Jump to content


Photo

A few basic questions


  • Please log in to reply
8 replies to this topic

#1 Jagna Rychlik

Jagna Rychlik

    New

  • Basic Members
  • Pip
  • 2 posts
  • Other
  • Poland

Posted 06 September 2008 - 01:10 PM

Hello,

At the very beginning I have to say I was very happy to find this forum. I know there is a lot of professionals here ? could you be so kind and answer my silly questions? I?m sorry, if some of them have been answered before.
I?m 17-year-old girl interested in photography, books and cinema. I?d love to be a camera operator or director of photography, but - to be honest - I have some doubts. As a child I just loved to play with my grandfather's old video camera, but (here comes the worst part) I haven't hold one since then.
Do I have to have the experience to get to film school?
Which film school do you reccomend?
Is it possible to not get any job after graduation?
Is it more difficult for woman to get succeed in this industry?
Do you know many female operators?


Thank you!

Edited by Jagna Rychlik, 06 September 2008 - 01:13 PM.

  • 0

#2 K Borowski

K Borowski
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 3905 posts
  • Camera Operator
  • I.A.T.S.E. Local # 600 Eastern Region

Posted 06 September 2008 - 01:37 PM

Hello,

At the very beginning I have to say I was very happy to find this forum. I know there is a lot of professionals here ? could you be so kind and answer my silly questions? I?m sorry, if some of them have been answered before.
I?m 17-year-old girl interested in photography, books and cinema. I?d love to be a camera operator or director of photography, but - to be honest - I have some doubts. As a child I just loved to play with my grandfather's old video camera, but (here comes the worst part) I haven't hold one since then.
Do I have to have the experience to get to film school?
Which film school do you reccomend?
Is it possible to not get any job after graduation?
Is it more difficult for woman to get succeed in this industry?
Do you know many female operators?


Thank you!


Welcome to the forum. There's nothing wrong with having doubts. If anything, that is a good thing, because you are actually trying to be objective in evaluating if this is the right field of work for you to pursue.

I'm not going to lie, the film industry is a tough nut to crack, especially if you're going to try to cut into it in Poland. Nothing wrong with being out of practice making films. I've been trying to make a movie for six years now without success. It is a huge undertaking.

This career is tough not because of the technical difficulties, but because of the shear number of people who are in it right now. That will only get worse with the proliferation of garbage and the plague of HD camera owners who are pulling down production values. This is a scary time to work in film, as the playing field is leveling out. A lot of people try to become DPs or directors and end up working as editors for a TV station. So there's little to no room at the top and you're going to have to go through hell to try to get there.

As for being a woman, that certainly shouldn't set you back at all, though this forum wouldn't seem to be very female-friendly at times. I haven't really noticed the boys only club mentality on the few films I've worked on, but this is definitely an industry that is still heavily dominated by males.

We do have a few women on the forum here. One of them I've actually had the fortune of meeting. I'll pass your post along to her and maybe she will have a lot more of insightful advice for you, as she's been at it a lot longer, with a lot more success than I have.

Remember that this industry is just like acting. You don't even have to be good at it, you just need to be very very persistent at selling yourself and be ruthless in making contacts and networking if you wish to find successful steady work in this field.
Czesc by the way. That's about the only Polish I know after three generations of Americanization B)
  • 0

#3 Mark Williams

Mark Williams
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 811 posts
  • Director
  • United Kingdom

Posted 06 September 2008 - 02:01 PM

Hi Jagna

Do I have to have the experience to get to film school?

--------------------------------------------------
No but you do need money and experience will help as others will and because of that will push ahead quicker leaving you struggling and them appearing to be smarter.
----------------------------------------------------

Is it possible to not get any job after graduation?

-----------------------------------------------------
Not only is it possible its very likely. Even if you are successful for a while.
-----------------------------------------------------

Is it more difficult for woman to get succeed in this industry?

----------------------------------------------------
I think so. The industry is closed to most anyway But being a woman I think will be a hurdle. Yes you can get jobs in production or assistants but cameras are largely boys toys.
------------------------------------------------------

Do you know many female operators?

