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#1 Paul Brenno

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Posted 12 October 2011 - 11:20 PM

Hello all, I'm a DP and Videographer/Editor. I've been in the biz now for over 10 yrs, had alot of ups and downs, most recently the downs....I was working in Denver back from March '08-Aug '09, when I got laid off, company basically shut down....I moved back to my homestate, where I'm currently at, was just recently working at a fulltime job when I was fired. I was a videographer/editor, but was told " it wasn't the right fit for them ", so I got the axe....I felt the place wasn't a good environment for me, but having been out of work for so long, knew that was a big factor as well. I live in a small city, where there are no freelancing opp's....

Now, I'm working parttime as Studio Crew/Photographer at a local TV station, but tried to apply to a video production company, but was not chosen, the other candidate at DSLR Corporate photography exp', which I didn't have. My question is, should go back to school to study Digital Photography, plus After Effects/Photoshop, which I know the basics of, but am no expert, or switch careers, which alot of people ahve done, since the oil fields are huge here....(not interested)....just trying to figure things out, since I'm not ready to get out of the biz.....thanks
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#2 Freya Black

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Posted 13 October 2011 - 09:11 AM

Now, I'm working parttime as Studio Crew/Photographer at a local TV station, but tried to apply to a video production company, but was not chosen, the other candidate at DSLR Corporate photography exp', which I didn't have. My question is, should go back to school to study Digital Photography, plus After Effects/Photoshop, which I know the basics of, but am no expert, or switch careers, which alot of people ahve done, since the oil fields are huge here....(not interested)....just trying to figure things out, since I'm not ready to get out of the biz.....thanks


Hiya Paul,
Okay heres the really important question.

What do you actually want to do and what do you actually want to be?

I can tell you are feeling down about your situation and feel uncertain about your future. Working for the local tv station sounds kinda cool, I bet theres a lot of people who would like to have that job. Part time can also be cool because it gives you time to do other stuff. However clearly this isn't quite working for you right now.

It's important to know what you want to achieve. I'm guessing you must have some idea or have had some idea because being a DP doesn't seem like something people do by accident very often, so I'm guessing you chose that path. If you aren't sure what you want to do anymore, maybe you need to step back and work out why you went down this path in the first place. What did you want to achieve then? Is that still what you want to achieve?

That's the really important thing and that's what you need to know first. You need to know that and you need to be able to admit that to yourself.

Then you need to start making a plan for how to get there.

Trying to do anything else is going about things "arse about face" as they say over here. I know as I've just spent 2 years of my life going about things back to front and ending up just loosing 2 years of my life! Thankfully they weren't the most important 2 years of my life as my life was already trashed anyway so I probably needed that time to recover.

Your posting is interesting because it's all about where you are now and a bit about your past but it says nothing about what you want to achieve. It doesn't actually matter where you are now. You could as you suggest go and work in the oil world, but that isn't what you want to do, so theres a clue right there straight up. You need to work out where how you are now, can take you to where you want to get to.

Basically you appear to be asking the wrong questions, and theres a part of you that knows that already or you wouldn't even be saying the things you just said about the oil industry.

Hope that helps! :)

love

Freya
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#3 Paul Brenno

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Posted 13 October 2011 - 07:33 PM

hi Freya, thanks for your reply....you asked me, where I wanted to be...well, let me tell you....I ultimately wanted to be a staff DP for a video production company in Dallas/Ft Worth, Austin, San Antonio. I lived in TX for 10 yrs and loved it. I did have an interview back in summer 2010 with a company in Dallas that was looking to hire a staff DP, but then didn't...still hoping....I did win a 2009 Telly Award and CO Broadcasters Award while working in Denver, which was a huge boost for us at our station, so I would love to be in that type position again, which was Photojournalist/Director of Photography....(the company folded during the recession)

Now, being I was laid off for almost 2 yrs, which I had no control over, didn't help either. I had 4 terrible producers (two were computer geek nerds) in their backgrounds, who didn't like me since I wasn't a big computer guy, but they also knew I wasn't, but treated me terribly....I did work in news for about two yrs, enjoyed it, but left since news is more about hard crime and negative news....

now I'm re--evaluated things, haven't given up on the biz, nor have any desire to quit....ultimately would like to work in a city, where I can the right match, DP'ing, plus editing....it does seem the business is now more about doing it all, from DP'ing/Editing/DSLR Photography/Motion Grafx.....times are a changing.....working evenings at the local TV station is another good start again, so I'm going to take advantage of it...it's a real shame when things don't work out like you would like, but certain things are not in my control, but how I react to them....

