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NYC short film opportunity


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#1 Diana Perri

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Posted 20 September 2009 - 01:27 AM

We're producing a low budget short and need a DP with their own digital equipment. We expect to shoot for 4 days in Oct (dates TBD). Our idea is this, since surely experienced DP's are way out of our price range: Would a skilled, excellent Gaffer or Camera Assistant who wants to DP, consider volunteering for the DP role in exchange for credit, meals, and transportation only?

Looking for people who have experience (pref. not a student) and can provide references or a reel.

Many pros (in any creative profession) feel that no one should give their work away for free, and we understand that -- we don't mean to offend anyone with this request. We've just got an extremely tight budget -- BUT we also have a great script and the determination to produce something you'd be proud to be a part of. We thought perhaps someone looking to move into the DP role might find this appealing. Make creative decisions, and get your name out there as a DP (we will take it to festivals) on a short film with a purpose and a focus on a social cause. Heck, if you're already a DP and just want to spend some time working on a meaningful project, we'd love to talk to you. Looking for someone with a positive attitude.

If you're hard-working, skilled, talented, and willing to work a few days for no pay and good food, please consider this opportunity. We're trying to get our production company off the ground, and we're looking to build relationships. I know this sounds like BS, but there are upcoming projects now in development, and potential for paying work down the road.

If you want more info please send me a PM, and include link to your demo reel. Thanks!

Edited by Diane Perri, 20 September 2009 - 01:30 AM.

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#2 Matthew W. Phillips

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Posted 20 September 2009 - 01:36 AM

It might help if you include more info like "what format are you wishing to shoot on?" and "do you have a camera package secured already or do you wish this DP to already have their own camera as part of your free offer?" Some may consider your offer BS as you've said things that we've all heard before. But I do admire your seemingly humble spirit about the whole thing. I personally am not a DP by trade but a Director. However, I have done DP work in the past and I know what DPs are looking for. I would give you one critique...if you are offering an "opportunity" to a CA to move up or especially for a Gaffer to move up, I wouldn't require a camera package nor a reel. The main reason DPs take free work on the way up is to build a reel so I would be flexible on this point. I know you want quaility, we all Producers and Directors do, but you need to make sacrafices for free work just like they sacrafice by giving you free work.

Regards,
Matthew
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#3 Matthew W. Phillips

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Posted 20 September 2009 - 01:42 AM

Ok, I see you edited that to answer my question. I wish you good luck in your search. I think it would only be right, however, to pay the DP something for their gear rental, even if not for their service. I never have paid DPs but I always have provided the camera package up to this point.
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#4 Diana Perri

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Posted 20 September 2009 - 10:04 AM

I think it would only be right, however, to pay the DP something for their gear rental, even if not for their service. I never have paid DPs but I always have provided the camera package up to this point.

Hi,
I thought it interesting that you say you've never paid a DP -- I didn't think it was that common a practice to have the DP position unpaid.

Wouldn't expect anyone to rent equipment to work on a non-paying gig. We're hoping for someone who has their own camera, and a prosumer HDV or mini-DV is fine. Recording to tape preferred. We want our end result to have a high-quality appearance, but don't think it needs to be shot with a high-end true HD camera for that. I hope that helps to clarify what we're looking for.

Asking for a reel was meant to see how the person works with light (lots of DP reels I find online are much too dark), but the reel doesn't need to be polished piece of work. I hope these are not unreasonable requests. Thanks for your feedback.
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#5 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 20 September 2009 - 11:13 AM

The only thing I'd pick you up on is describing this as an opportunity. Unless you have well-respected people involved, some particularly spectacular location or subject to shoot, massive amounts of toys to play with or some other unique factor that distinguishes your project from the thousands of others out there, working for free is not an "opportunity".
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#6 Diana Perri

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Posted 20 September 2009 - 11:51 AM

The only thing I'd pick you up on is describing this as an opportunity. Unless you have well-respected people involved, some particularly spectacular location or subject to shoot, massive amounts of toys to play with or some other unique factor that distinguishes your project from the thousands of others out there, working for free is not an "opportunity".

It is an opportunity to gain a first credit as DP. And respected people are involved. Though I understand how some may take issue with the notion of it being an opportunity, it is "a chance for advancement; a favorable circumstance or occasion" (definitions of "opportunity").

Edited by Diana Perri, 20 September 2009 - 11:55 AM.

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#7 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 20 September 2009 - 12:35 PM

Most non-DPs probably won't own the right types of kit which you need. I mean, yeah you could go buy a handicam; but you're not going to get the results you'd need. (and are you sure you're own monitor isn't mis-calibrated for watching reels? that's the problem with seeing a reel on a computer or even many HDTVs)

As for Matt, I'll take a little liberty and say that it is common practice to pay DPs, but when doing short work, and Matt comes out from a S8mm background where he's offering people the chance to shoot on a fun little format; hence why people would take the gig pro-bono.

