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Finally Joining IA 600 - advice?


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#1 Steven Parker

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Posted 10 July 2007 - 12:49 PM

Hello All-

I have finally qualified for membership in the Intl Cinematographer's Guild as a DP and was hoping some of you could share some advice or anecdotes about making the jump from indie/low budget features to the studio/network world.

I guess I'm a bit nervous about stepping up - I have few contacts in the union realm, my credits are pretty unrecognizable, etc. I will be recutting my reel soon, chasing an agent and so forth but I'm hoping some of you who've made the jump can talk about things both good and bad to watch out for.

I'm based in LA but any advice from anywhere is much appreciated.

Thanks in advance
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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 10 July 2007 - 04:07 PM

Since you can still work on non-union films, there isn't much downside to joining other than the high price and the need to maintain your hours to qualify for access to the healthcare plan, which sort of becomes a constant worry unfortunately.

The upside is that your rate will probably go up, you'll get paid for overtime, you pay into a pension and heathcare plan, you have somewhere to go with grievences about poor working conditions.

But because of the high cost of joining, I didn't join until it was clear that I was going to be up for union jobs.
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#3 Steven Parker

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Posted 10 July 2007 - 08:48 PM

Thanks, David. I had heard the medical/pension days could be tough... but I've been w/out insurance for so long just the OPTION to qualify is great.

BTW, check your RedUser mailbox :rolleyes:
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#4 Chris Keth

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Posted 11 July 2007 - 07:54 PM

Thanks, David. I had heard the medical/pension days could be tough... but I've been w/out insurance for so long just the OPTION to qualify is great.

BTW, check your RedUser mailbox :rolleyes:


What are the requirements for joining? That will be a concern of mine in the fairly near future, though I'll probably be joining as an AC.
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#5 Paul Maibaum ASC

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Posted 11 July 2007 - 08:14 PM

Call the union! 323-876-0160.
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#6 Steven Parker

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Posted 11 July 2007 - 11:06 PM

What are the requirements for joining? That will be a concern of mine in the fairly near future, though I'll probably be joining as an AC.


In Los Angeles, I had to prove 100 days of paid non-union work (as a DP) within three years. I got accepted with little fuss, so I count myself as lucky - and honored, quite frankly. If you're getting permitted union days, I think it's 30 days within one year.

As Paul mentions above, you should call the Guild and ask about specifics, especially if you're outside LA. If you go in as a 1st AC, you'll need to show pay stubs that reflect your working days as a 1st. You can upgrade to DP later when you're ready.

Good luck!!

So, c'mon fellas - a lot more of you have had to make this jump.... :huh:
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#7 Chris Keth

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Posted 12 July 2007 - 12:11 AM

In Los Angeles, I had to prove 100 days of paid non-union work (as a DP) within three years. I got accepted with little fuss, so I count myself as lucky - and honored, quite frankly. If you're getting permitted union days, I think it's 30 days within one year.

As Paul mentions above, you should call the Guild and ask about specifics, especially if you're outside LA. If you go in as a 1st AC, you'll need to show pay stubs that reflect your working days as a 1st. You can upgrade to DP later when you're ready.

Good luck!!

So, c'mon fellas - a lot more of you have had to make this jump.... :huh:


Thanks! It's not a serious enough possibility for me to bother them yet. Thanks for the info! It's not the big, bad demon-goal some people I know make it out to be.
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#8 Steven Parker

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Posted 13 July 2007 - 02:15 AM

Thanks! It's not a serious enough possibility for me to bother them yet. Thanks for the info! It's not the big, bad demon-goal some people I know make it out to be.


No, it's the next logical step. After a while in the low budget indies, you peak. The next step almost always has to be union work - because that's where the time/money/resources are that are lacking in the low budget world. I am definitely a fan of the rights and wages and benefits and protections of the unions but I gotta say - as a creative person, what I really want is the time and resources to do better work.

But you should definitely try to keep the best records you can. Make sure your call sheets are accurate and save them; make copies of your check stubs and try to make sure they put your position on the memo line. The day will come when you'll be ready to join - and you might as well be ready.

Edited by Steven Parker, 13 July 2007 - 02:18 AM.

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#9 Chris Keth

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Posted 14 July 2007 - 11:04 AM

No, it's the next logical step. After a while in the low budget indies, you peak. The next step almost always has to be union work - because that's where the time/money/resources are that are lacking in the low budget world. I am definitely a fan of the rights and wages and benefits and protections of the unions but I gotta say - as a creative person, what I really want is the time and resources to do better work.

But you should definitely try to keep the best records you can. Make sure your call sheets are accurate and save them; make copies of your check stubs and try to make sure they put your position on the memo line. The day will come when you'll be ready to join - and you might as well be ready.


Very good advice about putting p[osition in the check info. I wouldn't have thought of that until I was kicking myself for not insisting on it. Thanks for the advice!
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Visual Products

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Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Willys Widgets

FJS International, LLC

Rig Wheels Passport

Broadcast Solutions Inc

The Slider

Metropolis Post

Paralinx LLC

CineTape

rebotnix Technologies

Tai Audio

Technodolly

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS