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Possible Job Change. What would YOU do?


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#1 Michael Nelson

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Posted 24 November 2009 - 11:16 AM

I graduated a year ago with a bachelor's in Film and now I work in video and commercials as a camera operator or a camera assistant. I also do editing as well, mostly corporate stuff; nothing too interesting. I would like to get into bigger things: national commercials, maybe a TV series, maybe major film, always in the camera department. I'm also working to become a steadicam operator but that's still a ways off. I get great feedback from new clients (i'm prepared, knowledgeable, great to work with) and have been referred to for more and more work as I go.

Right now I have 3 main clients (small production companies) that I work for. The work comes and goes with active times and slow times. It's nothing terribly interesting but I know that the more I work with these companies, the more industry people I will meet and more opportunities for bigger and bigger stuff will come along. The amount of work I've been getting and the production value of that work has been steadily increasing since I graduated and I would say I am pretty happy of where I am, and VERY happy and excited of where I am going.

Recently, Princess cruises has shown interest in me. They have offered me a position as a junior videographer on a ship (could be anywhere) it would be a SIX MONTH contract being on a ship, shooting their cruise video (ship events, excursions, around the ship) and editing it as well. I would work under the senior videographer while aboard. It pays.... not too great but I get free room, and free food on the ship so all the money I make is all profit and I would walk away with about $8,000 in the end. There's also the ability for quick promotion in the video department as Princess's Video Program is very young. I also love to travel and see the world.

The Dilemma: If I go on this 6 month contract, I don't want to loose the connections I've made here (Orlando) and have to start from scratch again. If I leave, the people I work for now will find someone to replace me and I don't know how hard it will be to get back to where I am now and resume my climbward in the industry. I don't want to work in the cruise video industry for very long but I think it would be a great experience to travel the world, shooting video, shooting pictures (I'm an avid photographer as well). However, I don't believe that it adds to my current path of a full industry camera operator/ camera assistant. But I also think it would be a once in a lifetime experience; something I could look back on and say, "WOW! I did that."

I friend told me to go because, "you can't pass up one oppertunity in hopes of something else to come up. Seize the opportunities as they come. Who knows, maybe the cruise job will lead to something even bigger!"

Do I go? Do I stay and continue my path here? What are your thoughts?


Cliffs: Do I continue working as I am now or go on a 6 month contract to work on a cruise ship and risk loosing current clients when I come back?
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#2 Rob Vogt

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Posted 24 November 2009 - 11:28 AM

Odds are you'll have to start over again anyway- especially if you plan on going to a more national stage such as NY or LA, even Chicago. I dunno the production companies you work for, if they have ties to these cities, but most likely they don't.

GL man.

Also you dunno if they will find someone else, they might take you back if they like your work that much. Prove that you are an asset, make quality work, fast and cheap, and they will hire you again.

You also have to think about paying rent while away, and/or having to find a new place to live when you get back.
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#3 Brian Dzyak

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Posted 24 November 2009 - 12:10 PM

For starters, no one can answer this question except for you. In situations like this, you have to look at the "long view" and what you want to achieve and experience in the short 70ish years you have to live. Presumably, if you're in your twenties currently, you have roughly fifty years left and likely only about forty of those will be spent "working" in the industry.

So, I don't mean that to be morbid or negative in any way at all. Just practical. You have to ask yourself exactly how you'd like to spend the remaining years that you have. You can forgo many "great opportunities" along the way as you push for that ultimate goal that may never come. Or you can take those opportunities with the hope that, somehow, maybe they will either help you to get where you want to go OR that you can pick up where you left off.

I think that the trick is to take opportunities like this and before you commit, you figure out the NEXT step AFTER you're contract is done. It would be easy to get sucked into the world and never escape, but if you're true aspiration is something more, then think about the kinds of things that you can do while working for the ship company that will help you toward what you truly want to do.

