Jump to content


Photo

Advice, please?


  • Please log in to reply
9 replies to this topic

#1 Michael Kernan

Michael Kernan
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 23 posts
  • Student
  • Tuscaloosa, AL

Posted 30 September 2006 - 06:32 PM

Before I begin, let me give you some background...

Hello, my name is Michael and I am currently a Sophmore in High School. I am very active in the school's drama dept. and I am the head lighting techie, head sound techie, and I help out with whatever else I can. Recently, while thinking of what I want to do with my life, I thought that being a camera man would be fun. That is what I would like to pursue, but, as opposed to many other people, I don't want to later become a director or what not... I can't say that I'm a great writer, nor do I aspire to be one. I really just want to do camera and lighting work.

After figuring this much out, I've been doing a bit of investigation on what I need to learn to do such a thing. From what I've read, there are two choices...Go to school and learn the trade, or spend that money that I would use on college to get out in the field and work myself up the ladder. Where I live, the most logical school to go to would be the University of Alabama, but they don't have much of a film dept. What they do have is more of a telecommunications/radio dept, which I think would be rather useless. I've been looking at a few colleges, and the two that stand out the most for me are the Columbia College Chicago and Full Sail. I realize that both of these schools are going to be rather expensive, although I have no clue what tuition is, exactly, for either of them.

Basically, I just want to know... Where do I start? What do I do? What should I start doing while still in high school... Also, some "insider" info on the two schools listed would be nice. Just any information you could give me, concerning training AND life as a camera man, would be great.

Thank you for your time,
Michael Kernan
  • 0

#2 Rich Steel

Rich Steel
  • Sustaining Members
  • 128 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Scotland

Posted 01 October 2006 - 04:49 AM

If I could serve my time again, instead of college I think I would have started a job at a local rental company like "Arri Media" for instance. Why? well first of all you'll have access to all the latest in technology to get to grips with and have access to an already established database of clients.

Work hard, learn the ropes get yourself known to the clients your servicing......Go Freelance and start at the bottom, learn from the best and work your way up the ranks.

Here in the UK, it's all too easy to leave college and say your a DOP and unfortunately that reflects on the work and jobs that are available here. I've spent 15 years working in the business and only now have started making in-roads to the kind of work I really want to do.

Whatever path you decide to trot along on, may it be a successful one. Good Luck in your new prospective career.

I keep telling people......"One day I'll get a proper job" but to be honest, my work is my hobby, not many people can say that.

Regards

Rich Steel
Steadicam Owner/Operator

www.steadicams.com
  • 0

#3 Brian Dzyak

Brian Dzyak
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1517 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Encino, California USA

Posted 01 October 2006 - 08:48 AM

Before I begin, let me give you some background...

Hello, my name is Michael and I am currently a Sophmore in High School. I am very active in the school's drama dept. and I am the head lighting techie, head sound techie, and I help out with whatever else I can. Recently, while thinking of what I want to do with my life, I thought that being a camera man would be fun. That is what I would like to pursue, but, as opposed to many other people, I don't want to later become a director or what not... I can't say that I'm a great writer, nor do I aspire to be one. I really just want to do camera and lighting work.

After figuring this much out, I've been doing a bit of investigation on what I need to learn to do such a thing. From what I've read, there are two choices...Go to school and learn the trade, or spend that money that I would use on college to get out in the field and work myself up the ladder. Where I live, the most logical school to go to would be the University of Alabama, but they don't have much of a film dept. What they do have is more of a telecommunications/radio dept, which I think would be rather useless. I've been looking at a few colleges, and the two that stand out the most for me are the Columbia College Chicago and Full Sail. I realize that both of these schools are going to be rather expensive, although I have no clue what tuition is, exactly, for either of them.

Basically, I just want to know... Where do I start? What do I do? What should I start doing while still in high school... Also, some "insider" info on the two schools listed would be nice. Just any information you could give me, concerning training AND life as a camera man, would be great.

Thank you for your time,
Michael Kernan



Michael,

You're not going to find many books out there that will come right out and explain what life in the business will be like. I'm not talking about memoir books...you know the kind where someone waxes on about their days walking around the Paramount lot running into stars that are half dead. So I've been writing a book I call What I Really Want to Do on set in Hollywood that goes into detail about what it actually takes to become a [fill in a job on set here] and what it's like doing it on a day to day basis. Check out my website for more information.

Good luck!
  • 0

#4 Michael Kernan

Michael Kernan
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 23 posts
  • Student
  • Tuscaloosa, AL

Posted 01 October 2006 - 02:22 PM

Thanks for both of your replies!


