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Who are you & what do you do?


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#1 peter bartle

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Posted 06 June 2006 - 07:26 AM

Hello everyone,

To start off this new forum, it'd be great if all the present & former AC's (1st's & 2nd's) could list who they are & the present / past jobs they've worked on.

Also list what you like & dislike about being an AC, so lets hear it!...
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#2 Hans Engstrom

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Posted 14 June 2006 - 11:27 AM

My name is Hans Engstrom, I´m 31yo and I work as 1st/2nd AC in Sweden. I started taking 1st AC jobs this year (but still takes 2nd AC jobs when offered) and so far I have worked as 1st on two films and got a 35mm musicvideo coming up this weekend, my first musicvideo as 1st so it will be fun. I have never applied for a job as 1st but instead gotten them from people that I worked with as 2nd so the jump from 2nd to 1st came naturally. I have previously worked as production coordinator but hated working in the office and wanted to get my hands dirty so I took some 2nd AC jobs to get into the camera dept. I love my work and enjoy the challenges that arise from focus pulling and finding solutions to problems. People often asks me why I´m still smiling at the end of a 14h day and I allways just answer that it´s hard not to smile when working with something one love and working with so many talented people. Offcourse I want to DP in the future but I have no rush and still think that I have much to learn from the DPs that I work with. That´s a few words about me so now it´s time for someone else to make an introduction.
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#3 Rory Hanrahan

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Posted 15 June 2006 - 09:09 PM

Alright, I'll take the heat. I'm 24 and working as a 1st in Philly and NY. I've only started doing production work as a semi-full time job recently. I've been teaching digital cinematography and lighting for about a year and a half now, and looking to branch out and gain more experience. I've been jumping into HD and 35mm shoots recently, which is a nice change from DPing no-budget Super16 films with a cast and crew of 5 (yeah, my actors pull cables...). I'm hoping that in the next year or so I can move into ACing full time because I love working on set and dealing with the challenges that arise from working in a creative/technical field like this. Of course I'd like to find some opportunities to DP a film with, let's say... lights, in the future, but I'm happy pulling focus and learning the ins and outs of the craft while I'm developing my photography skills.
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#4 Allen Achterberg

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Posted 05 July 2006 - 04:34 AM

Well then I guess its my turn.

I like this new topic as it's what I work most as. An AC.

I do jump around from DP and first AC though.

My name is Allen Achterberg, I'm 19 and these are my 1st AC jobs.

Day Dreamer-16mm ARRI SR1
On The Can-16mm ARRI S
Hawk Nelson "ELT"-DV XL1S
Hawk Nelson "TWT"-DV XL1S
Spoken "Falling Further"-Super16mm Panavision Elaine
Hawk Nelson Music vid-Super16mm Panavision Elaine
Hatchet Head-MiniDV XL1S P+S Technik Mount Prime Superspeed Primes
Dynamite Swine-DVCPRO50 SDX900 FEATURE FILM
Enter The Dragonly Disney Pilot-35mm Panavision Gold II
The Pitch-XDCAM SONY XDCAM
AARP Spec-35mm Panaflex GOLD II
Jaguar Spec-35mm Panaflex Panastar II
The Paranmormal Hour-HVX200 Red Rock 35mm adapter and Nikon Primes. FEATURE FILM

and one job as a 2nd AC on the feature film Asian Stories Book III
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#5 chism24

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Posted 08 July 2006 - 11:23 PM

Hi,

My name is Chris Miles I'm 19 years old and live in Sydney Australia

I agree, this new forum is great!!

I'm just starting out as a 1st and 2nd assistant

Here are my jobs:

* "Gum" Short Film - 1st Assistant - Arri SR2

* "22" Short Film - 1st Assistant - Sony Z1 + Mini 35 adapter, Zeiss standard and superspeed primes

* "A Better Tomorrow" Short Film - 1st Assistant Canon XL H1 + Mini 35 adapter, Zeiss superspeed primes

* Unknown Casting agency (music, drama, dance) Commercial - 2nd Assistant - Arri SR2

Comming up in about a week i'm 2nd Camera assisting on an Australian feature film being shot on the JVC GY-HD100 HDV 24p........... wish me luck

thanks heaps,
Chris
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#6 Matias Nicolas

