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tips for becomming a better assistant?


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#1 ian henderson

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Posted 24 July 2009 - 01:40 PM

hey guys, im pretty new here, so i figure ill introduce myself first. my name is Ian Henderson, im a Local 600 Loader based in Detroit, and ive done a bit of work as a second as well. ive been working music videos, commercials, and ive day played on some larger features.

i was wondering if anyone has any recommendations on things i could be doing in my off time to become a better assistant? or if anyone has any tips on branching out and finding work outside of my local area.

thanks alot,
Ian Henderson
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#2 Annie Wengenroth

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Posted 25 July 2009 - 12:44 AM

...Pfft...share the work? ;) Don't know what to tell ya. Welcome to cine.com.
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#3 Simon Wyss

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Posted 25 July 2009 - 07:19 AM

Why not strut over to the Ford Museum and start browsing the movies catalog. Ask politely, try to come in contact with the IMAX theatre manager, who knows if you won't find a treasure in some can. Talks are so important!
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#4 Annie Wengenroth

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Posted 25 July 2009 - 10:21 AM

In all seriousness, it sounds like you're doing pretty well, which is good. And I guess you're asking about how to become a better 1st or 2nd, right? I would say maybe start looking for smaller non-union gigs where you can work steadily as a 1st just to build your skills in a low-pressure environment. I don't know how 600 is in other regions about working non-union, but here in NYC they could give a poop. So why not take advantage of that? Other than that, which may or may not work for you, it's hard to say....I think one of the difficult things about being a legitimate member of the camera department now and not a camera PA, is that it's harder to sit back and have that broader perspective of everybody else's jobs, because now you're too busy doing your own. So there's not much time to observe others doing it...you just kinda figure it out.

As for finding work outside of Detroit, I dunno man. Why rock the boat if you're doing this well, unless you're truly interested in traveling, right? Doesn't the union have a production list of jobs going on nearby?
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#5 Brian Dzyak

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Posted 25 July 2009 - 10:45 AM

hey guys, im pretty new here, so i figure ill introduce myself first. my name is Ian Henderson, im a Local 600 Loader based in Detroit, and ive done a bit of work as a second as well. ive been working music videos, commercials, and ive day played on some larger features.

i was wondering if anyone has any recommendations on things i could be doing in my off time to become a better assistant? or if anyone has any tips on branching out and finding work outside of my local area.

thanks alot,
Ian Henderson


Hey Ian!

It sounds like you have a decent start. If you haven't already read them, pick up books like "The Camera Assistant: A Complete Professional Handbook" by Douglas Hart; "The Camera Assistant's Manual," by David E. Elkins SOC; and "What I Really Want to Do: On Set in Hollywood," by Brian Dzyak (that's me!). The first two describe the nuts & bolts of Assisting and the third describes every job in the Camera Department as well as gives a big picture look at what "on set" life is like for everyone on set.

Then, as suggested, go to work on anything you can find as a Second and First. The best way to learn to do those jobs is to just go do them. Practice judging distance at home by carrying around a tape measure wherever you go to prep yourself for pulling focus.

Get out and meet as many other crew people as possible to get your name out there. If you need help knowing where the productions are, keep in touch with those people you already know and check in at http://www.realfilmcareer.com which provides current industry news regarding things like state and national tax incentives and other regional production news.

The idea is to know the details of your own job but pay attention to the "macro" elements of the industry so that you're not spinning your wheels wondering why you're not getting work in your area.

Good luck!
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#6 ian henderson

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Posted 26 July 2009 - 06:53 PM

hey thanks for all of the good advice. i work at the Motion Picture Institue of Michigan as an equipment tech, so I end up working on a lot of student projects when im not booked on a job. on the student stuff ill usually move up and pull focus, a bunch of it has been on red so its nice to have the depth of field of 35.

as far as finding work outside of detroit, im not in a huge rush to get out of here, but i do get a lot of down time right now cause im still a little ways down the seniority list, and i feel like im just wasting time. that, and i realy would like to travel. and being still somewhat new, i dont know many assistants outside of this area, and ive never realy had any luck with just mailing in my resume to productions. any good networking tips?
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#7 Fred Neilsen

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Posted 27 July 2009 - 12:02 AM

A great thing to do is have a look at past topics in the AC section, there's plenty of information there, like how to load specific magazines, how to uses a slate properly, how to get more jobs...
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#8 brydie

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Posted 11 May 2010 - 07:26 PM

Wondering what would be the better option. I have worked on set as split operator and occasionally a 2nd. now i na post grad course for CAing. Would you recommend Hart or Elkins?














Hey Ian!

It sounds like you have a decent start. If you haven't already read them, pick up books like "The Camera Assistant: A Complete Professional Handbook" by Douglas Hart; "The Camera Assistant's Manual," by David E. Elkins SOC; and "What I Really Want to Do: On Set in Hollywood," by Brian Dzyak (that's me!). The first two describe the nuts & bolts of Assisting and the third describes every job in the Camera Department as well as gives a big picture look at what "on set" life is like for everyone on set.

Then, as suggested, go to work on anything you can find as a Second and First. The best way to learn to do those jobs is to just go do them. Practice judging distance at home by carrying around a tape measure wherever you go to prep yourself for pulling focus.

Get out and meet as many other crew people as possible to get your name out there. If you need help knowing where the productions are, keep in touch with those people you already know and check in at http://www.realfilmcareer.com which provides current industry news regarding things like state and national tax incentives and other regional production news.

The idea is to know the details of your own job but pay attention to the "macro" elements of the industry so that you're not spinning your wheels wondering why you're not getting work in your area.

Good luck!


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Paralinx LLC

Aerial Filmworks

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Tai Audio

Opal

rebotnix Technologies

Metropolis Post

Glidecam

Ritter Battery

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

CineTape

CineLab

Rig Wheels Passport

Visual Products

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

FJS International, LLC

Abel Cine

Technodolly

The Slider

Wooden Camera

Willys Widgets