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section: Historical Highlights
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History - Historical Highlights

* Broader Base-The first meetings at the old Woodbine Studios shifted to Fritz Spiess' living room where work started on the By-Laws and Regulations. It was decided that operators, as well as directors of photography, should also be in the Society as associate members "because we were a young organization and hopefully the industry would grow," or, as Sammy put it: "We made it a broader membership base."

* Door Left Open-Fritz pointed out that although there were no women in the early Society, the By-Laws specified that in all wording "the masculine shall include the feminine" to embrace the possibility of women members in the future. He mentioned this in tribute to current women members, particularly Joan Hutton csc, the first woman president of the Society and the first to become a full member with the right to use the designation "csc" after her name.

* Robert's Rules-"When Fritz and I wrote the By-Laws and Regulations," Bob Brooks recalled from his term as president in the formative years, "we wrote everything and ran the organization according to Robert's Rules of Order."

Until then, "Robert" had never heard of Robert's Rules of Order, but he got a copy at a bookstore and figured that "I can read this and then I'll know how to run a meeting.

"Well it just didn't work that way. You don't just sit down for a good night's read with Robert's Rules of Order. Anyway, Bill Poulis, a good friend of mine with a sharp mind, was sometimes a bit of a stumbling block. We had gone on for a long time trying to get these rules accepted; everybody wanted this or that changed.

"But we had to pass the By-Laws and Regulations because the discussions had gone on for a year or so. We had a room booked at the Westbury Hotel and on the morning of that day in February, 1960, I came to work and slipped on a piece of ice in front of my office at Chetwynd Films and broke my leg in three places. I went to Toronto General Hospital and came back with a cast on my leg up to my knee. I phoned Fritz and said, 'Fritz, I can't go to the meeting tonight, I just broke my leg,' and Fritz said, 'You've got to go to the meeting, because you've got Robert's Rules of Order.' So I went home and rested for a while and then got a taxi to the meeting.

"I think I wound up ruling Bill out of order under Subsection 7, Paragraph 8 on Page 34, or some such. It didn't really matter what it was, because I had the book and he didn't."

* Affiliates and Sponsors-There were a few camera assistants in the CSC from the start, although they were not included in the By-Laws. In 1972, the By-Laws were amended to permit "affiliate members" and that led to the development of the CSC Camera Assistants Courses, which are, Sammy noted, "unique" to the CSC.

The Society enlisted corporate sponsorship in 1976, the first official certificate being presented to Don Hall of Cinequip Inc., which also was a stalwart supporter of the Camera Assistants Courses from the beginning.

There now are 45 sponsors.

* The Name Game-Lawyer Gordon McLean, with the help of his brother, charter member Grant McLean of the National Film Board, was instrumental in finally prying permission from the federal government to use the name Canadian Society of Cinematographers. Not just anybody could call their organization "Canadian." Ottawa struck the term "profession" from the By-Laws, but somehow let the line "professionally employed" slip by.

It wasn't until the annual convention in May, 1960, that Bob Brooks, before turning the presidency over to Fritz Spiess, read out the telegram from the Secretary of State granting the CSC its federal charter. The telegram had been sent collect.

* Publications-Since the Society's inception, a membership newsletter has always been a vital communications tool, evolving from a simple pamphlet through a variety of metamorphoses.

In November, 1961, the first 16-page magazine was published as Canadian Cinematography, edited by Public Relations Directors Donald McMillan and Leonard MacDonald. While free to members, the magazine appeared every second month with a cover price of 35 cents an issue and a $2-a-year subscription rate.

After Len's tragic death in a plane crash while shooting aerials in Alberta, Art Benson, a Toronto publisher and writer, became editor of Canadian Cinematography, which after a few years was renamed Cinema Canada. At first it was still a CSC publication, with free subscriptions to all members, but eventually the CSC distanced itself from Cinema Canada and started its own newsletter again. In 1980, then-president Robert Rouveroy csc, with Jennifer Hietala as editor, revitalized the magazine under its present title, the CSC News.

The same year, Rouveroy overhauled the CSC Directory, a detailed list of members and their credits that was first published in 1970.

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