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Pit Falls Of Finding Cast and Crew


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#1 Richard Boddington

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Posted 02 June 2006 - 06:10 PM

Hello All,

I'm in the process of crewing and casting the feature I'm shooting in October.

I have used several ads on Mandy.com to find a variety of people, and for the most part people have conducted themselves in a professional manner. On my part I made it a rule that I would respond in person to every e-mail, even though I knew I was going to be flooded with applicants. Which I was for all positions.

To my surprise some people have sent me some pretty rude e-mails to say the least. When you have one position open and 200 applicants obviously that is going to leave 199 people disappointed. Unfortunately some people choose to vent their frustration in quite an unprofessional manner, by telling me to "F-Off" etc when I tell them I filled the position with some one else.

Here's an actual e-mail I got from a guy who applied for my lighting designer position. He asked me what type of lighting I wanted so I told him, without even reading the script or seeing the location, this was his response:

"Salutos, Herr Dictator,

You show what a lousy junior camera guy you are when
you piss away available light.

So just a note to you dictator.

Go f-ck yourself,

Carlos"


I edited the F-word so that we can keep this a family orientated site. He didn't.

Is it just me or is that a pretty over the top e-mail to send some one? Obviously I dodged a major bullet by not hiring this guy and having him on set. So I'll consider myself lucky.

I guess there are a lot of hungry people out there in this business and their frustration starts to boil over.

So just a note to the up and coming pros of tomorrow, rejection is a part of this business so please deal with it in a professional manner. Some times you don't get a position on a crew because you where fairly beat out by some one with much more experience, that's just the way it goes.

Eventually you'll be the guy with all the experience, and you'll be beating out the more junior people to you.

R,
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#2 Michael Nash

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Posted 02 June 2006 - 08:19 PM

That guy's got one hell of a career ahead of him... :P
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#3 James Erd

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Posted 02 June 2006 - 08:28 PM

"Obviously I dodged a major bullet by not hiring this guy and having him on set. So I'll consider myself lucky."

"I guess there are a lot of hungry people out there in this business and their frustration starts to boil over."

Yes there are a lot of rude people in this business. In fact there are a lot of rude people every where, but what makes this situation unique is the sense of entitlement expressed by the man in question. I often ask my self "where does this attitude come from, and why is it so prevalent in this industry?", but the truth is I don't know.

Fortunately you did doge a bullet perhaps even a real one at that.....

Guys like this are really hurting themselves more than they are you. Not only is he burning the bridges he's already crossed, but he's probably burning bridges he doesn't even know he's burning. Once a person gains a bad reputation it tends to stick.
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#4 Richard Boddington

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Posted 03 June 2006 - 12:05 PM

Here's another e-mail from Carlos, I'm not making this up:

You know really, say you are the Prince - then this is
Machiavelli. I mean what shooter on-his-way-up-in-the-ranks
would want some ass-kissing, psychophant of a gaffer? Huh.

Like Jackie Gleason said when asked why he was O U T of the show,
"Man...they "yes'd me to death!" Right on, guys with no heart,
no eye, just working for the dollar, "yes Boss, o, yes dat's right,"
but hey, I hate it, just hate to walk out of the theatre saying to
myself, "Hezuz Christus, that sucked, Hraver, just plain nuthin',"
and the Director looks over and nods his head, "Un huh fu**ed
up this time, Hraver."

I used to be scared to go to a screening of a picture that Sokolsy
shot. He would turn around in the seat and give you those fierce
eyes, "ashlock," or some Jewish expression, then get in the studio
and be yelling at the top of his lungs, "WHEN I SAY ADJUST THE
CUTTER, DO YOU "LOOK?" NO, OBVIOUSLY, YOU JUST FIDDLE...etc.)

So, say, you got the ambient light all low down at T 2 blue or
get some of those burn-out amber bulbs that sputter, low amberish
to redish HORROR light, like in a basement with the pipes rusting,
then you can angle those ARRI lights, with cutters and doors
and cookies and GOT TO HAVE SMOKE, the light will come
crackin', bustin through there and FREAK ...those...girls...out.

I love it in that light, a chick is greepin' along, COMES TO A DOOR,
open A BURST OF LIGHT, A HAND - what have you....

