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Film Cities


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#1 Emily Graham

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Posted 11 June 2007 - 06:17 PM

I'm looking to move soon (next 2 months), and I'm also interested in getting a job in film (starting as a PA or what have you). What cities are good "film" cities? That is, places where one might find more opportunity than not. I think LA is a given... and I understand San Francisco has a pretty good film community. (I'm in Atlanta, so please don't say Atlanta.) Any others...? Thanks in advance!
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#2 James Mehr

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Posted 11 June 2007 - 06:36 PM

I would say another obvious one is NYC. It's an expensive city, mind you, and the overwhelming majority of work is in video. If you don't mind working for free on projects for a while to build up connections, or you all ready have connections in the city, then it's an option.
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#3 AdamBray

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Posted 11 June 2007 - 06:49 PM

Austin, Texas

For the past seven years, MovieMaker magazine has named Austin among the top moviemaking cities in the country. In 2004, the Capital City topped the list of "Top 10 Cities for Moviemakers" and took the #3 spot this year, just behind New York City and Philadelphia.
More than 350 major features and made-for-television movies have been filmed in Austin over the past 20 years, not including hundreds of commercials and independent projects.


Cheap living too!

Edited by AdamBray, 11 June 2007 - 06:50 PM.

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#4 Brad Grimmett

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Posted 11 June 2007 - 06:57 PM

I'll add Orlando to the list. If you intend on working mainly in features then it's not the place for you. But if you want to learn by working on commercial and music video sets it's great. A lot of commercials are shot there and there are some great crews. Also, people in Orlando routinely work in Miami, Tampa, and Jacksonville. It's basically like 4 small markets in one.
I wouldn't recommend San Francisco. In my experience there isn't that much going on there, and the stuff that is shot there is often crewed by a lot of people from LA. I've gone up there to work from LA many times.
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#5 Mateo Deza

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Posted 11 June 2007 - 08:22 PM

i think that LA is a good place to get a job film, but yeh just look around till you find something you like
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#6 Robert Glenn

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Posted 11 June 2007 - 10:29 PM

Wilmington NC was bigtime for a while during the 90s and even earlier with Dino De Laurentiis's studio, bought later by Coralco and now.. I don't know. Lots of great movies shot in NC though. I hope to be next in line!
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#7 William A Chapman Jr

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Posted 12 June 2007 - 01:29 AM

Seattle is starting to get a lot more film business as well.
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#8 Emily Graham

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Posted 12 June 2007 - 08:28 AM

Thanks for the replies!! This is food for thought, definitely. (Also... good to know about San Francisco.) I've heard Austin is a fun city anyway, and it's one I've been interested in checking out. I'm excited to learn that there is film opportunity there.

Question: What if a person is interested in more non-fiction type work, for instance, documentaries for TV, or even television shows like you'd find on Discovery, TLC, etc.? That's the kind of stuff I'm super-interested in. Initially, I kind of see myself making films on my own (and thus want to be in an area where other creative types would be - people with whom I could collaborate); and also finding beginning jobs in the industry to learn how everything really works and to make contacts. But I think my end goal is working on pieces that would be aired on TV. (I'm sorry, I should have mentioned all that to begin with.)

This is a neat forum, btw!
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#9 Byron Karl

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Posted 12 June 2007 - 10:12 AM

Watch the end credits for the types of shows that you are interested in and you will see where the prod. companies are located.

However for getting your foot in the door, it might be better to work an office job in programming for either A&E/History Channel (NYC) or Discovery/TLC (D.C.). Then move from being an assistant to a producer to getting involved as coordinator or producer. This is the route that will inform you as to how to have some autonomy in creating non-fiction content for television. And also, having some experience in this I can say that the faster track is more with Discovery Channel as they are much larger.

From the production company side of things, you're mainly just pitching shows or being hired. The development of content is mainly up to the network.

Also, I'd maybe try freelancing or temping for one of these networks first. You might find that your ambitions don't coincide with television, which is more about rehashing and repackaging the same content, rather than developing anything new.
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#10 Brad Grimmett

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Posted 12 June 2007 - 06:19 PM

Initially, I kind of see myself making films on my own (and thus want to be in an area where other creative types would be - people with whom I could collaborate); and also finding beginning jobs in the industry to learn how everything really works and to make contacts.

