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Job market in LA (contemplating the move).

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#1 Matthew Kane

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Posted 23 July 2013 - 12:18 AM

TL;DR: how do I Los Angeles?

 

I know there's a few threads on this topic already, but it looks as though they're a year old or so, and I'd like to take the temperature of LA locals re: the current and future prospects for younger people in the film industry. There's an awful lot of cynicism out there.

 

I have about five years of experience freelancing in the industry, but it's hard to imagine getting much further in my career without moving.

 

It just so happens that my current SO is interviewing for a job in LA (which may be her own "big break"), and I'm contemplating moving with her... I'm not going to sacrifice my career to stay with her, but moving to LA hardly seems like the worst idea for someone who wants to be a director of photography and filmmaker--especially considering that I'd have a SO with a job in an unrelated industry to mooch on while I get established. I have a few friends out there as well who seem to be doing alright, and could at least make first introductions.

 

I also know people who have moved back or to satellite cities after a few years in LA because they couldn't get out of low rent indies with abusive labor practices. I've read that while the jobs are still there, the day rates are plummeting (I was shocked at how little my friends said they made on some shows--less than I get for a day on a light corporate gig).

 

I hope we can refrain from a flame war about tax incentives and runaway productions--just the facts!


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#2 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 23 July 2013 - 11:09 AM

Facts are irrelevant as it will all depend on your own luck and ability to network and get yourself on projects.

I will say from my own experience, it's a pain in the ass, the rates are very low, and you'll need a good sized nest egg and/or a SO who is ok supporting you 100% sometimes while you get established.

it is very rewarding as well, for me at least. You'll be under-cut like mad by other folks who will bring out a red epic and themselves for $200/day, so you really had better be able to show and sell your talent better than all the other folks who are selling a camera.

It seems be to feast or famine. I did nothing for a month straight, and then booked up 4 jobs in a row (including a feature with a "name actor.").

You'll often look at jobs by how many months rent they pay you.

 

 

That's about all I can think of as I drink my coffee this morning, good luck.


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#3 Richard Boddington

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Posted 23 July 2013 - 12:15 PM

 

It seems be to feast or famine. I did nothing for a month straight, and then booked up 4 jobs in a row (including a feature with a "name actor.").

You'll often look at jobs by how many months rent they pay you.

 

 

Same for the film industry anywhere in any part of the world.  If you want a steady income, film would be the last career to find it in.

 

R,


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#4 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 23 July 2013 - 12:16 PM

Quite true; but it seems really feast or famine here, more so than back east, where you know, you may not be working at lot, but you'd normally get at least a day or two a month.


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#5 Matthew Kane

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Posted 23 July 2013 - 06:10 PM

That's really encouraging Adrian--any feel for how things might be in a year? Five years? Obviously you'd be a millionaire if you could guess with much accuracy, but there's a disturbing preponderance of journalism saying CA and the film industry in particular is being run into the ground.

 

I'm already used to the feast or famine cycle (especially in the upper midwest, it seems most people are underemployed during the winter). And I wouldn't make the move if I was relying on my nest egg alone.

 

Hearing about low rates is discouraging... doubling my cost of living to make half as much... I've been a bit spoiled, being able to pay rent on a good place with just a day or two of work.

 

I guess the thing that has me considering the move is that it seems that so many indie feature producers still hire DP's from LA or NYC, even when they can find the same talent locally--usually for a lower rate, and without the expense of flying them out. Warranted or no, it seems there's still a prejudice that 'real DP's' only come from the coasts.

 

It seems like a bit of a step backward, but would it be worthwhile to seek part time work with a rental house to get my name out there?


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