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Question to all who feel they've established themselves


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#1 Brian Rose

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Posted 17 September 2010 - 08:42 PM

I'm having one of those moments of professional and personal doubt, and thought I would seek out the advice of all those who have been at it and continue to survive.

On the one hand, I feel like I'm doing all I can. Saving my money, finding work where I can, applying for jobs and trying to network. And always working on some kind of film, whether as a DP, or my own personal project, just to keep me going.

And yet, I worry that it's not enough, that it'll never be enough. There is so much I want to do in the field of cinematography and film making, that I fear I'll never do, because I can't find the money, or because I'm simply not good enough.

I worry that my whole life will be like it is now: scrounging for a few dollars project by project, barely making it by month by month, never able to save anything up, let alone invest in better gear or pursue the film projects that are in my head.

I worry that no matter how hard I work, it just won't happen for me, and I'll be a hack whose done nothing memorable. I worry that I do everything I can, and still, that opportunity never arrives. What if no one will ever want me?

I'm sure this feeling will pass, with a good night's sleep. But the anxiety and the fear still gets overwhelming at times, and the one thing that helps is to hear how others endured the bad times to make it to the good. So I could really stand to hear a few stories:

How did you all manage to get through those fallow periods in our youth when work spare, money short and even part time jobs scarce, to a place where you have a semblence of control, where you are actually wanted for your skills?

BR
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#2 Dom Jaeger

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Posted 17 September 2010 - 09:36 PM

Hi Brian,

judging from the beautiful little stop motion short you posted here recently I think you've got initiative and talent to spare.

Keep working, keep dreaming and you'll continue to make beautiful things.

Even if you never get to achieve all your lofty goals you won't be able to say you didn't try, and you'll have a back catalogue of great stuff to be proud of.

Sorry if that sounds a little like a Hallmark card... :rolleyes:
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#3 Brian Rose

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Posted 17 September 2010 - 10:04 PM

Thanks Dom, that means a lot.

I guess I'm bummed a bit because I got into another one of those discussions with my mom about money and my work and all. I really need to learn to just avoid talking finances with her, because they all end with her telling me I need to set a timeline for my work, after which I switch careers to something that offers more money and security, so I can get better insurance and start putting money away.

I know she means well, but if only she realized how much I DO worry about not having enough money and all that. And it doesn't help when all your old high school friends keep posting on FB about traveling, buying cars and all that! :P

BR
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#4 Richard Boddington

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Posted 17 September 2010 - 10:47 PM

And it doesn't help when all your old high school friends keep posting on FB about traveling, buying cars and all that! :P


Get used to it, we are all in the same boat. This business is so tough for everyone at any level. If you are an established ASC DOP, you are competing against other established members of the ASC for the same DOP job.

At least in your case it's your mother telling you to quit, move on, and get a real job. In the case of many of the guys here it's their wives telling them to quit, move on, and get a real job.

Always keep in mind that it may take 10+ years to get established and earning money on a regular basis.

I'd love to tell you that your work is so amazing that you'll surely be discovered by Hollywood and make huge movies for huge money. But, the reality is that even if your work is amazing you may never get any where. And if your work is terrible, you may go very far.

There is little logic to this business, and as the famous saying goes, "nobody knows anything."

I think Jim Carrey said it best, "The people that make it, are the people that keep going."

R,
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#5 Mike Griffin

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Posted 20 September 2010 - 05:22 AM

Firstly bare in mind that D.Ps break out quite late, rarely you see a young D.P doing a feature film with a moderate budget. Commercials are even more cut-throat.

But also if you are good at your job, things will happen for you, you just got to keep trying and it will find you. Because this industry is actually full of people that are mediocre, so there will always be space for someone new and good.

And it's true that even if your work is amazing, it might not mean much, however a lot about D.P is personality, if you are professional and easy-going, people will keep hiring you. If you communicate well, and don't need couple of trucks of lights, the producers at least will like you:)

Lastly, if you want to do features you've got to find a director who you share sensibility with and try to stick with him. And hopefully together you'll get somewhere.

Best of luck.
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#6 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 21 September 2010 - 08:31 AM

I find that a Beer here and again helps a lot, preferably with people who you like and who support you. It's why I have my Thursday nights. And sometimes you have to take a step back and save up some money when times get slow (like I had to, which I hate mind you!). But it's all about attrition. Keep pushing, keep going, however you can, and in the end whether or not you make it is irrelevant. What matters, as mentioned, is whether or not you gave your all. And, in the end, spending life pursuing your dreams isn't that bad at all.
Also, screw your friends facebook statuses. Who cars they bought a car or took a vacation. Such things may bring momentary joy, but they're empty.
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#7 Brian Rose

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Posted 21 September 2010 - 11:35 AM

Thanks all for the great advice. It's exactly what I need in times like this.

Really, I can survive the periods without work, the lack of money or decent health insurance. I can deal with all that. It's the self doubt that's a real killer.

If I can beat that, the rest will be a cinch.

Of course, now that the Recession has been declared over, that means goods times are ahead, right... ;)
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#8 neil kerr

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Posted 21 September 2010 - 05:49 PM

It's good to doubt yourself at times, you'll probably find that a lot of those who are brimming with confidence and seem completely self-assured churn out the same formulaic rubbish again and again. Self doubt pushes you to improve and progress. Well either that or to quit but it doesn't sound like you're up for quitting. As for your mum; my mum worries about me being poor all the time, it's their job to worry. It's our job to scrimp for years then one day buy them a house when we're minted.

Edited by neil kerr, 21 September 2010 - 05:50 PM.

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