--------------------------------------------------------
I know one and only know a few male ones. If it was me I would try and get a job as a camera assistant and work up.. You may need to start off as a runner first. I don't know about film school my instinct is to give it a miss. Unless you want to be a director? But now is definately the time at your age to get involved.
  • 0

#4 Jagna Rychlik

Jagna Rychlik

    New

  • Basic Members
  • Pip
  • 2 posts
  • Other
  • Poland

Posted 06 September 2008 - 03:28 PM

Thank you very much for your feedback!

I'm not going to lie, the film industry is a tough nut to crack, especially if you're going to try to cut into it in Poland.

I'd rather prefer to study abroad, because Polish film industry doesn?t interest me at all. I will have to focus on my English certificate that all foreign universities require.
I have less than a year to seriously figure out what to do with my future. It scares me as hell, because I can make a huge mistake very easily. I feel so lost! I?m not sure if I could handle the pressure of film industry, but I definitely do not want to spend the rest of my life behind a desk. I need a job which require a lot of creativity.

The industry is closed to most anyway But being a woman I think will be a hurdle. Yes you can get jobs in production or assistants but cameras are largely boys toys.

That?s so unfair! I wouldn?t like to end up as assistant to bringing coffee or something.
Btw. I don't mind working with men, actually I prefer it much more than working with women.

I really appreciate the honesty of your responses.
They made me sad, though.

Edited by Jagna Rychlik, 06 September 2008 - 03:29 PM.

  • 0

#5 Warwick Hempleman

Warwick Hempleman
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 115 posts
  • Industry Rep
  • Germany

Posted 06 September 2008 - 05:39 PM

Don't disparage being in Poland. You have one of the best cinematography schools in the world and far and away the best film festival devoted to cinematography, Camerimage (www.camerimage.pl), both in Lodz.

Take the time to go to Camerimage and learn about the business there. It will be the first week in December, as it is every year.

Aside from that, I can only agree with the advice and comments already made in the previous posts.
  • 0

#6 Felipe Perez-Burchard

Felipe Perez-Burchard
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 130 posts
  • Other
  • Los Angeles, CA USA / Mexico D.F., Mexico

Posted 06 September 2008 - 05:44 PM


I have less than a year to seriously figure out what to do with my future. It scares me as hell, because I can make a huge mistake very easily. I feel so lost! I?m not sure if I could handle the pressure of film industry, but I definitely do not want to spend the rest of my life behind a desk. I need a job which require a lot of creativity.


Being scared and wondering about mistakes are the kind off things that mix around rational thinking and gut instinct to steer you in the decision making choices continuously coming towards you in life... Why don't you try to meet some people in the field locally, and see if you can get a taste of what its all really like.
Even if the polish film industry isn't where you want to be necessarily, it wont hurt to see that end of it... filmmakers around the world are similar, and it can help to see it in a smaller industry; and you might find there are some exciting things going on in your turf also... BUT, going "outside" is quite a valuable experience as well.
The whole point is to find something that you love doing; and many find out after some time of pursuit that what they thought they want isn't what they enjoy, and they find it hard to move out of it... others relish at the excitement of new experiences and the process of learning.

That?s so unfair! I wouldn?t like to end up as assistant to bringing coffee or something.


I think what Mark meant was to work as a camera assistant position... which is not about bringing coffee, its about supporting the director of photography in the camera dept.
the 1st AC (assistant camera) is kind of the boss of the camera dept (under the DP) whose primary funcion is to pull focus and maintain the camera
the 2nd AC is in charge of supporting the 1st with all his immediate "gear needs" and also slating the shots and taking camera notes
the loader is like the Best Boy of camera_ he loads magazines and also orders equipment
The operator does just that... in smaller industries, usually the DP operates, in bigger industries, the operator is like the right hand man on-set for the DP (the gaffer being his left hand or vice-versa) and "executes" the shot with the entire support team...

Anyway, I mention this because getting a position like this would be a worthwhile experience to see if you like the whole "work" aspect of the jobs.
I personally know a lot of women camera assistants who are tremendously good at their jobs; I've had mixed responses from them in terms of how difficult it has been for them in "a man's world" -- some I think have had a tougher time because they've felt they had to "prove" to the boys they could play just as well/better, others I think had an easier time because they told me "they didn't care about that" and just went on and did it...