Can you bring anything special to the job in that six months that you can add to your reel when you're done that will be advantageous to your goals? If not, then maybe you shouldn't go. A profit of $8000 in six months isn't a real incentive, but if can use that time to shoot content that could help you get where you really want to be, then it seems like a fair tradeoff. If not, then the eight grand probably won't be worth it.

And you have to evaluate the life/career you currently have. If you're not thrilled with it AND you don't think that it is really getting you where you want to be, then the shake-up may just be what the doctor ordered. You worry that the work won't be there when your contract is up, but it doesn't seem like the work you're doing now is anything you really want to return to anyway. Of course we all need money, so perhaps you take this opportunity to break free of where you're at now, bank every dollar of that eight grand, then use it (when the contract is up) for living expenses as you move to where you need to be to do the work that you really want to do.

It's not an easy situation and there is no way to achieve the goals you've stated. Everyone finds their own way as different opportunities and situations present themselves. Whatever you choose, do your best to not get sucked into a life and career that you don't really want. It's very easy to get trapped into something like that because of bills and other responsibilities (like relationships and children, etc).

Good luck!
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#4 Rob Vogt

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Posted 24 November 2009 - 12:26 PM

Get a 2C, a couple thousand feet of film and take some nice landscapes on your downtime to add to your reel. See if a rental house will let you take a lens for your adventure. If you're traveling around the world, odds are you'll get some amazing and rare footage, some you'd probably be able to sell back to the line for additional profit. It can't hurt.
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#5 Alessandro Machi

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Posted 24 November 2009 - 03:42 PM

I have a client that performs on these cruises. I don't recall six month cruises however. Maybe they have them, but I thought most of the cruises were 7 to 21 days in length. Unless they are going to have you visit several different cruise ships???

Six months is an awful long time. This could be a post office type of gig where it becomes a job you sort of settle into for a long time even though when you first took the job you did not think that would happen. What could make the job financially rewarding is if you could honor your job duties while also doing additional video work. The stock footage idea is a potentially fantastic idea.

You might also find you can score some decent pay by making vanity videos for the tourists. But keep in mind, you are not the boss on this gig and just because you want to do these things does not mean you will be allowed to. You might even have to sign some kind of agreement that anything you shoot on their ship is their property.

It's probably all going to be up to your boss. You really don't know how your boss is going to read you until after you have the gig. They may read you as thinking of the gig as a "hobby" or a temporary thing and they may not want you for that reason. On the other hand, they probably can't hire a person with a family since the person will be away for so long.

I also would suggest you not naming the cruise company as you could get aced out of the job by someone reading this topic who is more desperate than you for this job.
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#6 Richard Boddington

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Posted 24 November 2009 - 04:13 PM

I also would suggest you not naming the cruise company as you could get aced out of the job by someone reading this topic who is more desperate than you for this job.


Yep, got my resume in! :D

R,
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#7 Edgar Dubrovskiy

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Posted 24 November 2009 - 05:13 PM

Do I go? Do I stay and continue my path here? What are your thoughts?


I would say - go.
I have a friend, she did photography on cruise ships for 6 months.

Imagine amount of amazing footage you can get in 6 months, while around the globe.
And experience - people, places, light.

Amazing opportunity, I think.
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#8 Alessandro Machi

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Posted 24 November 2009 - 05:24 PM

Yep, got my resume in! :D

R,



ha ha, good one.
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#9 Tom Jensen

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Posted 24 November 2009 - 05:40 PM

Yep, got my resume in! :D

R,


Sorry Richard,
I already got the job.

Go for the money while you can.
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#10 John Sprung

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Posted 25 November 2009 - 02:36 PM

Definitely go for it. It sounds like fun, and with unemployment over 10%, the right answer to almost any job offer is yes.




-- J.S.
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#11 Brian Dzyak

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Posted 25 November 2009 - 06:21 PM

Definitely go for it. It sounds like fun, and with unemployment over 10%, the right answer to almost any job offer is yes.




