Kathrin Asmus: I Am A Camera

Kathrin Asmus’s career aspirations came into focus at an early age when she discovered the joys a camera could bring.  Her love of writing developed later. She combines writing with Cinematography to create her art.  She definitely sees the world through a creative lens.  “I’m a Cinematographer and Writer whose originally from a small town in Austria, Europe.  I’ve been fascinated by cameras since I was a little kid. To this day I still remember the first time my parents let my sister and me take photos with a film camera and the followed excitement when we went to get the shots developed. I also remember the first time my father brought home a digital camera. I knew where he kept it, so I’d sneak it away to take photos. Eventually he noticed and gifted it to me for my birthday. Through the years I grew up teaching myself photography not only by learning and doing but also by educating myself on the topic. Cameras have always been an important part in my life and growing up around them has given me a great understanding on how to frame shots in an interesting way.” 

“My love for writing developed at a later stage in my life. While I’ve always been a creative kid who would make up her own stories or games, writing didn’t occur to me until I studied Filmmaking and realized that I love creating my own characters and universes.”  

“In general, I’d say I love exploring stories about people or relationships that are a little bit broken. Yet, I like underlining these stories with some sense of humor. I like taking a what I think is a raw and relatable view on life. Yes, the world can be pretty rough on us, but life is never just white or black – meaning it’s not just good or bad, there’s many colors in between that also deserve to be portrayed.”  

Moving to America was an intriguing prospect for Ms. Asmus for the opportunities, the people and the artistic diversity.  “I actually fell in love with the idea of living in the Unites States before I even knew that I want to work in film. I must have been around 15 years old when that dream started forming in my head. At that time, I had only been to the US once as a small kid and I can’t really put a finger on why I wanted to move there so bad. Maybe I was influenced by the fact that it was this big country full of mysteries to me where trends, brands, music and entertainment came from or that it’s known for giving people new beginnings. Either way, I ended up visiting the US more and more in my teenage and young adult years. The more I learned about it, the more I fell for it. It seemed full of endless possibilities and open-minded friendly people. I always felt like in the US I can be my most authentic self.  It just felt like the place to be. So when I later on realized I want to become a Cinematographer, Los Angeles felt like the right choice.” 

It’s the process and the collaboration that excites Ms. Asmus when working behind the camera as well as the visual landscape that the camera creates.  “I am and always will be fascinated by the entire process of filmmaking. On every set that I’ve been on I’ve encountered so many talented and passionate people that work extremely hard to achieve the best possible outcome. And it sounds so cliché but really every single one of them is needed to perfectionate their own craft and to in the end make the film what it is. When it comes to camera in particular, I love the idea of being able to use camera and lighting to create a specific mood and to explore a story in a deeper sense. Behind every little camera movement are so many hidden messages. Every small detail you show can convey so much information and every different chosen angle will help the viewer understand the emotion or use of a scene. I love getting in the headspace of a character and wondering what could represent their stead of mind in the best way possible. There are so many ways to subtly underline dialog and add subtle context. Playing around with these things really mesmerizes and excites me.”  

Ms. Asmus’s inspirations are some renowned directors who have worked in the genres that she favors.  “I’m a big fan of crime thrillers and dramedies. When I think and look at these genres there’s a couple of people I think of immediately. When it comes to directors there’s two that I really look up to. One of them is David Fincher. I’ve always been a big sucker for his work and I’ve seen all of his films several times. On a cinematography side of things, I absolutely love his often used blue and yellow color scheme. It’s something I’ve mimicked a few times before since it fits so well for darker settings. Another director who comes to my mind at the same time as Fincher is Jean-Marc Vallée. I’m still heartbroken about his recent passing. His work is so heart-felt, smart, raw but yet funny as well. Yves Bèlanger, who Jean-Marc often worked with is an absolute genius if you ask me. The way he captures a scene in so many interesting little details amazes me. The limited series Sharp Objects will always be one of my favorite pieces ever.”  

Ms. Asmus’s creative process involves collaboration and changes based on the work and the people working on the project.  She takes the vision and translates that into the visual.  “I think that a lot of times my creative process varies depending on the project and who I am working with. In the end even pre-production is a group effort and I’m a big believer in trying to understand a director’s vision before planning anything on my own. I think it’s important that both sides are involved and know what they want to achieve. Once a specific mood has been established, I usually think of and look for visual references that could be useful to achieve that specific look. I like creating collages of ideas that I can go  back to once I sit down and think about the Shotlist. For a detailed Shotlist and Floorplan I usually try talking with the director about intentions of every scene so that I can analyze them thoughtfully. Understanding what each character is going through will not only give you possible ideas for general shots but also every other detail such as for example lenses, depth of field, movement, and framing.”  

For writing Ms. Asmus derives creativity from movement and energy.  “When it comes to writing a lot of times my ideas take form while working out, especially while doing cardio. Walks around my neighborhood with music often help me too. I’m a very active person and getting outside always helps me to find solutions when I’m stuck 

somewhere. Something about keeping myself moving just makes it easier for me to drift off into my thoughts and letting ideas play out in my head.”  

 The pandemic has changed every facet of life.  As awful as it continues to be, Ms. Asmus feels it’s brought about positive changes to sets in terms of health, hygiene, and cleanliness.  “Besides the obvious such as wearing masks and categorizing cast and crew into different sections to manage a smoother and more distance-oriented environment, general beneficial precautions have been added that make sets safer. For example, in my opinion, having a specific person or two, assigned to the cast and crew’s health is something that could be very useful on every set – pandemic or not. It’s a basic human need to be able to reach out to an assigned contact person for possible health issues that occur during work hours. Furthermore, I do believe that the pandemic has led many sets to be more self-aware of hygiene measurements such as cleaning equipment more frequently – which I believe is a good thing since sets can often be very dirty playgrounds.”  

2022 started out in a very “enterprising” way for Ms. Asmus.  In addition to being beamed up to the Star Trek universe, she has film and writing projects galore to keep her busy for the foreseeable future.  “While 2021 has already been a busy year for me, 2022 seems to be even busier. For the last few months, I’ve been involved as Director Of Photography in a Star Trek related  Podcast starring Dominic Keating and Connor Trinner which has been such a delightful  experience.”  

“Additionally, I’m currently in the pre-production process of two short films that I’m  attached to as a Cinematographer. Both fall in the category of a dramedy and since that’s  one of my favorite genres to be part of I’m very grateful to be involved. It’s been a joyful  and loving atmosphere so far.” 

“There’s also a lot in the works when it comes to my own written projects. One of my  recently shot projects “Black Sunset” is currently in the post-production process. The first  pass of a fine cut has just been finished.  

Moreover, I’m also re-writing a dark comedy short of mine that I want to shoot as soon as  possible. It just needs a few more fixes before it can go into the pre-production process. On top of that, I’m also currently outlining a crime related limited series idea.”  Ms. Asmus is camera ready and writing her own ticket to success.


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