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Working as an 2nd AC in the US compared to the UK


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#1 Theo Berman

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Posted 14 November 2008 - 04:11 AM

I am a clapper/loader (2nd AC) from the UK and am moving to LA in the new year to try get some work (I have dual US/UK citizenship).

Has anyone had experience of doing something similar or working in both countries and have any thoughts on the different ways of working? Over here in London we do not usually have a 2nd AC and a loader, does an American 2nd AC have different responsibilities from a British clapper/loader as they maybe do not need to spend any time loading mags or do you just have more time to assist your 1st AC?

Also if anyone has any thoughts on my chances of picking up work, getting started, life in LA, joining the union etc it would be much appreciated if you would share them with me.

Many thanks,

Theo
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#2 PMorgan

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Posted 10 December 2008 - 10:16 PM

Hey Theo,

Having worked with several English crews on various projects around the world I can say that the systems are pretty similar.

Obviously you won't have to spend any time in the darkroom (unless there's some dire need.) The only thing I can really say that is different is the camera report system we use here. We use a single camera report for each and every roll of film or tape, or card or what have you, rather than one big daily camera log. It is a bit tedious, but you'll get used to it.

The primary goal of the 2nd AC is to be there for his/her focus puller. I find that if I am ever out of earshot of the focus puller I'm not doing my job efficiently enough. It is your job to delegate everything that needs to be done that you can't do without leaving the 1st's side to your loader and your intern/trainee vis radio.

At the same time its is your job to constantly have an ear open to the director and the DP and the 1st AD so you can relay the information you've picked up to the focus puller and the operator.


So pretty much the same job, and I'm sure you'll pick it up just fine.


As far as finding work goes, you're just going to have to do a bunch of cold calling. Call every focus puller you can find. Call the union office about membership (I assure you, it is NOT an easy process, but you will be admitted in time as long as you follow the proper steps.)

hope this helps

-Peter Morenz
2nd AC - LA
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#3 Michele Peterson

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Posted 12 December 2008 - 11:21 AM

Over here in London we do not usually have a 2nd AC and a loader, does an American 2nd AC have different responsibilities from a British clapper/loader as they maybe do not need to spend any time loading mags or do you just have more time to assist your 1st AC?


In the US, there is not always a separate loader and 2nd AC, especially on low budget productions. (I was even asked once to load and pull focus by a cheap producer lol)

Your chances of finding work have a lot to do with whether or not you have some connections in LA (from friends or people you worked within the UK). If you don't, you'll likely be working your way up through doing low budget shows.

Edited by Michele Peterson, 12 December 2008 - 11:23 AM.

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Technodolly

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

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Aerial Filmworks

CineLab

Ritter Battery

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Metropolis Post

Wooden Camera

Willys Widgets

FJS International, LLC