The problem with starting from the bottom up is that where I live currently, there is NOTHING that would help me. The closest thing I could do is intern at the local news station. That would mean I would have to move out to California or what-not, which I'm ok with, but I just don't know how to start.


Brian- Yes, I have taken a look at the book and I plan on buying it as soon as it is out. :D
  • 0

#5 Delorme Jean-Marie

Delorme Jean-Marie
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 513 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • paris, france

Posted 12 October 2006 - 07:39 AM

hi michael

first, for all of us we started at the same point where you are (for those who are not lucky enougth to have a father DOP).
If you believe that's the job you want to do, take any oportunity to get yourself close to where it happens.
if you are stuck where you are, take advantage of this time to study, whith this site, books, magazines, interviews on dvd bonus, try to get close to a photographic "club"
take pictures with a digital cam and compare them to pictures on magazines....
watch movies from us and foreign countries.
Put yourself available because when you'll meet the proper person, you'll be as ready as possible to work in the industry.
the tools, are just a small part of a camera man job and it's super quick to learn when you have a true reason to use them.
good luck
  • 0

#6 ryan_bennett

ryan_bennett
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 138 posts
  • Student

Posted 12 October 2006 - 10:24 AM

I think everyone gave you good advice but seriously have you shot anything? Film or video? I realize that

I really just want to do camera and lighting work.

and not write or direct but find yourself a writer/director, find anything you can find that you can crew on. Try crewing on a student production at Alabama. That's the best thing if you do go to college, you will learn, meet people and you'll work together to make a movie but I just can't stress more that you should go out and shoot! If you're more of a camera man think about documentaries that you could make, etc.
  • 0

#7 Jason S.

Jason S.

    New

  • Basic Members
  • Pip
  • 1 posts
  • Student

Posted 12 October 2006 - 12:28 PM

I am currently a student at the University of Alabama and I am in the Telecomunication/Film school... It's really video oriented; however Prof. Aaron Greer a filmaker himself can help you if you want to get into film. Also there are plenty of oportunities and classes that are similar to film making. The only difference is that we use video. The differences between video and film aren't as important when you are begining. You may find that their are more things in comon than their are different... I would try the UA and talk to different people about projects. The Production House offers a lot of experience as well. It's basic camera work, but the techniques are similar to film. We also have a full powered television station with plenty of oportunities. Film schools are really expensive and if you don't have the money, this is your best bet. It's really what you make of it. I would get in touch with professor Aaron Greer and ask him basic questions about film. You can find his email address on the UA website...
  • 0

#8 Michael Kernan

Michael Kernan
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 23 posts
  • Student
  • Tuscaloosa, AL

Posted 14 October 2006 - 02:49 PM

Wow, thanks for all 3 of your replies!


Once my schedule starts settling down a bit, I plan on getting deeper into it... Filming stuff and the like. I'm going to be doing a little documentary for the high school soon, so that will be fun. (Although most of the stuff in it will be inside jokes, it will still be experience) I'd like to think of myself as a people person and I'm generally easy to get along with. I am a good, hard worker and a quick learner... Give me some guidance as to what to do and I will get it done. I think that these aspects will help out in the field. :D

Basically, I really want to go to Columbia College Chicago but if the financial part of it is going to be a problem, I will probably go to U of A...
  • 0

#9 Morgan Peline

Morgan Peline
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 417 posts
  • Cinematographer

Posted 14 October 2006 - 06:57 PM

Hi,

Shoot (and light) films with friends, edit, show end results to people who know what they are looking at to critique, read books, help out and learn from people with more experience than yourself, then go back to the beginning and shoot again. Keep going until you retire.

Good luck!
  • 0

#10 Michael Kernan

Michael Kernan
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 23 posts
  • Student
  • Tuscaloosa, AL

Posted 14 October 2006 - 10:14 PM

Thanks for the response, Morgan!
  • 0


Glidecam

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Visual Products

Ritter Battery

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

CineTape

Abel Cine

Wooden Camera

FJS International, LLC

Rig Wheels Passport

Paralinx LLC

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Tai Audio

Metropolis Post

CineLab

Aerial Filmworks

Opal

Technodolly

The Slider

rebotnix Technologies

Willys Widgets

The Slider

Abel Cine

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Willys Widgets

Technodolly

Opal

Paralinx LLC

Glidecam

Metropolis Post

Visual Products

Tai Audio

Wooden Camera

Rig Wheels Passport

Aerial Filmworks

CineTape

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

rebotnix Technologies

CineLab

Ritter Battery

FJS International, LLC