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Cold Calls


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#1 Phil Gerke

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Posted 14 September 2007 - 06:03 PM

Hey all!

So I am trying to "reinvent" myself from a profesional standpoint. I have been doing sound for 5 years or so and have spent my fair share of time on sets, large, small, good, bad and everything inbetween. I am planning on moving to a larger market soon and want to get onto some camera crews.

I have been shooting and directing for a while, but not at the level that I want to be working at. I am not clueless when it comes to cameras, lights and such, I just don't have ligitimate "higher level" work under my belt. I have a few contacts that would probably take me on as a PA or in some kind of assisting role. There is plenty I am capable of, but no where near an actual AC or 2nd for that matter. A friend is trying to help get me a spot as a PA for a pretty A list camera crew, but I am not holding my breath.

So, my thought is to simply throw out some cold calls to local DPs and production companies. Emails and maybe phone calls simply introducing myself and what my intentions are. Is that cool? I am really at a loss as to what else to do. I expect to do some crappy bottom wrung work, but I don't care, I work hard and learn fast and am confident I'll advance quickly once I get a chance. Do I even mention my past experiance, or do I just approach people hat in hand lookin for work? I'd like to think that I have a lot to offer over many of the other FNG's out there.

What do you all think? Is this an appropriate thread? Any input would be great.

Thanks,

Phil
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#2 Chris Keth

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Posted 14 September 2007 - 07:22 PM

Hey all!

So I am trying to "reinvent" myself from a profesional standpoint. I have been doing sound for 5 years or so and have spent my fair share of time on sets, large, small, good, bad and everything inbetween. I am planning on moving to a larger market soon and want to get onto some camera crews.

I have been shooting and directing for a while, but not at the level that I want to be working at. I am not clueless when it comes to cameras, lights and such, I just don't have ligitimate "higher level" work under my belt. I have a few contacts that would probably take me on as a PA or in some kind of assisting role. There is plenty I am capable of, but no where near an actual AC or 2nd for that matter. A friend is trying to help get me a spot as a PA for a pretty A list camera crew, but I am not holding my breath.

So, my thought is to simply throw out some cold calls to local DPs and production companies. Emails and maybe phone calls simply introducing myself and what my intentions are. Is that cool? I am really at a loss as to what else to do. I expect to do some crappy bottom wrung work, but I don't care, I work hard and learn fast and am confident I'll advance quickly once I get a chance. Do I even mention my past experiance, or do I just approach people hat in hand lookin for work? I'd like to think that I have a lot to offer over many of the other FNG's out there.

What do you all think? Is this an appropriate thread? Any input would be great.

Thanks,

Phil

I wouldn't call DPs, especially since you say you're not ready for an AC job yet.

I see no reason it would hurt you to call production companies and ask if you can send a resume. Most will blow you off but some will jump on the opportunity to hire a PA with as much set experience as you undoubtedly have now.
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#3 Jon Kukla

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Posted 24 September 2007 - 05:42 PM

I wouldn't say not to cold call, but I wouldn't put it at the top of your list yet. You say you've worked in the sound dept for the past five years? Why not contact some of the companies (particular production managers and the like) whom you've worked with more frequently? I'm certain they'd prefer to take on people whom they're more familiar with and know they can trust. What about ACs from crews you've worked on? That wouldn't really be a cold call either...
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#4 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 24 September 2007 - 05:55 PM

As a DP, I generally interview the operator and 1st AC (technically, the producer hires them, I only make recommendations). I let the 1st AC put together the rest of the crew. So if you're hoping to work on a camera crew in a lower-level position, I'd get to know some AC's.
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#5 Kris Simmons

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Posted 10 November 2007 - 12:27 PM

In some form or fashion, we ALL started in this way. I remember calling every producer/director/shooter/whatever within a 150 mile radius begging for an opportunity to do ANYTHING. Most of my early work came from someone else not showing up so I got the call. Just be ready to hit the road with only a few minutes notice when an opportunity comes about. Then, once you are on the set helping out, it will be easy to prove what you can do. Then, slowly but surely, the phone calls will start rolling in to hire you for more profitable work. My production assistant jobs quickly evolved into cinematrographer/videographer positions, then eventually resulted in full-blown turn-key production jobs. It all starts with an email or phone call to an established professional. Don't be discouraged by them not calling you back or by them getting pissed off that you called. The truth is that everyone...EVERYONE....got started in this business by getting help from a more established pro. Keep driving hard and you will find success.

Kris Simmons
http://www.mindyourvideobusiness.com
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#6 Marque DeWinter

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Posted 21 November 2007 - 01:53 AM

I'm in EXACTLY the same position....but a few months ahead of you. After spending over 10 years doing sound work (which is never what I wanted to do) I've been moving to try and do "A" level camera dept. work. I've worked on a lot of video (including major television that was video) doing camera work but nothing that was ever film. I started PAing from 1 contact and worked on a number of different union level "A" jobs as a PA. Sadly PAs don't make even close to what mixers make so its been tough. I did get bumped from a PA to Camera PA and the production bumped my rate to AC rate on my last job (which sadly was only 3 days). Its tough though. I've got the days to join local 600 but not the contacts. So I'm cold calling.... everybody. I figure eventually maybe somebody will say yes. If 10 years on set experience isn't enough then I'll start over and work another 10 years to make it to a loader and 2nd AC if I have to. In the end I figure I better do it now while I'm still young enough to bust my @ss carrying mags for miles and miles...

~Marque

PS: Anyone need a camera PA or loader?
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#7 Morgan Peline

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Posted 21 November 2007 - 08:02 PM

I would call all the 1st and 2nd ACs you can get the numbers for and then try to swing a job as a camera intern. If you get some work and do a good job it will most likely lead to more work. In England, the 2nd AC (or Clapper Loader as we call them here) usually train the central loaders and interns (trainees) so I am assuming it works the same way in the US.
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Willys Widgets

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Glidecam

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rebotnix Technologies

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Wooden Camera

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Opal