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Posted 27 July 2006 - 09:28 AM

Hello my name is Matias Nicolas, I am from Buenos Aires, Argentina , I m now working as 1st AC since an year and a half more or less. I usually work in film production, and sometimes in publicity. This year I shot the film of Leonardo Favio, and last year , I shot 5 films ... I also lived in Barcelona , Spain for a couple of years , and made sth like freework in a rental house called service vision . Well I also love my job like the others above ! I love working as a team . I prefer shooting films than publicity or video clips . Good luck !
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#7 Nate Downes

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Posted 05 August 2006 - 01:18 PM

Hello, I'm Nathaniel Downes. Thus far, I've only done small shorts for my own learning, and am now 1AC on a short film called Phobia.
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#8 Annie Wengenroth

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Posted 06 August 2006 - 12:26 AM

I'm Annie Wengenroth....I work as a floor tech at Arri CSC and I have also worked as an AC on a few low-budget, non-union jobs. I moved to New York in January after graduating from the Savannah College of Art and Design at the end of November, taking a little downtime to myself, and then getting on the Chinatown bus to take a job in New York on an HD feature as a 2nd AC... with nothing but my laptop, my kit, and one duffel bag! Recently I was an AC (just me; no 2nd or loader; it was actually sort of documentary-style shooting so it worked out well) for some second unit stuff for a short film that they shot in LA called "Reservations" directed by Aloura Charles. The DP was Robert Bruce McCleery and we took an SR3 out around NYC for a weekend to grab some stuff. It was a lot of fun!

What I like about being an AC are those beautiful moments on set when you're doing a tough focus pull and suddenly, it all just comes together. You feel the operator tensing up next to you and you think "Oh god, I'm gonna blow it..?!" and then that split second of doubt is erased when you realize you got the shot. The ritual of building the camera. Having to stand perfectly still one minute and bust your ass the next. All the people who look at you hauling around that Panaflex and wonder how you do it. Becoming an AC has made me want to become a better person. I am less likely to blame others for my mistakes. I am more organized. My senses of direction, organization, and reflexes have become better. As far as what I don't like, I don't think there is anything, at least not yet.

Working at a rental house, you get an interesting perspective on it. You see some ACs come in to do a checkout and they spend 2 hours talking to everybody, 4 checking their stuff, 1 hour for lunch, and then they leave. You see others come in and they just blow right through because they just want to get the hell out of there and when you ask them about what the job is, they mutter "Some f##king commercial for (insert name)." And still you see others who show up at 9:00 and leave at 7:00. I have met ACs who hate their jobs and I have met ACs who thrive off of the next job, and the next, and the next.

As an AC, where do I fit? I try to always take the time to get what I need. But at the same time, I try to work with what I have, as much as I can. As hard as it can be since I'm just starting out, I just keep going. I try to learn from mistakes and some days, I step back and find myself thinking, "I love this" in a way that I have never done with any other job or passion in my entire life.

What they don't tell you in school is that everybody has a different way of doing things and different preferences and sometimes "right" and "wrong" is not such a harsh line. I worked for one camera operator who would fling off the eyecup chamois: "What the hell is this? I don't need this!" and I worked for another who insisted upon them. I worked for one DP who hated lens caps and another who asked that I leave the front cap on. There are some who expect you to be a walking ASC manual and some who simply leave you to your own devices. They might want you poised above them ready to grab the camera off their shoulder at any given moment, or they might want you out of the way.

I love the game of figuring out human nature. Even that nasty, sick feeling you get after pulling a 15-hour day and tipping over on the subway half-asleep because you're so wiped out. My job has given me a confidence which I might have never found otherwise. I wouldn't trade it for anything.
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#9 Rory Hanrahan

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Posted 06 August 2006 - 08:24 AM

...getting on the Chinatown bus to take a job in New York...



Ah, Chinatown bus. The official transportation source for poor AC's who need to haul a** up and down the east coast!
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#10 Benji Bakshi

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Posted 09 August 2006 - 12:29 AM

Hey Rory, good to see you on the forum!


