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Directory for UK Films in Pre-production


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#1 James Malamatinas

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Posted 29 April 2013 - 03:14 AM

Hi,

 

Is anyone aware of an existing directory that lists UK films and their production status, in particular films that are in pre-production.  I've found a few, including the BFI Film Council Site and IMDb Pro, but they don't necessarily seem to be completely up-to-date and I feel like there is probably an industry standard directory/mailing list for this which I just haven't found yet?

 

I'm currently trying to find camera trainee opportunities on features and I figure knowing which films are about to start shooting would help me narrow my focus on whom to approach.

Thanks,
James

 



 


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#2 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 29 April 2013 - 03:19 AM

I know of one, but you need to subscribe to it.


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#3 Stephen Murphy

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Posted 29 April 2013 - 03:48 AM

James if you're looking for work as a camera trainee then the best thing you could do is contact all the Focus Pullers and Clapper Loaders on the books of Arri crew, Suz Cruz and Wizzo&Co - most will already have a regular trainee or two but you could offer to come out and help them the next time they're prepping at Panavision/arri etc that way they get to put a face to a name and you get to learn a bit about the kit they're prepping, and hopefully they'll thinknofnyou when they need an extra trainee on multi camera days.

The few production resource lists I've seen are a waste of money as they're either outdated or so far into early pre, pre production to be of no use to crew.
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#4 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 29 April 2013 - 04:54 AM

There used (five or six years ago) to be a few lists like this. I recall BECTU had one, maybe?

 

The problem is that by the time any production gets established enough to be on one of these lists, they'll either already be crewed, or certainly have enough people on the show that they'll have personal contacts. Cold-calling shows who're in pre-production is a complete waste of time. Crew are practically never hired on the basis of having never heard of them before. Crew are hired because someone knows someone. The idea that you can cold-call a show's production office and have them say "Well, yes, as it happens we do have a slot on our camera crew for someone just like you!" is sheer fantasy. They will already have five people queueing for every job, and that's just people they personally know. Nobody is short of crew. Nobody wants or needs to hear from you. All you'll do is set yourself up as a whining nobody who isn't "in" yet.

 

So yeah, you might think that hanging around rental houses would allow you to get to know people.

 

The problem with this approach is that in a market where there is practically no work, where each role is literally dozens or hundreds of times oversubscribed, you will be a trainee forever. I have known people who were interns at the BBC for several years, on a wage that's so far from "living" it's ridiculous. It is overwhelmingly likely that you will be an unpaid tea-fetcher for longer than you can financially afford to be, long before you ever see your name roll up on the end credits of anything.

 

Sorry if that sounds like everything's hopeless. I don't really have any comfort for you. We're in the middle of a massive economic disaster in a place where there was never much work in any case.

 

P


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#5 James Malamatinas

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Posted 02 May 2013 - 03:18 AM

Thanks for the advice guys, I am actually already a 2nd AC and have been for a few years, it's just now that I'm trying to make a move and focus on features. Actually, one of the hardest things I'm find at the moment is making it clear that despite being a 2nd AC I just want to learn more stuff and how to improve! A keep getting told to mention my experience as little as possible, to this effect I've actually created a separate trainee CV to go alongside my usual AC one.

 

Stephen, I like your idea of suggesting helping out at prep, I've already started contacting people directly to see if they need anyone, I'll definitely offer this and see if anyone is happy to bring me in for those days, like you say just meeting people and learning more about the kit and different configurations will be a big help.
 

I know the lists are a long shot, as Phil mentions by the time they appear anywhere they've probably already got their crew. I just thought it would be another avenue to try, although I was never intending on contacting the production itself, just the crew working on them if it was possible to find who they are.

 



 

 


 


 


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#6 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 02 May 2013 - 03:29 AM

Why can't you get work as a 2nd A/C on features? Have you only been working on Super 16 or 2/3" HD? It sounds more like you need to make the right connections to work your way in.


Edited by Brian Drysdale, 02 May 2013 - 03:31 AM.

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#7 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 02 May 2013 - 04:40 AM

Probably because there are no features, now Harry's gone and we're between Bonds.


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#8 James Malamatinas

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Posted 02 May 2013 - 06:12 AM

I'd obviously take more features as a 2nd if I could! In fact, I have done a couple, and done dailies on a few more; if the people I know and work offered me the chances I definitely say yes.

