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Filming in Southern California


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#1 Tyler Leisher

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Posted 31 March 2008 - 02:39 PM

I'm just curious how often films and TV shows are filmed outside of Southern California? What is the average length of a shoot outside that area? Do they compensate with more pay if you are working outside of your residence area?
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#2 Adamo P Cultraro

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Posted 31 March 2008 - 09:25 PM

What a broad question.

Lots of features are filmed outside socal as well as lots of episodic TV. New York and North Carolina come to mind.

As to shoot lengths it varies so much. Be more specific in your question and I'll try and answer it.
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#3 Tyler Leisher

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Posted 31 March 2008 - 10:38 PM

What a broad question.

Lots of features are filmed outside socal as well as lots of episodic TV. New York and North Carolina come to mind.

As to shoot lengths it varies so much. Be more specific in your question and I'll try and answer it.


I'm just trying to get an idea of what the travel will be like if I were to work on a feature film that is shooting away from Socal. If there's an average, estimated idea, or is it completely different on every shoot?
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#4 Brian Dzyak

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Posted 01 April 2008 - 12:15 AM

Like most other explanations for this business, the answer is "it depends." :P

In general, if a project is based out of Los Angeles, it will typically shoot about 2/3 of it's schedule in LA on stage somewhere. The last third of the project will take the crew (at least the Keys) on the distant location to get exterior shots of where the story is actually set. That's a gross generalization as a host of variables can change how a project is scheduled, but this is basically how it works.

When on stage in LA, the schedule will typically be five day weeks shooting for 12 to 14 hours a day. When on distant location, you may shoot six-day weeks, but the hours may adjust particularly if you are shooting DAY EXT (the sun comes up and goes down).

Your "weekend" may not match the weekend of the rest of the world as locations may dictate when shooting is allowed to happen (ie, closing down streets).

In town (LA), you'll drive yourself to stage or location no matter how long the days are, which over time, can become dangerous when the hours are long and deep fatigue sets in.

On distant location, Transpo vans will pick the crew up at the hotel and shuttle you to basecamp where you'll stop at catering for a quick breakfast before going to your truck to start the day. After wrap, you get back in the van and it takes you back to the hotel. Miss the van in the morning and you'll be in deep water with your crew. Take your own alarm clock that you trust and use the wake-up call if the hotel offers it. On location you'll also be given per-diem which is intended to help pay for daily living expenses, such as off-set meals and laundry.

You don't get that money when "in town" plus you'll be filling your own gas tank to get to and from work.

Overall, you'll tend to make more money on a distant location because of the transportation, per diem, and potential overtime in addition to working so much that you don't have time to spend money. The downside is that if you have a family, you won't see them for weeks on end unless you can fly them out to see you on a day off.

That's the gist of "in town" vs "on location." Hope that helps!
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#5 Tyler Leisher

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Posted 01 April 2008 - 02:24 AM

Like most other explanations for this business, the answer is "it depends." :P

In general, if a project is based out of Los Angeles, it will typically shoot about 2/3 of it's schedule in LA on stage somewhere. The last third of the project will take the crew (at least the Keys) on the distant location to get exterior shots of where the story is actually set. That's a gross generalization as a host of variables can change how a project is scheduled, but this is basically how it works.

When on stage in LA, the schedule will typically be five day weeks shooting for 12 to 14 hours a day. When on distant location, you may shoot six-day weeks, but the hours may adjust particularly if you are shooting DAY EXT (the sun comes up and goes down).

Your "weekend" may not match the weekend of the rest of the world as locations may dictate when shooting is allowed to happen (ie, closing down streets).

In town (LA), you'll drive yourself to stage or location no matter how long the days are, which over time, can become dangerous when the hours are long and deep fatigue sets in.

