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Advice for finding non-union work as an AC


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#1 David C Weldon Jr

David C Weldon Jr

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Posted 15 July 2012 - 07:26 PM

Hello,

Thank you first off everyone for your time in putting this site together and populating it with information. I hope to be able to help and give advice to different topics as time permits.

I just move to Los Angeles from Pittsburgh, PA where I was a Camera Op/AC working on Commercials, Corporate and Sports. I was also a Producer for a television show for 2 years, prior to taking the full step to Camera Op/AC.

It was the right time for me to move and the right opportunity presented itself. I'm currently working as an intern for an ASC member. I don't see it as a step down in my career, I felt it was a good way to make connections and continue to learn. I'm mostly in his rental house and will begin to get on set starting in the coming week (it just so happens that he has some work coming up). I've only been here a month and only committed to his internship for 3 months.

I'm also learning the requirements of having a number of hours of non-union work prior to joining the 600. And once joining the 600, getting on a Producer's roster.

I want to work and grow to a level of a Cinematographer, but I'm not willing to get ahead of myself, my strengths are in the Camera Department as an Operator and an AC.

Could anyone offer any advice on good places to look for non-union work, hopefully a good place to look for paid work. What are some good ways to get in touch with other Directors/DPs to get on their crew, even as a Camera PA, to gain their trust on their commercial productions?

Thanks for your advice and I look forward to reading more on the forum!
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#2 Shinichi Yamamoto

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Posted 16 July 2012 - 10:08 PM

Here are a few ideas:

1) have a few snippets of your work online, easily seen on YouTube or Vimeo or your own website. Make sure your stuff is really good. If it's not good, don't use it. Having absolutely nothing is better than having something terrible.
2) make sure you have an internet presence, via LinkedIn or IMDb or your own website, giving info about what training you've had, what experience you've had and what type of job you're seeking. If you have a Facebook account or Twitter account where you voice your nasty little opinions about certain movies and shows, take that account down! You absolutely cannot afford to be critical of ANYONE. Ever!
3) write a VERY brief email introducing yourself and send it to various production companies in town. Don't email any one single company more than twice a year, out of courtesy.
4) find out who the Line Producers and UPMs are in town and offer your services to them; if they think you're too green, then you should offer yourself for free, or as a PA, once. Just once!
5) you can research line producers and UPMs by using IMDb Pro of HCD Online
6) Scour craigslist for opportunities as a DP or AC on small projects. Check Mandy, too.
7) The goal should always be to network with DP's, Directors, UPM's and Line Producers.
8) Spend $30 or $40 printing up business cards AFTER you've established your web presence.
9) Try to schmooze at industry events around town. They're everywhere.
10) If you don't know the basics of how to shake someone's hand and be on time and be friendly and say polite stuff about projects... then learn the basics! Read a book on the basics of being professional. So many people destroy their chances by violating the most basic rules of professionalism.
*) Get a decent camera and start shooting your own stuff in the meantime. Always be improving your skills.


good luck,
HG
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#3 David C Weldon Jr

David C Weldon Jr

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  • Los Angeles, CA

Posted 19 July 2012 - 02:42 AM

Here are a few ideas:

1) have a few snippets of your work online, easily seen on YouTube or Vimeo or your own website. Make sure your stuff is really good. If it's not good, don't use it. Having absolutely nothing is better than having something terrible.
2) make sure you have an internet presence, via LinkedIn or IMDb or your own website, giving info about what training you've had, what experience you've had and what type of job you're seeking. If you have a Facebook account or Twitter account where you voice your nasty little opinions about certain movies and shows, take that account down! You absolutely cannot afford to be critical of ANYONE. Ever!
3) write a VERY brief email introducing yourself and send it to various production companies in town. Don't email any one single company more than twice a year, out of courtesy.
4) find out who the Line Producers and UPMs are in town and offer your services to them; if they think you're too green, then you should offer yourself for free, or as a PA, once. Just once!
5) you can research line producers and UPMs by using IMDb Pro of HCD Online
6) Scour craigslist for opportunities as a DP or AC on small projects. Check Mandy, too.
7) The goal should always be to network with DP's, Directors, UPM's and Line Producers.
8) Spend $30 or $40 printing up business cards AFTER you've established your web presence.
9) Try to schmooze at industry events around town. They're everywhere.
10) If you don't know the basics of how to shake someone's hand and be on time and be friendly and say polite stuff about projects... then learn the basics! Read a book on the basics of being professional. So many people destroy their chances by violating the most basic rules of professionalism.
*) Get a decent camera and start shooting your own stuff in the meantime. Always be improving your skills.


good luck,
HG


Thank you for your input, very helpful stuff. I have an online presence (website, business social media, twitter really) but the ideas of IMDb Pro and contacting different companies in town, as well as UPMs hadn't jumped to mind yet. I had done all that where I worked in Pittsburgh, so that should be second nature! Bigger market here obviously, lots of opportunity. I've been trying to hunt down new places to search (like production hub, media-match), just found out about mandy.com, there seems to be a lot on that one.

I'm trying to hit the low-pay/no-pay market as well when it comes to trying to DP short films, even student films. If I can pull together the right resources and the people I've met since I arrived, I know I can build a team that will make the projects thrive.

Thanks again for the thoughts and the support!
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Willys Widgets

Metropolis Post

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Abel Cine

Tai Audio

CineTape

rebotnix Technologies

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Paralinx LLC

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Opal

Visual Products

Ritter Battery

CineLab

Technodolly