Jump to content



Photo

I don't get it. I'm sick with it.


  • Please log in to reply
6 replies to this topic

#1 Nikk Hearn-Sutton SOC

Nikk Hearn-Sutton SOC

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 129 posts
  • Cincinnati,Ohio

Posted 11 July 2008 - 10:59 AM

Maybe it's me or just the nature of the biz. When I first started I wasn't known too much but after word got around i was very busy and now its a flatline. Is this me or is it bad all around. I'm so frustrated i've had thoughs of just selling my rig and say TO HELL WITH IT :( :angry: but at the same time I've put too much time and money to stop. It's hard. Especially cause i'm in a not so busy market. I'm mean i've traveled but it's nothing like being on a union set.

I mean I watch tv and see these operators on SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE,previews for HEROS/VILLANS and the such and it burns me up for that fact that I KNOW I CAN DO THAT its all about location, location, location and knowing people. I'm so sick with it. It seems to me that all my friends are working and I've even put myself as camera op,DP and still I feel like I've been pigeoned holed as just a steadicam op, and i get the comment on the constant OH I didn't know you could shoot or DP?? If i can fly the rig don't you think I know how to shoot?? DUH!!! Is this common,LOL

Anyway I just had to rant and get this off my chest cause it's been KILLIN ME in more ways that one.

That's all I got.

Nikk
  • 0

#2 BJMcDonnell SOC

BJMcDonnell SOC

    Advanced Member

  • Sustaining Members
  • 387 posts
  • Malibu, Ca.

Posted 11 July 2008 - 12:47 PM

Hey Nikk,


Hey dude we all get our slow down times. Even out here in LA where you might think work is outta control, there are times where you sit and wait for a call or you call around looking. It just really depends on what, when, and who is doing something. You might just be in a little dry spell right now. Don't worry though I am sure work is headed yer way. Don't give up or sell the rig. Stick to your guns. I hope the next time you post you are working on something kick ass. Take care.

BJ McDonnell

P.S. That is me in the Heroes/Villans commercial. Did you laugh at my mullet hairdo?
  • 0

#3 Nikk Hearn-Sutton SOC

Nikk Hearn-Sutton SOC

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 129 posts
  • Cincinnati,Ohio

Posted 11 July 2008 - 02:44 PM

MAN,
When I saw it the first time I was besides myself, One was because Heros was back.YES 2nd when I saw you and your rig. After awhile I started noticing the DO. WOW THROUGH BACK!!
You know like I said It just gets frustrating but like I said before Its the nature of the biz
  • 0

#4 Brian Dzyak

Brian Dzyak

    Advanced Member

  • Sustaining Members
  • 62 posts
  • Encino, CA

Posted 11 July 2008 - 03:17 PM

Maybe it's me or just the nature of the biz. When I first started I wasn't known too much but after word got around i was very busy and now its a flatline. Is this me or is it bad all around. I'm so frustrated i've had thoughs of just selling my rig and say TO HELL WITH IT :( :angry: but at the same time I've put too much time and money to stop. It's hard. Especially cause i'm in a not so busy market. I'm mean i've traveled but it's nothing like being on a union set.

I mean I watch tv and see these operators on SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE,previews for HEROS/VILLANS and the such and it burns me up for that fact that I KNOW I CAN DO THAT its all about location, location, location and knowing people. I'm so sick with it. It seems to me that all my friends are working and I've even put myself as camera op,DP and still I feel like I've been pigeoned holed as just a steadicam op, and i get the comment on the constant OH I didn't know you could shoot or DP?? If i can fly the rig don't you think I know how to shoot?? DUH!!! Is this common,LOL

Anyway I just had to rant and get this off my chest cause it's been KILLIN ME in more ways that one.

That's all I got.

Nikk



You have to understand that those who were brought up purely in the "Hollywood" feature/episodic system, an Operator hasn't yet moved up to DP level and there is an assumption that he/she really doesn't know how to light yet.

For most of us who grew up and began our careers outside of Los Angeles, learning to light and operate (and edit and even direct and produce) is part of the learning process. The Hollywood system is terribly specialized to the point where it is extraordinarily easy to become pigeonholed. Moving up the ladder is NOT a given for anyone no matter what they can do.

I've been able to create a career as Cameraman who also operates a Steadicam when that particular tool is useful for the job at hand. Market yourself as a Lighting Cameraman/DP/Videographer/whatever FIRST and then toss in the Steadicam info only when it's pertinent. Otherwise, that's all they'll ever see you as.
  • 0

#5 Mike McGowan SOC

Mike McGowan SOC

    Advanced Member

  • Sustaining Members
  • 624 posts
  • Miami, Florida, USA

Posted 12 July 2008 - 08:01 AM

As somebody that grew up in a smaller market (Miami) and now works all over, I can make a few observations.

