12: John Rhode – Director/Cinematographer

The Doorpost
October 3, 2014

12: John Rhode – Director/Cinematographer

GUEST: John Rhode

johnrhodeJohn Rhode is a director, cinematographer and camera operator who has worked his way through the camera ranks of camera operator, 2nd Unit Director of Photography, and Director of Photography to Director. He joined International Cinematographer’s Guild on the Paramount Pictures production of Soapdish (1992) and began work with respected DP’s as Lazlo Kovacs,ASC, Vilmos Zsigmond, ASC, and John Seale, ASC whom gave Rhode work on Ghosts of Mississippi (1995), The American President 1996), City of Angels (1997), and Perfect Storm (2000) moving him up from additional operator to “A” operator to 2nd Unit DP. Rhode further shot over 30 independent movies which included stars such as Faye Dunway, William Sanderson, John Heard, and Debbie Mazar.

Rhode moved into television on the camera departments of NightStalker (2006), The Hollow Men (2008), Heroes (2008-9) as well as breaking new ground on the webisode and mobisode debuts of Prisonbreak (2006), Vanished (2007) Mr. Wrong (2008) and the film festival winning Turbo Dating (2009-12) created by Terry Rossio, writer of Shrek(s) and Pirates of the Carribean. This led to Award-winning documentaries by Spark Media/ American Experience’s Partners of the Heart and Prince of Slaves followed by the award-winning Bill Brummel Productions of Bullied (2010) and Erasing Hate (2011), both funded by the Morris Dee’s Southern Poverty Law Center. Awards include many first prizes in films festivals, Tellies, and Cine-Eagles. Rhode’s cinematography has been hailed by Variety as “beautifully photographed by John Rhode.”

Breaking into directing on music videos and commercials, Rhode co-directed and served as director of photography on the notorious short My Dinner With Ovitz (2003), a satire skewering Michael Ovitz. It created a sensation in Hollywood production circles. Ron Meyer, the president of Universal Pictures, and David Geffen remarked, “it was brilliant.” Variety Magazine reviewed it as “a gonzo short — pic is the most buzzed-about underground project since Trey Parker and Matt Stone’s “The Spirit of Christmas.” Rhode later took offers directing motion pictures which include the family and adventure films Seeker & Fetch (2011), The Stray(2012) and Trooper and the Legend of the Golden Key (2012).

Raised in Wooster, Ohio, Rhode received a B.S in chemical engineering from Ohio State University when he met Frank Capra promoting the book “The Name Above the Title.” After a vigorous debate on the conflict between personal need and social progressiveness, Capra told Rhode he should be directing movies. Rhode took his advice and returned to get his MFA in Cinema, moved to Hollywood, and broke into the film industry in the the production and camera departments working on movies, music videos, and television.


“The absence of limitations is the enemy of art”. -Orson Welles


Meeting and working with John Clement Seale, the Australian cinematographer who won an Oscar for his work in the 1996 film, The English Patient. He is a member of both the Australian Cinematographers Society and the American Society of Cinematographers.


Not taking his film critic television show national when he had the chance.


Taking action and making it happen.


Rebel Without a Crew by Robert Rodriguez



CrossLight Grip and Lighting

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