Faculty Spotlight: Professor Paolo Cascio, Cinematic Arts

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

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

I am a brand ambassador for several Lighting and Photography companies, including Stella Pro Lights, where I help with Webinars featuring new equipment. I just recently did a webinar for B&H at the Galileo Stage in June, which was a huge success! We set it up like a live television show, with five 4K cameras, switchers, Bryce Simon and assistance helping to pull it all together during the Pandemic. That Galileo Stage is really top notch, it’s really phenomenal what we can do in there. It’s a great testimony to APU, being on the cutting edge of technology, investing in these tools and equipment, and having the staff/faculty showing students how to benefit from it.

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

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

When I used to work for Oprah Winfrey, Alex Haley once said to me on set, “We work and live in a very powerful and influential industry. Be mindful of the choices you make, because it will determine where you end up.” Sometimes saying no to good opportunities that are bad is better than saying yes for the money. I have had to make a lot of personal sacrifices to stand on my godly principles, 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 makes you passionate about teaching your particular subject?

The greatest reward is watching these kids learn the process of filmmaking and storytelling. They can take something out of the imagination and make it come to life. We get to take people on a journey to experience what we put out there. At the end of the semester, we have a premiere night celebrating them. Also encouraging students to embrace the process and not get discouraged. The sooner they embrace that, the more they get bold and brave with the things they do. My dad always used to say to me, “a calm sea never made a skillful sailor.” It takes going through challenges to learn how to navigate better.

Do you have a study tip for students who take your courses?

[I like to ask my students,] what kind of movies and shows inspire you? What gets you excited and makes you feel that pull? Watch them! Turn the sound off and study composition, camera angles and close ups. Watch how the camera moves or doesn't move. Watch the pacing of the editing, watch eye lines, where people are looking. Then turn the sound on and listen to how the music emphasizes things. How do these things make you emotionally respond? The other thing is, the more the students master the equipment, the more they can let go, and focus on their creativity and artistry.

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

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