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How to get gigs when first starting out?


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#1 Elias Luna

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Posted 11 March 2011 - 08:34 PM

Hey I'm an NYC based filmmaker/DP wannabe trying to start out. I need and want to shoot stuff to improve my skills as well as to develop a reel, however I can't find anything! I send tons of emails on craigslist and mandy.com but so far I haven't received a gig, and not to toot my own horn but I'm decently talented...I just want to make films and I'm not coming across any opportunities.. are there any organizations or collection of filmmakers that anyone knows of that seek crew members..? The more important question is how was it for you cinematographers who now get gigs when you first started out and what can I do to start getting gigs?
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#2 Simon Knight

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Posted 14 March 2011 - 08:31 AM

Same here in the uk... Just started down the wedding and corporate road..
What am I filming?. I'm just filing everything i can at present! Local interest places, small free events etc. An then filling my YouTube channel. That's my advert/ showreel...
It takes time unfortunately, but then you already knew that!
Simon
MediaHoundfilms.co.uk
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#3 Austin Schmidt

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Posted 14 March 2011 - 11:04 AM

Elias, one thing I did when I first started out was visit all the local film schools and post fliers on their production bulletin boards. Yes, fliers seem outdated but it still worked. Also, at the beginning and middle of each year, their production workshop classes start, so I would contact the professors and ask if I could stop in at the beginning of their class and use five minutes of their time to show my reel and pitch myself. They were always more then happy to let me. None of the student jobs paid, however, it created many working relationships that turned into paying jobs later down the road, it really helped improve my reel and it bettered my pitching skills.

There are many things like this which I discovered along my way to becoming a working cinematographer. I have written them down for aspiring individuals such as yourself. You can find the book below at http://www.amazon.co...00118517&sr=8-1
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#4 Brian Dzyak

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Posted 14 March 2011 - 11:46 AM

There is no golden ticket or easy way. You just volunteer at first and build experience and a resume. Over time, you'll meet people, make contacts, build a reputation. Some people rise more quickly than others out of sheer chance that they've shot the "right" project or met the "right" people. It has very little to do with skill and talent. Of course you need those things, but all too often, it does matter who you know and what you work on.

So the "trick" is to work on as many things as you can and meet as many people as you can in hopes that at least one of them will "hit." There's no way to know who or what will be "the one." You just keep at it.

A key element in being able to do that is to keep your financial overhead low so that you are free to do ANYTHING that comes along that seems promising. So many working DPs began shooting low-budget/no-budget movies and managed to shoot one that just happened to get an award or get noticed somehow. It's the luck of the draw really. Some very talented people never "make it" while some mediocre DPs do. All you can do is just keep at it, keep your enthusiasm up, and persevere.
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#5 Benjamin G

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Posted 24 March 2011 - 06:14 PM

Get involved early on.

By that I mean don't just look for the ads on Craigslist and Mandy.com that are hiring DP's. Also look at the ones looking for writers or actors for a table read. Try to have a face to face with the producer or director before the major hiring starts. Talk about the "look" they want and whatnot. If you guys are on the same page, chances are they will call you when the time comes.

As Austin mentioned, Film Schools are a great resource. Go meet all the new directors, once you establish a working relationship with a director who is actually making anything things will start to move along.
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The Slider

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Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Rig Wheels Passport

Wooden Camera

Willys Widgets

Metropolis Post

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Paralinx LLC

Aerial Filmworks

Abel Cine

Ritter Battery

FJS International, LLC

Visual Products

CineTape

Opal

rebotnix Technologies

Technodolly

Tai Audio