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Allow me to work for you (for free)


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#1 Drew Ott

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Posted 05 May 2009 - 11:21 PM

This summer, after graduating high school, I’m going to be doing a solo extended travel around the U.S. living in my car. While on the trip, I want to work on as many shoots as possible (narrative, doc, commercial), and I’ll gladly do it for free. The goal is to gain experience and meet as many of you as possible. I’m willing to stay in one location for a month or more working on a feature, or just help out on set for a day.

The only experience I have on 35mm sets is as an electrician. I worked as an electrician intern on Ex-Terminators (shot in Austin, TX) for about 20 days, and that’s the only time I’ve worked on what I consider a “big set.” I learn quickly and am glad to work as any position; I just might be asking lots of questions in the beginning.

Aside from that, I’ve worked as various crew positions on about a dozen short films and documentaries. I’ve been camera operator, boom operator, gaffer, grip, 2nd AC, loader (I’ve only loaded with the Arri SR2), and PA. I have lots more to learn in every department, so I’m happy with any position I can get.

Anyway, if you think there’s a chance that I could be useful on anything you are working on, please let me know. I’ll probably bump this thread once the trip begins, so if you don’t have anything planned now, maybe you will then.

Also, if you’re interested, you can check out the travel blog at http://drewott.wordpress.com. It’s not geared toward filmmaking, but you’ll be able to follow where I am if you want to meet or work with me. The trip hasn’t started yet because I’m still a senior in high school. I think I'm going to leave in July.

One more thing: I wasn’t planning on bringing any gear, but I own a Canon XHA1, so maybe I’ll bring that in case anybody is interested in shooting something with it.

My email is DrewOtt@DesolateFilms.net

-Drew Ott
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#2 David Rakoczy

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Posted 08 May 2009 - 01:51 PM

Good thing you are in the USA. Evidently what you are proposing is illegal in the UK.

Good Luck!

You should Doc your trip ;)
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#3 Stuart Brereton

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Posted 08 May 2009 - 02:14 PM

what you are proposing is illegal in the UK.


It's not illegal to work for free in the UK, but it is illegal to ask someone to work for free. A fine distinction perhaps....
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#4 Andrew Koch

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Posted 08 May 2009 - 03:28 PM

I think it is okay for you to be willing to work for free, but I would strongly advise against loaning out any gear for free. If you let anyone use your XA-H1, make sure you charge a rental fee. Otherwise you will be taken advantage of and it also low balls it for others who own equipment who rent it out. We don't want to contribute to the trend of production companies getting free stuff out of us when we put up our own money for it just to save them money on renting it themselves.
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#5 Richard Boddington

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Posted 10 May 2009 - 01:03 PM

Does any other industry on the planet have more people willing to work for free than the film industry?

I can get 50 crew members for free with an ad on Mandy.com.....if that is, I wanted to.

I doubt I would get as many free labourers to mow my lawn, look after my children, or dig ditches :D

What a zany industry this is!

R,
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#6 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 10 May 2009 - 02:31 PM

It's not illegal to work for free in the UK


I'm not sure that it is. The guidance I have is that this is viewed as conspiracy between the employer and employee to break the rules, which of course would boil down to the employer saying "If you ever want to work for me again, you tell them you volunteered, right?"

Oddly enough this is exactly what's happening in the film industry, so - great!

P
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#7 David Rakoczy

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Posted 10 May 2009 - 02:49 PM

The music industry isn't much different.... neither is the F1 Circuit :huh:

When they said 'There's no business like Show Business'.. they weren't kidding! :o
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#8 XiaoSu Han

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Posted 10 May 2009 - 07:28 PM

well you could either pay 50K a year at AFI or invest in a RED + lens package and get out there and practice on independent films.

both ways work I guess?
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#9 Oliver Christoph Kochs

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Posted 10 May 2009 - 08:48 PM

well you could either pay 50K a year at AFI or invest in a RED + lens package and get out there and practice on independent films.

both ways work I guess?


I don't think that the "buy RED - become cinematographer" idea is any good unless you want to start your rental house career.
You should know that it takes a lot more than that. Learning the gear and specific RED workflow may distract from what is actually important: narrative storytelling.
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#10 Drew Ott

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Posted 12 May 2009 - 05:32 PM

Good points made by everybody.

When I said that I was bringing my camera, I was intending that to be the, "Let's make a film together," mindset as opposed to, "Come work for free as an assistant wedding videographer," or something like that.

I never rent my camera out for free or even very cheap locally (except to friends), but I was figuring that bringing a camera would make people more interested in working with me.

Interesting thoughts though. Maybe I will reconsider some things.
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#11 Annie Wengenroth

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Posted 18 May 2009 - 11:19 PM

Wow, I actually think your trip sounds really cool. You'll be like a film nomad or something. Let me know when you hit New York.
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