Creative Cow forum host: John Sharaf
COW Leaders : John SharafCreative COW Forum Host
We're pleased to introduce Creative Cow members to John Sharaf. "He has been a genuine asset to the site since the day he began posting," says Kathlyn Lindeboom, director of Creative Cow. "Both Ron and I noticed his posts the day he started coming here to the site and with each day's visit, our respect for him just grew and grew. So one day I wrote him and asked if he would like to join the Cow's leadership team -- he agreed and today, John is a respected member of the team in both our Cinematography and Lighting Design forums. His participation in each of these communities is much appreciated by our members and his depth and breadth of experience is clear from the insights he shares."
About himself, John says: "I’ve been a freelance cinematographer, camera operator and lighting director primarily for the network news magazines since 1979. Before that I went to film school at UCLA, where I received a BA & MFA in Cinema. Shortly after graduation I was lucky enough to shoot a Documentary Short Subject that won an Academy Award (1976) and that opened the door to several assignments at CBS Reports, doing hour long television documentaries. I made the transition from film to tape in 1984 when one of my 16mm film clients, '60 Minutes' did the same. Since then I’ve worked on every news magazine at CBS & ABC News and many others elsewhere."
How a man fascinated by feature films came to be a documentary filmmaker is an interesting story and John offers: "My desire early on was to shoot feature films but I was drawn to working on many documentaries in film school by the desire to tell real stories -- rather than make-believe ones. Later on, based on several early successes in that realm it was natural to approach the news networks for work. I discovered an endless series of assignments were available there -- the news, unlike other Hollywood production genres, has no hiatus. I was able to use the lighting skills I honed in film school and elsewhere to my advantage as I competed against other technicians at the networks who mostly had engineering backgrounds. To this day, I consider sensitivity to lighting a cameraperson’s greatest asset. Over the years I’ve had the unique opportunity to work with many great journalists, producers and subjects from every walk of life and I gain great satisfaction that my skills can contribute to meaningful communication of important issues and concepts by providing 'illumination' that attracts and captivates the viewers’ eyes."
A recent high-profile assignment found John as a camera operator and grip truck/lighting vendor to ABC News/ Primetime for Connie Chung’s Gary Condit interview in the summer of 2001, seen by 24 million Americans.
About his other interests, John remarks: "More recently I’ve grown my business by servicing other production entities by providing crews, equipment and post production facilities. I also dry-hire video cameras and lighting equipment, especially Ikegami camcorders and small HMI units to other technicians and production companies in the Los Angeles area -- this, because I've built a specialized production infrastructure specially designed for news and documentary production. Along the way I’ve become a member of the IATSE Local 600, NABET Local 57, IBEW Local 45 and the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences."
You can find John Sharaf hosting in Creative COW's Cinematography, Sony XDCAM - EX & Related, and Lighting Design Forums.