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#1 Momotaro Ushido

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Posted 23 May 2011 - 04:17 PM

Hi, I am currently a student doing my AS levels in the UK. I was wondering if I could have your advice on film making.
I have been into photography and film since a young age and I started to take it seriously when I was about 14, and soon purchased a DSLR. I haven't quite gone that way with film yet, because I felt I didn't have enough friends who were into that kind of thing to ever make anything half decent. I've only got a little sony camcorder type thing, nothing special.
But I've thought about cinematography and that kind of job for my future, but I was worried that, because at my late stage I still hadn't got to grips with 'proper' videocameras, that there would be no point to pursue it. Although right now cinematography is my goal for my future, I decided my back-up is going to be advertising.

After browsing these forums for similar topics to this I found that a lot of people were very negative about the UK film industry, and it's not that I wouldn't mind moving if I ever got the chance (if that meant work), but I'm worried that if I try to pursue this goal I won't achieve it due to the number of people my age who are much more skilled technologically than me.

obviously I know there is no definite path to becoming a cinematographer, but I wanted to know if pursuing this goal at this stage is a unwise move. I do want to do it but I think that doubt it holding me back. I don't know anyone in the business which is obviously a huge blow, although I've tried contacting some people (with fairly limited success) but anyway, thanks for your time.
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#2 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 23 May 2011 - 04:39 PM

Technological skill can come from reading and practice and other crew members who will cover your butt. But the concept, the eye for how it should look. Aye, there's the rub as they say. Develop that, develop the ability to think visually and find the right ways to get it looking the way it should and you'll be on your way. Let not age nor location discourage you, but also try to keep yourself grounded, make sure you keep up your responsibilities, if you have any, somehow, and go for it. It ain't easy to be anything film, and it's less about how much you know when you start. It's more about being able to keep on it. The rest you learn along the way.
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#3 Momotaro Ushido

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Posted 23 May 2011 - 04:48 PM

Yeah, doing photography has helped with that I think. But another issue I have is I'm not too sure how to get started. Theres a film making club in my school which I am thinking of joining (although this obviously won't help me get work) but I was thinking for University to apply for a fine arts course and develop from there. I have looked at the NFTS which looks great for a cinematography MA, but apparently they only take about 10 students a year, which seems very tight.
Because I don't have a great camera I was wondering, except for my school club which has surprisingly decent equipment, is there any way to start getting to grips with film? As I said, I don't have enough keen friends to do anything on my own, but are there places I can go to make films and things, or maybe even television/film crew who take trainees?
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#4 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 23 May 2011 - 04:59 PM

Any film club can get you jobs; hell the people there probably want to shoot and work themselves some-day and there is a lot of nepotism in film so friends come first for jobs. Well, at least people you know.
You can check craigslist and mandy.com for shoots. Most of them will be low budget. Apply for any job as a Camera Trainee or Camera PA that you can (or electric, I came up through lighting, and It was very beneficial). Show up. work hard. Network like crazy. A lot of this early work will be for no pay, but eventually you'll have to set and keep rates. And while of course not every job will pay you well, you should make sure every job, once you have some experience, pays.
School is not necessary aside from networking, and honestly, meeting people at a coffee house and going to industry events is a lot cheaper.
There is American Cinematographer magazine, subscribe to it, for the US films and what's new over here, and there is British Cinematographer magazine as well which I'm sure has industry stuff where you are.
There is also cinematography mailing list (cinematography.net) where you can peer in on the mail-servers and look @ what people are asking and answering. Make sure you submit your questions to the right list-serv and subscribe to them all.
Look up and check out local rental houses. See if they'd be wiling to demo you some cameras there. Be humble and honest. They want customers as much as you want work, and if you're going to eventually rent out thei kit it is in their best interest to show you how not to break it. While there you may meet some people checking in / out.
be outgoing to people you meet and pushy sometimes. Ask them if you could buy them (get them) a coffee sometime and pick their brain. A lot of people will be a lot nicer than you think. YOu'll need thick skin, though as alot of them are real asses.

hope it helps.
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#5 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 23 May 2011 - 06:01 PM

Being involved with people at your school's film making group is a good start. Also, go to anything that broadens your visual vocabulary, art galleries and your regional art house cinema, so that see films other than just the multiplex films. Going to any film festival events is a possible place to meet people or even working as a volunteer.

The lighting department on the UK productions tends to use qualified electricians, but some do move over to become DPs.

You should check the Skillset web site, which gives details of courses other than the NFTS and any trainee schemes.
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#6 Momotaro Ushido

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Posted 26 May 2011 - 12:21 PM

Mandy and that seems to be a good way, the only thing is that they all ask for full days which is quite hard during education xD
But once I leave school this will be really handy :)

In the meantime I think I'll get involved with the film club and as you say get meet some people hopefully. I checked skillset for courses and there doesn't seem to be an awful lot of good courses for my level dedicated to film and cinematography, so I might go for a Fine Art BA and go from there somewhere.

Thanks for your help :)
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#7 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 26 May 2011 - 01:37 PM

Most Skillset courses are intended for people in the industry or starting as trainees in the industry, but they do list degree courses, so you could check out which ones may be good for you.
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