Yeah, ok, you got it now,
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#5 Patrick Casey

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Posted 03 June 2006 - 12:28 PM

I used to be scared to go to a screening of a picture that Sokolsy
shot. He would turn around in the seat and give you those fierce
eyes, "ashlock," or some Jewish expression, then get in the studio
and be yelling at the top of his lungs, "WHEN I SAY ADJUST THE
CUTTER, DO YOU "LOOK?" NO, OBVIOUSLY, YOU JUST FIDDLE...etc.)



This was possibly one of the strangest things you could say to a person that you wanted to be your employer.

Your next film should be a documentary about Carlos. I would def. watch it.
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#6 Scott Fritzshall

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Posted 03 June 2006 - 12:57 PM

Haha, what the hell? I can't understand anything that guy is saying.

Think about it this way though: His response allowed you to realize that he's crazy without needing to hire him first. Imagine if he had just kept quiet, and you ended up hiring him next time! :P
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#7 Kevin Masuda

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Posted 03 June 2006 - 02:28 PM

Here's another e-mail from Carlos, I'm not making this up:

You know really, say you are the Prince - then this is
Machiavelli. I mean what shooter on-his-way-up-in-the-ranks
would want some ass-kissing, psychophant of a gaffer? Huh.

Like Jackie Gleason said when asked why he was O U T of the show,
"Man...they "yes'd me to death!" Right on, guys with no heart,
no eye, just working for the dollar, "yes Boss, o, yes dat's right,"
but hey, I hate it, just hate to walk out of the theatre saying to
myself, "Hezuz Christus, that sucked, Hraver, just plain nuthin',"
and the Director looks over and nods his head, "Un huh fu**ed
up this time, Hraver."

I used to be scared to go to a screening of a picture that Sokolsy
shot. He would turn around in the seat and give you those fierce
eyes, "ashlock," or some Jewish expression, then get in the studio
and be yelling at the top of his lungs, "WHEN I SAY ADJUST THE
CUTTER, DO YOU "LOOK?" NO, OBVIOUSLY, YOU JUST FIDDLE...etc.)

So, say, you got the ambient light all low down at T 2 blue or
get some of those burn-out amber bulbs that sputter, low amberish
to redish HORROR light, like in a basement with the pipes rusting,
then you can angle those ARRI lights, with cutters and doors
and cookies and GOT TO HAVE SMOKE, the light will come
crackin', bustin through there and FREAK ...those...girls...out.

I love it in that light, a chick is greepin' along, COMES TO A DOOR,
open A BURST OF LIGHT, A HAND - what have you....

Yeah, ok, you got it now,


Whoa! What a nut case. That made no sense whatsoever.

Kev
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#8 Tim Carroll

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Posted 03 June 2006 - 03:43 PM

Having been through this now on four different productions, I can share the way we handled it. After asking for resumes or reels from all prospective cast and crew, we responded to everyone. To the folks we were sure we were not interested in working with, we wrote, "Thank you for your interest in "Such-n-Such Project". We were very impressed with your resume but unfortunately at this time we have decided to go in a different direction. We will keep your information on file for future productions and thank you again for your interest."

That seems to smooth ruffled feathers pretty effectively.

We did have a DP that we interviewed for one project. He had a decent reel and seemed friendly enough in our email and phone conversations. So we brought him in. My production manager and I sat down with him and went over what we were trying to do with the story and he wanted to see the camera equipment we would be using. We brought him to the shop and showed him the Arriflex 16SR and Zeiss lenses we would be using(something that my small production company had just spent $1500 having overhauled) and he went off on a tirade about how he would not shoot with that "piece of s*#t". I thought my production manager was going to have a heart attack (he was pretty green and had not seen some of the "goings on" in the film business). So this prospective DP goes storming out of the office and out to his van. I have a morbid curiosity about what makes people tick, so I followed him out to the curb. I watched him get into his van and as he was pulling away, he emphatically stated, "You're gonna need to rent an HD package if you want me to DP this film." I just smiled and waved.

It really is amazing.

This business is not that big. I have been involved as an actor, director and DP since 1983 and I can't tell you how many jobs I have been on where I've either worked with these people before or they know the same folks as I do. Your reputation and how easy you are to work with makes so much difference.

-Tim
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#9 Michael Nash

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Posted 03 June 2006 - 04:53 PM

Your reputation and how easy you are to work with makes so much difference.


Yes, and bad news travels fast. Much faster than good news.