-- J.S.



Alan Greenspan (disciple of Reaganomics and Milton Friedman) said (out loud) that unemployment should be kept high so that those who do have jobs will be so worried about keeping the jobs they have that the wages will be kept low.

Republicans wanted this. They want people to be unemployed. They want people to worry about their jobs so that working people will earn less so that those in charge can hoard more.

So, say yes if you wish, but don't work for less than you're worth.
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#12 Frank Barrera

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Posted 25 November 2009 - 10:00 PM

let me get this straight- you've only only been out of school for only a year and people are letting you touch their cameras? it took me several years after i got out of film school before i got to the point where some one would actually trust me to shoot even the lamest corporate video.

anyway you're young and if you dont take this job you're nuts. its not about the money. its about the experience. filmmakers are storytellers pure and simple. and without life experiences you have no stories to tell. all the technical knowledge in the world doesnt hold a candle to one great story.

btw i've been to Orlando and i've been on a giant cruise ship. and i guarantee you there many more interesting things going on on that ship than in Orlando.

get on that ship. take lots of picture. take notes. and come back a better story teller.

good luck.
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#13 Russell Richard Fowler

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Posted 25 November 2009 - 10:18 PM

Go......some of my nicest gigs have been for several cruise lines.....
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#14 John Sprung

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Posted 26 November 2009 - 04:30 AM

It's different this time. This is no ordinary cycle thing. There are some really good people who have been out of work longer than ever in their lives. In 30+ years, I've never seen it this bad in the non-movie/TV job market. I have a good friend who does electronics design and systems integration who has never been out this long. So, if you know of a gig like that in the LA area.....




-- J.S.
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#15 Alessandro Machi

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Posted 26 November 2009 - 04:12 PM

Go Back, Go Back, it's a trick. You will get on the cruise ship and it will have 500 unemployed camera people each with their own camera package ready to film. (joke alert)
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#16 Chris Keth

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Posted 26 November 2009 - 04:42 PM

If you don't have tie downs, I see no reason not to go. Put your stuff in storage, sublet your apartment, and go have fun for a while. I have a friend who did something similar for the summer. She documented a "semester at sea" program and all the places they went. She came back with some very nice material for her reel including Gibralter, Rome, the pyramids and Cairo, scenery around the Greek islands, etc.
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#17 Brian Dzyak

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Posted 26 November 2009 - 06:20 PM

Hmm, I got to wondering if there was time off, that you could work on short films of your own, using the boat and/or locations as your backdrops? Maybe a "Love Boat" theme for a "mini series" that you could possibly post to the internet and later package on DVD, combined for festivals?

Or, at the very least, have your own high quality camera to shoot stock footage that you can "offer" after your contract is over.

Just trying to think of ways you can advance your own career while working for someone else. :)
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#18 Alessandro Machi

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Posted 26 November 2009 - 06:26 PM

Hopefully afterwards your friends don't play the love boat theme whenever you show up.
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#19 John Sprung

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Posted 27 November 2009 - 02:56 AM

Or, at the very least, have your own high quality camera to shoot stock footage that you can "offer" after your contract is over.


The previous poster's suggestion of an Arri 2C is the way to go if you want to grab stock along the way. Anything less than 35mm film is a tough sell in the stock market. Talk to some stock libraries first, see what they might want. For instance, it's a big plus if you have matching day and night establishing shots of exotic buildings.




-- J.S.
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#20 Chris Millar

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Posted 27 November 2009 - 04:19 AM

Cruises are ass

(I work in theatre on and off and its another way in)

You're stuck in a tin can with the same people day after day and have to keep your corporate pants on about %99 of it (you can take them off to pee) - barely any shore time - hanging with the types of people who 'love cruising'.

ack!

AVOID

or do it for the money - nothing else.

Bring some books, learn - you wont learn much on the job.
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