I remember in high school buying my first American Cinematographer magazine, while I was wondering what career I wanted to do....Still Photography I really enjoyed, but video got me, I was hooked....I chose this field, since I love lighting and photography, capturing images and telling stories, selling products....it was a hobby i wanted to turn into my career....the DP's I've greatly admired are Dean Semler (dances with wolves) to Robert Richardson (ASC)...

Edited by Paul Brenno, 13 October 2011 - 07:37 PM.

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#4 Paul Brenno

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Posted 13 October 2011 - 07:45 PM

Hi Freya, let me answer you by each question you have, it'd be much easier...


Hiya Paul,
Okay heres the really important question.

What do you actually want to do and what do you actually want to be?
- My ultimate goal was to be a staff DP for a video production company in a major city, that is my con't goal.
I would love to move to Dallas/Ft Worth or another city down south, since I like southern cities.

I can tell you are feeling down about your situation and feel uncertain about your future. Working for the local tv station sounds kinda cool, I bet theres a lot of people who would like to have that job. Part time can also be cool because it gives you time to do other stuff. However clearly this isn't quite working for you right now.
- I am feel down and frustrating, but still my direction for my future hasn't changed. (see above)

It's important to know what you want to achieve. I'm guessing you must have some idea or have had some idea because being a DP doesn't seem like something people do by accident very often, so I'm guessing you chose that path. If you aren't sure what you want to do anymore, maybe you need to step back and work out why you went down this path in the first place. What did you want to achieve then? Is that still what you want to achieve?
- Being a professional DP is what I've always wanted to do ever since high school. I wanted to be one because not only do I enjoy photography/lighting, I get it, understand the technical elements and the work speaks to me

That's the really important thing and that's what you need to know first. You need to know that and you need to be able to admit that to yourself.

Then you need to start making a plan for how to get there.

Trying to do anything else is going about things "arse about face" as they say over here. I know as I've just spent 2 years of my life going about things back to front and ending up just loosing 2 years of my life! Thankfully they weren't the most important 2 years of my life as my life was already trashed anyway so I probably needed that time to recover.

Your posting is interesting because it's all about where you are now and a bit about your past but it says nothing about what you want to achieve. It doesn't actually matter where you are now. You could as you suggest go and work in the oil world, but that isn't what you want to do, so theres a clue right there straight up. You need to work out where how you are now, can take you to where you want to get to.
- The feeling down feeling is there, due to my family suffering a major loss this past yr (mother dying), then my hometown going thru a disastrous flood, all the while being laid off for almost 2 yrs.....

Basically you appear to be asking the wrong questions, and theres a part of you that knows that already or you wouldn't even be saying the things you just said about the oil industry.

Hope that helps!

love

Freya


Read more: http://www.cinematog...4#ixzz1aiDWUcV5
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#5 Brian Rose

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Posted 13 October 2011 - 11:31 PM

Oh Paul how I empathize. Two and a half years ago, I got a full time job outta college. It was my dream job, since I studied cinematography and documentary film, and before that history, and now found myself working for a company that made Civil War films! But in October, I was let go, and they even used the sames words about not fitting in. The company was on some hard times at that moment, and I was very much the learner, and I made mistakes. Too many.

I found myself jobless, in the midst of the worst economy since the 30s, thrust into a medium sized market oversaturated with overqualified individuals with 20 years experience who'd been laid off when several large companies went under, and now were vying for the jobs that I would have normally been in line to compete for. Instead, I had not a chance.

How did I survive? A combination of things. I cut back where ever I could...stayed with my folks until I got on my feet. Made money transfer home videos to DVD. Also made money restoring antiques...this was actually very important. It gave me a semblance of control over my life, and pride that I was making money from something I created with my own two hands. Few things are as satisfying as a day's labor that leaves your hands dirty.

I scoured craigslist for gigs. This too was extremely valuable. Most gigs were nothing, and the posters were sleazeballs, but I developed a better business sensibility because of it. And I DID meet a few legit filmmakers, who turned into friends and paying clients.

