Clubhouse Conversations — Girls5eva

In this 45-minute episode, cinematographer John G. Inwood, ASC details his work in this Peacock musical comedy series, in discussion with AC contributor and filmmaker Jim Hemphill.

In the Peacock series Girls5eva, the members of a 1990s girl group get a second chance at stardom when a sample of their lone hit ends up in a rising rap artist’s new single. 

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Inwood first heard about the project while shooting the comedy series Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt for executive producers Tina Fey and Robert Carlock, as Girls5eva was created by series writer Meredith Scardino.

The cinematographer was tasked with visualizing a story in which musical numbers — complete with concert lighting — and recreations of iconic 1990s celebrity TV shows can be injected into the story at any given time. 

Inwood relied multiple camera systems for specific creative needs, including Panavision DXL2s in Super 35 mode for primary shooting in 16x9, Red Epic Heliums for Steadicam work, and Hi8 camcorders and Betacam units for flashbacks and vintage “home movies” shot by one of the characters. Panavision Primo primes and zooms were sometimes used with Hollywood Black Magic filters and polarizers.

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Inwood was born in Santa Monica, California, and was raised from age five in Cobble Hill, a neighborhood in Brooklyn, New York. He studied English literature at Vassar College, but a growing interest in film led him to pursue a graduate degree in directing and cinematography from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. After graduation, he served as a lighting electrician and gaffer for several years while also photographing smaller projects on the side.

Inwood began shooting full-time in the 1990s, and his projects included two seasons of the celebrated Nickelodeon comedy series The Adventures of Pete & Pete as well as the features The DaytrippersSix Ways to SundayGoing Nomad and Face

His extensive work in television includes 150 episodes over eight seasons of the comedy Scrubs, for which he received an Emmy nomination in 2008. He also photographed the comedies Parks and Recreation and The Michael J. Fox Show and American Woman, the Murphy Brown reboot, the supernatural drama Manifest. His television work also includes a number of Saturday Night Live digital shorts, including “The Day Beyoncé Turned Black” and the controversial parody commercial “ISIS.”

Inwood also photographed the comedy feature The Best and the Brightest; NBC pilot Great News; television movie special Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: Kimmy vs the Reverend; and special episode 30 Rock: A One-Time Special.

In addition to his work as a cinematographer, Inwood has taught and lectured at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts; NYU Tisch Asia in Singapore; the National Chengchi University in Taiwan; School of Visual Arts; Boston University; and more. He is also a member of the Directors Guild of America.

Inwood was invited to join the ASC in 2020.


You’ll find all episodes in our ASC Clubhouse Conversations discussion series here.

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