At the same time though, like so many people, I'd love to be on the bigger productions and for that it seems like the trainee route is the established path. I've had some people say carry on working as a 2nd and try and get in that way, and others say you've got to go through the trainee role first - I guess I just want to cover both bases and see how far each take me.

I do see some great benefits of being a trainee in terms of learning from top clapper loaders and 1st AC's who've been around for a lot longer than me, and of getting experience on large scale productions without quite so much responsibility from the off.

I'm just really committing to trying to find myself an opportunity whichever way I can - but like Phil says there are hundreds of other's doing just the same!




 


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#9 Ben Luke Taylor

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Posted 04 May 2013 - 05:21 PM

UK Production News.

I think its about £10 a month, gives a list of all features and TV dramas in development and pre-production. Normally has about 20 pages worth of jobs with any contact details that it has attached.

Yes as Phil said most people have people they want to work with, but the job I'm currently working on came purely from me 'cold calling' the production by sending off my CV to the contact shown, a week later I got the call and I was on the job… 

Normally I get my work through a loader or focus puller I know, but this time it came out of no where almost, I had never worked with any of the crew on the shoot, nor the production company. And before its suggested, no, its not a 'low budget drama where we get paid expenses only etc.' so yes, these sites do work, and even if you only get one job from it in the whole year, you're still going to cover the costs for the newsletter, so its worth a chance surely?

Also, I have just counted 48 features in the UK on the latest newsletter I was sent out, contrary to what Phil has said...


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#10 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 05 May 2013 - 06:05 PM

There's a good chance that the trainees on the large productions are part of a training scheme http://www.craftandtech.org/training/

 

There is a reasonable number of feature films being made, not big budgets ones, but what would be called TV movies or straight to DVD. Any theatrical release would just be for promotional purposes, unfortunately the DVD market is declining. The working for nothing films would be separate. 


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#11 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 05 May 2013 - 07:27 PM

Is there really that much of a mid-level market here? I've long had the impression that there's the really low end back-bedroom crap, then there's huge features, and nothing inbetween.

 

P


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#12 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 06 May 2013 - 02:00 AM

There are £1m to £2m features being made as well as others in the £250,000 to £1m bracket. Many have co production funding from the UK broadcasters: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BBC_Films    http://en.wikipedia....lm4_Productions

 

Some of these are in the single TV drama bracket, resulting in quite a few productions that are televisual, rather than cinematic in nature.


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#13 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 06 May 2013 - 04:07 AM

Yes sure but how many?

 

Half a dozen a year?


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#14 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 06 May 2013 - 04:36 AM

Varies from year to year, could be ten for BBC films, of course there are other funders for feature films and they tend to be co productions unless American studio films..   


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#15 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 06 May 2013 - 04:42 AM

Whoo, ten!

 

That means we need, what, two sets of crew?


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#16 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 06 May 2013 - 05:04 AM

Surprisingly there are 550 films listed as UK country of origin during 2012 films on imdb  http://www.imdb.com/...ature&year=2012

 

Of course, some have a rather more loose connection to the UK compared to others.

.


Edited by Brian Drysdale, 06 May 2013 - 05:04 AM.

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#17 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 06 May 2013 - 05:28 AM

Yes, and some of them may be shot on miniDV. For £5.


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#18 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 06 May 2013 - 07:09 AM

There's certainly going to be a good percentage of cheapies, but the first 100 stand a good chance of  £250,000 plus budgets. Unfortunately, many features now serve the purpose that shorts did when you had to shoot on film.


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#19 Freya Black

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Posted 07 May 2013 - 11:25 AM

Interesting list!

 

When you put them in order of US box office it would appear that last year there were a total of 33 films that had a United States theatrical release. 17 of them had takings of less than 1 million and 11 seem to have taken less that $100,000

 

Shame they cant be listed in order of UK box office.

 

Amazing film award goes to "The Vow". A film I've never heard of that made nearly as much as Prometheus. Would love to know what it's budget was!

 

Freya


Edited by Freya Black, 07 May 2013 - 11:26 AM.

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#20 Freya Black

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Posted 07 May 2013 - 11:30 AM

There's certainly going to be a good percentage of cheapies, but the first 100 stand a good chance of  £250,000 plus budgets. Unfortunately, many features now serve the purpose that shorts did when you had to shoot on film.

 

Looking at it another way tho, I see a fair few in the first 100 that were shot on scary low budgets with DSLR's.

(Almost certainly made for less than a tenth of that number)

 

Freya


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