But most of all, I found my NICHE. What you've got to do is figure out what you can REALLY offer, what makes you indispensible over that other guy. Let's face it. We're in a new world where we've got to compete with so many jokers who own a DSLR and a Macbook Pro, who are wiling to undercut the competition.

You've got to figure out what you have to offer that they don't, and exploit it. I developed a client base in large part not because of my skills behind a camera or at an editing station, but because I was a cracking good researcher. I drew on my skills as a historian, my knowledge of the archive system, and pretty soon I was doing work for museums, historical societies, and even my former employers! I developed a reputation for being able to find anything, from vintage films of 1920s shipyard workers, to FSA kodachromes, and even sensitive CIA and NSA documents. Earlier this year, I had my biggest gig, a five month foray on a miniseries where I was the researcher. Along the way, I developed my archival skills into a keen knowledge of organizing and storing stock and archival materials, which was one more niche. There are tons of DSLR run-and-gunners, but how many know how to log and transcribe materials, to organize them for editors, produce proxies, back up everything for long term storage? Not many. My value grew. And a few weeks ago, almost exactly two years after I was let go, that same company asked me back, even with a raise! There were pleased with my work, how I had grown and matured, and most of all, I had a very valuable skill, and was not easily replaced. They needed me as much as I needed them, and we're a fantastic fit.

So in sum: find your niche, figure out what you can offer that others can't, and market it. Convince others that they CAN'T POSSIBLY go on without your services. And DEVELOP those skills, take every opportunity to try new things. Each time you do, that's one more skill you have that others don't, it's one more reason clients and prospective employers will turn to you. Become so important to them that finally they say, "Jeez, why don't we just hire him? If someone else does, who will we have to do [insert task]? We'll be hosed!"

But most, most of all, look out for yourself. Take care and know your happiness must be paramount. Two months after I was let go, I was still depressed, suffering from insomnia and anxiety attacks...finally I decided I needed help, and for six months I was in counseling, twice a month. That made all the difference, having someone to talk to about my many anxieties, who helped guide me through, was vital. Never needed meds (and I don't recommend them), just some new coping strategies. Most important trick I learned is (cliche though it sounds), take each day one at a time. Don't focus on next year, next month, next week. Just ask yourself, "Okay, what shall I do today." If you look at you whole life ahead of you, it'll destroy you (hint: it ends in old age, decay and finally death). One day at a time breaks up the problem, and puts things in perspective. You realize, "Okay, I'm healthy, I've got food to eat today. I've got money in the bank today. I'm doing alright today. I'm going to go look for work, but I will remember that at the end of the day, I'll still be doing alright."

Okay, enough for tonight. Good Luck Paul. I'll be thinking of you!

BR
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#6 Freya Black

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Posted 14 October 2011 - 06:18 AM

FANTASTIC advice from Brian! :)
I love the fact that they fired you and then hired you back! How amazing is that! I mean you have to prove yourself 10 times as much than if they had not fired you in the first place!

Well done Brian! Incredible!

Paul, I had a feeling you might say something like that! ;) If your goal is to be a professional DP, then that is what you should be focused on. It should be the driving force behind why you do things. Now maybe working in the oil industry could be a part of that for someone but in your case you are already working for a TV station, so unless you had some clear reason for doing that, it would be a step backwards! Spending time focusing on that is taking your focus off where it should be and is hence a daft idea. As I said before, theres a part of you that clearly knows that, so you shouldn't even be talking or thinking about it.

Clearly you are feeling down about your situation, but actually your situation is incredibly good. You have a job, which is fantastic given the current state of things in the world. You are working for a tv station. GREAT you are doing stuff related to your goal and are moving in the right circles to go forward. You work there part time. Joy! You have time to do other things too! That could be expanding your skills or heres a thing, you could even start your own project of some kind! Shoot a movie or something! Have Fun!

Brian is spot on when he talks about taking things one day at at time, or to put it another way, focusing on things NOW! You need your goal for the future but don't get too wrapped up in the future! Set your goal as high as you can and then don't worry about it at all! Instead look out for the things that you can do NOW that seem to take you in the right direction. They don't need to be big things. You can do a little thing now, and then another little thing tommorow. A bit like the idea of compound interest. Don't worry too much if things seem to go a bit off course, it might turn out to be a shortcut to where you want to be. Don't row against the river.

