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#1 David Steel

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Posted 05 October 2013 - 02:17 AM

Hi Guys,

 

I was wondering how do you break into full time steadicam? as in who do you call and talk to? is it production house's? DOP's? Producers etc?

 

May be a random question but i have been a camera assistant for close to 6 years and am now starting to concentrate on my passion as i do not want to get stuck assisting for another 10 years as i see alot of.

 

i have my own smaller rig and have been practicing for quite a while with the master and ultra steadicam rig from a local operator /owner who owns a few rigs, and has recently let me have the opportunity to go out and use them for jobs. so hence the question at the top of the page.

 

I have a small amount of experience but not enough to make a showreel, only good stuff i have operated was the 'evil force' steadicam shots on the new evil dead film of myself, a lightweight rig and a epic going for a sprint through the woods.

 

Thanks Dave   


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#2 Robert Starling SOC

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Posted 05 October 2013 - 01:20 PM

Taking an operator workshop and reading the archives of this forum are probably the two most important things you can do right now.

 

Since you already have six years in the business you would do well by doing one of my Business Consults via the Stabilizer Workshops. I have a quite a few clients like yourself who want to cross over or broaden their horizons. You'll have some advantages and also disadvantages a newcomer or camera op moving up will not have.  Here's a link:

 

http://stabilizerwor...iness-consults/

 

Regardless of whether you do that or not, definitely take one of the many workshops out there and read the archive here as far back as you can.  Almost if not every question you'll ever have has already been asked in some form right here in this forum.

 

Good luck!

 

Robert


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#3 RonBaldwin

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Posted 05 October 2013 - 02:57 PM

Take a workshop. If you are still in love with the noble instrument, buy a used rig and lock yourself up in your apt/house for 2 to 3 yrs to practice. During this lock up -- work on lock offs, horizon, snarky responses, slow moves and build tolerance for bullshit and alcohol. Memorize everything Ted wrote. Emerge a full blow pro op in 2016 ready to walk onto any set and kick ass. Don't worry about a business plan, you'll blow all your cash on gear, booze and strippers anyway.

Welcome to the downward spiral
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#4 David Steel

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Posted 06 October 2013 - 02:15 AM

Thanks Robert and Ron, yeah i would love to go to one of your workshops but only trouble is i live on the other side of the world in New Zealand. but i will keep an eye out for any workshops that are closer to my location.


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#5 Martin Stacey

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Posted 06 October 2013 - 04:25 AM

David we had a Silver workshop in Wellington in June and there was a Gold workshop in Australia not that long ago so they happen. I suggest getting in touch with a local op and just hanging out with him to learn as much as possible.
What city are you in. Feel free to give me a call and maybe I can point you in the right direction.
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#6 David Steel

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Posted 06 October 2013 - 05:20 PM

Thanks Martin, i'm in auckland yeah i knew they happened in aussie every now and then but its good to hear they happen over in nz to. Yes ive trained quite a few times with Dana Little, he has taught me quite alot about walking lines, turns, tilts, all sorts really so when i go practice with the big rigs i have got alot i can work on.

Though i was wondering is it still worth me investing in doing a class if i have access to big rigs and im training with it every week?  


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#7 Martin Stacey

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Posted 06 October 2013 - 06:04 PM

A workshop really is a must. A huge part of our job is based around problem solving whether it be rig setups with a new type of camera or simply how to achieve the shot that the director has envisaged. It's not just about the ability to move a big rig. A workshop will fill in a lot of the gaps to get you started. The rest is learnt on the job through experience.


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#8 David Steel

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Posted 08 October 2013 - 07:30 AM

Thanks Martin, ill keep an eye out for any workshops!


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#9 Janice Arthur

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Posted 08 October 2013 - 03:04 PM

David;

 

I'm not trying to be a smart-ass but ask yourself how did you get assistant jobs when you first started?

 

You know the answers to your own question.  Get student films; get free-bees; make your own shots for your reel; make some calls; print a postcard; hold a beer event with 4 cases of beer for producers in your town in your back yard and have the rigs you have access to sitting there; make a deal with the pal who has the rigs to give you the cheap jobs and you'll give him a commission of 10%;  etc. etc. 

 

I'm sorry but you are already in the business; you already have a small rig; and you have access to big rigs and you're waiting on a workshop to tell you how to get started?  think about it, you're waiting for no reason; sure take a workshop in the future but get going now.