I've been at the DP end of meetings where the producers either mis-represented or over-represented themselves, and I've always tried to be gracious and polite in turning them down. Usually I'll try to point out the specific problem areas they seem to be facing, partly to help them, and partly to justify my own exit. But it's always in the spirit of respecting that they have legitimate objectives, and I have legitimate needs as a DP. Usually such producers get the idea that we're not a good match for the project, and parting is amicable. At the absolute worst I end up having to say outright, "I don't think I'm really interested in taking on this project right now," citing specific reasons if I have to.

Sometimes the situation is reversed. I once had an interview with an under-prepared producer who practically tried to bully me into working with him. He vocally and loudly shot down every concern I brought up, and took every response of "maybe" or "possibly" as a "yes." It was like a spooky combination of used car salesman and mob boss. His attitude was like the production community owed him something. He actually wrapped up the interview by saying, "what else can you do for me?"! His follow-up phone calls were along the lines of, "you said you were going to get a XYZ for me." I said, "no, I said I could ask around, and find out if anyone had an XYZ you could use.." The guy scared the crap out of me.
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#10 Rik Andino

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Posted 03 June 2006 - 06:05 PM

I hate the interview process it's just sooo manic and degrading...
Both parties are trying to impress each-other
but at the same time trying to maintain a certain upper-hand position--it's like a mental wrestling match.

When I've needed to hire someone I always try to bring people I've worked before
Or people highly recommeneded by folks I've work with before.

And very important sometimes you've got to be a quick and good judge of character to survive.
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#11 Jayson Crothers

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Posted 05 June 2006 - 01:35 AM

This reminds me of an awkward situation I just went through. I was called by a producing team of 2 people to interview for an HD feature here in LA. The interview went well enough - they both seemed to be a bit eccentric, but otherwise nothing to send up any red flags. One of my closest friends (also a Cinematographer) was also called for an interview. Same thing with him - the interview went well enough.

Imagine our mutual surprise when we BOTH got calls asking us to come in AT THE SAME TIME to discuss them making us an offer. We both went to the meeting out of morbid curiosity. In short, they wanted us to co-DP the film because (and I quote) "We got to thinking, why have one good DP when we can get 2?!" We both tried politely explaining that we didn't think it was a good idea and they weren't hearing any of it; we left and said we'd have to call them that afternoon.

When I called that afternoon to say I would not be able to do the project due to some scheduling conflicts (fortunately true), the Producer informed me that I was "pissing away my one shot at a career" and that my name would be "over and done with for saying no" to him.

Something about this business draws the crazies from the wood-work.............
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#12 Adam White

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Posted 05 June 2006 - 02:49 AM

Not only are there a lot of whacked out people in the industry but most of them arent aware that they are, in any way, out of touch with the way rational people think. Apart from a few nuttier producers, I havent encountered to many loons (ive done less than most of you guys) but it is always a gamble taking on camera trainees. They either go "deer-in-headlights" when you pass them a magazine or start telling your gaffer how they would light scenes after lunch, second day.
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#13 David Sweetman

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Posted 05 June 2006 - 03:33 AM

This is why I'm teaching a few of my good buddies who are interested how to use all the equipment. With some luck, we'll keep on working together and I can bypass a lot of this process.
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#14 Rik Andino

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Posted 05 June 2006 - 05:09 PM

Something about this business draws the crazies from the wood-work.............


You can say that again...

Think about (trying not to offend anybody)
Most of the people in this industry can't compently work anywhere else...
If they could they would've gotten a better job already.

So what our industry is comprised of is many egoist who wanted to be artist
But had to become filmmakers...
So a bunch of egoist working a collaborative job that requires people to have little ego to succeed.
yeap definitely we're all mostly crazy.

:)
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#15 Adam Frisch FSF

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Posted 05 June 2006 - 06:33 PM

I'm not sure I agree. My experience of crews worldwide, is that they're hard working, friendly, knowledegable and take pride in their work. I can count the a-holes I've met on two fingers, I think.

I can't recall it ever was like that even when I was starting out (where perhaps hormones ran a bit higher, so to speak), but the thruth is you do not last in this business unless you can behave yourself. Some DP's are hard work and can be difficult, but they turn out great work so people kind of support their tirades or churlishness. At least for a while. But if they continue, they won't have a career that lasts to the end. Or if it does, it's on jobs below their potential.

