College ending...heading to LA next spring...
Posted 02 June 2004 - 12:51 PM
So do people ever share/rent out there gear to new comers? Also...if I do rent through someone..how am I ever supposed to get my own gear? Just try to save the little thats left after rent car insurance..health insurance etc etc.. I dont have a credit history nor a steady income so a loan is laughable.
The paying gigs I have been able to get here are below what the other operators in the area get, manily do to the projects that approach me. I've tried to get on features here with no hope. My resume is packed since 2000 with TV, FILM/Digital doing PA, Grip, Camerawork, Steadiam, Directing and even co producing.... but until i can get my foot in the door for the hollywood meat grinder :-P None of this seems to matter. Is there anyone or anyway you guys know of to get in under someones wing as a AC or something. Its amazing how much I havn't been taught about the hollywood system by my university. I'm dying to get on a feature and if i have to pay my dues still.... do you like your coffee black?
Thanks guys. I hope this is in the right area... I'm pretty lost...and pretty poor right now..so any advice is welcome....except that one guy that always says... "GO HOME" :-D
Posted 02 June 2004 - 03:07 PM
This place can be a "little" expensive.
But that's just me.
Posted 02 June 2004 - 03:21 PM
People don't usually "share or rent" their gear. That's like asking someone if they'll share their Porsche 911 Turbo so you can go to the track and get experience!!!
You can rent gear, but if you have the money to do that ($750 to $1000 per day) you'd have the money to buy. At your level, you won't get jobs that pay anywhere close to that to make the rental payments.
Like many jobs, it's a catch 22 situation.
There's really only a couple ways around it.
1. Like a handful of people, they ask rich daddy and mommy and they buy them a full package. Doesn't seem like that's possible for you though.
2. Like the VAST majority...work your way up the ranks.
Like you pointed out, you are not even out of college yet. At least it seems like you are willing to pay your dues. And, that won't happen in a year or two.
You'll need to find work as a P.A. first, just to get on the set.
Then find yourself a few camera assistants who are willing to show you the ropes.
Then find work as a camera assistant and start saving.
And after a handful of years, you might have enough money to get started with a basic rig.
Keep in mind, there are THOUSANDS of people just like you who move to LA every year asking the same thing, wanting to get their "foot in the door" and are "willing to work for free to get started."
My advice...get to know the guys in your area first. Get experience their first. THEN if you still feel the need, come to LA.
Coming here, with NO contacts, virtually NO experience, and with little to NO knowledge of the Hollywood scene, you'll get lost faster than a toddler dropped off in the middle of the Mall of America.
When I came to LA in 1995, I had been working in the business for 2 years at that point. Had a handful of commercials under my belt, a feature or so, and some TV experience. Some of those crew members were from LA, I made friends with some of them when I was working with them in AZ, and looked them up BEFORE I came to LA, so when I did I was able to get work pretty quickly when I came.
Like said in another post, be PATIENT. Things don't happen overnight in any business, and especially the film business. If so, there'd be 10 times as many wannabe's in an already overcrowded business.
Look up David McGill. He's an operator in Texas, maybe he can give you the names of a person or two who can help you get experience in Texas first, this way you have at least an ice pick before you try to climb Mt. Everest.
Posted 02 June 2004 - 04:42 PM
Try calling the rental companies in your area and see if they need anybody. Im sure during the summer months when their full time staff are talking holidays they might appreciate a hand humping boxes around: that might be a foot in the door for you.
As Guillermo said, be patient.
Posted 02 June 2004 - 10:06 PM
Posted 03 June 2004 - 03:36 AM
If I have a fulltime job working in some local TV station operating the stupid VTR or a local production company...no one shoots film here... how do I have time to operate for 10hours on a shoot and money to pay the rent? The only way i know a little about the older panavisions is from a book i picked up and started reading. Even for PA positions for feateurs (sorry its late and I just got done with a shoot I'm dping on...3:15am here) it seems to hard to even get someone to call you back or notice the resume you faxed them.
I've tried reaching the more experienced steadicam ops in Texas before but no one responded. And I tried more than once. If I can get in anywhere, LA, Ontario, where ever, I'll go there. I'm just confussed as to how I'm supposed to get into the scene when I have to work a full time job somewhere else to pay rent...and try to figure out the Hollywood system at the sametime...while i'm trying to save to buy a very expensive rig..I'm a little bit of a cheap guy..and I'm not sure that the price is justified...but that is neither here nor there for a while.
The last film shot here brought there guys in from LA and hired the local yokals for the "other" stuff. I'm trying to be patient but while I'm paying my dues and trying to figure how i would make rent...Its just pretty frustrating..especially since any prior experience I have with any shoot dv or s16 seems to be laughed at and the resume goes in some trash can...arn't there any big wigs that see the system sucks and want to hire me? :-P
Right patients... Patients...
Im calling/stopping by my local production houses tommorow and seeing what type of work I can get and dropping my name and contact info off incase they want a steadicam op. maybe just maybe I'll get some luck and get some low end production work.
Posted 03 June 2004 - 10:57 AM
Trainee program is a great way to start, I havre a friend who quit a very lucrative position at a rental company doing field work as a computer op for 24 frame playback, and did the starving trainee thing for a year ( at 34 years of age) to learn about how a camera department worked. he was already competent in digital video and high def, and got an opportunity to key a job in south africa for almost a d.P. rate, so it can hppen, but aleays be traininng and don't lock into one thing. steaicam is now a fairly common tool, and the rateds are falling for the manpower and gear in the non union sector, as a result ( supply and demand) so it behooves you to develpoe all your camera skills, cuz you may have to work in video or documentary, or whatever, just keep shootin! Shoot all you can!
