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moving to LA, need friends


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#1 Annie Wengenroth

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Posted 09 September 2007 - 03:29 PM

Soooo, I finally decided to move out to LA as soon as I can, ideally sometime before winter. Apart from trying to line up a sublet, I also need to start building a more solid network of industry folks out there. I'm a camera assistant in Local 600, I've been working freelance full-time for about a year. Before that, I worked at Arri CSC and also worked on jobs as an AC when I could fit it in. Right now, most of the work I've been doing is still mostly non-union, but the union stuff is starting to build up, which is cool. If I had my way, I'd prefer to work on film jobs over HD ones, but hey, a job's a job and the newer technology is always interesting (I am dying to work on a Genesis job!).

I'm familiar with virtually every camera out there and I am as comfortable loading as I am pulling focus or 2nd ACing. My day rate remains all over the place depending on the job and on the circumstances, but I'm trying to edge my way out of the low-budget world one job at a time and would love to get on bigger jobs as a loader, even if it's still non-union.

I'm Aquarius, I love longboarding and walks on the beach...ha ha...anyway, if anyone in LA wants to say hi (or better yet, if you're looking for an AC or loader!), holla back.

p.s. Any general (HELPFUL) advice about making the big move would be advisable. I know that you have to tape the boxes shut and don't put the kitchen stuff on the bottom, and I also know that the traffic on 101 is going to be hell... but I guess I'm wondering more about some of the differences out there between film, TV, union, indie, etc. And also, hypothetically, how screwed would I be if I didn't have a car right away? (Gimme a break, I'm a New Yorker! :P )

Email, PM, call, reply, or let's just go skate together when I get out there (and talk shop!)!I'd love to hear what everyone's working on out there and how they got started.
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#2 Chris Keth

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Posted 09 September 2007 - 03:55 PM

I just made the same move. I won't pretend to know anybody or have connections, but let me know if I can help somehow.

A car is pretty much essential. There are buses and the metro but they're not very practical for a lot of locations.

As far as apartments, try to find something on the west side: hollywood, west hollywood, culver city, palms, mar vista. All of those are nice areas and nice affordable places can be found. If you don't already know about it, you might check out www.westsiderentals.com. it's a listing service that a lot of people use. It costs a fee but you can recoup most or all of it in rebates offered through them.
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#3 Chris Keth

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Posted 09 September 2007 - 04:10 PM

Forgot to mention. Feel free to PM or e-mail me if you ahve any specific questions.
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#4 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 09 September 2007 - 05:01 PM

> And also, hypothetically, how screwed would I be if I didn't have a car right away?

Given my LA experience as someone who operates mainly in London (with its NY-style public transport), the answer is: extremely screwed.

It has struck me in the past that it might be a fantastic city for cycling, given that the distances generally aren't that great and one could usefully skirt the pan-galactically-insane traffic conditions, although you'd be taking your life in your hands and transporting more than a fairly modest AC's outfit would be difficult. And that said, the distance between any two of the major studios is probably too much for it to work as a "getting to work" tactic.
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#5 Annie Wengenroth

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Posted 09 September 2007 - 07:06 PM

You obviously haven't seen me skating to work with a backpack, Harrison bag, set bag, and changing tent...it can be done! :lol:

Honestly, I don't really have a solid answer for people when they ask about the car thing. It's obviously one of the first things I thought of when I decided that I really do want to go out there...and I know it's a pretty big risk to try and get by without one, but I feel like I won't really know what I'm up against until I go out there and see for myself. It sounds really stubborn and foolish, but it's just the way I am and I can't explain it any better than that, nor can I say with a straight face that it's just as easy to get around in LA as it is in New York. But, I have a history of taking seemingly ridiculous risks and eventually landing back on my feet...well, except for the time I landed on my head, but these things happen and now I wear a helmet when I snowboard. ;)

And as far as the studios go? Well, realistically, what are the odds that I'd start right off working on jobs like that anyway? I started out in New York with these little podunk indie gigs and I STILL do those on occasion just to keep paying the bills...joining the union was by no means a magical solution guaranteeing bigger jobs, which I knew when I signed the paperwork and don't regret for an instant.

So yeah...I see your point, but I'm just saying, um...I'm really stubborn and it's impossible to talk me out of stuff! If push comes to shove, I wouldn't mind working at a rental house again just to have something to get me going, and then taking it from there.
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#6 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 09 September 2007 - 09:07 PM

Oh, I know exactly what you mean. I don't drive either and I'm regularly to be seen struggling through the London Underground with a full ENG camera package.

Good luck, let me know if it's doable!

Phil
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#7 Bruce Taylor

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Posted 09 September 2007 - 10:37 PM

I admire your spirit, but you must have a car and be able to drive in your line of work in the beautiful and smoggy City of Angels.

Bruce
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#8 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 10 September 2007 - 01:15 AM

You need a car in Los Angeles. Sure, occasionally you get super-lucky and can bike somewhere, but LA is too big & spread-out in general for that. If you choose to live in Sherman Oaks, let's say, one day your shoot may be in Santa Clarita and the next day, in Long Beach.

