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Which big DP's will work on small films, too?


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#1 Shinichi Yamamoto

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Posted 14 July 2012 - 04:39 PM

Hey Y'all,

I'm needing to know which established DP's will take a steep paycut once in a while. In other words, if there are DP's in Hollywood who generally work on the bigger budget movies... between let's say 10 million to 50 million... which of these guys n' gals will take a paycut and work on an indie flick every once in a while? Specifically, which of these guys and gals would work on a project budgeted just over 1 million?

I'm trying to sift through IMDb on my own and piece together a list but the process is like shooting darts in the dark... in a windy room... while wearing oven mitts.

Anyone out there happen to know a few good names on this topic?

much obliged,
HG
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#2 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 14 July 2012 - 06:15 PM

I'm not sure anyone's going to be willing to list names on a public forum - you're talking about confidential business matters here, and nobody discusses that stuff in public, in any industry. On top of that, it's often seen as pretty bad form to put people up for unpaid or low-paid jobs, particularly in public - I wouldn't want to receive the cheesed-off phone call from a big DP who's upset I'd mentioned his name!

Pitching a project to anyone, in any department, at any level of experience, is just like pitching any other business deal. Put together a package, make it look as good as possible, and approach people (or their agents). The only difference is that if you're asking for something out of the ordinary, such as an unusualy you should consider whether you need to apologise for doing so - no need to be abject, no need to overdo it, but it's sometimes a minor politeness that's worthwhile. Other times it's offputting. But other than that, what you're actually doing is proposing a business deal. Whether you can bring any other forces to bear, such as a personal acquaintance with someone or a long term working relationship, is another matter.

In any case there's probably no harm in asking. The worst that can happen is that the guy gets upset and refuses to work with you in future, and if he's that much of a grouch, really, who cares.

P
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#3 Shinichi Yamamoto

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Posted 14 July 2012 - 06:40 PM

Thanks, Phil. I agree with a lot of the points your making. In that sense I wasn't truly wanting anybody on this forum to "out" their colleagues and expose bargaining chips that had been private up until now. I was more asking about info that was already in the public domain.

For example, with actors, it's fairly easy to note which celebrities will do indie films and which celebrities won't. It's easy to spot these patterns we because we, the general public, devote so much attention to star actors and star actors outnumber the DP at a rate of 3 to 1 or even, let's say, 15 to 1 on any one project. What I'm saying is that there is only so much obvious "sampling" to distill a pattern from; that's why we're able to make conclusions about actors in this way. And that's why with DP's there simply isn't as much data to work with. And it's not as readily covered by various online forums and fan sites.

So... I'm just asking if anyone has spotted a pattern in publicly available databases with particular DP's, noting that, hey, Joe Schmoe hasn't done an indie film in 20 years. He just does top budget stuff. Whereas, it looks like Such-and-Such guy does an indie film every three years or so.

In that sense, if anyone has spotted some patterns in publicly available info, I'd love to hear about it. Or maybe you've even read an article or something where a DP actually comes out and says, "Sure, I will work on smaller stuff if the story speaks to my heart, etc."

HG

Edited by Shinichi Yamamoto, 14 July 2012 - 06:41 PM.

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#4 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 14 July 2012 - 06:42 PM

I shot "Big Sur" a year ago for director Michael Polish, our seventh feature together -- the budget was pretty low. Bigger DP's will occasionally do a small project for personal reasons. But obviously they would prefer to do bigger projects; keep in mind that committing to a small project means they will probably have to turn down a bigger project at some point in order to keep their commitment to you, and many keep their commitments.
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#5 Shinichi Yamamoto

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Posted 14 July 2012 - 06:50 PM

That's a brilliant point, David. Opportunity cost. Duly noted.

Edited by Shinichi Yamamoto, 14 July 2012 - 06:50 PM.

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#6 Ben Brahem Ziryab

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Posted 30 July 2012 - 07:03 AM

Allen Daviau, A.S.C -- he said so himself.
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#7 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 30 July 2012 - 07:43 AM

If you really want a list; why not look through the lower budget films that you're interested in (look wise ect) and look @ the DoPs names thereon and try to contact them and speak with them about it? DoPs are people, like anyone else. We generally, I would think, like to challenge ourselves.
Many of us have certain attitudes, good or bad, so the only way to know which DoPs would be willing, able, and worthwhile (as you may not mesh well with everyone) is to look through the films you like, especially those lower-budget ones, and start pounding pavement.
I generally appreciate when I don't get BS'd by productions, who just tell me plainly this is what we would like, this is what we can afford, and we'd love to have you on board because of this. Be understanding, and also be very gracious. And hopefully luck will smile upon you.
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#8 Rodney Taylor ASC

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Posted 12 August 2012 - 03:27 PM

I think most cinematographers are looking for great scripts to shoot first. And they are also looking for a good director to collaborate with. If your project has these things going for it you may find a very experienced DP who would like to work with you. Also like the above post said. Think of some of your favorite indie films and see who shot them. Easy to do on imdb.
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#9 Tom Jensen

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Posted 13 August 2012 - 12:17 PM

Rodney Taylor! Long time, no see.
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