 

Good luck and tough love!

 

Janice


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#10 Brian Freesh

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Posted 09 October 2013 - 12:04 AM

hold a beer event with 4 cases of beer for producers in your town in your back yard and have the rigs you have access to sitting there

 

Mind: Blown


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#11 David Steel

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Posted 10 October 2013 - 06:26 AM

David;

 

I'm not trying to be a smart-ass but ask yourself how did you get assistant jobs when you first started?

 

You know the answers to your own question.  Get student films; get free-bees; make your own shots for your reel; make some calls; print a postcard; hold a beer event with 4 cases of beer for producers in your town in your back yard and have the rigs you have access to sitting there; make a deal with the pal who has the rigs to give you the cheap jobs and you'll give him a commission of 10%;  etc. etc. 

 

I'm sorry but you are already in the business; you already have a small rig; and you have access to big rigs and you're waiting on a workshop to tell you how to get started?  think about it, you're waiting for no reason; sure take a workshop in the future but get going now.

 

Good luck and tough love!

 

Janice

 

Thanks Janice. 

 

Yes it does seem quite simple when you put it that way, I have been proactive lately with phoning production houses and DP's and producers and also shooting a clip next week so hopefully something comes of it. I do like your tough love style and sometimes a kick in the ass is what it takes to get moving!

 

Dave


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#12 Janice Arthur

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Posted 12 October 2013 - 09:50 AM

David;

 

I'm glad you got it, yes a kick in the pants is the intent.

 

Too often we, the more veterans here, see lamenting of newbies about lack of jobs when they in fact don't do the work to get them and not just a one-off job but a continuous stream of jobs.

 

The motion pictures business, as a freelance industry means spending probably 10-20 hours a week, actively searching and that's WORK that most people rationalize away from doing.  "Oh I'm bad at that."; "I've done everything I can." "I'll do it tomorrow."  etc. and as a result they put it off.  It means constantly thinking of new ways to get your name out there and making your phone ring and that is very hard.   I do have to say, as a pet peeve, don't start and end at facebook, and a few other social medias and you brush off your hands and say I'm done for the day.  Its the old postcards and beer events and Christmas gifts to key folks and "non-traditional" anything you can think of.   I've had relatives over the years say "why don't you . . . ?" and I'd say "oh you can't do that" but darned if every one of those ideas was a gem if I'd have just tried.

 

(As an aside, I heard of one guy, who not in the film business, who had this uncanny skill to chase down and remember birthdays.  He would talk to someone, no matter how inconsequential and would get an phone or address or email and he would send them a note on their birthday.  Corny right?  It turned out he showed on-going interest, the person was happy someone remembered his birthday which made remembering this guy as a pleasant experience; he had a reason to send them his card, it kept up the relationship for maybe no other reason and it worked wonderfully for this guy. Personally I never got good at it but it was stupid genius.)

 

The truly hardest part is to flip the switch in your brain that makes it interesting to you not just a bore.  If you flip that switch, which was why I put my first post in the tone I did was to take to marketing a different level and make it as rewarding to you to talk to a producer or send out postcards as to practice with the rig.  The no-quit, no turn down matters, forging forward when you get rejected is a huge skill if you can get it going in your head.

 

I have to say over the decades I would have gotten tremendously farther if I had learned that trick. So in summary if we, the veterans, roll our eyes when we hear operators say some statement about getting work its because we now see it from the other side.  In many ways with the internet its a piece of cake to stay connected now its just differentiating yourself from the crowd with consistency and consistency takes work!

 

Good luck.

Janice


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#13 David Steel

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Posted 12 October 2013 - 05:30 PM

Thanks Janice
Its great to hear that. It is difficult to break in but i will keep on with it and if you keep knocking on doors then one will eventualy open.
I thought while reading your post of making business cards. And different ideas of getting on peoples lists are already coming to me.

Thanks
Dave
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#14 Victor Lazaro

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Posted 12 October 2013 - 10:14 PM

When I started steadicam (a couple of years ago) I googled every camera owner in my town and contacted them to meet and talk. I offered them to place me and my sled on their site as a package with the rental of their camera. Now you have a new friend who has a site with more options for the clients and your name appears in more places. its bonus on both sides.


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#15 David Steel

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Posted 14 October 2013 - 05:30 PM

Thanks Victor, that is a god idea. Just got to get your name out the as much a possible! 


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