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Is The Steadicam Workshop a Good Deal for a Pro Owner?

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#1 Marcus Kellum

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Posted 06 February 2007 - 11:25 PM

Hi all,

I am a Steadi-newbie. I purchased a used Pro rig, and throughout my reading of all the forums especially the Steadi-newbie forum, I have noticed that workshops are seen as almost universally critical to my success as a new operator.

So, specifically--will the Lake Arowhead Tiffen workshop be a good value for me as a Pro owner? Will the instructors help me with tips and tricks specific to my Pro rig? Will I get less value for my money because of information that is non-related to my Pro rig?

Any Pro owners out there attend this workshop (formerly the Malibu 5-day) workshop, now the Lake Arrowhead workshop? If so, what did you think?

Thanks in advance for your feedback.

Marcus Kellum
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#2 Robert Starling SOC

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Posted 07 February 2007 - 12:31 AM

I have noticed that workshops are seen as almost universally critical to my success as a new operator.

Hi Marcus:

Your posting was specific to PRO owners but I want to share my workshop experience and opinions with you. Take it for whatever you deem it's worth.

** I simply cannot imagine where I would be today without the two Steadicam workshops I've taken! **

I purchased a Flyer in August and took Peter Abrahams workshop a week later. Two months later I lucked out and got into the SOA five day workshop due to a cancellation by someone. I sold my Flyer a week later and bought a new Clipper 2.

As soon as I heard there would be a Lake Arrowhead / Malibu workshop I called Tiffen to make sure I'd be among the first to know and I immediately signed up when registration opened.

So basically within 8 months I'll have spent about $8,000 on workshops and $50k on rigs/kit. There are a few things I've learned in business; you can always rent equipment but you can't rent a client and you can't rent experience. For me, I don't just invest in gear, I invest in training and marketing as well.

I've been a camera operator for 28 years and frankly cannot put a price on the value of workshops over the years, especially Steadicam. I'm a new Steadicam operator, but I'm working and making money with my rig almost every week now. The great thing is I've made dozens of contacts from classmates all the way up to Garrett Brown and Jerry Holway and they've all bent over backwards to help me succeed. As have so many other operators here on this forum; Afton, Erwin, Dan, Chris etc. regardless of their choice of brand. Thank you all....this Forum is like an ongoing workshop on it's own.

In the scheme of things I'm a "Steadi-nobody" but everyone is inceredibly supportive. I send them clips, they provide critique, I get jobs, they give advice, I need equipment, they point me in the right direction. How do you put a price on that kind of support? I never heard the Tiffen crowd or any other "crowd" for that matter so much as imply a derogatory word about another brand. There were other brands of sleds, arms and vests at SOA. Like anything there are loyalties and opinions among everyone but when it comes to quality instruction and long term business / operating practices it seems most everyone is on the same page of supporting one another.

To me, workshops are the express lane to success as long as you put in the practice behind it. I'm in this for the long haul, but that doesn't mean I have time to waste. The workshops provide the tools and it's a matter of time now to build my experience and abilities.

The workshop with Peter got me started with good habits. The SOA workshop expanded my knowledge, pushed my skills and I got feedback on bad habits I had picked up.

The Lake Arrowhead workshop will be yet another great opportunity for instruction, technique and critique to make sure I'm out there doing my best for my clients, my business, my body and my profession.

Sorry for the long post.
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#3 Steve Fracol SOC

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Posted 07 February 2007 - 01:16 AM

Excellent words Mr. Starling!

I agree with all he said and it was said very well I might add. Very passionate. It seems to be going around. Must be in the water we all drink or something.

Marcus...Now get yourself into a workshop!

Good Luck!

Steve Fracol, SOC
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#4 Kris Torch Wilson

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Posted 07 February 2007 - 01:21 AM


You may be a steadi newbie but your post speaks volumes about your experience as an operator and your professionalism. Many forget that we are operators first and that the steadicam is one of our tools. Your advice is right on and I'm proud to call you my friend. And now back to my fifth glass of wine.
P.S Marcus. Go to the workshop!

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#5 PeterAbraham


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Posted 07 February 2007 - 06:45 AM

Must be in the water we all drink or something.

Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. Best left undiscussed, the whole "water" thing. :)

Kind words, Mr. Starling. In return might I say to the viewing masses that a positive attitude and slavish dedication to really great work helps. Robert has tons of those qualities. Not to mention others.

Apparently he prepares a lavish spread for all who stop at his doorstep for a hot meal. :rolleyes:

Peter Abraham
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#6 Denny Kortze

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Posted 07 February 2007 - 12:51 PM


I'm a Pro owner who is attending the Lake Arrowhead workshop. Tiffen is sponsoring the workshop so obviously there will be a certain amount of Steadicam brand advertising but the concepts are the same and you won't be at a disadvantage with any of the higher end rigs (Pro, Ultimate, Steadicam, MK-V). Plus you will get a chance to try out Steadicam's offerings. See you there.

Denny Kortze
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#7 Marcus Kellum

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Posted 07 February 2007 - 11:19 PM

Hi all.

Thanks for the advice. It's nice to be entering a community where the members care enough to take the time out of their day to help a newbie such as myself.

Marcus Kellum
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#8 Charles Papert

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Posted 08 February 2007 - 12:40 PM

A brief moment to shed a tear for the official death of the Malibu Classic--many fond memories of Calamigos Ranch and the goings-on there over the years. Flying out to help teach the workshops there in the mid-90's is what inspired me to move to LA thereafter. Onwards and upwards one supposes. The extra distance from LA to Lake Arrowhead will probably prevent most ops from dropping by to kibbitz and show stuff to the students at night (possibly that's by design!) but the area looks very nice.
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