I'd recommend, though; looking for a real DP who has some Dp credit and offering them a little bit of cash. I don't think any of us are in this to get rich, and I know for myself, I never mind taking a smaller check on a smaller project-- it's not about the money-- but if you want to procure a camera and some talent, you gotta produce a little bit of compensation for the trouble. Not much, just a bit as the budget will allow.
Also, don't dictate format on budget, what does the story call for? serve that first, or you may well be wasting a bit of time and effort massaging what ought be Anamorphic to HDV :/
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#8 Diana Perri

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Posted 20 September 2009 - 12:50 PM

. . . don't dictate format on budget, what does the story call for?

In this case, the format is dictated by the editor's system and what can be captured into it. We prefer mini-DV or HDV recorded onto tape.
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#9 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 20 September 2009 - 02:51 PM

That's kinda a bullshit response, as even if you were dealing with IMAX or RedOne footage there are myriad ways to get it into the editorial stage even downconversion to DVCam or going a data-centric workflow by capturing film in Telecine to ProRes or the like. And in truth, I know of no editorial systems that can't handle up to at least DVCProHD these days and a variety of ProRes, not to mention the whole concept of offline workflows.
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#10 Matthew W. Phillips

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Posted 20 September 2009 - 03:37 PM

And in truth, I know of no editorial systems that can't handle up to at least DVCProHD these days and a variety of ProRes, not to mention the whole concept of offline workflows.


I think even Pinnacle Studio (which is like totally entry level) takes HD input now so surely the others like Premiere, Avis, Vegas would be able to handle it.
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#11 Diana Perri

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Posted 20 September 2009 - 04:24 PM

Why do you want to pick my post apart? I'm not a bullshitter. We have minimal equipment and want to work with what's familiar to us, too. We don't see the necessity of doing this with an expensive high-end true HD camera. We don't want to bother with changing cards every ten minutes. Shoot to a nice mini-DV or HDV tape is what we want. Capture via firewire. Simple and suitable for our needs. If you guys are obviously not interested, why keep challenging me? I don't understand your tone. This is a short film with a social conscience and very low budget. Not your thing? Okay, move on. What's the big deal? It's not for everyone, but if anyone's interested, PM me. Thanks.

Edited by Diana Perri, 20 September 2009 - 04:29 PM.

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#12 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 20 September 2009 - 04:31 PM

Not trying to pick apart your post, per say. Rather just saying that choosing DV/HDV just because it's more comfortable for you isn't really serving the story well, nor the film. It's about the right tool for the right job, and there's plenty of right reasons to use DV/HDV for any given film, but to say that you're only using it because of your editor's system, yes that is a bullshit response.
Now, saying that the way you intent to shoot the film is for long interrupted takes, or whatever, yes, then that's the right way to look at it and to look towards tape based (or some card based or film based) systems.
In honesty, and you're not going to like to hear this, but it sounds to me as though you're not looking for a DP at all, but someone with a camera who can shoot it, and that's fine and dandy, it's your film and choice to make. But, you have to realize that DPs are going to approach the film for what the film needs, not for what is necessarily at your own comfort level.
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#13 Matthew W. Phillips

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Posted 20 September 2009 - 04:35 PM

You need to realize, this isn't a prosumer forum like some of the others out there. This is largely a professional base of working individuals, some of which have some serious experience and film credit. If you are looking for prosumer level DPs, I would recommend DVXUser.com. Those guys are always looking for work and would probably give you a freebie.

No one is trying to bash you, we are just trying to help you go about things the right way if you're going to look for talent, especially free talent, on a forum like this. Nothing in life is truly free so you have to offer people SOMETHING for them to work for you. Screen credit is a dime a dozen for someone who already has their own camera package. What I mean is, you need them more than they need you. You have to find a way to sweeten the deal if you want to get quality behind the camera. Trust me, you do get what you pay for.

As far as a low-budget, I've been there. My last short film was shot for about a grand. That's pretty low and I didn't pay anyone anything. But I did provide a film camera, the stock, and I DPed the thing myself although I did get a freebie on the AC position because I was giving a digital AC the chance to work with film for the first time and I was teaching him about basic lighting for film and various stocks, etc so he got something out of the deal that, for him, was a unique opportunity. In fact, the whole crew was enthusiastic about the project mainly because I shot it on film and that's rare out here for the really low budget projects.
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#14 Diana Perri

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Posted 20 September 2009 - 04:40 PM

Sheesh, then why do I feel like next time I want to post a message, I better run my ideas by you guys first for approval? According to the two of you, I'm not approaching my project or even posting my messages the way you think I should.
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#15 Matthew W. Phillips

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Posted 20 September 2009 - 04:45 PM

Sheesh, then why do I feel like next time I want to post a message, I better run my ideas by you guys first for approval? According to the two of you, I'm not approaching my project or even posting my messages the way you think I should.


It's not about our ideas. It's about reality. I don't know of anyone on this forum that has any trouble getting free work or screen credit, let alone if they have their own camera package. It seems disrespectful, as least to me, to come on here and try to lure people on the premise of screen credit when what you're really looking for is a free camera rental. You can say all you want that it's not the way things are but we all know better because we've all heard it before or done it before.

