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Aspiring Film Maker


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#1 Nick Ganesh

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Posted 25 December 2009 - 12:35 AM

Hello all,

I really love film and editing and all the related, but I do not know the path to take to follow my dream to be a DP. I am only 14 but I don't kow what and where to start at. I only have a beginner camera (hf200) but I love film making. Can somebody please give me some tips and ideas to be able to follow my dream.

Thanks.
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#2 Marcus Joseph

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Posted 25 December 2009 - 10:03 AM

I was in your situation just over a year ago, I'm now 16 getting ready to begin work the following year in camera assistance and editing, I plan on running some hobby projects and shooting weddings in my spare time. These great chaps around here helped me out with quite a bit towards deciding a career path, the main advice was to just simply shoot as much footage as you possibly can. You'll learn the fundamentals to what makes good imagery and getting friends together to join in on the creativity is always a learning experience.

The thing I'd recommend the most is to just simply read around here, learning the technical side of cinematography will get a fair way, but keep putting in that practicality, even if it's simple practicality.
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#3 David Rakoczy

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Posted 25 December 2009 - 10:08 AM

Hello all,

I really love film and editing and all the related, but I do not know the path to take to follow my dream to be a DP. I am only 14 but I don't kow what and where to start at. I only have a beginner camera (hf200) but I love film making. Can somebody please give me some tips and ideas to be able to follow my dream.

Thanks.


Finish your education. Get Film Lighting
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#4 Brian Dzyak

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Posted 25 December 2009 - 12:09 PM

Hello all,

I really love film and editing and all the related, but I do not know the path to take to follow my dream to be a DP. I am only 14 but I don't kow what and where to start at. I only have a beginner camera (hf200) but I love film making. Can somebody please give me some tips and ideas to be able to follow my dream.

Thanks.



Hi, Nick (Merry Christmas!)

There are two potential paths to becoming a DP. The first is to jump in and call yourself a DP. The second is to work your way up through the ranks as a Camera Assistant.

Neither path guarantees success and which path you choose depends upon how you'd prefer to spend your life. The "just jump in" route generally means having very little money to live on for several (or many many years) while you work on low-budget projects hoping that one of them will get noticed and/or that a Director or Producer you work for hits it "big" and they take you with them on bigger projects.

The second "up the ladder" path means years and potentially a lifetime of pushing carts around merely helping the Cameraman (the job YOU want to do). You could move up to DP eventually or you might not. Many more people who follow this path do not make it to the "top" as a DP. The upside is that you can potentially make more money quicker and have a viable career which an enable you to do things like raise a family, own a house, etc.

I URGE you to read the book "What I Really Want to Do: On Set in Hollywood" for everything you absolutely need to know to answer your questions fully. Standard "lighting" books are fine for when you are out there doing the job, but for the real information about the CAREER PATH, there is only one book that addresses the very question you pose above.

I also invite you to look at the website http://www.realfilmcareer.com for daily updates on how the film industry works around the world. By browsing though the categories on the right side, you'll see where the work is and how the industry truly works above and beyond the generic theories talked about in filmschools and in most books.

While you're there, take a look at the Industry Forum where you'll find even more information and resources that could help you, so that you can make wiser choices on your way to building a viable career.

And of course, continue reading the threads on this site as it is an excellent way to connect with working professionals.

Good luck!

Edited by Brian Dzyak, 25 December 2009 - 12:10 PM.

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#5 Richard Boddington

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Posted 25 December 2009 - 02:26 PM

I URGE you to read the book "What I Really Want to Do: On Set in Hollywood" for everything you absolutely need to know to answer your questions fully.


Dang Brian beat me to it! :lol:

R,
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#6 Brian Dzyak

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Posted 25 December 2009 - 03:53 PM

Dang Brian beat me to it! :lol:

R,



I only wish that someone else had written it before I got myself into this industry! I had to write the book that I needed when I was just beginning. Call it a self-penance or something. ;)
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#7 Richard Boddington

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Posted 25 December 2009 - 04:36 PM

I only wish that someone else had written it before I got myself into this industry! I had to write the book that I needed when I was just beginning. Call it a self-penance or something. ;)


I need to order a copy so I can figure out what to do next in the this zany business?

Is there chapter called, "What To Do After Your Second Feature Film?"

R,
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#8 Matthew W. Phillips

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Posted 25 December 2009 - 06:44 PM

Brian, I'm interested in what you needed to go through to write a book? Was it published by a house or independent? I have always thought about writing a book on game development but never knew where to start. Congrats on the book too...might have to pick me up a copy for some inspiration ;)
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#9 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 26 December 2009 - 01:12 AM

I really love film and editing and all the related, but I do not know the path to take to follow my dream to be a DP. I am only 14 but I don't kow what and where to start at. I only have a beginner camera (hf200) but I love film making. Can somebody please give me some tips and ideas to be able to follow my dream.

Hi Nick,

The trouble with starting out as a DP is that he or she is generally one of the most technically knowledgeable and experienced people on the set. It takes many years of studying, crewing, and shooting to become a competent DP. Not only do you have to know how to light and frame shots and produce scenes that will cut, but you also have to know how to lead (and sometimes protect) your crew and be responsible with a given budget. So first understand that it will take many years before you will be a DP and keep working toward that goal, while absorbing as much as knowledge as you can.

Then I would start with the basics: get a DSLR camera and a tripod and learn still photography with manual 35mm prime lenses (you will learn that lenses are more important than the camera). If you can afford a camera that records HD video at the same time, all the better.

Read and learn about exposure, lighting, framing, art history, film history, and color theory.

Watch and study lots of old movies. There's a section on this website above called "Recommended Books and DVD's" so start there. Get a subscription to "American Cinematographer" magazine.

Start making your own short films. Network with other young filmmakers in your area and make movies together. Experiment, steal shots from great old movies, copy techniques you hear about from DVD commentaries and AC magazine articles. Make mistakes. Analyze your footage critically, try to figure why it sucks, and keep improving your skills on your next project.

Try to get on bigger shoots with more experienced filmmakers and learn from them. Be humble, work hard, and do whatever they tell you to do. Ask questions, and don't pretend to know more than you do. Have a good attitude. I would recommend specializing in lighting, as that is the most difficult aspect of cinematography to master. Many DPs come up the electrician-->best boy-->gaffer route, not just through the camera department.

When you graduate from high school, consider moving to a big production hub, like LA or New York. Keep doing everything listed above. Continue making contacts, and keep in touch with talented, like-minded people.

That's pretty much all I know...
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Paralinx LLC

Rig Wheels Passport

The Slider

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Visual Products

Tai Audio

CineTape

Wooden Camera

Technodolly

Aerial Filmworks

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Glidecam

Willys Widgets