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How to start camera work


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#1 CristiaanC

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Posted 07 June 2011 - 10:02 PM

Hello all,

I'm currently a Production Assistant in NYC, I've been doing PA work since October of last year. I've worked commercials (Mercedes, Blackberry), short films, music videos (Atlantic Records), pilots (ABC and NBC), etc. I've been trying very hard to get to the AC level, as I wish to work AC on set. That is my goal for now. My dream is to be a cameraman as a regular job. I've been trying to get to know the cameramen, DP's, cinematographers, directors etc, but I haven't been able to get an AC gig. They've all told me that they'd call me when they had availability, and I've received some calls, but they didn't amount to any actual gig. I did work one music video where I helped the cameraman with mounting lenses on the camera, and transporting the equipment, which was so enjoyable for me. I was wondering if anyone here has any advice or resources I can refer to in order to get some gigs as an AC.

I'm also waiting for a call from ARRI CSC in NJ for their training program, which I know will require my time during the fall, but as for now, I'd like to gain a little experience on set as an AC at least.

Any advice or sources would be endlessly appreciated.

Edited by CristiaanC, 07 June 2011 - 10:03 PM.

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#2 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 07 June 2011 - 10:25 PM

You just gotta keep at it. Keep on people, keep learning, and look to student films ect to get on as an AC for some experience.
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#3 Jonathan Bowerbank

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Posted 08 June 2011 - 02:29 PM

Frankly, you have to stop PA'ing. If you're doing the PA thing, as good as you might be at it, you'll always be thought of as a PA and rarely first in mind when AC's are looking for a 2nd.

Look into some of the camera rental houses to see if they're hiring, and if not, just ask if you can stop in from time to time to learn the gear, or even help some of the AC's who come in to prep. Just stay present outside of the PA world, and be where the AC's are, that way they start to think of you more as a camera guy than a gopher.
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#4 CristiaanC

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Posted 08 June 2011 - 10:46 PM

Frankly, you have to stop PA'ing. If you're doing the PA thing, as good as you might be at it, you'll always be thought of as a PA and rarely first in mind when AC's are looking for a 2nd.

Look into some of the camera rental houses to see if they're hiring, and if not, just ask if you can stop in from time to time to learn the gear, or even help some of the AC's who come in to prep. Just stay present outside of the PA world, and be where the AC's are, that way they start to think of you more as a camera guy than a gopher.



You're definitely right about that. It's somewhat of a surprise that I did not realize that myself. I appreciate the honesty. I will take your advice and will start looking around at camera rental houses, and the like. I know a few camera guys, so I'll be in touch with them. I was also thinking of buying a nice camera setup myself to rent out and use for my own projects. I've been studying all the camera manuals, the Arri Alexa, the 416, the 435, the Aatons, the Reds, etc, and they have been helpful at giving me a slight idea of what the setup of these cameras are. But I will do what you've mentioned. Thanks again to all of you for your responses.
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