It’s often a difficult and stressful process finding your first job out of college — no matter what line of work you’re in. That’s why it is essential to network and ask around to the people you know best. With one of the New York Film Academy Cinematography program’s recent graduates, Jeremy Harris, he was able to parlay his relationship with the program’s chair, Tony Richmond, into an Assistant to the Director of Photography position on a major motion picture.
Richmond has an extensive background in cinematography, having worked on major productions like “The Sandlot,” “Legally Blonde,” “Men of Honor” and countless others. While serving as chair of the program, Richmond continues to work in the field. His upcoming Director of Photography work will be on the film “Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul,” with his former student at his side.
We caught up with Jeremy Harris to find out how he landed the role with Mr. Richmond and what his plans are while on set and in the future.
How did this position come about?
This position came about a month or so before graduation. Our class was with Tony on a production workshop. We were on lunch break, if I can recall, and Tony asked me if I had family in Atlanta, which I do. Then he mentioned he may be working on a film there and wondered if it went through would I want to go with him. Obviously I couldn’t refuse, especially seeing that it’s another opportunity to learn even more from one of the best, and someone who unconsciously shaped my childhood with “The Sandlot.”
Can you tell me a little bit about the role you have with Tony and on-set?
My position on set is Assistant to the Director of Photography. I assume it will be something similar to a Camera PA but whatever the job calls for, I am overly excited and willing to take part in this production.
What do you expect to achieve / learn from this position?
This will be my first feature set I’m taking part in, so I know there will be a lot of learning coming with the territory. Being with Tony every step of the way will definitely allow for some needed new knowledge and skills as an aspiring cinematographer; but I love operating and gripping as well, so I will definitely be keeping a watchful eye on those positions on set and ready with plenty of questions. I will be surrounded by nothing but experienced professionals on set, so I plan on soaking in all the information I can — especially set etiquette and procedures — because I take pride in not wasting time or money on set.
Is your goal to be the main cinematographer on feature films? Is there any style or genre that you prefer?
Yes, my goal is to be the main cinematographer on feature films. I started out as a news and documentary camera operator, which helped me transition into film and I still have a love and passion for operating, but cinematographer is the main objective. Outside of feature films I’ve had a growing interest in creating art installations.
How would you describe your overall experience in the NYFA Cinematography program?
Honestly, I loved every minute of my time in the cinematography program. I’ve learned so much over the course of these two years that I would have never thought I could possibly retain. I think NYFA has the best group of cinematographers to not only instruct us but prepare each and every person that comes through that program for life, in general. This has been the best decision I’ve made in my life.
Are you working on any films of your own that you’d like to share with us?
I recently DP’d a close friend’s thesis that I would love for people to see. I think the story is amazing and very touching. The title is “1 Chance” and I think it is a great representation of the times, and really gives the audience hope in the world we live in today. Other than that, I am really focusing on learning a lot from this upcoming experience with Tony Richmond and coming back to Los Angeles — or wherever I may land — and applying my knowledge and skills to all endeavors to come.