Men Who Built America (DP)


A  History network mini-series that blended character-driven narrative and documentary.  It followed the careers of America’s first industrial titans: JP Morgan, Andrew Carnegie, John Rockefeller, and Cornelius Vanderbilt. 

The main visual challenge was to create an epic look for the show — one that emotionally charted each man’s successes and failures.  I sought to avoid much of the grammar of contemporary storytelling in an attempt to evoke the turn of the century period. 

Sweeping vistas were revealed by crane, classically composed dolly shots helped actors command their environments, and low angles swelled the presence of our heroes.  Color-wise …Cool, underexposed exteriors gave texture to the soot-filled atmosphere of turn-of-the-century cities.  Warm, fire-lit interiors provided a counter-point to the dreary exteriors. 

Overall, an extremely ambitious project that was shot like a TV episodic but on a tighter schedule.  

An article on the cinematography appeared in Sound and Picture magazine, which can be read here: Sound and Picture July 31 2013