That said, I'm sorry to hear that Richard has had the unfortune of coming across a certified nut.
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#16 beanpat

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Posted 05 June 2006 - 07:29 PM

Having been through this now on four different productions, I can share the way we handled it. After asking for resumes or reels from all prospective cast and crew, we responded to everyone. To the folks we were sure we were not interested in working with, we wrote, "Thank you for your interest in "Such-n-Such Project". We were very impressed with your resume but unfortunately at this time we have decided to go in a different direction. We will keep your information on file for future productions and thank you again for your interest."

That seems to smooth ruffled feathers pretty effectively.

We did have a DP that we interviewed for one project. He had a decent reel and seemed friendly enough in our email and phone conversations. So we brought him in. My production manager and I sat down with him and went over what we were trying to do with the story and he wanted to see the camera equipment we would be using. We brought him to the shop and showed him the Arriflex 16SR and Zeiss lenses we would be using(something that my small production company had just spent $1500 having overhauled) and he went off on a tirade about how he would not shoot with that "piece of s*#t". I thought my production manager was going to have a heart attack (he was pretty green and had not seen some of the "goings on" in the film business). So this prospective DP goes storming out of the office and out to his van. I have a morbid curiosity about what makes people tick, so I followed him out to the curb. I watched him get into his van and as he was pulling away, he emphatically stated, "You're gonna need to rent an HD package if you want me to DP this film." I just smiled and waved.

It really is amazing.

This business is not that big. I have been involved as an actor, director and DP since 1983 and I can't tell you how many jobs I have been on where I've either worked with these people before or they know the same folks as I do. Your reputation and how easy you are to work with makes so much difference.

-Tim

It's likely he has never worked with a "piece of s*#t" AKA industry standard 16mm movie camera. I hope to get a chance to own a 16SR one day.
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#17 James Erd

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Posted 07 June 2006 - 11:20 AM

Having been through this now on four different productions, I can share the way we handled it. After asking for resumes or reels from all prospective cast and crew, we responded to everyone. To the folks we were sure we were not interested in working with, we wrote, "Thank you for your interest in "Such-n-Such Project". We were very impressed with your resume but unfortunately at this time we have decided to go in a different direction. We will keep your information on file for future productions and thank you again for your interest."

That seems to smooth ruffled feathers pretty effectively.

We did have a DP that we interviewed for one project. He had a decent reel and seemed friendly enough in our email and phone conversations. So we brought him in. My production manager and I sat down with him and went over what we were trying to do with the story and he wanted to see the camera equipment we would be using. We brought him to the shop and showed him the Arriflex 16SR and Zeiss lenses we would be using(something that my small production company had just spent $1500 having overhauled) and he went off on a tirade about how he would not shoot with that "piece of s*#t". I thought my production manager was going to have a heart attack (he was pretty green and had not seen some of the "goings on" in the film business). So this prospective DP goes storming out of the office and out to his van. I have a morbid curiosity about what makes people tick, so I followed him out to the curb. I watched him get into his van and as he was pulling away, he emphatically stated, "You're gonna need to rent an HD package if you want me to DP this film." I just smiled and waved.

It really is amazing.

This business is not that big. I have been involved as an actor, director and DP since 1983 and I can't tell you how many jobs I have been on where I've either worked with these people before or they know the same folks as I do. Your reputation and how easy you are to work with makes so much difference.

-Tim


Not that it matters but it sounds like the guy didn't know how to run the euipment and couldn't think of a better exit stratigy.

Some people don't know how to get hired and others don't know how to leave.
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#18 James Erd

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Posted 07 June 2006 - 11:35 AM

Haha, what the hell? I can't understand anything that guy is saying.

Think about it this way though: His response allowed you to realize that he's crazy without needing to hire him first. Imagine if he had just kept quiet, and you ended up hiring him next time! :P


whew! So its not just me then. I was worried I needed to know what "Ashlock" meant. :rolleyes:

My philosophy is that communication is the first requirement of any project with more than one person. Each party being equally responsible for ensuring that the information given was received and understood. It would be devastating to have to rely on some one who can't communicate.
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#19 Dominik Muench

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Posted 07 June 2006 - 12:08 PM

I was worried I needed to know what "Ashlock" meant. :rolleyes:



*smartypants on*

the correct spelling is "arschloch"...thats german...for...ehm i guess u know :)

*smartypants off*
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#20 Matt Pacini

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Posted 07 June 2006 - 04:44 PM

Perhaps a good hiring strategy is to turn everyone down, then see how they respond, & hire the most professional ones who meet the qualifications.
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