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