Truthfully, LA is probably your best bet. A lot of people start in smaller markets and end up moving to LA because they get frustrated with the major inconsistency of the small market. There is just more going on in LA than anywhere else. Projects that shoot in other parts of the country, or the world, are often developed in Los Angeles and a lot of the crew is often based in LA. So if your initial goal is to learn about the business and find people to collaborate, I don't think there is a better place than LA.
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#11 Evan Winter

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Posted 12 June 2007 - 07:04 PM

If you have the option then come to L.A.

See Brad's reasons above. All true.
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#12 John Sprung

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Posted 13 June 2007 - 07:13 PM

So far it's all been domestic (U.S.) cities -- What about London or Rome? Let's get some international opinions from the people who are there.



-- J.S.
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#13 Brad Grimmett

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Posted 13 June 2007 - 08:25 PM

So far it's all been domestic (U.S.) cities -- What about London or Rome? Let's get some international opinions from the people who are there.
-- J.S.

Good point. But cities outside the U.S. are a bit tougher since work permits and hefty moving expenses are involved.
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#14 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 13 June 2007 - 10:41 PM

You'd have to be mad to leave the US for London. London has all the problems of any location coupled with the fact that they apply over a very much smaller pool of work. You end up getting the tailings - the small jobs, the stuff nobody else wants, the poorly paid stuff, in either case - but the difference is that in LA you can make a living on it. I know several people who do. In London, that's very difficult.

Phil
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#15 Emily Graham

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Posted 16 June 2007 - 05:22 PM

Truthfully, LA is probably your best bet. A lot of people start in smaller markets and end up moving to LA because they get frustrated with the major inconsistency of the small market. There is just more going on in LA than anywhere else. Projects that shoot in other parts of the country, or the world, are often developed in Los Angeles and a lot of the crew is often based in LA. So if your initial goal is to learn about the business and find people to collaborate, I don't think there is a better place than LA.


Thanks Brad (and everyone, really).

I have some questions on schooling/job-getting: I have a BFA; major in photography, and minor in video ('91). I worked in a post-production facility after that for about 2 years. Then I was away from video/film altogether until... soon, I hope. I'm not sure if I should go back to school or not. My feeling is it would be helpful if it were a hands-on type environment -- where I could be involved in seeing a film produced from beginning to end. (Or maybe even an intensive workshop.) Then again, part of me thinks I have enough experience to at least get an entry-type job in the production end... and go from there (or rather, learn from there). Any opinion on this?

Also... how do people go about getting jobs in this industry? I've been in the corporate realm for so long now... all I had to do there was go through a temporary staffing agency, and I could get placed. I'm unsure how to begin in the film/video arena. The way I got that job at the post-production facility was that a short film of mine was seen by the owner at our annual college film festival and he offered me a position.

Also, is there age discrimination in this industry? I'm not ancient, but I'm not directly out of college either. Thanks!
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#16 Emily Graham

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Posted 16 June 2007 - 05:32 PM

Watch the end credits for the types of shows that you are interested in and you will see where the prod. companies are located.

However for getting your foot in the door, it might be better to work an office job in programming for either A&E/History Channel (NYC) or Discovery/TLC (D.C.).

Also, I'd maybe try freelancing or temping for one of these networks first. You might find that your ambitions don't coincide with television, which is more about rehashing and repackaging the same content, rather than developing anything new.


Thanks for your advice. I like the idea of watching the credits for production companies/locations. Do people typically send resumes to production companies? I remember when I worked at a post-production house and people would send resumes and they'd just go in someone's drawer (I think they were drawn upon when there was an opening however, but not certain). Again, how do people get a job in this industry?

Hmm... temping is something I understand. Do you know how one goes about doing just that for places such as those?

What you said about the television programming rehashing the same content really struck a chord. I know that must be true from the type of shows I see. Yes, you may be right about that not being for me. I definitely want to be a part of something fresh and thoughtful.
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#17 Brad Grimmett

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Posted 16 June 2007 - 06:52 PM

Emily,
Regarding going back to school....my thought on film school is that you can basically do the same thing by being a P.A. and you actually make money instead of spending it. This seems to be even more true in your case since you already have some experience.
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