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New World For a Recent Graduate..


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#1 Cory Lonas

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Posted 11 June 2008 - 09:47 AM

Hi I just graduated college last month, moved to NYC and am hoping to begin my career as in the technical film world. I just don't know where to start. I did not go to film school. the majority of my formal experience is in video editing and handling event videography, and to field I wish to enter(cinematography), seems to require a great deal of networking and technical ability..

where do I start?
How do I get in with the camera crew?
How do I acquire the skills needed to get a paying gig in NYC?
who do I need to know?

I have worked on a couple film productions as a PA but neither one allowed me to interact with the right people...
I have a great knowledge base of cameras and techniques, but I just lack to formal hands on experience that people are looking for..

can someone steer me in the right direction?

Edited by Cory Lonas, 11 June 2008 - 09:48 AM.

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#2 Michele Peterson

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Posted 11 June 2008 - 05:15 PM

Not every PA job will lead directly into a position in the camera dept. It takes time and effort. It can take years to get the experience and build the network. Keep taking every opportunity you can, you never know which PA job will lead somewhere. At least you're able to learn by observing others, and paying your rent in the mean time.

I have taken PA jobs when I had nothing else and they have turned into AC jobs when I was able to prove my abilities and fill their need. Granted I was still running out and picking up lunch, but I was also doing rental preps and returns and helping the camera ops with lens, batteries, filters, etc. (they were video productions, so only the op and myself).

If you want to learn equipment better, consider working at a rental house. The downfall is that they usually are full time, leaving only weekends to work on shoots, but it's an investment in yourself by increasing your knowledge, like film school, but you get paid instead of paying out.

Let everyone know what you ultimately want to do.

Edited by Michele Peterson, 11 June 2008 - 05:17 PM.

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#3 Cory Lonas

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Posted 11 June 2008 - 06:22 PM

Thanks Michele. Luckily I have the opportunity to work on a low budget feature this summer(unpaid of course) which hopefully will lead to much schmoozing with the camera dept.
I ultimately want to be a Director of Photography, it seems like the perfect blend of my technical abilities and problem solving skills with a vast amount of creativity. Working with cameras has always been a big part of my life... even though I didn't study film or photography in school I always went out of my way to take those classes for fun... unfortunately I didn't realize it was truly what I wanted my career to be until a few years ago, and by that time it was too late to start film school without needing 3 more years of school.

Edited by Cory Lonas, 11 June 2008 - 06:23 PM.

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#4 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 11 June 2008 - 07:30 PM

Just keep on as many shoots as you can!
Meet up with other industry professionals out there and network. Hell if you ever come down to phila we can pop out for a coffee.
I'm just starting out too, but I have the luck of shooting (as DP) for "marginal," money (not enough to really survive on w/o a 2nd job). I got to this spot because I got hired on to shoot one ultra-low budget rap video, and then, bam, next thing I knew I was getting at least 1 gig per month, for some pay.

Also, there's nothing wrong with saving up a bit of cash and getting a lower end camera, something which will be of interest in ENG/EFP shoots and moonlighting when you can shooting stuff for web-distro. It seems I'll be doing a bit of that up in NYC over the next few months, and there's no reason why you can't too.
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#5 Cory Lonas

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Posted 12 June 2008 - 09:03 AM

Just keep on as many shoots as you can!
Meet up with other industry professionals out there and network. Hell if you ever come down to phila we can pop out for a coffee.
I'm just starting out too, but I have the luck of shooting (as DP) for "marginal," money (not enough to really survive on w/o a 2nd job). I got to this spot because I got hired on to shoot one ultra-low budget rap video, and then, bam, next thing I knew I was getting at least 1 gig per month, for some pay.

Also, there's nothing wrong with saving up a bit of cash and getting a lower end camera, something which will be of interest in ENG/EFP shoots and moonlighting when you can shooting stuff for web-distro. It seems I'll be doing a bit of that up in NYC over the next few months, and there's no reason why you can't too.

Thats a great idea Adrian. I hope to save up enough money to buy either an HVX,DVX, or XL camera in the near future. I have been noticing a lot of work for cameramen with their own equipment for documentaries, web TV series, etc. but I have also been noticing a lot of them specifically wanting to shoot in HD(despite the quality loss of compressing to the internet). Its good to know that once the ball gets rolling it gets a little easier to find some work...
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#6 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 12 June 2008 - 11:10 AM

If you're in NY you could go on the camera assistant workshop at the International Film workshops in Maine. I believe Doug Hart is the instructor on the A.C. workshop and he seems to be happy with the new management at the workshops.

The general approach on a film crew is very different to that found that found on video shoots. On the workshops you're introduced to the correct procedures and also meet people. They cost money, but you could spend a year trying to pick up the same information on an ad hoc basis.
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Visual Products

Metropolis Post

Paralinx LLC

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Aerial Filmworks

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Abel Cine

Wooden Camera

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CineLab

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

FJS International, LLC

Glidecam

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