Jump to content


Photo

Alright, I'm completely lost


  • Please log in to reply
13 replies to this topic

#1 Lindsay Mann

Lindsay Mann
  • Sustaining Members
  • 81 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Brooklyn, New York

Posted 01 November 2007 - 08:23 PM

I feel like I've hit a wall here. I'm 24, living in New York, shooting whatever I can. I have no day job because they drive me nuts, but work is just hiding from me. I know I love films and shooting is the only thing I feel qualified to do in this world. I want to write and direct, but so does everyone, huh?

I have a website: www.lindsaymann.net

I also have rent and bills to pay.

My grandfather, Delbert Mann, was a director and actually won an academy award in 1955. But at this point he's too old to give me any advice, and I doubt many people remember him. I want to do things on my own here in New York, but I just can't seem to get noticed. Maybe my questions would be better answered by a shrink or my mother or something, but here they are:

-How do I advertise myself better?
-What else can I do to advance my career besides learning as much as possible about film?
-Do I shoot the unpaid jobs just to build more and more material?
-How do I support myself in this expensive city?
-Is it dangerous to get sucked into being a DP if I truly want to write and direct something?
-How do I remain unique and desirable when there is so much competition?
-Do other people have these questions, or am I the only one?

I realize that's a lot of questions. I will continue to peruse this board and learn from all of you.

Thanks.
  • 0

#2 James Steven Beverly

James Steven Beverly
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 4199 posts
  • Director
  • El Paso, Texas

Posted 02 November 2007 - 02:41 AM

You're 24 and you're worried that you haven't directed yet?!! Yes, take some non-pay jobs right now. Get a job as a waitress or telemarketing or whatever you don't care about quiting at a moment's notice and keep on shooting, take any job available on any professional set you can get and learn all you can. You want to be a director, write a script or 7, then try and sell them. "How do I remain unique and desirable when there is so much competition?", that seem an odd question, is there anyone out there that is exactly like you? Write and shoot from the heart and you'll remain unique, do it with the truth you find inside yourself and you'll remain desirable. The ONLY way to advance your career is LEARN EVERYTHING YOU POSSIBLY CAN ABOUT FILM and meet as many people in the film industry as you possibly can. And I would talk to your grandfather as listen to his stories, old people love to be listened to because no body listens to them. He has to know something you can use. Show him some footage you shot and ask how he would have done it, what you did wrong and what you did right and what you could have done better. He's probably your best source of information on technique. I mean he won a damn Academy Award, he's gotta know something, right? Your Grandfather was also a producer and Marty was not his only big movie. Let him teach you and remember you got his blood, maybe that's why you feel so comfortable behind a camera. Oh and every time you meet anyone introduce yourself as a director/producer/cinematographer. Frances Ford Coppola once said "I you tell people long enough you're making a movie, someone will give you the money to make it." And yes you're the ONLY ONE that asks these questions.......... see how unique you are. :rolleyes:

Edited by James Steven Beverly, 02 November 2007 - 02:46 AM.

  • 0

#3 Dan Salzmann

Dan Salzmann
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1143 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Paris, France

Posted 02 November 2007 - 08:31 AM

Looks like Lindsay is male so wouldn't be working as a waitress.
Look mate, you've got some experience, a website, some gear and a grandfather that tell you something about the biz.
Talk to grandfather (even if you glean 1 piece of advice that you hadn't thought of before you come out ahead!), go out and NETWORK and of course contimue honing your craft as well as yourself as an individual.
I would suggest not doing any freebies unless the project is really, really positive for your reel. Time=Money.
We can not tell you how to be unique. That must come from you. Being desired is working with people that like what you do and who you are.
If you are thinking about "being sucked into being a DP" then that really sounds like you don't really want to be a DP and then you have to concentrate on directing.
Maybe getting a "job" will give you "life experiences" that will help your directing. We are as much if not influenced by what we hate as we are by what we love.
If you really don't want to be in any other field at all maybe see if you can work gaffing or rigging. I don't know depends on you.
Good luck!
  • 0

#4 Richard Boddington

Richard Boddington
  • Sustaining Members
  • 5482 posts
  • Director

Posted 02 November 2007 - 08:48 PM

Holy Smokes! Your grandfather was HUGE!

He won the best director Oscar at age 35? Wow!!

I'd seriously milk this for all you can get, the industry is too competitive to take a "I want to make it on my own" approach. Admirable, yes, marketing savy, no.

On your home page I'd have a shot of the two of you together, with an explanation of who he is, for those that don't know. Think about it, you're up for a directing job....one producer will say to the other, let's get the kid who's grandpa won the Oscar. Seriously, people think like this in the film business. The tag line will read, "From the grandson of Academy award winning director Delbert Mann." It's a hook, it makes you stand out.

I mean if you where one of Spielberg's boys and you wanted to direct movies would you change your last name? Not a smart move.

R,
  • 0

#5 Chris Keth

Chris Keth
  • Sustaining Members
  • 4427 posts
  • 1st Assistant Camera
  • Los Angeles

Posted 03 November 2007 - 02:43 AM

I mean if you where one of Spielberg's boys and you wanted to direct movies would you change your last name? Not a smart move.

