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The Future Of An Aspiring Cinematographer


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#1 Chris Bourke

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Posted 12 October 2012 - 05:31 PM

Hello fellow Cinematographers,

This is one of my first posts on this forum, although I have gained a lot from reading through its contents.
Thank you all for your information and efforts to enlighten and help each other with the passion we all share.
Please excuse me if this is an inappropriate place for this posting.

I'm currently a senior Cinematography student at the University of Texas at Austin scheduled to graduate this coming May.
My ultimate dream is to someday have the glorious ", ASC" after my name in credits.
The level of expertise, professionalism, and commitment the members of the ASC have to visual storytelling is astounding to me, and I can only hope to inspire someone the way they have all inspired me.

I'm curious as to what you all would recommend as stepping stones to that point.
Yes, I do realize how much of a long shot that is, but we all have to set goals, right?

I've got an extensive amount of coursework in this last year of school, but I shoot everything I can fit into my schedule.
I'm always looking to shoot genres I haven't worked in, and push myself to understand all aspects of camera and light.

Here are a few examples of things I've shot recently:







Besides shooting everything I can, learning as often as possible from as many sources as possible, challenging myself to try new things, and having a great attitude on set,
what would you recommend to help me approach my goal?

Thank you all for your time and posts,
this is an incredible forum and it serves as an invaluable resource to me.

-Chris
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#2 Christopher Sheneman

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Posted 16 October 2012 - 01:21 AM

I liked the Birds mural, fast and interesting - perfect balance.
Smoke out talented filmmakers, get your parents to get a 2nd mortgage to finance their projects with you at the camera.
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#3 Nicolas Gomez

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Posted 17 October 2012 - 10:47 PM

You´re already inspiring me! Cool work!

http://www.elsotano.com.co/videos.php
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#4 Chris Bourke

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Posted 18 October 2012 - 11:10 AM

I liked the Birds mural, fast and interesting - perfect balance.
Smoke out talented filmmakers, get your parents to get a 2nd mortgage to finance their projects with you at the camera.


Awesome! Thanks for the compliment!
I'll start workin on my parents now...
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#5 Chris Bourke

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Posted 18 October 2012 - 11:13 AM

You´re already inspiring me! Cool work!

http://www.elsotano.com.co/videos.php


Thank you Nicolas!
I'm so happy to hear that!
Nice website also, did you do the vehicle video?

Best,
Chris
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#6 Joshua Reis

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Posted 21 October 2012 - 07:30 PM

I think very few people graduate and are able to immediately make a living as a Cinematographer. You may be able to make some money shooting some things here and there, but the majority of my friends who are now DPs started off working as grips, electrics, or camera assistants. I myself camera assisted on the side, while I saved up enough funds to buy an Arri SR1 camera (this is before theres were dslrs and F900 or Varicam were the only options) and go out and shoot as much as I could and build my reel. I think the key is to find a way to make a living that enables you freedom to pursue your dream financially and schedule wise. Some people get locked into jobs with rigid schedules and are unable to take a day off a day or two to shoot a video or short film that comes up you don't want that to happen. Also, working as a camera assistant allowed me to gain familiarity with different lenses and camera techniques employed by different cinematographers whom that I worked for. Not to mention, you will begin to build those professional industry relationships that you will rely on throughout your career. Best of luck.

Joshua
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#7 Christopher Purdy

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Posted 29 October 2012 - 04:00 PM

Great work! I really don't think you have anything to worry about in the long run. You have the eye and talent for it, that much is very apparent. Your career will come to you as long as you keep at it.

Obviously, I'm not one to be doling out advice seeing as how I'm in a similar boat as you, but I think the best thing to do at this point would be, seeing as you're in Austin, to find local directors doing independent shorts or features who are in need of a DoP, and offer your services. It's also a good idea to obtain your own camera system and light/lens inventory if you can afford it, or to find a job at an equipment rental house and learn everything you can. Other than that, you could use entertainmentcareers.net or something similar to find a position as a 2nd AC or Camera Trainee/PA/Loader, and work your way up the 'ladder.'

After all, to get to the position of Director of Photography, arguably the most highly respected in the entire film industry, in charge of both camera and lighting crews, you're going to eventually need to have a complete encyclopedic knowledge and mastery of all the positions that you would ultimately preside over. For that reason, I think it makes the most sense to earn one's stripes working as an underling on set.

The only way forward is more experience and hard work. Good luck!
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#8 Christopher Sheneman

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Posted 29 October 2012 - 07:10 PM

The only way forward is more experience and hard work. Good luck!


Sometimes you must drop to your knees and perform orally if necessary. All directors and DP's demand this- just a "heads" up. In case you're on set and it seems weird- it's not, it's industry practice.
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Visual Products

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Tai Audio

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Aerial Filmworks

Wooden Camera

rebotnix Technologies

Willys Widgets

CineTape

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

CineLab

Rig Wheels Passport

Metropolis Post

FJS International, LLC