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Camera Production Assistant


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#1 Mitch Lusas

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Posted 24 March 2008 - 12:01 PM

So I've been in the independent scene for three years as a Cinematographer/Cam-Op and I would love to see what the union scene is like. Having just moved to a new area (Connecticut), I'm lacking in local connections but would love to join a crew as a Camera Production Assistant. Any advice? Thanks.
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#2 Saul Rodgar

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Posted 24 March 2008 - 12:28 PM

I would start lifting weights and getting in the best shape you can possibly be. LOTS of heavy cases to lug around, for close to minimum wages, for really long periods of time. Yikes! And I would try to find a 1st AC who is willing to recommend you for a feature gig in the state you moved into.

If you want to get in 600 though, starting as a camera PA may not be the best thing. They used to let you use your PA hours to get your foot in, but it now has changed. As I understand, only "Loading" hours count now, and you need hard evidence that you worked those hours. Like pay stubs AND letters form the first AC/ DP. It took my friend 3 years to join in that way . . .

Also, you may want to think about the fact that as a camera PA you'll rarely get to even look through the viewfinder, let alone operate, unless all the camera department is wiped out at once and you are the last man standing and the director wants to roll NOW. Since you say that you have being operating and DP'ing for the last couple of years, I would imagine it would be very frustrating not to be able to do the things you are used to as a DP/ operator.

Personally, that is why I only AC on (short) commercials. But, of course, you may be OK with that. Do expect to climb the ladder for a good ten years to be an operator AFTER you get in the union and pay all the fees as you move up . . .

Edited by Saul Rodgar, 24 March 2008 - 12:30 PM.

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#3 Saul Rodgar

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Posted 24 March 2008 - 03:16 PM

Correction:
Since you say that you have been operating and DP'ing for the last couple of years, I would imagine it would be very frustrating not to be able to do the things you are used to as a DP/ operator.


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rebotnix Technologies

Metropolis Post

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Wooden Camera

Paralinx LLC

CineTape

Rig Wheels Passport

Willys Widgets

Opal

FJS International, LLC

Technodolly

CineLab

Glidecam

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Ritter Battery

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

The Slider

Tai Audio