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how do i get a job as a camera trainee?

industry starting employment help

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#21 John Miguel King

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Posted 01 March 2015 - 07:30 AM

Phil, it's really simple, honest. Without regular exercise and a healthy lifestyle, how on earth is anybody supposed to stay awake and alert 12 hours a day, on their feet, carrying heavy boxes, whether rain, shine, blizzard or desert, 11 days a fortnight, over 4 months?. We are not penpushers. Our job is demanding both physically and mentally. Very bloody demanding. And, for some reason, it appeals to a very particular kind of person that just doesn't seem to take the whole aging thing too seriously and that seems to have a deep sense of wanderlust.

You'd be surprised how fit and healthy cam crews tend to be in their fifties and sixties. And of course we like branded clothing. I like gore tex, and technical shoes, and merino underwear. Because if I'm not properly dressed to survive the weather under which I'm working, I'm of no use to my team. I become a liability instead of an asset and I'm letting my brothers and sisters down. We work with our minds, but we can only do this when our bodies survive the shoot.

 

Still, there's all types in the crew. Like anywhere else. Nobody gives a damn how you look as long as: A. It's not reflective. B. You do your job.

But yes, if the person in question doesn't do her/his bit to be capable of surviving, if they don't take the job seriously, why should the job take them seriously?

Sure, I like my picture, and I like a nice haircut, and some cool sunglasses. Why not? It's taken a lot of sacrifice, a lot of ignoring calls for a "saner career" from the people I love most to get to where I am. So I do like very much to enjoy the very little success I have, even if it's delusional. If I was into normal, I'd have a regular life, a retirement plan and a monthly wage with some company benefits and perks. But I am just not into normal. I make movies because I could do nothing else with my life. And, after all, life happens only once. So I'll be damned if I don't allow my identity to wonder in any direction I feel like.

Please don't make the mistake of confusing the contents with the continent. That's called judging a book by its cover.

Peace.


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#22 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 01 March 2015 - 07:37 AM

I must say that most people I've met in the camera department cover the full spectrum of looks, but perhaps more outdoors looking than office staff.


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#23 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 01 March 2015 - 07:44 AM

I make movies because I could do nothing else with my life.

 

Lots of people feel that way. Most of them are waiting tables in the restaurants that have replaced all of the industry facilities in soho.

 

Oh, and - all this "brothers and sisters" stuff is just nauseating. I'm not aware that most UK film crew treat each other much like human beings, let alone friends, let alone family. Most people are keenly aware of how precarious the work is and how replaceable they are, and that does not lead to happiness.

 

P


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#24 John Miguel King

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Posted 01 March 2015 - 07:59 AM

This is absurd, mate, with all due respect.


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#25 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 01 March 2015 - 08:02 AM

I'm not sure I'm really due any respect, but anyway I'm afraid not: the people you work with are potential competitors. If you don't know that, they certainly do.

 

P


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#26 jake powell

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Posted 01 March 2015 - 03:13 PM

I just said I got taken on a paid job , how did this turn into an in depth critique of uk film crews....
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#27 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 02 March 2015 - 12:55 AM

Well, you've just met Phil so you can be forgiven for not seeing it coming. ;) Love ya Phil, but jeez...

For what it's worth John, you've described my feelings toward work and my colleagues to a T.
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#28 John Miguel King

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Posted 02 March 2015 - 05:25 AM

For what it's worth John, you've described my feelings toward work and my colleagues to a T.

 

Fiction is very much like this. Which is why I get like depressed after a few months of only commercials. :D


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#29 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 02 March 2015 - 04:20 PM

Really? I mostly work on commercials and corporate stuff but I don't see it that way at all. I guess my market is fairly small so we all know each other or at least of each other.
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#30 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 02 March 2015 - 04:23 PM

Stabbed+in+back.jpg


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#31 John Miguel King

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Posted 03 March 2015 - 09:59 AM

Really? I mostly work on commercials and corporate stuff but I don't see it that way at all. I guess my market is fairly small so we all know each other or at least of each other.

Commercials and fiction are quite separate here in LDN. I do mostly fiction, and commercials always strikes me as just a bit too serious plus me not really liking selling chilli chicken mcbites too many times. Then there's also spending weeks on location and never really managing to find the way not to walk through the hotel's bar on the way to the room!

So, although brief and slightly deluded, when on the road it gets real supportive. Sort of like a Big Brother.

Also, when I work as DIT the role changes a lot from one to the other. It's infinitely more creative and sleek in a long job, which maybe helps sway my preference.


Edited by John Miguel King, 03 March 2015 - 10:04 AM.

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#32 John Miguel King

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Posted 03 March 2015 - 10:02 AM

Stabbed+in+back.jpg


Don't!!!