Also, the bulk of people on this forum who own a camera package have higher end gear. The prosumer level stuff is unlikely to be owned by people on this forum, that's why I recommended DVXUser.com. That is why people want to get fairly compensated here because some of them have some expensive gear...hell, Adrian has his own lighting kit too! (Which I hope he's bringing out when we shoot our feature next year ;) )
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#16 Diana Perri

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Posted 20 September 2009 - 05:11 PM

It's not about our ideas. It's about reality. I don't know of anyone on this forum that has any trouble getting free work or screen credit, let alone if they have their own camera package. It seems disrespectful, as least to me, to come on here and try to lure people on the premise of screen credit when what you're really looking for is a free camera rental. You can say all you want that it's not the way things are but we all know better because we've all heard it before or done it before.

Also, the bulk of people on this forum who own a camera package have higher end gear. The prosumer level stuff is unlikely to be owned by people on this forum, that's why I recommended DVXUser.com. That is why people want to get fairly compensated here because some of them have some expensive gear...hell, Adrian has his own lighting kit too! (Which I hope he's bringing out when we shoot our feature next year ;) )

Honestly, we didn't expect seasoned pros to be interested. We also had no idea that this site is so exclusive that not a single soul here would have their own PD170, HVR-A1U, DVX100, or the like, and perhaps want to use it for a first DP credit. Guess I came to the wrong place. No disrespect intended.

.

Edited by Diana Perri, 20 September 2009 - 05:14 PM.

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#17 Diana Perri

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Posted 20 September 2009 - 05:35 PM

it sounds to me as though you're not looking for a DP at all, but someone with a camera who can shoot it

I thought cinematography and Dir. of Photography work was more about the skill and talent of the person behind the camera, and not dependent upon equipment. Looks like I was wrong. It's always been my opinion that true artists can rise above the limitations placed on them. Sorry to have rankled you so much with my request. As I said in my previous post, no disrespect was intended.

.
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#18 Matthew W. Phillips

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Posted 20 September 2009 - 05:54 PM

I thought cinematography and Dir. of Photography work was more about the skill and talent of the person behind the camera, and not dependent upon equipment. Looks like I was wrong. It's always been my opinion that true artists can rise above the limitations placed on them. Sorry to have rankled you so much with my request. As I said in my previous post, no disrespect was intended.

.


You are putting words in my mouth. I didn't say Cinematography wasnt about skill. I said that low-budget producers are about managing resources. Therefore, if you're on a budget, you are trying to get things done with as little money as possible. You can talk about skill and art all you want but those things are secondary to getting the equipment if you don't have it. I highly doubt you want to hire a highly artistic, talented DP who has no camera, hence why you want one with his own gear.

I can't say that no one here has that gear, I was just saying that even if they did, I think they would want some sort of compensation for the wear and tear on their gear and even the gas money they spend to get to your set. It cost the DoP money on free shoots, if you want to be technical.
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#19 Diana Perri

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Posted 20 September 2009 - 06:15 PM

You are putting words in my mouth.

You weren't the person I was quoting/responding to.

I can't say that no one here has that gear, I was just saying that even if they did, I think they would want some sort of compensation for the wear and tear on their gear and even the gas money they spend to get to your set. It cost the DoP money on free shoots, if you want to be technical.

I did say in my first post that we're offering credit, meals, and transportation costs.

Edited by Diana Perri, 20 September 2009 - 06:18 PM.

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#20 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 20 September 2009 - 07:45 PM

It's not about the equipment, or being in the wrong place. It's moreso that you're asking for a DP to do things a certain way irregardless of the narrative. It's our job to bring the page to the screen under the directors, well direction. And all I'm trying to say to you is that sometimes that requires a HDV handicam and other times it doesn't. It depends on the story you're trying to tell and how you're trying to tell it. But, you don't want to hear that. Hell, if I were free I'd happily go out and DP a short that I really believed in (in some way) for a pittance. But, that's still not the point. The point is that the narrative will help flesh out how it should be shot and you should be thinking about what the story needs, not what the Editor is comfortable with, or with what you're comfortable with. And the reason I say you don't need a DP is because you seem to want someone to just bring a camera out and shoot something. That's just the feeling I get, and I may be wrong on that. But, here's the thing, you should be hiring a Dp as a collaborator, and with that in mind, what happens when your DP says to you "hey guys, I can get us free film stock and shoot S16mm because the story calls for it." Or, in my own case for an example, "I know you want to shoot on the DVX100b, but I don't think it works well for this narrative; I'd say let's run the XDCam because we need that "HD look," because the people are so fake and almost plastic feeling." That's a true quote from myself on a shoot.
Sorry for coming off as mean etc, Diana, but as Matthew mentions, people on here often approach things in a different way. this doesn't mean we're not beholden to budgets, we still are, but rather that we try our best to use our craft to the service of the story, not the comfort of the editor, or convention (when not needed).
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