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Student starting out in the field


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#1 Gil Wertheim

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Posted 16 August 2008 - 08:33 PM

I am a film student from Toronto, Canada.

Any tips on how to start out in the business?
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#2 Jonathan Bowerbank

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Posted 16 August 2008 - 11:48 PM

Get out there and meet people.
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#3 Gil Wertheim

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Posted 17 August 2008 - 11:39 AM

Becides networking
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#4 Brian Dzyak

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Posted 17 August 2008 - 12:28 PM

Becides networking


There is no "one way" to get into the industry. So many other careers have a fairly straightforward road (college+degree+resume=job), but just about every possible job in the film industry is obtained through "who you know" and "who knows you."

How do you make those two things happen? Well, the first thing to recognize is that MOST filmmaking books and filmschools have one goal in mind: to try to teach you how to make movies. They'll go through the text-book steps and then have you put them into practice by making a short film which may or may not be good enough to put into a festival or use as a calling card to showcase your talents to the outside world.

So what's the new aspiring "filmmaker" to do? Instead of just learning about how to make a movie, invest a great deal of time into learning how movies are actually made. Sounds like the same thing, doesn't it? :) It's not. Theory and "how-to" are one thing. But what most people really are looking for is a career making movies. Most books and schools will tell you (or attempt to) tell you how to do everything from writing, storyboarding, set design, directing, shooting, editing, distribution, etc. The reality is that NOBODY ever does ALL of those things. Not professionally anyway. Learning about all of the positions is very helpful (and recommended), but the sooner you can narrow your own interests down to answer the question "What do I really want to do?", the better.

Learning how the professional industry truly works is the key to building a successful career. There are a lot of books and websites that claim to have the secret formula to make everyone the next Spielberg, but most are just playing to the naive dreams of the masses to make a profit. By all means, read as much as you can and visit forums like this one. But take the time to sit back and absorb what it all means and how it applies to you and what you want to do. Once you know how the industry works, then you'll have a much easier time finding a way in for yourself doing what you really want to do. :)
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#5 Richard Boddington

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Posted 17 August 2008 - 01:52 PM

I am a film student from Toronto, Canada.

Any tips on how to start out in the business?


Sadly there are legions of film school grads from Ryerson and York that are either un-employed or working in a field totally unrelated to film. I know of so many. Heck my neighbour two doors down is a failed Ryerson film school grad, now he works in construction and makes a real living.

If you're on here asking this question then the Toronto Film School obviously did a bad job at preparing you to find work in the Canadian film industry. But then again Ryerson and York don't do much better either in this area.

If I was running a film program one whole semester would be dedicated to teaching people how to find work and actually make money in the business.

99.99% of film school grads are completely clueless.

R,
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#6 Andy_Alderslade

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Posted 17 August 2008 - 04:10 PM

99.99% of film school grads are completely clueless.


Now now Richard, thats a little unnecessary.

Just because a group of people don't have an understanding on how to get a break or make a living in a completely multifarious and anarchic industry doesn't mean the're all useless.

Statistically they're only going to be as useless as those who haven't graduated from a film-school.


But hey what do I know 3 years down the line from my graduation and my career is a joke...
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#7 Richard Boddington

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Posted 17 August 2008 - 05:29 PM

a completely multifarious and anarchic industry doesn't mean the're all useless.


Hold on a second....I said "clueless" not "useless". There is a HUGE difference. Many film school grads may be useful, but the are almost always clueless in terms of how to find work or make work happen.

And as I pointed out on my earlier thread, it's not really the fault of the film students. Most film schools are simply a business with a "take the money and run" philosophy.

The producing class at Ryerson for example shows students where the Canadian government film funding web site is, this is what they call "producing." My producing class at my university wasn't much better either.

Then there are all the film grads I've talked to that say they fully expect to be driving a ferrari and living in a mansion in about three years. The scary thing is.....they mean it!!

Look Andy I got the shock of my life when I advertised for paying positions on my feature film and 50% of the resumes listed a coffee shop as the "current employer" after film school. News flash....you don't need a university or college degree to work at the local coffee shop!

R,
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#8 Chris Keth

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Posted 17 August 2008 - 06:36 PM

You just start working. If you're good at it people will notice. If you're bad at it, people will notice.

