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Skip the ladder to DP


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#1 Paul Salmons

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Posted 08 January 2012 - 07:12 PM

Hello, I have recently stumbled onto these forums and really enjoy them. So here's a bit of my story, I started at a community college in San Diego, I was there for about a year before I was a TA and my teachers were calling me asking me questions on editing and shooting. The reason was is because I live for this and feel I have found my path in life through making films so when I wasn't at home I was on the computer reading forums, articles and instruction manuals. So from there I got with a man who was starting his own video production company and he asked me to come help him out. I did that for about a year and learned all the basics about lighting as he would hire DP's and I would learn from them. I picked it up very quickly and always had the attitude that I would rather be on set not making any money than be at home on the couch. So I then moved up to the LA area so I could do more creative work (music videos, shorts and commercials) and have been living off DPing smaller gigs for about 2 years now. I love being a DP and feel that I can handle the main aspects of it pretty well. So my point is this, I don't want to climb the ladder from 2nd ac, 1ac, operator to being 45 years old finally getting to DP projects. I want to skip it all and get right into it. I have been working 10k jobs and under and this year I have some good opportunities to work on a $250k indie feature and some other decent budget projects. My main goal is to shoot big budget features and play with some fun toys along the way. Am I kidding myself? Will I ever be able to get into the A.S.C. like this? Is this an impossible goal that I will just be stuck and left out of attaining my dream by trying to go against the grain or is it one of those things that's rare but does happen sometimes?

Here's my reel.

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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 08 January 2012 - 07:21 PM

I climbed the budget ladder instead of the crew ladder - I've always worked as a DP starting in film school. However, I will warn you that I spent a decade after film school earning much less than my fellow camera assistants, electricians, etc.
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#3 Paul Salmons

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Posted 08 January 2012 - 07:32 PM

Thanks David. I have read a lot of your posts and value your input. I would say that is also true, all my friends are making a lot more money than I am haha!
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#4 Marcus Joseph

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Posted 08 January 2012 - 09:15 PM

For what it's worth, I thought your worked looked great. I suppose it's very difficult to find the right market and hit it, but if you have a knack for befriending the quality directors that are going places, you might just go up with them. And a 250k film doesn't sound too bad, but do you think it'll show promise? There's nothing worse than wasting a long amount of time on something that might hinder your portfolio, but then again it's all a learning experience anyway, so I suppose it's better to do it, than to not.

I know DPs that work on films in the many millions and have difficulty finding new work, so even when you're on that level, it'll still be difficult. Probably a lot more when you're starting out though.

I say go for it, you seem to know what you're doing and if you can live off the income you make, then I can't see why not too. It seemed to work for David, he got into the ASC :lol:
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Visual Products

The Slider

rebotnix Technologies

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Rig Wheels Passport

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

FJS International, LLC

Willys Widgets

Metropolis Post

Aerial Filmworks

Abel Cine

Broadcast Solutions Inc

CineLab