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Finding work as 2nd AC


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#1 Ricky Cook

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Posted 25 January 2011 - 11:55 AM

Hey There!

I'm sure this question has been asked plenty of times here. But, as I finish up my last semester at school, I'm beginning to think more and more about my future.

I'm looking to find work as a 2nd AC or even a PA if it's what's needed. I check places like craigslist, and other places I've been told post crew needs. But I'm unsure about a few things. Mainly, I've never worked as a 2nd AC on film shoots. I've been a camera assistant on TV shoots, but the workflow and my responsibilities were totally different. I know I can handle the work as an AC but because I've never done it, I'm obviously going to make a few mistakes and such.

My question essentially is this: Is it possible for me to get work as a 2nd AC with little experience doing it? And what are the best places for me to look for work. I'm young, and free to bounce wherever I can find work. I am right outside NYC so I'm hoping to grab work there.

Thanks!
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#2 Richard Boddington

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Posted 25 January 2011 - 01:15 PM

I've never worked as a 2nd AC on film shoots. I've been a camera assistant on TV shoots, but the workflow and my responsibilities were totally different. I know I can handle the work as an AC but because I've never done it, I'm obviously going to make a few mistakes and such.


Well you do know that a 2nd AC on a film set loads and unloads film mags?

This is a critical position and not one for an amateur, you could easily ruin an entire days worth of shooting, and cost the production over $100, 000.00!

To be a 2nd AC on a film shoot you will need extensive training and practice in loading and unloading all kinds of makes of film mags. Making, "a few mistakes and such" simply could not be tolerated in this position. Sorry.

I suggest that if you really do want to be a 2nd AC in film shoots that you find a 2nd AC to mentor you, or you pay for a 2nd AC course. There is certainly no way I would ever hire you as a 2nd AC with your current background.

Heck, I would rather make you a 1st AC and pull focus, at least if you screw that up we can do another take. If you screw up unloading a mag we are all royally screwed!!

R,
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#3 Justin Hayward

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Posted 25 January 2011 - 01:30 PM

Generally people will try to find intern or PA positions in the camera department of a production or intern positions at their local rental houses where they can learn all about the cameras in their down time. If your school offers access to any film cameras, it certainly doesn’t hurt to get your hands on one before you finish the semester.
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#4 Mathew Rudenberg

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Posted 25 January 2011 - 02:27 PM

Well you do know that a 2nd AC on a film set loads and unloads film mags?


On a smaller shoot this is true - on a larger shoot there is a dedicated 'loader' position - a crew member that stays on the truck and handles stock inventory and loading.

That being said, the camera path is supposedly loader -> 2nd AC -> 1st AC -> Camera op, so if you're second ACing it will be expected that you know how to load, and it is entirely possible that the situation will come up where you have to.

So - if you plan to work in the camera department on a film shoot it would certainly be a good idea to get your hands on some mags and dummy film and practice loading until you're 100% confident at it.

If you work for free your mistakes will probably be mostly forgiven - do that until you stop making mistakes and then start going for the paid jobs. Everyone has to start with no experience, work to develop it and you'll no longer have the problem.

I would suggest going to film schools and seeing if they need crew, there's usually a lot of productions going on that are hopefully slighter better run then the free jobs on craigslist.
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#5 Richard Boddington

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Posted 25 January 2011 - 03:12 PM

Yes, that's quite true on bigger shows there are separate loaders.

But as you point out...tough to be a 2nd AC and not be an expert on loading.

R,
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#6 Ricky Cook

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Posted 25 January 2011 - 04:38 PM

I totally understand what your saying about loading. That is my number one concern. I knew I had to have experience doing so, and should have included it in my question. I wasn't really referring to mistakes when loading, I understand those are critical mistakes and are unacceptable.

A friend of a friend is a Loader, so I assumed it was often a specifc job. I'll ask him for advice, and see if he could teach me some basic procedure. I'll also look into rental houses in the NYC area, and see about interning. Thank you all for your advice!
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#7 Ricky Cook

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Posted 25 January 2011 - 04:41 PM

While I'm at it. Does anyone here know of any good NYC rental houses? I found a few that looked okay, but a few were mostly digital rentals. I'm assuming that's not getting me far.
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#8 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 25 January 2011 - 04:44 PM

Arri CSC is over in NJ and is pretty awesome. I use DuAll Camera a lot when I need 35mm gear. There is also Abel Cine whose Mitch (a poster here) is pretty fantastic and knowledgeable.
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#9 Ricky Cook

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Posted 25 January 2011 - 06:10 PM

Arri CSC is over in NJ and is pretty awesome. I use DuAll Camera a lot when I need 35mm gear. There is also Abel Cine whose Mitch (a poster here) is pretty fantastic and knowledgeable.

Thanks!
I'm going to do a little research and see if they could use an intern in exchange for some knowledge! I couldn't intern for credit, but hopefully it will work out!
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#10 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 25 January 2011 - 06:16 PM

There's tons in NYC.. Look up the local film office, It's a mayoral office up there iirc, and they should have contact info for most of them.
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#11 Daniel Bailey

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Posted 03 September 2011 - 06:36 PM

Thanks!
I'm going to do a little research and see if they could use an intern in exchange for some knowledge! I couldn't intern for credit, but hopefully it will work out!



I dunno about where your at but Panavision has always been good for interning and education. I hung out there during my last years in college and ended up interning on Ironman 2. Sweet deal. Just have to put yourself out there
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#12 Brad Grimmett

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Posted 05 September 2011 - 05:42 AM

on a film shoot you will need extensive training and practice in loading and unloading all kinds of makes of film mags. Making, "a few mistakes and such" simply could not be tolerated in this position. Sorry.

R,

About 10 or 12 years ago when I was working in FL, a DP from LA was shooting a commercial in Orlando, and when he interviewed loaders he asked a loader friend of mine if she had ever flashed a mag. She said she hadn't. He told her he couldn't hire her and would never hire a loader who had never flashed a mag since it's something that will happen to every loader but will only happen once, and he didn't want it to happen on his job. At the time I thought the guy was a jerk since my friend had loaded on hundreds of commercials and was a consummate pro, but it really does make sense. It's not something that happens twice, but it definitely happens. Whether it happens to everyone is debatable of course, but mistakes are made all the time in every position. It always seemed weird to me that so many entry level positions are in charge of so many things that can ruin a job. A loader loads and unloads all the film and then a PA takes it all to the lab every day. Reminds me of "Hijacking Hollywood".
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#13 Rasa Acharya

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Posted 08 September 2011 - 02:40 PM

This is my first post on Cinemtography.com but I've been following the dialog for quite some time. I've been blown away by the kindness and respect that everyone is shown regardless of experience level.

I've been shooting video and HD for a few years but for small indie projects. Then through a friend I was able to work on a 35mm feature as the B cam 1st AC that just wrapped in South Africa which was a great experience. I recently moved to the NYC area and am looking to integrate into the industry. If you have any suggests on events, courses or people I can hook up with I'd be very grateful. I'd love to mentor under some more experienced 1 ACs or DPs.

Thanks in advance.
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