When something bad seems to happen. Catch yourself before you start to go down and let it get to you. Try and look at it and see if theres another way of looking at the problem that might be a solution to something instead! It's like they say "It's an ill wind that blows no good". Look for the good! It might well be hidden there somewhere.

For example, some kids dumped a wheely bin full of rubbish all over my path/garden. I could have been down about that, but you know I was actually quite happy because it's easy to sort out. Way better than having your double glazing smashed etc or even better than the time they put a dead kitten outside my house! So instead of being down I was really happy that my problems were becoming so infrequent and trivial! Of course I had to face going outside and clearing it all up. Yuk. Before I went out I said to myself, "well you never know, I might find some money in the trash! I was hoping for rolls of money but I would have happily settled for a few coins, as lets be honest, a bunch...
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#7 Freya Black

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Posted 14 October 2011 - 06:43 AM

For example, some kids dumped a wheely bin full of rubbish all over my path/garden. I could have been down about that, but you know I was actually quite happy because it's easy to sort out. Way better than having your double glazing smashed etc or even better than the time they put a dead kitten outside my house! So instead of being down I was really happy that my problems were becoming so infrequent and trivial! Of course I had to face going outside and clearing it all up. Yuk. Before I went out I said to myself, "well you never know, I might find some money in the trash! I was hoping for rolls of money but I would have happily settled for a few coins, as lets be honest, a bunch...


(Sorry the nice 'puter I was using only has usb keyboard ports, and my usb keyboard is starting to fail!)

...of rolled up notes didn't seem that likely. Yes the job was a bit icky, but it turned out that most of what was in the bin was canned food! My new polish neighbours (YaY!) must have chucked out all the food left in the cupboards when they moved in. Even more bizzare it was all stuff I could eat! No meat stuff or anything!!! In addition there was stuff like cleaning supplies and a pair of scissors and some other useful stuff that I might have considered buying if my priorities weren't somewhere else. The thing was that I was keeping an eye out for my present, so I saw it, If I had been in a bad mood I would probably not have paid much attention to the stuff I was shoving back in the bin but I was keeping an eye out for those rolled up fivers! :)

That's the other thing, it's much more fun to pretend that loads of nice and wonderful things are going to happen to you than mean or bad things, and if you do it will be easier to spot the good stuff when it comes your way!

love

Freya
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#8 Paul Brenno

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Posted 14 October 2011 - 10:47 AM

Brian/Fraya, thanks for the sound advice/input, just what I needed to hear...yes, I am a bit down, but NOT OUT !!....Getting work at a TV station wss a great thing, plus I'm currently waiting to hear back from my hometown University about a parttime custodian position that have open that can fill in some time during the day for extra money. The University is great too, since I am hoping to take some classes in Motion Graphics and DSLR Photography, plus keep my name in for any positions in broadcasting or theatre they might have.

Getting fired sucks, but true to what you are saying, even though you feel awful/bummed out (not so much depressed), that is a motivating factor, since the only place to go is UP !!!. In looking at it, I'd rather be fired and find a better place to work, then keep working in a bad place....Losing my mother was huge, I mean huge loss for the family, since my Dad hates being alone, he also hates to cook and clean, so I'm helping out with that...I actually was seeking counseling for anxiety and stress, but I also think that cost me my job....now, however, with limited funds coming in, I have to drop my insurance until I get back to work again, which could be next week (??)

My overall goal was to find a place, in a city, where I couild be a fulltime staff DP, bring the skills a Editor/Producer I already have. Now, it seems like, just what you are saying, with the DSLR revolution, you NEED those skills, plus After Effects/Photoshop to compete, esp with the young guys coming right out of college/film school that dont know life without it....I am going to be shooting sports and some news for this station, during my off hours, which I know will be huge and am going to practice editing on FCP during my off time too....

Going to work in the oil field just DO NOT appeal to me, however much money they make. I have no desire to work 12-16 hour days, with no sleep just for a paycheck....I wouldn't do that in film/video (or be happy about it), since it's just exhausting work....maybe if I were 19-21yrs old again, I would, but at 42 (tougher to do).....

One thing about news that I left was mainly because I dislike what big city news is, all hard news (crime #1) being on-call to lousy pay....seems like news is turning more into Reporters who can shoot, not the reporter/photographer combo I worked in a few years ago....