First, as mentioned above, it gets slow every where. I know plenty of great operators that get slow from time to time, even in LA. I've actually brought 5 people into the business in various positions. All 5 were really good at what they did and all 5 were established and working. Of the 5, only 2 are still in the business. The main reason the other 3 got out was not being able to handle not knowing when their next check was coming. It just requires a certain mind set. So while it's frustrating, it's a fact of the motion picture industry.

Next, coming up in a small market is extra tricky. The assumption is that if you don't have an LA area code, you probably aren?t that good. In Miami for example, there are about half a dozen Steadicam operators that actually make a living doing nothing but Steadicam. Of those, a few of them would be considered good by any standard, a few would be considered pretty good by any standard and a few might be considered just 'So So'. Well depending on who a particular camera man worked with the last time he was in Miami (say 3 years ago) they may have a less than favorable impression of the local talent............ Hell, anybody that used me as a Steadicam operator in the late 90's might not think too highly of the Steadicam operators in Miami. :P

Finally, putting your self out as a DP will in some peoples mind's diminish your prospective ability as a Steadicam operator. I was an assistant when I first got my rig and continued to AC for the first few months while I was trying to establish myself as an operator. The local coordinators would refer to me as, "Mike, the assistant that bought a Steadicam". Now if I'm the DP, unless my budget is really low, I'm not too excited about hiring this "Mike" kid. On some level, the same thing holds true for a Steadicam operator. The assumption being if you were a good DP, you wouldn't be working as a Steadicam operator........... I'm not saying that's actually the case, I'm just pointing out how other people may look at it.

I would also make the point that flying a rig and knowing how to shoot do not go hand in hand. There are plenty of guys that can do both but lighting a set and performing all the duties of a director of photography do not come automatically with the ability to frame a shot. Cinematography is an art and a complicated science that can take a life time to master (some will argue that it can never be mastered). At least that is how many people will look at it.

Hope my 2 cents help.

mm.
  • 0

#6 Janice Arthur

Janice Arthur

    Advanced Member

  • Moderators
  • PipPipPip
  • 811 posts

Posted 14 July 2008 - 08:21 AM

Nikk;

All the things the guys said are true.

Just adding my bit.

1) Any market can only handle so many DPs/regular shooters and clearly you're not on anybody's list to call when they need one. You need to get known as that and it takes lots of work to get known for that. Sometimes you even need to own a camera (video) package. Talk to the other shooters so that they will refer you when they are busy; that's where most jobs come from.

2) Some DPs don't want "another DP" showing up on their shoot disguised as the Steadicam operator so be careful what you wish for. They will think you're criticizing their work or spying on their client or stealing their client.

3) Every market has its stratification. Movie guys don't do industrials (most of the time); etc.
In your market because there are fewer jobs overall, that is less often the case but you can't
expect to be everything to every one. (I get it that you just want to work more.)

4) Be careful how many hats you wear, I seldom, DP or Steadicam on the same job because its hard to keep up with all the details. I know when to say when. It is nice to be asked but I don't get a lot of DP jobs without Steadicam. I make sure my gaffer is someone I know and can pull it off.


5) Its been slow here in spots this year too but you talk to others in town and they are crazy busy.
Lastly people lie, no one wants to hire someone who is not working, so they lie and you should too.

6) Most everyone I know in the business has a second job, like fireman do; they work 3 days on and the rest at another job. One guy rehabs houses, another is a carpenter, etc.
No one expects to be busy all the time, esp in the smaller markets.
Find something to "keep your brain busy". Even if you do 3 days a week that leaves a lot of time for "other money making ventures". All it needs is flexibility. I know an AC in your town who works a lot but on his days off he spends it working with the rental house in town doing "tech" stuff for them for the additional money and "contacts" etc.

hope this quells your anxiety.

JA
  • 0

#7 Janice Arthur

Janice Arthur

    Advanced Member

  • Moderators
  • PipPipPip
  • 811 posts

Posted 14 July 2008 - 10:17 AM

Nikk;

I couldn't figure out how to edit my previous post so I'll add this.

Part of this business is designed to scrape people off.

If the reward is fame, fortune, etc. then only a few people can reach the top. Its the same in
banking or construction or any other business.

If you give it a shot for a while and go on to something else that's fine but know that
"staying power" is a lot to be said for who gets the calls. Its hard to stay.

JA
  • 0




Varizoom Follow Focus

Engineered Cinema Solutions

Paralinx LLC

Ritter Battery

Teradek

PLC - Bartech

BOXX

Wireless Video Systems

rebotnix Technologies

Boland Communications

Omnishot Systems

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

SkyDreams

PLC Electronics Solutions

Betz Tools for Stabilizers

IDX

GPI Pro Systems