Hey all, I'm ALWAYS looking for good non-union ACs, especially focus pullers.
I'm in Philadelphia, so if you're local, visit my website and give me a shout!
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#11 Michael Davidson

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Posted 13 August 2006 - 07:57 PM

Greetings;

My name is Michael Jari Davidson, hailing from Chatham, Ontario, Canada; that's half way between Detroit and Toronto. I will be graduating university in May of 2008, so I have been trying to get on as many shows as possible in the camera department to learn the ropes. I just wrapped up summer school at the Detroit Film Center learning 16mm film production, which was great.

If you are in need of an AC on a shoot and would like to see my CV, feel free to email me at mdavid23@uwo.ca or call me on my cell 1-519-784-4530.

Thanks for reading and maybe we will cross paths in the future.

Cheers,

MJD

Edited by Michael Jari Davidson, 13 August 2006 - 07:58 PM.

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#12 James Schlittenhart

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Posted 13 August 2006 - 11:22 PM

Hello all. My name is James Schlittenhart and I currently am attending Vancouver Film School. I was first AC on a school project called Scott and the Squirrel. It was my first time as AC on anything, and it was somewhat intoxicating and now I'm hooked on it. I'm trying to find out as much as I can so I can get out into the business ASAP. On the last round of films we just wrapped, I was camera operator, and also picked up most of the 1st's responsibilites as our first never showed up to any of the classes and hands on sessions.

I'm looking forward to finding my way into the camera union up here in Vancouver this coming year.
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#13 andre de marco paoliello

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Posted 20 August 2006 - 10:41 AM

My name is Andre Paoliello and I am a 2nd AC for film cameras in Brazil. I am currently working on my 5th feature film, first time off as a 2nd. I'd say more, but due to time constraints, I'll keep it short for now... Best regards to all of you!

Edited by andre de marco paoliello, 20 August 2006 - 10:42 AM.

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#14 Charles Ziegler

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Posted 30 September 2006 - 07:20 PM

hello my name is Chuck Ziegler and i'm a college student hoping to enter the film industry. As of the moment i'm writing this i am a registered Projectionist. i'm just wondering where to begin.
if anyone has good ideas on where to look for jobs, i'd like to start at something like filmloading and workmy way up.
another of my talents lies in the wonderful program known as Adobe Photoshop and have been using it for about 4 years. (i use CS2)
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#15 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 30 September 2006 - 09:48 PM

Hi,

> Chinatown Bus

I always thought that being unable to afford a car in the US was the next step up from living out of a cardboard box.

What happened to all those union AC wages?!

Phil
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#16 ben jones

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Posted 01 October 2006 - 10:00 AM

Hey all!

My name is Ben Jones and Im 23 working in England. I studied cinematography for 3 years at my college (surrey institute of art and design) Where I got to dp many varied projects on many formats (music video, narrative drama, documentary, club visuals, and art films?)

I left uni and went straight on to a 6 month camera trainee job on a BBC drama last year (Hotel Babylon) which was shot on HD (SONY HD750) - now im working 9-5 in a school to earn money to travel from november till april, where I plan to really make a go of it in London. I want to dp in the future, but now Its time to learn from others - Still dp anything I can get my hands on because If you get the chance, I believe thats just as valuable experience!

If anyone wants a friendly and extreemly enthusistic Englishman on set that can second guess anything from a proper cup of tea, to an optical flat, then give me a shout for sure!

www.cardboardboss.com/videos for my reel (s) and cv on request (still making it!)

01962 867218 (uk) Ben@cardboardboss.com

Kind regards, Ben.
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#17 Annie Wengenroth

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Posted 01 October 2006 - 10:44 PM

Phil,

1) I am not in the union yet (talk to me in a few weeks though!)
2) Most people in New York don't drive.
3) Some rich people live in New York and don't drive.
4) Thus, there is no correlation.
5) In LA, on the other hand, people get in their cars to drive half a block. I do not understand this and never will.