Even the distance between Panavision Woodland Hills versus a rental house in Culver City like Keslo Cameras is not practical to bike between.
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#9 Brad Grimmett

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Posted 10 September 2007 - 02:25 AM

I'll chime in on the car thing as well. You have to have a car. I've shot in many places where you simply couldn't take the bus, even if you wanted to. Of course, if you were willing to walk five miles after getting off the bus maybe you could, but is that really an option? It's just not like New York where you can catch a bus or train to anywhere you need to go. It would be a severe hardship to try to work out here without a vehicle.
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#10 Annie Wengenroth

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Posted 10 September 2007 - 07:31 AM

Well, my brother is thinking of selling his car because HE'S moving to New York! So who knows....I will see what I can do. I still have a few months to plan this through; my main goal is to be out there by the winter, since the winters here are so slow.

Thanks so much for all of your advice thus far!
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#11 Chris Keth

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Posted 10 September 2007 - 03:55 PM

Well, my brother is thinking of selling his car because HE'S moving to New York! So who knows....I will see what I can do. I still have a few months to plan this through; my main goal is to be out there by the winter, since the winters here are so slow.

Thanks so much for all of your advice thus far!


Let me know how it goes. If you're looking at a place in the Hollywood area I might be able to check the neighborhood out for you. Stuff changes block to block almost so it's hard to know if you found a nice area or not until you check it out.
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#12 Eric Steelberg ASC

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Posted 10 September 2007 - 04:11 PM

You need a car, period. Sell some AC gear if you have to, it's that important. You will not be able to work without one.mLAmis about 15 times the size of NYC with comparably pathetic public transportation. All you need is one person to say you don't have a car and word will get around and no one will hire you. If you can't get a car, you're not ready to move here.

If you can get a car, great. I'll throw your name to some of my ACs. We're always looking for loaders and 2nds.
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#13 Annie Wengenroth

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Posted 10 September 2007 - 04:53 PM

You guys wanna buy some tape? ;)

Thank you Eric, I'm glad you guys are being real with me here! Would you mind if I emailed you my resume just to have on hand?
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#14 chuck colburn

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Posted 10 September 2007 - 05:48 PM

Or buy a motorcycle... it's legal to split lanes (or use to be anyways) in California. Legal but not always safe. lol
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#15 Douglas Hunter

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Posted 10 September 2007 - 07:26 PM

O.K. so everyone has beaten the car thing to death, and they are right, you don't want to be stubborn on that point it will make getting gigs and getting to your gigs way to difficult. It will also certainly make you LATE for gigs.

Second, union work in LA does have its cycles. getting here right before winter may not be the best time. For example, in TV there are really no good sized shows starting up Oct - Jan. Naturally, if you don't mind doing super low or no paying gigs they are always around.
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#16 Chris Keth

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Posted 10 September 2007 - 07:34 PM

If you can get a car, great. I'll throw your name to some of my ACs. We're always looking for loaders and 2nds.

Are you "always looking" enough you would do the same for me? I'm dying to get some better gigs. I'm not a union member yet, though.
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#17 Annie Wengenroth

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Posted 10 September 2007 - 08:16 PM

Yeah....that's sort of what I expected. Like I mentioned above, I'm definitely not opposed to starting small- I mean, that's what I did when I came to New York and I feel like for me personally, it was a good way to go. This is gonna sound weird, but part of why I'm eyeing winter as a time to go out there, is because since there won't be THAT much going on, I won't risk missing anything big while I'm still trying to get my poop together and find my way around. You know what I mean? As far as housing goes, for example, I was planning on trying to sublet a place that's even a little cheaper than what I pay now, even if I have to live with a couple other people or whatever. I mean, I'm just trying to cover my ass. Whatever potential sacrifices I might have to make, I'm willing to make them if it means being where I want to be and eventually doing what I want to do.

Hmm, what else...what can you guys tell me about some of the rental houses out there? That would be another backup plan for me- to try and work as a prep tech again. I've been to Panavision Woodland Hills for a checkout, but I'm not familiar with Panavision Hollywood, Keslow, or Clairmont (although I do have two friends from school who work at Clairmont). Here in New York, the two biggest ones are Panavision and Arri CSC. CSC is mostly commercial/music video guys, with Pany being more of a features/shows type of place.

Also, what do you LA guys like to do when you're NOT working? :-)
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#18 Brian Dzyak

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Posted 10 September 2007 - 08:48 PM

Also, what do you LA guys like to do when you're NOT working? :-)


Swim (it's damn hot out here in the Valley)

Mountain Bike and Hike (great trails in the Santa Monica Mountains)

See movies (lots of great theaters with airconditioning)

Dodger games

Wait for the next earthquake to help pop the real estate bubble. :D
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#19 Eric Steelberg ASC

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Posted 11 September 2007 - 01:04 AM

Are you "always looking" enough you would do the same for me? I'm dying to get some better gigs. I'm not a union member yet, though.


Yes of course I would, but everything I've been doing in the last couple years has been union. Occasionally there is something...but yes, I'll take resumes and pass them on. People passed me around long ago and it's good karma to do the same for others.
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#20 Eric Steelberg ASC

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Posted 11 September 2007 - 01:10 AM

You guys wanna buy some tape? ;)

Thank you Eric, I'm glad you guys are being real with me here! Would you mind if I emailed you my resume just to have on hand?


Wouldn't mind at all.

Keep in mind most employers out here require or expect employees to have a car.

Also...if this writer's strike does happen, there may not be a ton of work come spring of next year.
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