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It's about time I get started!


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#1 tyler taylor

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Posted 08 September 2006 - 01:58 AM

Let me tell you a little bit about myself (very brief). I'm 18 years old, I'm a skateboarder, a musician, somewhat of a photographer, and now I'm looking to tackle the realm of filmmaking. It started out with a desire to make skateboarding videos for me and my friends (when I say that, I don't mean some piece of crap, I mean something as good as I can possibly make!), but now it has turned into short films too.

As long as I can remember, I've studied movies. As in, when I'd sit down and watch a movie, I'd notice every little thing I possibly could. Lighting, camera angles, sound effects, editing, anything and everything. Because of this, I already have a feel for what I like and dislike, and I feel like I'm off to a good start.

As of right now, I am completely broke. So I can't give you guys a budget to get me started. But lets just say around 5000 would be ideal for right now, if it has to be a little more, that's fine. I've got a friend with a vx2100 and I've filmed with it and absolutely loved it. So that's the camera I'm leaning toward. Other than that, I'm lost.

I'd eventually like to do stuff for other people, instead of just making my own little short films. I don't plan on going to school for film yet, as I'm already in school and don't want to change all my courses. Maybe I'd attend in the future, but just not yet. So, if you guys could give me some advice for getting work without formal education that would be AMAZING. But basically, just:

GIVE ME EVERYTHING YOU'VE GOT!!!
Links, tips, videos, books, ANYTHING!!!
I'm so ready to get started.

Thanks in advance,
Tyler

Edited by tyler taylor, 08 September 2006 - 02:00 AM.

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#2 Jan Weis

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Posted 08 September 2006 - 04:54 PM

If you're motivated enough to embark on the filmaking journey, then you'll do your research yourself.
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#3 Brian Dzyak

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Posted 08 September 2006 - 06:30 PM

GIVE ME EVERYTHING YOU'VE GOT!!!
Links, tips, videos, books, ANYTHING!!!
I'm so ready to get started.

Thanks in advance,
Tyler


Tyler,

I'm assuming that you're interested primarily in Camera and not specifically Directing or anything else having to do with "filmmaking"?

I've got a book which is designed for people who want a very real career in the industry, so naturally I'll plug that first. :D At present, there are four kinds of books out there, none of which are very helpful for those who aren't truly sure what they want to do. That's the gap that mine is going to fill.

The first kind of "industry" book which is the most useless is the "memoir" or "a funny thing happened to me on the set of Paramount about 20 years ago" kind of book. While entertaining, the anecdotes have very little to do with telling you how to find a way into the industry for yourself or give you any practical indication for what your own life will be like once you've chosen a path. Read them with a grain of salt.

The second kind of "movie making" book pretends to give you the "101" on how to make a movie from the ground up. They'll tell you "everything" you need to know about writing a "can't miss" script, how to "film" it, edit it, and screen it. Usually running at around 250 pages, there is simply no way that a book like that can give anyone any sense of what it really takes to make a quality movie. Those books play on the naive who believe they don't need "Hollywood" to make it. A few do skirt the system, but in very very rare circumstances.

The third kind of book attempts to "define" the various jobs on real movie sets. These books suggest that they are telling you everything you need to know to get a real job. That sounds a lot like mine except that these fail to be useful for one of two reasons. They either leave out half the jobs that are performed on set (usually the entry level jobs...the ones that a new filmmaker really needs to know about) or they include almost every job but spend just a page or two "defining" them. There are currently only about 6 books on the market that fall into this category, a few of which are no longer being printed.

The fourth kind of book, the kind I think you're looking for, is the "trade" book. These hone in on very specific jobs throughout the industry and give you a very detailed nuts & bolts (literally) look at all the equipment you'll need to do your job and most of the activities you need to perform. Some "members" on this site (ie Doug Hart) have written some quite excellent technical/career manuals that I wouldn't hesitate to recommend. I've used many of them myself in the past 15 years. :) They range from camera assisting, to gripping, to costume design.

For starters, head to my own website for my book at www.whatireallywanttodo.com and you'll find a list of "other resources" that can be useful for the aspiring filmmaker. I haven't yet added a list of the fourth kind of trade book described above, but I plan to in the near future.

Specifically for camera work, check out books published by ASC Press and Focal Press. I highly recommend going to http://www.samuelfrench.com. Samuel French Bookstores specialize in Film, Television, and Theatre publications.


Here's the rub though with all of it...I know because I was there too a long time ago...you're going to read some random DP's story about how he used "this" filmstock over "that" stock because of [sounds like gobblygook to you] or why he used some light you've never heard of over another light you've never heard of because of [more gobblygook]. That kind of information isn't very useful if you don't know what the hell these guys are droning on and on about. Not that it isn't helpful, but everything in its time.

I don't know exactly what your situation is, but if you can swing it, the very best thing you can do for your professional career at this stage is to find a nearby production company or television station and volunteer to help carry cases or whatever for the camera guys who work there. As long as you're a nice guy and a hard worker, they'll be more than happy for the help. Be honest and let them know that you're there to learn and don't pretend to know more than you do. On small scale productions, you're going to learn the basics of lighting and camera placement. You'll learn why it's better to shoot in one direction at 3pm in the afternoon than another...and better yet, how to shoot in a direction you shouldn't and fix problems "before" they become unfixable. This is a process and you won't learn everything overnight. You'll want to work with multiple cameramen and see how one handles similar situations differently. Because as complicated as a feature film appears to be, the same principles apply across the board, it's just that they're using bigger toys and have more help to do it.

Then take everything you've learned from those guys and go make mistakes on your own. Try not to f*** up somebody else's project (too much), but you have to get in there and get your hands dirty yourself and try different things to find out for yourself what works and what doesn't. You can stand on the sidelines all day, but until you're the guy in the hotseat, it will never quite sink in the same way.

So your homework is this:

1.) Go to my website :) and look at the other resources page. Don't forget to fill out the contact information page too so you'll know exactly when What I Really Want to Do is available.

2.) Visit the Samuel French bookstore or website and look for books explaining cinematography. Expect to not "get" everything and be okay with it. Highlight the stuff you don't understand and when you get the chance to ask someone who might know, don't be afraid to ask.

3.) Then over the weekend (yes, THIS weekend), research your area and find several production companies or freelance cameramen to call and ask to do "internships" with.

4.) Call them on Monday. Keep calling until you get a "yes." You wrote here for help so you shouldn't be afraid to make phone calls even if you get "short" answers like the first one that popped up in this thread. :blink:

5.) Once you've done some of that and gotten some real experience, put yourself out there on SMALL productions with students and practice what you think you've learned from professionals. In time, you'll have built enough experience on your own (and kept in touch with those pros you interned for! !!!!) that you'll be getting calls to shoot for somebody for real money!!!!

That's the "secret" to "Hollywood." There isn't one. Just genuine enthusiasm, perseverence, and the willingness to work hard while being a truly nice person. That will get you where you want to go.

Good luck!
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#4 tyler taylor

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Posted 08 September 2006 - 07:00 PM

If you're motivated enough to embark on the filmaking journey, then you'll do your research yourself.


was that really necessary? I've obviously been doing a little research, if I'm not allowed to ask for help, what's the point of this forum?

and brian, thanks man. I'm in a hurry so I can't read all of it, so I'll make a response later.
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#5 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 09 September 2006 - 01:24 AM

You asked for a set of encyclipedias instead of the definition of a word. I would suggest you read this forum and you'll find a lost of the answers you seek. This is not after all the " Plrovide the Answer to every question that Tyler Taylor could ever possibly ask before he asks it" forum, it's Cinematography.com. Ask a Spesific question or even series of questions and I'm sure SOMEONE will be willing to help you including myself if I know the answer. Capish? B)
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#6 Brian Dzyak

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Posted 09 September 2006 - 02:01 AM

You asked for a set of encyclipedias instead of the definition of a word. I would suggest you read this forum and you'll find a lost of the answers you seek. This is not after all the " Plrovide the Answer to every question that Tyler Taylor could ever possibly ask before he asks it" forum, it's Cinematography.com. Ask a Spesific question or even series of questions and I'm sure SOMEONE will be willing to help you including myself if I know the answer. Capish? B)


Sometimes even the wisest among us aren't aware of all the questions we should be asking and it takes someone else to guide the way.
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#7 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 09 September 2006 - 02:42 AM

Ah yes Grasshopper, but if one does not know what question to ask, should one one listen, watch and learn until a question comes to them? For only when one is patient can one truely understand the answer and become enlightened. :ph34r:
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The Slider

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Rig Wheels Passport

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS