Shoot an indie feature, or stay in school?
Posted 10 October 2010 - 12:43 PM
A few days ago I got a call from a director who's shooting a low budget indie feature back where I'm from. I'm currently at school in Chicago as a Cinematography major, and I've shot several shorts and have a fairly decent reel at this point. Shooting for the feature is speculated to take place in February or March. He'd gotten my number from one of my AC's on a short I shot over the summer, and said he was looking for "a shooter", I don't know if this means DP work, or Cam Op, or what? Also the financial situation seems a little odd, it's low budget, and he says "all principles get a percentage of the pie. So, it will only kick, if the participants seed the project and view it as a mutual investment for return." So I'm uncertain to whether its a deferred payment deal or not? He says he has strong cast in place and that it would be a highly commercial project. He worked with some, now bigger names on his last film, several of them went to work on the TV show Leverage.
So I wonder if I should take a semester off to help build my resume and reel, or just continue on in school to where I have a better understanding of Cinematography?
Any feedback is appreciated!
Posted 10 October 2010 - 12:46 PM
Posted 10 October 2010 - 12:50 PM
And/or if it's on a format that you've been dying to work with (IMAX or the like).
I'm fairly sure its shooting on DSLR, as he asked if I had my own gear. I own a 60D, but I'll have to wait til I meet with him in December to get more specifics on format. I'm presuming that since its a low budget, it's on HD format, which I'm more familiar with.
Posted 10 October 2010 - 12:53 PM
Posted 10 October 2010 - 01:01 PM
Posted 10 October 2010 - 03:43 PM
Also if it had a strong cast and was going to be "highly commercial" he wouldn't ask you to do it for free, nor would he be talking to students to shoot it, nor would he use the term "shooter".
Getting onto a feature set for the sake of experience is a different story but it has to be looked at in that way, although from the sound of it this might not be worth even that. A good test to see if a small film is worthwhile can start with knowing two things: Is there a somewhat experienced AD on it? Will you be able to have an AC? If you don't have those two things, crew wise, then you do not have a set, thus no movie worth working on.
Posted 10 October 2010 - 04:04 PM
Posted 20 October 2010 - 05:42 AM
It's not always a bad thing to accept free work as a student, but you have to pick your battles.
If they delay the project until the summer, and you find of that he meant to say "cinematographer" instead of "a shooter" (which is a bit of a red flag already), then read the script, chances are it won't be amazing, but there's always the chance that it could be.
In the case that "a shooter" means "camera operator", find out who the cinematographer is, look at some of his work, if he's more experienced and/or talented than you, then you might learn something from him, but don't take a semester off in order to do it.
Posted 20 October 2010 - 07:25 PM
It also sounds fishy to me (as in you won't see any money.) If this guy's credentials are so great, why do you have to provide the camera package? He should at least have a rental house standing by that he has a good working relationship with.
STAY IN SCHOOL.
Posted 21 October 2010 - 12:18 AM
Posted 21 October 2010 - 06:01 AM