Ben Jones,

Do they shoot a lot of HD in the UK and are you interested in becoming a DP or do you like to AC? How many more acronyms can I fit into that sentence?
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#18 Sharra Jenkins

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Posted 02 October 2006 - 01:54 PM

Hello,
My name is Sharra Jenkins and I live in Los Angeles. I started out as a prop assistant with a friend of mine, and hated it. I thought that would be the end of my film experience. I found it calling me back a year later, and thought I'd try any position I could get my hands on. Long story short, after doing hair,MU, Wardrobe, Props, PA, Utility, and a whole slew of Sports broadcast jobs, I found my way into camera...and I haven't stopped since. I find it really fun to get all dirty, cuss like a sailor, and constantly be learning!! Nothing I've ever done has made so much sense to me.
Currently I work as an AC for "Reality" TV, which can use any number of HD/DV cameras, so I have been losing my skill at film AC work. I would really love to take film ac jobs, but I'm non union, and most small films don't pay...and I gotta pay my bills. But on the up side, I'm getting closer to shooting, and I love Shooting!!
Painting with light is something that catches my eye also, and not that I haven't been doing some of it...but I want to learn to make something as sexy as say...CSI Miami. I love the use of the blues as key light and orange as edge light...don't know why, I just do! A beautifully shot show!
ANyway, I'm rambling.
SharraJ
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#19 ben jones

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Posted 10 October 2006 - 08:49 AM

Dear Annie -

As far as I know, they are shooting a lot of HD in the UK, but mainly for dramas and documentary. Some dramas that were being shot on digibeta are switching over to HD for their next series. I cannot speak on behalf of ads and promos as I have not worked on any so far. 16mm is very much at large as well in all areas.

As I said I would like to dp as thats what I got to do for 3 years at college, but there is a huge jump between student film and industry practice and thats something I need to fully understand before taking more creative responsibility - As I said there is no harm in shooting anything you can. Music videos are a good way to practice because if the artist has just been signed, they tend to let you have a lot of control and are willing to pay the costs - (never be out of pocket for anyone else - work for free, but make sure it doesnt cost you!)

regards Ben.
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#20 Luke Allein

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Posted 23 October 2006 - 02:57 AM

I'm Luke, I live in Los Angeles and am the luckiest person I know, I also find myself in a very unique position.

I moved here from Buffalo NY where I went to film school, originally tinkering with the idea of directing. I knew I wanted to work in film, but not exactly what capacity, I was fascinated by just about everything. (Im a HUGE film nerd)

One day out of the blue I find out Im related to two of the most respected and popluar AC's in Hollywood, a father and son team who's IMDB credits together have about 40 of the biggest films of the last 30 years. So I move here, not even a year out of fim school and never even having touched a 35mm camera, I find myself the key camera PA on the biggest movie in the world, a $160 million dollar Tom Cruise movie with a usual set up of 5 CAMERAS. I did everything from get food and drinks for the camera guys to swapping lenses and having an entirely rigged up Millenium camera with an 11-1 lens on it tossed into my lap and pushed into the back of a gator. (Which was driven at high speeds in off-road terrain in order to beat the sunset, I was about to fall out of the damn thing, the camera weighed about 75 lbs and was worth at least a half million bucks. The DP told me "You drop that thing, and your career is over, son." No pressure, right? This was my first week.) Mostly I helped reload the cameras and my primary job was to run film back and forth from the set to the camera truck. And make sure I had ice in the cooler to keep the beer cold at wrap time.

Needless to say, in the five months I worked on that got my feet wet pretty fast. After that I worked on and off as either a 2nd or a PA or kind of a melding of both. It got pretty slow for a while and the bills started to pile up, so since then I got a job at Panavision's flagship location in Wooldand Hills. So I'm kind of in limbo right now, I try to get weekend jobs on stuff. (I'm doing weekends next month on 'Drillbit Taylor', luckily enough)

I love my job to death though, even though I spend most of the time delivering camera parts to sets. (I even got to go to Laszlo Kovacs' house last week, I was flipping out) Im fascinated by cameras and cinematography and am glad I'm at least immersed in it. So I'm kind of all over the place, not quite a 2nd AC yet but I could be if I have to and I do alright. I'm kind of like Luke Skywalker in "Empire Strikes Back", not quite a Jedi but good enough to do some damage. That's my story. Told you it was weird.

Edited by Luke Allein, 23 October 2006 - 03:00 AM.

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