R,


poop, I'd change my name to Steven Jr.
  • 0

#6 Jonathan Bowerbank

Jonathan Bowerbank
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 2815 posts
  • 1st Assistant Camera
  • San Francisco, CA

Posted 04 November 2007 - 12:48 AM

Who would forget the director of "Marty"!?

Love that film.
  • 0

#7 Walter Graff

Walter Graff
  • Sustaining Members
  • 1334 posts
  • Other
  • New York City

Posted 04 November 2007 - 02:16 PM

-How do I advertise myself better?
Get your work in anyone's hands you can. But don't send out reels to anyone. I get hundreds a month and they end up immediately in the trash. Unsolicited reels are mostly a waste of your time and money. You just have to keep trying. You are about six years too young to have established something more than you have so keep trying. It involves one on one contact so call anyone in any of the directories and ask if they are looking for reels, shooters, Pas, anything.

-What else can I do to advance my career besides learning as much as possible about film?
Meet as many people as you can. Work as much as you can for free or otherwise to get to know more people. Life is 90% luck but you can't be lucky unless you are somewhere when the luck strikes

-Do I shoot the unpaid jobs just to build more and more material?
Yes. Look for work that is rewarding to you.

-How do I support myself in this expensive city?
Get a real job. By real job, I mean find something to supplement your income. There are thousands of guys in your position right now all looking ot be a shooter so it is not going to be easy. Also forget what you want to be right now. Just be whatever you can to advance yourself.

-Is it dangerous to get sucked into being a DP if I truly want to write and direct something?
Yes and no. Some will tell you no and others yes. I will say it's both. Writers practice writing and get better at it. DPs shoot and once people know you as a shooter, it can be tough to be considered anything else. Being so young, I'd say try anything you can. No one knows you as anything and frankly you are nothing but a young kid with interests. You may not even know what you really want even though you think you do.

-How do I remain unique and desirable when there is so much competition?
You are either good or bad. But if you are good, that is not a guarantee. I know allot of good people that got no where. You have an incredible battle ahead as there are simply too many people all trying to do what you do. I'd look into the the cable channels (MTV, etc). They hire folks for gigs and offer more consistent work than a guy who thinks he is going to shoot features and cant find work. Many folks who think they want to get into this industry think so because underneath it all they really are using it as therapy trying to get someone to notice them. Since we live in such a dysfunctional world, it seems everyone is suddenly interested in making movies, etc. It's what I call therapeutic filmmaking. It's always existed but know that technology makes everyone a filmmaker its larger than its ever been. Not saying you are one of them, but I'd guess that for every real career, there are 500 people who want it, will not get it but are disturbing the ability for those that deserve it in getting it. It is tough and will remain tough for you for along time as a result.

-Do other people have these questions, or am I the only one?
They all just read your question and are watching this thread very carefully.
  • 0

#8 Hal Smith

Hal Smith
  • Sustaining Members
  • 2280 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • OKC area

Posted 04 November 2007 - 04:06 PM

I screwed up a couple of real opportunities when a young kid because I wasn't focused on a career but on having a good time. I was good enough to get myself work in NY that others would have shot someone to get, and stupid enough to not be serious about the next job.

For instance: Gaffing a section of a film on the NY arts scene for a world famous French Director and not having been smart enough to use that experience to get more work on similar gigs.
  • 0

#9 chris dye

chris dye
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 35 posts
  • Other
  • Los Angeles, California

Posted 13 November 2007 - 04:46 AM

Wow. Weird. I literally just read that Delbart Mann passed away right before I read this thread.

Sorry to hear of his passing. Marty is a great movie.
  • 0

#10 Bruce Greene

Bruce Greene
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 493 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Los Angeles

Posted 14 November 2007 - 10:49 AM

Lindsay,

I was sorry to read of the passing of your grandfather yesterday. He was fine director, and from the accounts I read, a very fine man as well.



About your questions:

-How do I advertise myself better?
-What else can I do to advance my career besides learning as much as possible about film?
-Do I shoot the unpaid jobs just to build more and more material?
-How do I support myself in this expensive city?
-Is it dangerous to get sucked into being a DP if I truly want to write and direct something?
-How do I remain unique and desirable when there is so much competition?
-Do other people have these questions, or am I the only one?

And my advice....

If you really want to write and direct ---then, get a day job, a wife with a good job, and write, write, write, and make short films on dv in your spare time. When you have a property someone wants to make then you'll have the leverage to sell yourself as a director, and you'll have the award winning shorts to prove it! Really, if this is what you really want to do, go for it and skip the DP thing.

If you do want to be a dp, then sort of the same advice holds. For the most part skip the AC jobs and just learn to be a dp and build your reel working for free if you must.

If you want to make a "living" in the camera department, then that's a different question. You can do this more easily than the above, but it's still very competitive. Yes, still work for free till you learn enough that you're worth hiring. (Know every camera mag, how to slate, fill in reports, put down marks, clean lenses, fold changing bags etc.). Eventually you'll be good enough that you'll be needed on paying gigs. If it helps, I met someone here (like yourself) and he volunteered to work for me for a day on a spec commercial. I liked his work ethic and he just worked with me for 5 weeks as a 2nd ac on a paying gig...

