In this 81-minute discussion, M. David Mullen, ASC (below, on right) details the visual approach to the show and his Emmy-nominated episode “How Do You Get to Carnegie Hall?” — as interviewed by David Perkal, ASC.
Going back to the beginning, Mullen recounts how he initially came aboard his Amazon Prime Video show for its first season, tracing inspirations including such films as I Am Cuba and Hannah and Her Sisters. This led to a storytelling approach featuring a highly mobile camera, calling for Mullen to conceal his lighting to allow for complex Steadicam, dolly and crane moves. The cinematographer also describes how he approaches the show’s complex scripts, which frequently call for extended oners to follow the performances.
Regarding his Emmy-nominated episode “How Do You Get to Carnegie Hall?”, Mullen explains in detail how he approached lighting snowy exteriors for a chilly effect in mid-summer, lighting the exterior of Carnegie Hall and other large practical locations. He also offers insight on employing filters, staging complex shots, planning for visual effects work, and much more.
Mullen studied filmmaking and cinematography at the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts), where he received his Master’s Degree. Since then, he has photographed almost 40 independent feature films, plus several television series and pilots. He was nominated for the IFP Independent Spirit Award for Best Cinematography in 2000 for Twin Falls Idaho and again in 2004 for Northfork. Mullen won the Dublin Film Critics Circle Award for Best Feature Cinematography in 2017 for The Love Witch.
The cinematographer has earned three previous Emmy nominations for The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, winning in 2019 and 2020, while also earning three ASC Award nominations for the show. You’ll find an AC Podcast episode with Mullen discussing Maisel Season 2 here, and a Clubhouse Conversation discussion with him about Season 3 here.
Invited to join the ASC in 2004, Mullen is also a member the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. His other television work includes Get Shorty, Westworld and the pilot episode of Designated Survivor.
A member of the ASC since 2011, David Perkal is a Los Angeles native and earned his BS in Film and TV from San Diego State University and graduate degree in Cinematography from the American Film Institute. An avid surfer and scuba diver, he is also an underwater photographer and stills photographer.
In film, Perkal is known for his work on projects such as Do You Take This Man and Preacher’s Kid, the TV movies Teen Spirit, Christmas Cupid and Happy Campers, as well as such shorts as The Frank Anderson, The Keyand Lucky. Besides photographing Do You Take This Man, he also served as a producer. For his work on The Frank Anderson, which he directed and shot, Perkal won awards at the Berkeley Video and Film Festival, FilmOut San Diego, San Luis Obispo International Film Festival, Valley Film Festival and the Woods Hole Film Festival.
He also shoots in the commercial realm, lensing spots for LG, Google, Sprint, Jolly Time Popcorn and Vidant Health, while his most recent series credits include Castle, Zoo, Marvel’s Runaways, Cowboy Bebop, Rebel, and the pilot for Ramble On (which he photographed on 35mm film).