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What does an unemployed cinematographer do?


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#1 Ronald Carrion

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Posted 04 February 2011 - 11:49 PM

That is happening to me right now and it is quite a preoccupying situation. Getting new clients is not as a easy as a few years ago.
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#2 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 05 February 2011 - 12:01 AM

Rest up, learn more, watch films, get a fish tank, look for more work, enjoy a sunset.... There's a lot of things to do. A lot of people (myself included) when times get really lean, will go for another job that you can walk away from pretty easily just to keep cash flow. Enjoying friends and family, when not working, is also very important, as when you are working you won't see them too much.
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#3 K Borowski

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Posted 05 February 2011 - 01:20 AM

Drink, smoke, and find other various and assorted ways of slowly killing oneself.


Sometimes various acts of assorted petty theft and other criminal enterprise help to pay bills. Anyone looking for a great deal on a new RED and a lens set? B)
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#4 Richard Boddington

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Posted 05 February 2011 - 01:34 AM

It's almost like an actor asking what they should do when they are unemployed.

R,

PS: Never announce to the world that you need work. Always present the aura that you are in demand, busy, and if a client is lucky you might be able to fit them in.

Letting people know you are sitting around tending to your new fish tank will not improve your negotiating position. B)

For instance, if I wanted to hire you right now, I know you'll be more willing to work "on the cheap." Just sayin' is all.

Judging by Adrian Sierkowski's post I could get him right now for 50 bucks a day. :)
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#5 K Borowski

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Posted 05 February 2011 - 01:48 AM

What about criminal enterprise? Surely you appreciate someone who is keeping his options open and working another generally flexible career field on the side. Sure-as-hell beats waiting tables as an aside. That's what they thought I did last loader gig I worked; David Mullen says no one ever shows up on set in a necktie anymore.


BTW, are you looking for any 35mm camera equipment, film prints, a projector for your private screening room or outdoor big-screen theatre? Also I have great deals on half-off big box store merchandise and half-off giftcards.

I'm incredibly busy, shooting, loading, processing film, but I MIGHT be able to fit you in for an AC or DP job, on account of how you're always so nice on here, RIchard.

Got me a fake Canadian ID in the mail the other day. I'm glad I voted for Dave Chapelle for President :-D

Edited by K Borowski, 05 February 2011 - 01:50 AM.

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#6 Sean Lambrecht

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Posted 05 February 2011 - 01:51 AM

The fish tank is a superb tool for gaining experience on a geared head. The effects of alcohol and smoke wafting into the eyes present additional strength and endurance building techniques to aid in operating the wheels in extreme conditions. If only I wasn't swamped with so much high paying work at the moment... :P
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#7 Tom Jensen

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Posted 05 February 2011 - 02:18 AM

Do you know what a DP thinks about when he's getting a blowjob?




Answer: His next blowjob.
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#8 K Borowski

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Posted 05 February 2011 - 03:11 AM

The effects of alcohol and smoke wafting into the eyes present additional strength and endurance building techniques to aid in operating the wheels in extreme conditions. If only I wasn't swamped with so much high paying work at the moment... :P



There you go!

I wouldn't recommend alcohol and 35mm cinematography as a winning combination, but I hear that there used to be many an operator that smoked and shot. I'm sure you could get away with it if you were shooting "Mad Men" as long as you were smoking an herbal cigarette. Those are the only kind the cast is allowed.

And, yeah, cigarettes come in handy for any special effects. Instead of silly machines, the crew can provide the smoke! I am half kidding, but that is actually how some of the animatronic effects at the end of the original "Terminator" were done. There was a guy smoking a cigarette that supplied all of the smoke for the robot.
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#9 Marcus Joseph

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Posted 05 February 2011 - 06:40 AM

Just take up wrestling, don't they have a lot of that in the States? :D Freestyle wrestling that is.
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#10 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 05 February 2011 - 10:13 AM

@ Richard... Canadian or American $50/day? ;)
As Richard says, keep it away from clients.
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#11 Richard Boddington

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Posted 05 February 2011 - 10:59 AM

@ Richard... Canadian or American $50/day? ;)
As Richard says, keep it away from clients.


