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best way to start out as a camera assistant?


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#1 Simona Analte

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Posted 07 August 2009 - 12:48 AM

I'm a newbie here and I was wondering if I could get an advice on;

what is the best way to get your foot in the door as a camera assistant?

all the times I have volunteered on set, Ive worked as a PA, but I'm wondering how would I get myself into the camera department instead? would I apply as a " PA for Camera Assistant" instead?


any help would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you

Simona
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#2 Brian Dzyak

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Posted 07 August 2009 - 11:20 PM

I'm a newbie here and I was wondering if I could get an advice on;

what is the best way to get your foot in the door as a camera assistant?

all the times I have volunteered on set, Ive worked as a PA, but I'm wondering how would I get myself into the camera department instead? would I apply as a " PA for Camera Assistant" instead?


any help would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you

Simona


Hi Simona,

MY first advice would be to learn everything you can about the Camera Department. You can get pretty much all the info you need from the following resources:

http://www.amazon.co...t...5862&sr=8-1

http://www.amazon.co...m...4479&sr=1-8

http://www.amazon.co...a...4479&sr=1-1


THEN, you should get in touch with any and all Camera Assistants (First ACs, Seconds, and Loaders) with whom you've worked with on other movies. Let them know that you're interested in becoming a Loader/AC. Chances are, you'll end up on a low-budget/free project working for no money as a Second AC/Loader which means you'll be doing both jobs. If/When you are able to join IATSE Local 600 (the International Camera Union), you'll likely join as a Loader where you'll be primarily be loading and then helping the Second(s) on set when you're not busy in the darkroom.

The key is in who you know and who knows you. Getting those opportunities right now may be difficult as production is down pretty much all over the world due to the economy. But, there are usually enough music videos, short films, student films, or other indie projects that you can pretty much volunteer to work for free and they'll gladly accept the help. It all starts with you contacting everyone you know in the business and letting them know that you're interested in working in the Camera Department.

AFTER you've read through those books above, I'd suggest that you also visit a local camera equipment rental house and ask them if you can practice loading mags (Panavision, ARRI, MovieCam), threading the camera movement, putting on lenses, building the camera, etc. You'll also want to have someone take you through any HD equipment they have. Of course this is a lot to do and their time may be limited, so it may take multiple visits to get through it all. But between reading those resources and getting your hands dirty on the real gear in the low-stress environment of a rental house (where you can make mistakes and take your time), you'll be able to show up on a real set feeling a whole lot more comfortable and able to impress those around you enough that they'll call you back again and again and again.

That's pretty much the way to do it. Good luck!
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#3 Simona Analte

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Posted 09 August 2009 - 12:48 AM

Hi Simona,

MY first advice would be to learn everything you can about the Camera Department. You can get pretty much all the info you need from the following resources:

http://www.amazon.co...t...5862&sr=8-1

http://www.amazon.co...m...4479&sr=1-8

http://www.amazon.co...a...4479&sr=1-1


THEN, you should get in touch with any and all Camera Assistants (First ACs, Seconds, and Loaders) with whom you've worked with on other movies. Let them know that you're interested in becoming a Loader/AC. Chances are, you'll end up on a low-budget/free project working for no money as a Second AC/Loader which means you'll be doing both jobs. If/When you are able to join IATSE Local 600 (the International Camera Union), you'll likely join as a Loader where you'll be primarily be loading and then helping the Second(s) on set when you're not busy in the darkroom.

The key is in who you know and who knows you. Getting those opportunities right now may be difficult as production is down pretty much all over the world due to the economy. But, there are usually enough music videos, short films, student films, or other indie projects that you can pretty much volunteer to work for free and they'll gladly accept the help. It all starts with you contacting everyone you know in the business and letting them know that you're interested in working in the Camera Department.

AFTER you've read through those books above, I'd suggest that you also visit a local camera equipment rental house and ask them if you can practice loading mags (Panavision, ARRI, MovieCam), threading the camera movement, putting on lenses, building the camera, etc. You'll also want to have someone take you through any HD equipment they have. Of course this is a lot to do and their time may be limited, so it may take multiple visits to get through it all. But between reading those resources and getting your hands dirty on the real gear in the low-stress environment of a rental house (where you can make mistakes and take your time), you'll be able to show up on a real set feeling a whole lot more comfortable and able to impress those around you enough that they'll call you back again and again and again.

That's pretty much the way to do it. Good luck!



Thank you so much. That was great advice. Appreciate it much.

Simona
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#4 Chris Keth

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Posted 09 August 2009 - 01:40 AM

Where are you located, Simona? A lot of people here are able, on occasion, to take an intern or a trainee.
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#5 Jonathan Bowerbank

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Posted 09 August 2009 - 12:23 PM

On your PA jobs, it's perfectly alright to make it known that your keen interest is in the Camera Dept. I regularly am able to have a PA assigned to the camera department. It isn't glamorous, mostly just moving carts, charging batteries and helping to load the truck and stuff. But if you're a rockstar PA for the camera dept, it's a good way to get noticed by the 1st AC and possibly get a call for future opportunities.
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#6 Tom Jensen

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Posted 09 August 2009 - 02:45 PM

I started at a rental house.
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#7 Brian Dzyak

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Posted 09 August 2009 - 04:43 PM

Also "tune" into http://www.realfilmcareer.com on a regular basis for the most recent news about where production is so you know where to go in the world for the best opportunities to work. No "Hollywood" fluff like most film news sites. Just realtime info about the industry for those of us who actually make a living doing this.

:)
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#8 Simona Analte

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Posted 16 August 2009 - 07:57 PM

Thank you so much for the wonderful advice.
Brian that was some very helpful recommendation. I know exactly what to do now.

I would love to intern for a 2AC, but I live in Toronto, Canada.
I believe most people here are from the states.

Appreciate all the replies.
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#9 Chris Keth

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Posted 16 August 2009 - 10:14 PM

Thank you so much for the wonderful advice.
Brian that was some very helpful recommendation. I know exactly what to do now.

I would love to intern for a 2AC, but I live in Toronto, Canada.
I believe most people here are from the states.

Appreciate all the replies.


There are some people from Toronto here.
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#10 Simona Analte

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Posted 17 August 2009 - 11:37 PM

Chris, would you suggest to simply make a post or contact members living in Toronto individually? Thank you
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#11 Chris Keth

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Posted 18 August 2009 - 01:10 PM

Chris, would you suggest to simply make a post or contact members living in Toronto individually? Thank you


You can try posting in general discussion about it, or there is also a forum for Toronto in the offline discussions near the bottom of the main forum page.
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#12 Bob Hayes

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Posted 18 August 2009 - 07:36 PM

Get a job at a rental house. Spend all your free time learning the cameras and chatting to the first acs that come in. Tell em you are looking for work and know the cameras inside and out. Do jobs on the weekends so it doesn't screw up your gig.
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Tai Audio

Aerial Filmworks

FJS International, LLC

Ritter Battery

CineTape

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Technodolly

Visual Products

rebotnix Technologies

Broadcast Solutions Inc

CineLab

Willys Widgets

Opal

Rig Wheels Passport

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Abel Cine

Metropolis Post

The Slider

Paralinx LLC