can you make a living as a DOP?
Posted 01 December 2012 - 12:45 PM
Here is my question, am i looking in the wrong places, or is this industry truly about who you know? I know several classmates who are getting steady work and can support themselves, just 1-2 years out of college.
I love film and film making, and really hope I can do it for a living.
Posted 01 December 2012 - 05:34 PM
Think of it this way...someone is willing to actually pay you and more importantly trust you with executing their vision. Dont be a jerk or assert yourself too much because they can easily ask you to leave. And as far as "who you know" its more of an issue of "who gives you a chance" and "dont blow it." Hope this helps.
Posted 01 December 2012 - 08:16 PM
As a practical matter, unless you happen to be the right person's nephew, it's tricky at best.
Posted 02 December 2012 - 08:43 AM
Here in the UK I had an interesting experience recently to find myself in a room with 3 different D.P.'s. They were all having success to a certain extent. One of them had got where they are through family connections etc, one of them had bought themselves a very expensive camera, and the last person was working hard to make a living based largely on their talent and skill (which in my opinion they have a LOT of!)
Of the 3 the one who seemed to be doing the best and was quite frankly having a meteoric rise at a very young age was the one with the family connections. The one with the expensive camera was doing really quite well considering they hadn't been working at it all that long really, maybe not quite as well as the others but hey... The one who had got there largely on skill and talent, had everybody's respect to a far greater extent, however they had been working hard for many years and still hadn't achieved anywhere near the things that the fellow with the family connections had achieved in a very short space of time. He IS doing very well, but he is a FANTASTIC cinematographer and he has been working at it for many years. I'd actually go as far as to say he is one of the best cinematographers in the country who isn't working on major feature films or TV dramas in this country.
I found it really interesting to see that situation laid out so plainly for me to see.
Of course in other country's, issues of class or family connections may have less of a strong effect, but it shows that a lot of things come into play, and sadly these things may not connect with our feelings of justice or our ideas of meritocracy. I'm aware of all this but I do get a little wound up by people at large trade shows getting a little too high on their own supply, which seems to be a regular thing. Sometimes these people giving talks do produce quite nice work, but they do always seem to get a bit carried away! Maybe it's some kind of reverse Neuremberg effect?
Obviously you may not be able to afford to buy your own Alexa or have strong family connections, in which case the most important thing is probably your interactions and relationships with the people you do meet, and/or work with, and of course, if you can express your skill and talent in some ways, and develop those, that will also help, it's just not anywhere near the primary factor.
Posted 02 December 2012 - 04:29 PM