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Is there such a thing as a trainee anmore?


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#1 Jose Figueroa Baez

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Posted 21 February 2009 - 08:40 PM

I have been hearing for a while about the old trainee or apprenticeship system where you would be under the tutelage of a DP. I have been reading around and I haven't been able to find something like that that is still available for people like me who are trying to to begin their journey to becoming a cinematographer. I am wondering if someone still offers this kind of service and if so, what would be the process of applying. Any help would be appreciated.
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#2 Mike Lary

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Posted 21 February 2009 - 11:51 PM

I don't know how you'd get an actual apprenticeship with a D.P., but I know several films that have offered 'camera intern' positions. In that position you'd work for free for the entire length of the production as if you were a paid crew member. Your job would be to assist the camera department and possibly the D.P. directly in any capacity needed (including fetching coffee, charging batteries, carrying equipment). It's a great opportunity to work under a D.P. while learning a craft and making good connections (if you work extremely hard and get along with everyone), if you can afford to do it. To get a position like that you'd apply to the production company, tell them how much you respect the DP, and tell them you're willing to work for free for the camera department in exchange for the experience. The position might not exist unless you ask for it, so you have to be pro-active.
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#3 Gus Sacks

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Posted 22 February 2009 - 02:02 AM

I don't know how you'd get an actual apprenticeship with a D.P., but I know several films that have offered 'camera intern' positions. In that position you'd work for free for the entire length of the production as if you were a paid crew member. Your job would be to assist the camera department and possibly the D.P. directly in any capacity needed (including fetching coffee, charging batteries, carrying equipment). It's a great opportunity to work under a D.P. while learning a craft and making good connections (if you work extremely hard and get along with everyone), if you can afford to do it. To get a position like that you'd apply to the production company, tell them how much you respect the DP, and tell them you're willing to work for free for the camera department in exchange for the experience. The position might not exist unless you ask for it, so you have to be pro-active.


I did that once. It was such a quick production it didn't offer tons of time to learn from the DP aside from checking the monitor and bothering the Gaffer from time to time. It was a lot of running gear around, but the 2nd on the job started having me, like, do camera reports and sweep out the truck... and do other things that, frankly, were his job when he was just being lazy. Anyway, yeah, it'd be good for someone looking to get in the door.
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#4 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 22 February 2009 - 05:17 AM

I don't know about the US, but in the UK they have FT2.

http://www.ft2.org.uk/
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#5 Jose Figueroa Baez

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Posted 22 February 2009 - 09:43 AM

I don't know how you'd get an actual apprenticeship with a D.P., but I know several films that have offered 'camera intern' positions. In that position you'd work for free for the entire length of the production as if you were a paid crew member. Your job would be to assist the camera department and possibly the D.P. directly in any capacity needed (including fetching coffee, charging batteries, carrying equipment). It's a great opportunity to work under a D.P. while learning a craft and making good connections (if you work extremely hard and get along with everyone), if you can afford to do it. To get a position like that you'd apply to the production company, tell them how much you respect the DP, and tell them you're willing to work for free for the camera department in exchange for the experience. The position might not exist unless you ask for it, so you have to be pro-active.


Thank you for the suggestion. I will look into it. Most of the work I've been applying to is to be a PA, just get on set, and from there try and slowly shift to the camera dept. doing anything from coffee to wrangling cable and cases; I've done it before so I don't mind.
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#6 timHealy

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Posted 22 February 2009 - 10:36 AM

You can get a camera PA job but I have never heard of a Dp training program other than being and camera assistant, electrician or grip. Then you get to work with DP's everyday.

Or you just start shooting whatever you can.

Best

Tim
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#7 Jose Figueroa Baez

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Posted 22 February 2009 - 11:33 AM

I have never heard of a Dp training program other than being and camera assistant, electrician or grip.


Thats what I meant, being a trainee on either camera or electric department. I guess I'll just have to work my way up the ladder. I really enjoy gripping aside from doing camera work so, I guess I have more than one option. Thanks for advice.
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#8 Tom Hall

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Posted 22 February 2009 - 03:20 PM

From what I know about local 667 up here in Toronto you do a year as a "camera trainee" when you get selected as a candidate. You work a full schedule at minimum wage, attached to different scale projects that involve the union. This is where you may be seeing the "camera trainee" credit on films. Getting to this level means you've already beaten out hundreds of applicants and you are still not guaranteed to get in the union. I have a friend who is doing the process and from what I've learned I am going to wait a few years to get a healthy enough resume before I am going to consider it.
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#9 Michele Peterson

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Posted 22 February 2009 - 10:12 PM

From what I know about local 667 up here in Toronto you do a year as a "camera trainee" when you get selected as a candidate.



I've only every heard of IA in Canada (Toronto and Vancouver) doing this. My understanding is that you train as a loader at the bottom of the ladder in the camera department, so you aren't directly being trained by the DP any more than the 1st & 2nd AC are. Local 600 in the US does not offer an official trainee program.

Interning or PAing in the camera dept is a god way to learn. I did that once, but realized I really wasn't getting much out of the deal. The 2nd AC had to miss 2 days and refused to let me move up and take his paying job those days even though the 1st suggested it and backed me and my skills. I think he was worried about me taking his job. Your best bet (if you can find it) is to work with a 2nd who is ready to move up to 1st, so he won't be worried and will be able to bring you along when he needs a 2nd.
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Visual Products

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CineLab

Glidecam

Metropolis Post

Wooden Camera

Rig Wheels Passport

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Paralinx LLC

Aerial Filmworks

rebotnix Technologies

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Opal

Tai Audio