and makes you feel this attraction? Look at them! Turn off the sound and study the composition, camera angles and close-ups. Watch how the camera moves or doesn’t move. Observe the rhythm of the editing, observe the lines of the eyes, where people are looking. Then turn on the sound and listen to how the music emphasizes things. How do these things make you react emotionally? The other thing is, the more students master the equipment, the more they can let go and focus on their creativity and their craft.

www.paolocascio.com | www.imdb.com/name/nm014314 | www.youtube.com/paolocascio

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