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The Next Step


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#1 Sean Elder

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Posted 02 May 2012 - 09:51 AM

Right now I am a Camera Tech at a reputable rental house, a "weekend warrior" videographer/film maker, and I am wondering what my next move should be. I have read a lot of the bios of some of what I call the awesome cinematic heroes that answer and support this forum, and I have vacuumed as much information that i can handle on a daily basis on the subject. I plan on sticking with my current position for a minimum of five years (since technology changes every five minutes, and new camera systems and support gear are released on a quarterly basis.) I would love to shoot more projects, but also juggle having a stable gig. I know it's possible, just how does one prepare themselves for the next rung?
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#2 Marcus Joseph

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Posted 04 May 2012 - 05:15 AM

do you get cheap gear? If so, then just start shooting your own projects.

I've decided just recently that I'm going to spend a lot more time on my own stuff, I have some stories that I really want to tell.

A lot of people talk about doing it more than they actually do it though, hopefully I'm one to do it.
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#3 Sean Elder

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Posted 04 May 2012 - 11:43 AM

I have a 5D MKII and a few nicks and knacks that I own and subrent at my place of employment. I have begun doing weekend warrior projects, but I am wondering on how to practice and hone my skills besides taking pictures, and trying to keep my kids in proper composition (which is a whole lot harder than I thought it would be!)
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#4 Matt Day

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Posted 04 May 2012 - 04:28 PM

I found myself moving from shooting weekend projects to having to take time out of work to shoot bigger and bigger projects (people i had worked with previously were moving up the ladder and helping me up with them).

Really the only advice i can give is to try and start filming some of your own projects, don't be afraid to be a bit ambitious and if possible get some other people involved too. Have a good time shooting, learn from it and keep doing it until you get an opportunity to move up the ladder. Also get people to do you some favors (eg. helping you out with filming), then you can 'owe them one', (hopefully when they have a big project to shoot!)

Good luck anyway!
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#5 Christopher Sheneman

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Posted 04 May 2012 - 06:59 PM

You should agonize over what truely makes an "epic" picture, toss in some hard-core drug addiction and then make a no-budget stab at a great story - which will reveal itself in your late 20's or 30's. It doesn't matter if you work at a rental house or Burger King. I'd perfer BK for their delicious extra value menu offerings, a great place to take the g/f with that employee discount vs. a rental house (technology isn't that big of a factor, shoot on 24p,16mm- everything already exist for solid image capture. The only thing that'll radically change is distribution and that won't be happening at a rental house!

Everyone has equipment, when you need it, it'll be there- trust me.
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#6 Paul Maibaum ASC

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Posted 05 May 2012 - 06:07 PM

Depends on what you think your next step should be. Working in a rental house, where you should be making plenty of contacts with assistant camera people, can position you to get on crews as an assistant once you decide you want to leave the rental house and start freelancing. This is predicated on the assumption that the path you would take would be to move up the ladder, position by position, in the camera department.
I worked at an L.A. based rental house for 5 years before going out on my own and getting gigs as a film loader, than a 2nd assistant, then 1st assistant, operator and finally Director of Photography. It took me 10 years to make the move up to D.P. I did have an advantage in that the rental house I worked in was a signatory to IATSE and I was able to join the union while working there.
If the direction you want to take is to immediately become a cinematographer than I think the advice previously offered that you shoot as many projects as you can and build a reel is sound.
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#7 Sean Elder

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Posted 15 May 2012 - 12:08 PM

Thank you all for the advise. I am grateful to have a place where I can ask questions and have them answered with sound advise. Thank you so very much!
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Aerial Filmworks

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Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

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