50 USD or 10 CDN, same thing.

R,
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#12 Brian Dzyak

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Posted 05 February 2011 - 11:16 AM

When I first moved to Los Angeles, not knowing anything about the industry, I was given some great advice by someone who had been here for a very long time. He said to keep lots of irons in the fire at all times. Some of them might not work out, but others will. This can mean that a Cameraman should have many clients. When one isn't busy, the others usually will be. It can be a bit of a juggling act as shouldn't spread yourself too thin. Have a main client or two that you spend most of your time with, but be ready to turn them down every once in a while to go do jobs for other clients who are third or fourth on your list.

This "irons in the fire" advice should also not just apply to your first career choice. Other crew, like Drivers, tend to have 2nd "jobs" that can be managed with a minimal effort. Many have internet businesses or own things like tanning salons, that don't take a lot of additional oversite but can provide additional steady income. Others have stock investments that they can draw from when necessary.

Everybody has ups and downs in this business and the trick to staying in it is to keep the money coming in and keeping your overhead low so that you don't HAVE TO take a full-time job doing something else just to make ends meet. If you find yourself without work, invest that time into starting some kind of low-impact internet business or something else that will bring in income that you can continue even when you do get camera work.
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#13 Rich Steel

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Posted 05 February 2011 - 11:57 AM

How long does it take for a DP to smoke a Cigarette?



Same as anyone else but 3 days to light it....Baraboom.
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#14 Marcus Joseph

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Posted 06 February 2011 - 04:38 AM

You can always dabble in another film related job like editing, I think the common thing with both jobs is there's always the on and the off seasons. I think it just takes time to learn how to edit well, but with enough practice I think it's possible to be at a workable level.
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#15 Brian Rose

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Posted 06 February 2011 - 01:46 PM

That is happening to me right now and it is quite a preoccupying situation. Getting new clients is not as a easy as a few years ago.


In my case, I do a lot of things. For one, I restore and sell antiques, which is a great way to come up with rent, gas & food money, not to mention it's a source of stress relief to work with your hands, to create something new again from what would be a piece of junk, and you are your own boss. You've got control.

Also, I've lately been doing a lot of home video to DVD transfers. I'm set up to handle every format going back to beta, and I go all out on the DVD menus and labels, which is something a lot of other places skimps on. So my clients are blown away, and I get enough business from word of mouth and referrals that I don't need to advertise (and really, I DON'T want to advertise, because I sure as hell don't want video transfers to be my career...)

And when I'm really itching to shoot, there's always people, decent people, who need our services, but can't pay. Recently, an art dealer tapped me to do a screentest of sorts, to see how one of his artists would do on camera. It was a freebie, but I got the chance to dig out some lights and do some practice for my next documentary. And they were immensely pleased with the results, which will hopefully lead to some paying work.

It's all about figuring out your own ways, and for me, I've gained a greater sense of independence knowing I can make it without having to punch a clock, working 9 to 5 like most wage slaves.
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#16 Sean Lambrecht

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Posted 06 February 2011 - 03:42 PM

I wouldn't recommend alcohol and 35mm cinematography as a winning combination...


Well, they broke the mold after Chris Doyle. Or he may have inadvertently knocked it over himself...
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#17 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 06 February 2011 - 03:43 PM

Ever hear the story of Doyle running into a flaming building naked after oversleeping...?
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#18 Sean Lambrecht

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Posted 06 February 2011 - 03:53 PM

Ever hear the story of Doyle running into a flaming building naked after oversleeping...?


Haha no I haven't! You said "running into", correct? Almost don't even need to hear the whole story there... :D Where could we hear it though?
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#19 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 06 February 2011 - 03:59 PM

Yes Running into! I believe it was on the special features of my BR Hero disc, but I'm not 100% sure on that, or it was in the BBC expose on him which you can find on youtube.
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#20 Michael Kosciesza

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Posted 07 February 2011 - 04:59 PM

It's almost like an actor asking what they should do when they are unemployed.

R,

PS: Never announce to the world that you need work. Always present the aura that you are in demand, busy, and if a client is lucky you might be able to fit them in.

Letting people know you are sitting around tending to your new fish tank will not improve your negotiating position. B)

For instance, if I wanted to hire you right now, I know you'll be more willing to work "on the cheap." Just sayin' is all.

Judging by Adrian Sierkowski's post I could get him right now for 50 bucks a day. :)


BURN! haha.
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Gamma Ray Digital Inc

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