Other than that you just make a million phone calls and e-mails and stay in touch with as many people as you can that you seemed to mesh with on set. It's incredibly simple, really. I said simple, not easy, by the way.
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#9 Robert Tagliaferri

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Posted 17 August 2008 - 08:11 PM

Hey I just "graduated" (failed philosophy of love :( ) from Ryerson. I narrowed down my interest in cinematography/camera dept pretty quickly. I haven't had a 'big break' or anything yet, but I've been keeping very busy working on small shoots. My plan for now is to meet as many people as possible and learn as much as I can.

I'm not sure if Toronto is the best city to be in right now, but we'll see. I'd like to get a feature or two under my belt here (I have a 50/50 chance of ACing an upcoming indie feature) and head out west and maybe try working out there. I've got a few good connections from film school that will potentially lead to more work ACing and DPing, but again, who knows?

Which school did you go to in Toronto?
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#10 Gil Wertheim

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Posted 18 August 2008 - 05:51 PM

Which school did you go to in Toronto?


I am in the 10th month of a 15 month program at The Toronto Film School. Our teachers are still active in the business and teach us alot of good stuff about the practical side of the job. I am looking into starting out as an AC. The school is in the Canadian Broadcasting Corportation building so we have access to their studios, the school rents a number of 16 mm, 35 mm and mini DV Beta Cams with lights and audio equipment to make short films. I am actually gearing up to produce and direct my own short in about 2 months.
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#11 Andy_Alderslade

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Posted 18 August 2008 - 06:17 PM

Hold on a second....I said "clueless" not "useless".


Deepest apologies Richard, its just i've heard the 'useless' version all to many times, and its beginning to bug me a little!

After all what's wrong with filmschool grads - they can't get up in the morning, impolite, ambitious, inexperienced.... ...thats some of the many accusations.....

But generally aren't all young people like that?! Especially before they've adjusted to working in the industry. When they do break in, settle in and start acting and doing like everyone else, people forget they are filmschool grads!

Then there are all the film grads I've talked to that say they fully expect to be driving a ferrari and living in a mansion in about three years. The scary thing is.....they mean it!!


I'd like to think these people don't exist, but I know they do myself, the sort of student who wanted to be a rock-star but realized they didn't have the looks or the voice and then decided overnight that being a film-director would be as equally cool... they quickly learn how unglamorous it is and get an office job, giving them enough money to join a chrome and carpet health spa, which they never actually go to after the first month and instead drink excessive amounts of new-world wine... ...up to 60 years later they die...

Look Andy I got the shock of my life when I advertised for paying positions on my feature film and 50% of the resumes listed a coffee shop as the "current employer" after film school. News flash....you don't need a university or college degree to work at the local coffee shop!


Well I suppose we have to earn our bread and butter some how... admittedly i've found work so slow lately that I may have to resort to temping, I earned a lot of money last year and have to earn some tax back!

I'm finding it hard to bring myself to it though... I could of course come to Canada and work for you, do you need an assistant, somebody to help maintain your Arri BLs and gallore? I work hard, and long hours, and for little pay - I eat a lot though, I expect to be fed well, if i'm working on the cheap!
;)
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#12 Gil Wertheim

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Posted 18 August 2008 - 07:04 PM

Well Andy, Canada's film industry has been kind of slow this year with the high dollar and better tax credits offered elsewhere.

I don't know about other film schools but the one I go to put some emphsis on set etiquette. If you show yourself to be competent, the teachers invite you out to their sets. Personally I have been on sets for a short film and a TV pilot.
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#13 Andy_Alderslade

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Posted 21 August 2008 - 12:56 PM

Well Andy, Canada's film industry has been kind of slow this year with the high dollar and better tax credits offered elsewhere.


Thanks for the info Gil, of course naturally I was joking - I think there is pretty much a slow down everywhere, people are beginning to lose their jobs here, and business and spending is suffering - a rough storm is approaching.


- I suppose as the key is networking, one of the most important things is to keep yourself organized and run your contacts like a business.

Get/make some personal business cards to give to people you work with. Buy yourself a Filafax and take note of every single telephone number of every single person you meet. Make notes in your diary of what you worked on and who with....

...not that I should be giving advice, but successful people have told me to do the same.
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