On distant location, Transpo vans will pick the crew up at the hotel and shuttle you to basecamp where you'll stop at catering for a quick breakfast before going to your truck to start the day. After wrap, you get back in the van and it takes you back to the hotel. Miss the van in the morning and you'll be in deep water with your crew. Take your own alarm clock that you trust and use the wake-up call if the hotel offers it. On location you'll also be given per-diem which is intended to help pay for daily living expenses, such as off-set meals and laundry.

You don't get that money when "in town" plus you'll be filling your own gas tank to get to and from work.

Overall, you'll tend to make more money on a distant location because of the transportation, per diem, and potential overtime in addition to working so much that you don't have time to spend money. The downside is that if you have a family, you won't see them for weeks on end unless you can fly them out to see you on a day off.

That's the gist of "in town" vs "on location." Hope that helps!


Thanks, that really helps me out. How often are you guys working back to back films? Or do you work a film for 30 days, come home and spend a few months with the familiar while searching for your next gig? Is there a cinematographers guild that decides how much the average pay is, and if so, how much is that pay?

How often are film shoots "weeks on end" as you put it, will I not be able to see my family for 2-3 months at a time on some shoots.. or do most only shoot for 1 month max on location?
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#6 Adamo P Cultraro

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Posted 01 April 2008 - 11:04 AM

It soooooooooo depends, man.

My next feature is 16 days all in LA. The average low budget indie feature is a 30 day shoot. The more money you have, the longer your shoots get. A $50 Million movie might have a 90 day shoot schedule. An epic like Lord of the rings took over 6 months to shoot. It really, really depends.
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#7 Tyler Leisher

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Posted 01 April 2008 - 01:44 PM

It soooooooooo depends, man.

My next feature is 16 days all in LA. The average low budget indie feature is a 30 day shoot. The more money you have, the longer your shoots get. A $50 Million movie might have a 90 day shoot schedule. An epic like Lord of the rings took over 6 months to shoot. It really, really depends.


Do they ever give you time off, or special pay for longer shoots away from home like that? Or is it like he said above, the only way you can see your family during a shoot is if you can fly them out to see you on an off day?
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#8 Adamo P Cultraro

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Posted 01 April 2008 - 05:27 PM

Out of town features usually work 6 day weeks, so 1 day off, but large features are usually 5 day weeks. There is no time off as far as I know unless there is a major disaster, in which case you'll probably have all the time you want....unemployed.


Don't take out of town gigs if you want to see your family.
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#9 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 01 April 2008 - 06:45 PM

No time off, usually. The only time I ever knew it happen was a second assistant cameraman had a day off in the middle of a feature to attend his sister's wedding, but it frankly didn't go down very well.

P
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#10 Darryl Richard Humber

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Posted 01 April 2008 - 08:56 PM

With the incentives that states are now giving (ct, Louisiana, Ma etc) more features are shooting almost entirely out of LA. I spent 6 months out of town last year (2 features that shot entirely in ct, and Shreveport, La) and am starting the year out in Boston for 10 weeks. At least three other dolly grips I know are also out of town for long shoots right now.
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#11 Tyler Leisher

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Posted 01 April 2008 - 09:29 PM

With the incentives that states are now giving (ct, Louisiana, Ma etc) more features are shooting almost entirely out of LA. I spent 6 months out of town last year (2 features that shot entirely in ct, and Shreveport, La) and am starting the year out in Boston for 10 weeks. At least three other dolly grips I know are also out of town for long shoots right now.


How do you guys get by not seeing your families? Really understand wives, or are you just not married?
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#12 Chris Keth

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Posted 01 April 2008 - 10:30 PM

How do you guys get by not seeing your families? Really understand wives, or are you just not married?


There's a lot of divorce in the film industry...
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rebotnix Technologies

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FJS International, LLC

Wooden Camera

Technodolly

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Opal

Paralinx LLC

Willys Widgets

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Ritter Battery

Visual Products

Tai Audio

CineTape

The Slider

Glidecam

Rig Wheels Passport

Abel Cine