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Advice needed...


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#1 Ben J

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Posted 01 July 2010 - 11:40 PM

Hello,

I am a 22 year old with an interest in cinematography. In high school I seemed to do well in subjects such as photography, art as well as maths and computing so decided to enrol in architecture in university. I thought the combination of the creative with the technical would suit me. I lasted six months before dropping out (due to many reasons which I will leave out for now).

I think I would like to work as a cinematographer but unfortunately I live in a country where there is not much of an industry. Approximately 30 movies were made in Australia in 2008. The type of work done here doesn't really interest me and after looking at industry statistics (Screen Australia) it appears making a living here is unlikely.

I have been working entry level jobs for the last few years (in retail and at a newspaper) but was laid off last year and have been unemployed since. During this time I have been struggling with making any sort of career related decision. I read American Cinematographer every month and have studied from books recommended here (The 5 C's, Cinematography by Blain Brown). I have absorbed as much as possible. I watch and study about 5 movies a week and also have an interest in TV drama (think HBO, AMC shoes like The Sopranos, The Wire, Breaking Bad).

I'm interested in hearing from people who have moved to the US (NY, LA), europe (france, germany, italy, UK) or maybe even Asia and have managed to survive whether you are in college/university or working as a PA or whatever.

I've been looking into the costs of US colleges and it seems to average around $50k a year for international students. I unfortunately cannot afford that. I have also looked into some european and asian schools which are cheaper but have the language barrier. AFTRS is a well known film school in Australia but it is on the other side of the country from where I am. If I am going to move I might as well move to where there is work... right? There have been some well known graduates who have come from AFTRS but they seem to go overseas eventually.

I have looked into the green card (immigration for the US) and it seems next to impossible to attain.

Also I have about 10k in the bank and have no obligations whatsoever.

Maybe I should forget it all and take up a trade?

Edited by Ben Herbertson, 01 July 2010 - 11:44 PM.

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#2 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 02 July 2010 - 08:05 AM

If you wanna do film, you should just pass on the schoolin' and get onto a set; sometimes just going to LA with a dream, and in your case 10K to back yourself up with, might be enough. The immigration problem is an issue and honestly I dunno enough of those laws to help you; but perhaps look into work visas?
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#3 Kevin W Wilson

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Posted 02 July 2010 - 01:19 PM

I agree with Adrian, you need to get on a set and see what you're made of. We could all talk about the film school or not argument until we're blue in the face, set experience is set experience plain and simple.

You may want to consider Atlanta, GA; where I am from and still reside. The film and television industry is booming here right now thanks to a 30% tax incentive that has supercharged the production machine in our state. There is dozens of major productions shooting here right now with hundreds of local technicians working on them. Currently we have The Vampire Diaries, Drop Dead Diva, The Walking Dead and Fast and Furious 5 shooting in and around the city. Last year we had Halloween 2, Zombieland, The Blind Side, Due Date, The Last Song, The Crazies, I Can Do Bad All By Myself and several more. That's not to mention the hundreds of commercials that are shot here every year for national broadcast. It's a happening place!

Panavision is also opening a new branch here early next year and several new production stages have just been built.

I've lived here my whole life and production wise I've never been busier even with the economy in the state that it is. The cost of living here is very reasonable, certainly cheaper than LA and there is an abundance of talented people with incredible skill sets. Is it LA? No, definitely not. Give it a little time though and anything is possible. It may be a good place to get your feet wet though and decide if this is really something you want to do.

http://www.georgia.o...es/default.aspx
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