Anyway, trust that you'll make the right decision for you ultimately, and in the meantime EXPLORE...

Hope this is helpful !

Best,

-felipe.
  • 0

#7 Nathan Martin

Nathan Martin
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 61 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Sydney Australia

Posted 06 September 2008 - 11:04 PM

i dont know about poland but here in sydney, probably the best camera assistants i know are female.
I was taught to load by a female focus puller.
It is very hard to crack into the industry as others have said though.
I have only been working for about 4 1/2 years but i still get to points where there are long waits between jobs.

I think one thing thats important in making it to become a camera operator is that you have to maintain your long term goal of being an operator, however you need to be just as passionate and involved in the other roles you must pass through before you get to your goal.

The only reason i still get work as a camera assistant is because the people i work for can see that i wouldnt want to be anywhere else but there doing that job. Even though they know that i dont plan on doing it forever.
  • 0

#8 Robert Starling SOC

Robert Starling SOC
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 101 posts
  • Steadicam Operator
  • Los Angeles and Las Vegas

Posted 06 September 2008 - 11:19 PM

Hi Jagna:

You can be anything you want in this business if you're willing to work and fight for it.

I just worked as a Steadicam Operator on a short here in LA with an entire group of Polish filmmakers who studied film in Poland and have come to the US to work, study and make films. Pretty much the entire crew was Polish and many of the actors were as well. It was a story of a young Polish girl and the Baba Yaga. In fact, their last two films were funded and made possible by the Polish American Society and other Polish based organizations. AND... the Director and DP are both Polish born WOMEN.

Contact me by private message off the Forum and I'll introduce you to them.
  • 0

#9 James Steven Beverly

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

Posted 07 September 2008 - 02:52 AM

Jagna, let me tell you something. EVERYONE is scared about what the future holds for them. All you can do in life is try. Now you may fail and probably will a LOT, BUT if you DO fail you can get back up and try again and again until you find a way to succeed, but if you don't try, you've condemned yourself to failure before you start. The whole secret to life is doing what you love. If this is what you want, forget about the odds, forget about what might happen, forget about what other people think. Life is going to go on no matter what you do so you might as well try and make your life, the life you want. Go dig out your grandfather's old video camera and start shooting again. Try and make some art with that camera. Don't worry if it's not perfect or even good or if you don't know quite what to do, you'll learn. You have a WHOLE YEAR before you have to make a decision. A year in the life of a teenager is like 10 to the rest of us. :D If at the end of the year you think film making would be a good life for you, go to film school or just start making films on you video camera or any other camera you can get and work on getting jobs on as a production assistant or anything else you can get in the industry.

If the film industry in Poland is anything like it is in the US, plan on working for free for a while, learning, making contacts getting your name know to people who can get you work, because let me tell you something else, the times, they are a changing and women are becoming more and more common place on film sets so by the time you hit 21 or 22 it may not even be an issue any more, but if young women like you don't try, things will never change because remember kiddo, in this industry , NO ONE is EVER going to just hand you a career, YOU, have to go out and get it through hard work and perseverance, and those who try and never quit trying are the ones that eventually succeed. Remain in spite of difficulties, steadfast, resolute and unyielding and nothing on this Earth can stop you from achieving your dreams. B)
  • 0


Willys Widgets

Paralinx LLC

Technodolly

Abel Cine

Ritter Battery

CineTape

Metropolis Post

Aerial Filmworks

Visual Products

CineLab

Opal

The Slider

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Wooden Camera

rebotnix Technologies

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Tai Audio

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Rig Wheels Passport

Glidecam

FJS International, LLC

Ritter Battery

Opal

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Technodolly

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Aerial Filmworks

Abel Cine

CineTape

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

The Slider

Visual Products

rebotnix Technologies

Willys Widgets

Paralinx LLC

Tai Audio

FJS International, LLC

Metropolis Post

Rig Wheels Passport

CineLab

Wooden Camera

Glidecam