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Becoming a DOP or Director in NYC?


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#1 luke word

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Posted 05 December 2010 - 04:15 PM

Hi Y'all,

So I'm about to graduate from film school in NYC and I'm applying for jobs. I want to become a Director of Photography or Director of commercials and want to know what path to take. I've considered the following:

- Intern at a commercial production company (mostly office work, sometimes on set PA'ing)
- Made in NY, Production Assistant Program
- Working at Steiner, Silvercup, Kaufman studios
- Interning at Panavision NYC

I would really like to intern directly with a director or cinematographer of commercials, but I do not know how to go about this...
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#2 timHealy

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Posted 05 December 2010 - 08:17 PM

if you want to be a director, than make films anyway you can. If you want to shoot films, than shoot anything you can.

Getting a job at Steiner, Kaufman, of Silvercup will get you a job managing stages or equipment. They are not like working for a studio in California where they develop and make films and TV shows.

Getting any work as a PA will get you more work as a PA than when you get your days you can become and A.D. Then eventually in 20 years maybe a producer or production manager.

If you want to learn cameras and become a camera assistant then get a job at Panavision or any other rental house. Make sure they have video rentals too. Then someday you can shoot on the side and maybe become a DP

best

Tim
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#3 Michael Kubaszak

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Posted 05 December 2010 - 08:28 PM

Is it just me or does DOP grate on anyone else? DP is shorter so why the need for the O.

Edited by Michael Kubaszak, 05 December 2010 - 08:29 PM.

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#4 Paul Maibaum ASC

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Posted 05 December 2010 - 08:37 PM

Is it just me or does DOP grate on anyone else? DP is shorter so why the need for the O.

"DOP" is the UK/European Union equivalent of DP.
Urban legend has it that the U.S. Combat Cameramen of WWII did not like being referred to as DP's because the letters D and P were painted on the backs of refugees and survivors of the Concentration Camps returning to their home countries after the end of the war and those letters stood for Displaced Person. Even though they preferred the moniker of Cinematographer the term Director of Photography stuck with the studios as far as on screen credits but the ASC is the American Society of Cinematographers and the Guild representing camera persons in the United States and Canada is the International Cinematographers Guild.
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#5 timHealy

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Posted 05 December 2010 - 10:28 PM

Is it just me or does DOP grate on anyone else? DP is shorter so why the need for the O.


I think you have to let that go. It is just the way the english do it. perhaps canada as well. just have fun in learning how others work. The english also call a 1k fresnel a pup, or bounce board is called poly. In the post house we call them colorists and they call them graders. It's all the same.

even jobs are different. the electricians in the UK handle what our grips would do and their grips are really just camera support grips.

even in the US there are differences between east and west coast. but the job always gets done.

best

Tim
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#6 Michael Kubaszak

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Posted 05 December 2010 - 10:34 PM

I think you have to let that go. It is just the way the english do it. perhaps canada as well. just have fun in learning how others work. The english also call a 1k fresnel a pup, or bounce board is called poly. In the post house we call them colorists and they call them graders. It's all the same.

even jobs are different. the electricians in the UK handle what our grips would do and their grips are really just camera support grips.

even in the US there are differences between east and west coast. but the job always gets done.

best

Tim


I quite like sparks though. ;)
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#7 Brian Rose

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Posted 06 December 2010 - 12:01 AM

I'm with what these other guys have said. I used to think there were many ways to be a DoP, but now I strongly believe there is only one way, and it is to do just that: DoP.

I've got friend's who've gone to LA, to follow the classic ladder-up approach of Hollywood lore. They've gotten gigs as PAs and camera loaders and...not much else. I don't think any of them have stepped anywhere near DPing. One guy's new ambition is to simply get into a union.

I opted for a smaller market, Kansas City, and I've DP'd several shorts and commercials within the first year after I graduated. I work for some prod. companies as a researcher, writer and editor to support myself, but I'm always working on my own projects. I'll even do some animated claymation shorts, which is great for trying new things with lighting on a micro scale.

So if you wanna DP, you gotta think of yourself as one. You'll start by shooting no budget shorts or filming live events or talking heads, but you'll at least accrue a body of work, which'll slowly snowball. And you've gotta hang in there. Despite all the mythical BS Hollywood sells to starry eyed young dreamers, moviemaking is NOT a young man's business. Young people who achieve success are the exceptions, and rarely last (see Kevin Smith). The ones who really make it, who last and have the big impact are the guys who stick it out, into their thirties and forties, until they get that big break. Look at Wally Pfister...he started off doing PSAs and industrial films in DC, then graduated to direct-to-video horror shite (I bet he'd like to take "The Granny" off his imdb) until he shot a film that put him in a position to meet a young Chris Nolan, who tapped him to shoot a little film called "Memento" Now he pretty much has the best job security in the biz (except perhaps for Deakins), and he gets to shoot Imax and be called a genius. Nuf sed.
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#8 Hal Smith

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Posted 06 December 2010 - 10:32 AM

It takes 10,000 hours to get good at anything (See "Outliers" http://search.barnes...1&USRI=outliers ).

Given that truth: Buy a camera now (any camera you can afford), shoot absolutely everything you can get in front of the lens; rinse, repeat, repeat constantly. You'll get better with practice as you shoot. When you get to the editing point and discover you left out a crucial shot, you will just have learned something about coverage. When you shoot an actress in front of something bright and realize you should have metered for her face, not trusted the camera's metering, you'll have learned something. When something unexpected happens in a shot that makes for a beautiful image, you'll have learned something...Get my point?
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#9 luke word

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Posted 06 December 2010 - 12:34 PM

Thanks for all the replys. I like the idea of going to a smaller market like Kansas City. Yo Brian, what production company do you work for down there?
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Glidecam

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Visual Products

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