And lastly, to beat the competition, specialize in something that interests few, or costs money to learn/enter the business. I'm thinking about remote control camera cranes, motion control, sky diving with cameras, (you can substitute deep sea diving, rock climbing (like mt. Everest), stuff like this). For me, I got in the Steadicam business when everyone scoffed at the idea of wearing a heavy camera. And I learned by buying one before I even knew how to use it. Everyone said I was nuts to bet my savings on a used Steadicam (I invested with a friend and we each put in 50% for a used one). But there were only 12 owner/ops in the US at the time and it provided a way to get noticed and make a living.

And one more last thing.

You're starting at the bottom. You can start at the bottom of any profession you like. Now is not the time to think practical, wait till you have a wife and kids...

Best of luck Lindsay!

-bruce
  • 0

#11 Enrique Lombana

Enrique Lombana
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 36 posts
  • Camera Operator
  • presently Teaneck, N.J.

Posted 19 November 2007 - 11:19 PM

Did someone tell you along the way that this would be easy?
  • 0

#12 Lindsay Mann

Lindsay Mann
  • Sustaining Members
  • 81 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Brooklyn, New York

Posted 26 November 2007 - 01:18 AM

No, every book I read tells me it's nearly impossible. Including my Granddad's book which begins, "I am a lucky man. I have been able to spend my life doing what I love to do the most. I am forever glad that none of our children wanted to go into 'show business' for I well know how much luck and timing, over which I had no control, have affected my career."

Well, looks like I screwed that one up.

He was a great man, and I'm disappointed that I never got the chance to really talk to him about film. But he left a mountain of material behind, including writings, notated scripts, interviews, and tapes. He also left his Tewe director's viewfinder from the 60's or 70's (If anyone knows where to get this fixed, let me know, I'm dying to use it).

I thought I'd pass this story along because my grandfather loved to tell it and I think about it almost every day. He flew a B-24 bomber in WWII. One morning before a bombing run, he met a man from another crew. They got to talking over their cereal and dehydrated milk and my grandfather asked him what he wanted to do when the war was over. The man said he wanted to be a poet. Then the man asked my grandfather what he wanted to do. He said he knew he loved theater and drama and thought maybe he could do something with that. Later that day, the man's plane was flying just ahead of my grandfather, received heavy fire and blew up. They didn't see any parachutes. My grandfather decided at that moment, successful or not, he was going to do what he loved for the rest of his life. Because he owed it to himself and to the man. Rufus Burns was his name.

So I guess I have to stop being afraid and just do it. March down to the Local 52 and ask how to join. Do whatever I need to do. Because life is short. I'll shoot the low-budget junk, I'll work as an AC or an electric, I'll do something with film, unless I go back to school and become a teacher.

I'm not anywhere near as talented as my grandfather. But I might be as lucky.

Thanks for all your comments/suggestions. I guess I have to keep plugging away and pay my dues. And marry a girl with good benefits.
  • 0

#13 Richard Boddington

Richard Boddington
  • Sustaining Members
  • 5482 posts
  • Director

Posted 26 November 2007 - 10:48 AM

"And marry a girl with good benefits."

I would suggest a doctor that doesn't want to have children and just keeps saying, "yes I'll pay all the bills for another year, I'm happy to do that. Oh by the way daddy wants to know if you want 1 million to make a feature film, he says he doesn't need it."

If you find the above woman you've got it made.

R,
  • 0

#14 Enrique Lombana

Enrique Lombana
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 36 posts
  • Camera Operator
  • presently Teaneck, N.J.

Posted 26 November 2007 - 11:41 AM

Lindsay, you just can't give up. Sometimes there may not be anyone around to affirm you or what you're doing so you have to know deep inside yourself that you can make it and that there is a place for your talents. And sometimes it takes years to even hone your skills to the point where you can actually feel like you belong in a certain position. My brother put it well when he was watching 'the lot' or whatever that short film reality show was, when he was watching the people crying and balling because they got cut. He was like, "Hey, it's a tough business."

So you just have to realize, in whatever part of the film industry your trying to get into, that it's impossible but you have to be more impossible and work hard, and learn and find that thing in yourself that no one else has.

Hope that helps,
Enrique
  • 0


FJS International, LLC

Broadcast Solutions Inc

The Slider

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Aerial Filmworks

CineLab

Tai Audio

Glidecam

Willys Widgets

Rig Wheels Passport

Abel Cine

Technodolly

Opal

Ritter Battery

Wooden Camera

rebotnix Technologies

Visual Products

CineTape

Metropolis Post

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Paralinx LLC

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Aerial Filmworks

CineLab

Tai Audio

Wooden Camera

Glidecam

The Slider

Visual Products

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Technodolly

Rig Wheels Passport

Ritter Battery

Willys Widgets

Metropolis Post

rebotnix Technologies

FJS International, LLC

CineTape

Opal

Paralinx LLC

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Abel Cine