Having won two major awards while in Denver did boost moral and confidence, but this past exp' really damaged it....I guess now to re-start
My ultimate goal was to become a staff DP at a film/video production company, so that is my main goal still to this day.....I do take this daily, but I'm always goal oriented, esp about my future.....
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#9 Bruce Greene

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Posted 15 October 2011 - 07:05 AM

I have no desire to work 12-16 hour days, with no sleep just for a paycheck....I wouldn't do that in film/video (or be happy about it), since it's just exhausting work....maybe if I were 19-21yrs old again, I would, but at 42 (tougher to do).....


I hate to say this Paul, but the rule, pretty much in the "movie" biz is that these long days are kind of routine, at any age. I do find that there are not so many older people working on movies though...

Wish it wasn't so...but it is.

Best of luck to you. You've received some excellent advice above!
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#10 Paul Brenno

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Posted 15 October 2011 - 09:02 AM

hi Bruce, just to clarify, I mainly meant I don't want to move to Hollywood and work freelance, working the typical 12=16 hours days on a movie....
I did 20 yrs ago, but then found that freelancing just wasn't an option for me....I do like routine, going to a job every day and do what I enjoy doing, plus becoming really good at it....I was working my way to that, esp when I was in Denver, making poverty wages, but winning awards for my work and loving what I did, plus being with good people to trusted me....the last place I worked at was a god awful exp' for me....staff were rude and management never trusted me, plus the entire staff were replaced with new staff (about 1/2-3/4), which made me wonder why everyone left (???)...
I had a bad feeling about it, but having been out (due to layoffs from Denver), I said to myself " I've got to take this "....I took it and found it was NOT the place for me or anyone I would know....
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#11 Paul Brenno

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Posted 01 November 2011 - 10:28 PM

hey guys, I was just offered a staff position (today) as a Videographer/Editor for an award winning video production company here in my hometown. I wanted to get some advice on this, since being back working in news again, it's opened up more possible areas of interest for me, as compared to video production.

I am sort of torn on this one, since I don't wnat to go thru another exp' like I just had, but this is with a new company with new people...I am asking all the questions I didn't ask at my old job, but I have no idea of what it's really like to work there, except for knowing two ex-staff that recently left. I also know if I took the position, I'd be looking to leave to a bigger city within a yr or so....

In working at the TV station, I really enjoy shooting/editing video and am heavily thinking of going back into news, but not crazy about covering crime (hard news) or being on-call.....Am not looking for a perfect position (that doesn't exist) but a good place to call home.....pros and cons are everyhere, but always good to get some feedback.....thanks

Edited by Paul Brenno, 01 November 2011 - 10:30 PM.

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#12 Jonathan Bel

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Posted 09 November 2011 - 02:07 AM

Hey Paul, that's great news. I guess there's a lot of factors to consider with career choices. I think one of the most important ones though, and I say this because it seems many people in the film/video industry are passionately blind to their "non-work" life and often forget what's really important. I don't think, even a big time filmmaker in hollywood can ever quench his discontentment with consistant work. After all work is work, it's paycheck but its always great if you can enjoy it at the same time. At the end of the day, relationships, loved ones and life outside of work should be the aspiration. Films come and go, gigs are short and sweet but people are never really satisfied with their work in the industry anyway. Many independants have pierced themselves with sorrows because they were slaves to their creative juices but in the end, money was wasted, glory was not achieved and the end product was forgotten. But when you have something infront of you, I say take it and let it happen. You can figure things out on your time off if you have something else in mind. Bigger cities with strong audio-visual communities are always better suited for guys like yourself so it's well to consider.


hey guys, I was just offered a staff position (today) as a Videographer/Editor for an award winning video production company here in my hometown. I wanted to get some advice on this, since being back working in news again, it's opened up more possible areas of interest for me, as compared to video production.

I am sort of torn on this one, since I don't wnat to go thru another exp' like I just had, but this is with a new company with new people...I am asking all the questions I didn't ask at my old job, but I have no idea of what it's really like to work there, except for knowing two ex-staff that recently left. I also know if I took the position, I'd be looking to leave to a bigger city within a yr or so....

In working at the TV station, I really enjoy shooting/editing video and am heavily thinking of going back into news, but not crazy about covering crime (hard news) or being on-call.....Am not looking for a perfect position (that doesn't exist) but a good place to call home.....pros and cons are everyhere, but always good to get some feedback.....thanks


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