I gotta go to work now.
Posted 03 June 2004 - 12:06 PM
That's what I did! When I got out of college I worked at a PBS station from 92' to 98'. I did everything from operating camera, online editing, master control, videotape replay on sports events, you name it. I also did some freelance Videotape replay on sports events for sports networks. The pay wasn't bad, but you just sit there for hours and hours in a tv truck. ug... never again (unless things get really bad of course )
If I have a fulltime job working in some local TV station operating the stupid VTR or a local production company...no one shoots film here... how do I have time to operate for 10hours on a shoot and money to pay the rent?
I took the workshop in 94' (10 years ago.. guulp) I saved and saved.
In 95', with an excellent credit rating, I took out an SBA loan. I continued to work at the PBS station, shot some steadicam while I was there and shot steadi for other production companies on commercials and corporate videos, etc.. until 98' where I landed a long term steadicam gig. It was for a home improvement show for PBS. The presenting pbs station is based in Chicago (WTTW). The show was called "About your house w/ Bob Yapp" I quite the PBS station in Iowa to work on this show. 81 days of steadicam and camera on this one show. Not to bad for a farm boy. (Ok, I didn't really grow up on a farm but I had relatives that had a farm and visited once in a while. ha)
Just make sure you have enough money.
On a side note: NEVER work for Bob Yapp. He still owes everyone on the crew money including the rental house. I heard just a few weeks ago he claimed personal bankruptcy. One of the investors for the show went after not only his company but after him and the court said Bob was personally liable.
So you can't always hide behind your company!
Posted 03 June 2004 - 04:32 PM
I totally agree with the other coments made by my counterparts.
I started as a loader -then focus - then op - then steadicam - then Dp.
The one thing I would add is practice your framing, composition and coverage - you do not need a steadicam for this just a DVC camera. Working as a professional steadicam op your operating needs to be as good as the 'A' camera on a Pana/ARRI head whilst running backwards down stairs, last shot of the day in overtime with a rest day to follow!.
Once you are confident with 'normal' operating and shooting a sequence then this is where steadicam becomes fun and can be very rewarding (and sometimes so frustrating)
At the end of the day steadicam is a tool for telling the story and when used correctly it can add so much to a film - (also when used wrongly it is very distracting.) but how ever you shoot - the frame is all that matters.
Good luck with everything - it is tough out there, but don't give up!
All the best
Posted 03 June 2004 - 08:33 PM
So what are you complaining about? You must have made a fortune doing all this work. Your the f-ing renaissance man of film-making, and you must be worth millions.
My point here is that the reason why your resume is failing you, is no one uses a resume first off, and second you come off as a chump to a lot of people who could hire you, because if this work wasn't legit, paying (union or non), work than it's worth exactly that - nothing. It is very valluable stuff for any beginner to do, but think of it only for personal expierience, don't try and use it to get a job. Use it to show cooperation, and passion for your chosen field. No one wants a PA on set who can't shut up about the short he "DP'd" or "Directed" the night before. Keep all this expierience on the down low, becase it will offend all the old timers in the biz. The people who have earned the right to be respected on set.
Just keep trying, do your homework and work your way up, It takes a while unless your esspecialy gifted to move up the chain. I feel that i moved up quick, mainly because of the small market I'm in, but I never bring that up around LA folk, or oldtimers. People in this biz are very judgemental about people who haven't proven themselves. It is a very closenit scociety, for good reason a million chumps out there wan't to be in the biz.
Posted 03 June 2004 - 10:41 PM
I don't complain while I'm on set about the last shoot i was on I did this or that... When i come on to do a job I do my job no matter what, I'm not trying to act high and mighty.
I havn't be disrespectful to anyone in the industry that has worked hard to get where they were. In fact I'm asking for there advice. I just want to be able to start doing more of those "legit" jobs that I need and want. Unfortunatly I choose to spend 4 years of my life throwing away money into a college education that wont even help me get a job. I'm looking for advice from people in the field that have made it because no one here at college has given me a clue about that.
I'm not trying to do it to show off I just want to have a job that I will love because its a part of making movies. I have tried to get involved to develop my skills as a filmmaker/cameraman etc so I can be better at my art. I'm not asking for someone to hand me anything on a silver platter..and unless i read your comments wrong it seemed implied. I want to prove myself..thats what i want.. a chance to prove myself.
Posted 04 June 2004 - 07:42 AM
Please keep in mind that these are difficult times for almost everybody: budgets going down, more competition: the amount of work per person is decreasing.
Everybody feels this, me too, after about 18years in the filmbusiness, I still have to fight and lobby to get jobs.
So for any newbee, regardless of his/her background and education, it´s a tough and long way to get a reasonable income and living.
That´s why I have seen so many people come and go, they could not keep up with the irregular work and income and uncertain future.
Film is all about mony making and economics, so that´s probably why you will not find many eager producers that give a young guy a jumpstart. The same for operators: though we like to help each other when in need, we do not really look forward to more competition as the market is already saturated. But there are always some ways to get into the business.
Just because you did a workshop (very good thing to do of course) doesn´t make you an operator. as Howard and others also said, you need practice, in many fields, probably for some years, before you will be accepted as an key-person in the camera crew. Only after that you will have aquired the trust from certain DP´s and Directors that will allow you to frame THEIR frame!
If you want to move faster, try some video companies, I´ve seen some people that knew where to find the on/off switch and were transformed into CAMERAMAN instantly (sarcasm intended!)
Rob van Gelder
Posted 04 June 2004 - 09:00 AM