Skating to the Puck

There’s been a lot spoken and written about the passing of Steve Jobs in the last few months, but I’d like to offer one more example of how attitude and purpose of vision can make all the difference in one’s career. Jobs, talking at the 2007 Macworld Conference and Expo about how Apple products have stayed ahead of the curve, famously quoted Wayne Gretsky, who advised to, “skate where the puck’s going, not where it’s been.”A nice cliché, perhaps; much like “the future’s so bright I have to wear shades,” or  “this brave new world” upon us? But the reality, especially after witnessing last month’s unveiling of Canon’s new Cinema EOS camera system, is that we’re all chasing elusively fast objectives, with anticipation being the best hope for success. Canon’s commitment to finding a place in this industry is impressive, but it will also have a wonderful by-product for filmmakers: it will force other companies to innovate right alongside them.

True, this unparalleled burst in new technology will make life more interesting, but it will also underscore the challenge for the newer members of this Guild. How do you get noticed in an already crowded and talented field? Standing out has never been more important to finding work, which is just one of the reasons why this Guild has poured so much time, energy and effort into making the Emerging Cinematographers Awards a premiere showcase event that can act as a springboard for our newest members.

It’s ironic, but our industry is both growing and shrinking in equal measures. And when you’re skating toward where the puck is going to be, one has to look at both the contraction and the expansion to figure out what is the best way to practice this art we all love. In the old days, we called building a career, “putting film through a camera.” In today’s changing landscape, that usually means laying down electronic digits. But it’s all in the service of the same goal: creating beautiful images.

As president of this Guild, over the last five years, I’ve had the great pleasure of seeing so many talented members rise out of the camera ranks to pursue their dreams. They do it through tenacity, persistence, professionalism, and a drive that is characteristic of youth pushing the boundaries of what came before. As a somewhat (cue the throat clearing sound) “seasoned” professional, I could be envious of that youthful drive. Or I could harness all that new juice to renew my own commitment to why I started making movies in the first place. I choose the latter because it’s just a whole lot more fun!


Steven Poster, ASC
National President
International Cinematographers Guild
IATSE Local 600

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