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production assistant to camera department


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#1 Rick Shepardson

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Posted 05 December 2008 - 04:27 PM

I am a recent film school graduate looking to get on to a professional set as production assistant to the camera department. Though I've focused most of my attention on lighting, I have heard that the best entry level position for an aspiring DP production assistant to the camera department.
This is problematic in that any professional experience I have had has been as grip/electric/ or general production assistant. My understanding of the camera department largely comes from my DP work on small shoots. So I'm not sure what kind of inormation I should put down on my resume.
I understand that the dividing lines between crews are very important. And I have heard that several people will throw out a resume if the applicant's history isn't specifically in that department.
Does anybody have any pointers?
Thank you,
Rick Shepardson
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#2 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 05 December 2008 - 07:12 PM

If you want to be a DP I recommend you stay in grip/lighting. . . That's just me. . . If you can light you can light pretty important for a DP I'd say (more so than framing which often is the domain entirely of the operator or director or both etc. . .
Get on shoots, gaff like mad, and you'll keep getting on shoots, supposing you're good enough. Shoot shorts on the side and make your name.

Of course, in the end, the how's don't matter and if you get great as an A/C then you'll be a rare commodity. . .
I would list, if you want to go camera, all your Gaffer experience (to show you've been on set) , DP experience if you have it, and also all the cameras you're familiar with-- most recent first (e.g. if you can work a SR3 you can work an SR2, or 1, same with the Aaton XTRs and LTRs for example. . .)

best of luck!
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#3 Rick Shepardson

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Posted 06 December 2008 - 11:49 AM

If you want to be a DP I recommend you stay in grip/lighting. . . That's just me. . . If you can light you can light pretty important for a DP I'd say (more so than framing which often is the domain entirely of the operator or director or both etc. . .
Get on shoots, gaff like mad, and you'll keep getting on shoots, supposing you're good enough. Shoot shorts on the side and make your name.

Of course, in the end, the how's don't matter and if you get great as an A/C then you'll be a rare commodity. . .
I would list, if you want to go camera, all your Gaffer experience (to show you've been on set) , DP experience if you have it, and also all the cameras you're familiar with-- most recent first (e.g. if you can work a SR3 you can work an SR2, or 1, same with the Aaton XTRs and LTRs for example. . .)

best of luck!


Thanks,
Well, I'm going to be sendinng out resumes soon. Luckily I've got some friends vouching for me on set. Thanks for the advice.
-rick
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#4 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 06 December 2008 - 11:51 AM

Friends vouching is probably the best thing you can have to go along with resume ;)
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#5 PMorgan

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Posted 10 December 2008 - 09:59 PM

Hi Rick,


As a camera assistant, I can tell you the best way to get yourself into the camera department as an intern or dept. assistant is to call or email every 1st AC you've ever heard of. - I say this because 90% of the time we are the ones who make the hiring decision (because you will spend your time working with us, whilst observing the DP)

If you know of a new show starting in town (I'm assuming you're in LA) Call the Production Coordinator and ask where you can send a cover letter and resume to be considered for a camera intern/PA position.

To be completely honest, we don't really care what's on your resume, as long as you can prove you've been on a set before. Most members of the professional camera dept. pride themselves in teaching newcomers. The position is a learning experience first and foremost. If you have the ability to help in more advanced stages of the dept, you will get to, otherwise you will learn to.

I have had people out with me who have had tons of experience and knew how to do everything I asked of them, and I've had people who have never even seen a Panaflex or Arricam, and started off as observers.

So, again, your resume is not that important, but a good letter showing your passion, and desire to work in the industry is what's going to get you that initial interview. When I get a stack of resumes to look over, I find the ones which I feel are the most serious about their future and I set up a quick interview. Then after I've met everyone, and as many people on our camera crew have met them, we make a decision.

hope this helps.... get your name and wants out there. Start emailing and calling!

All the best.

-Peter Morenz
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#6 Rick Shepardson

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Posted 11 December 2008 - 02:37 PM

It's funny that you mention contacting every first AC I know of. I started doing that by running down the list of crew members in my state. One of them actually emailed me back.
Thanks for the advice.
rick

Hi Rick,


As a camera assistant, I can tell you the best way to get yourself into the camera department as an intern or dept. assistant is to call or email every 1st AC you've ever heard of. - I say this because 90% of the time we are the ones who make the hiring decision (because you will spend your time working with us, whilst observing the DP)

If you know of a new show starting in town (I'm assuming you're in LA) Call the Production Coordinator and ask where you can send a cover letter and resume to be considered for a camera intern/PA position.

To be completely honest, we don't really care what's on your resume, as long as you can prove you've been on a set before. Most members of the professional camera dept. pride themselves in teaching newcomers. The position is a learning experience first and foremost. If you have the ability to help in more advanced stages of the dept, you will get to, otherwise you will learn to.

I have had people out with me who have had tons of experience and knew how to do everything I asked of them, and I've had people who have never even seen a Panaflex or Arricam, and started off as observers.

So, again, your resume is not that important, but a good letter showing your passion, and desire to work in the industry is what's going to get you that initial interview. When I get a stack of resumes to look over, I find the ones which I feel are the most serious about their future and I set up a quick interview. Then after I've met everyone, and as many people on our camera crew have met them, we make a decision.

hope this helps.... get your name and wants out there. Start emailing and calling!

All the best.

-Peter Morenz


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The Slider

Visual Products

Metropolis Post

FJS International, LLC

Rig Wheels Passport

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Willys Widgets

Technodolly

Paralinx LLC

Wooden Camera

Glidecam

Abel Cine

CineTape

Aerial Filmworks

Ritter Battery

rebotnix Technologies

CineLab

Tai Audio

Opal

Gamma Ray Digital Inc