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#33 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 03 March 2015 - 10:20 AM

I think the other option might have been more apt to film and TV work.

 

BEJ4x-6CIAAWX7o.jpg


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#34 Miguel Angel

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Posted 03 March 2015 - 04:24 PM

First of all, congratulations.
Getting a job as a camera trainee is very hard and it is even harder to stay there so learn everything, ask questions, work harder than the rest, be always ready, in time and you will get through very easily.

If you love there will be sometimes where you will cry, keep that in mind! Because it is a job with a lot of emotions around!

It takes time though. I spent 3 / 4 years as a camera trainee so many years ago and I loved it to bits, however I love being 2nd ac the most.

However, nowadays there are so many options out there to choose from after being camera intern.
You can take the DIT route, the 2nd AC route, Cinematographer Personal Assistant way or even getting yourself specialized on video, which is quite difficult and rewarding too.

I take the two points of view on the forum, the one from Phil, which is understandable and the one from John, which is quite interesting.

The good thing about being a camera intern is that if you get on well with the crew you work with, they will call you always and after some years, they will give you a chance to move up as a 2nd AC if you want to.
Hence, John is right at pointing that film crew is like a family, it is a very difficult one to enter though.

If you have the chance to become a camera intern for one of the better crews in UK (Guardians of the galaxy, Sherlock Holmes, Harry Potter, Star Wars, etc) and you work hard, you will get jobs at that level almost all your life and they will expect you to have a really high professional standard.

It is easier to start as a camera intern and work your way up if you don't have any kind of responsabilities and are young.
People in their mid - 30s are prone to have mortgages, kids, etc, so they cannot say no to jobs as 2nd ac / focus puller and most of the time they won't have the chance to work on something else as cinematographers.

I have nothing to say about the "cuteness" and "characters" of the filmmaking workers as you will see loads of different types, from me, usually very focused when working on set and don't like the chit - chat, but I'm a quite happy person to some others who love telling stories about all the places they went and etc.

You will have to accept them all and live with them.. and sometimes is very hard, but most of the time is like being on holidays! And one thing you will find soon is that they will help you a lot and they will take care of you if you are a hard worker.

If you are a lazy person, you better get off the train now and go the corporate route before wasting 5 years of your life! I suppose you are not though!

As for commercials and features.
You will have to work on both and you will like commercials because they pay very well, are short and sweet and you have all the toys to play with but you will love features because it is where you will learn the craft.

It is said that the best people in the industry work on features, and I think it is true because it takes a different level to be able to not lose focus on something for 2 or 3 months and do your job perfectly every single day every single minute (hello focus pullers! )

So, just saying that welcome to the club! Enjoy your days while working and keep us informed! Maybe some day we will work together!!

Have a good day (and a long career!)
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#35 Michael LaVoie

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Posted 03 March 2015 - 07:01 PM

I've worked with many A.C's who have zero interest in becoming DP's.  Which makes sense as I have no interest in tackling their job.  They are two very different jobs which involve different skill sets and while some are great at both, many are not.   I've been amazed at the work I've seen some A.C.'s do and I know I'd be horrible at it.

So if you find that you're not the greatest 1st A.C., don't let it kill your dreams of becoming a DP cause you may find that your personality and skill set is far better at that and or, vice versa.  


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#36 jake powell

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Posted 22 May 2015 - 01:46 PM

Miguel , thanks for a long and considered post , thought I would give you all an update / recognition thanks for responding . I am currently working on a feature with some of the very crews you mention , Sherlock , gladiator , Harry Potter etc . I should mention also paid not an internship Im taking full trainee wage ... Which is not bad pay ! By my standards anyway , being a 23 ur old single graduate I feel in a good position to tackle this route ! They are a lovely bunch of people and although very serious about the work I do feel very looked after , though not mollycoddled in any way, they expect hard work and quick learning , but it's allways rewarded with a great feeling of gratitude , being told your doing good work is the best thing , despite having loads to learn and being very green . physically the work is tough , there are certain aspects I need to work on to improve , my organisation and neatness for example , Im quite a creative , and have all the cliché attributes that accompany that . But I am so gratefull to have the opportunity to work with them , I just hope it may continue after this project ...
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#37 jake powell

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Posted 09 December 2015 - 03:56 AM

Far from wanting this to turn into a topic of me blowing my own trumpet I just want to say , for all those out there that may be in my situation 2 years ago , if I had listened to some of the negative comments when I opened the thread I would have made one of the biggest mistakes of my life .
since April this year I have been in almost constant employment as a trainee , working on two feature films and a major TV series (which I just last week wrapped on )
I'm on a plane to Poland to have a bit of an Xmas holiday and relax , but in January I start on Star Wars episode 8 as the trainee on the main unit .

So to all those who say this industry is hopeless impossible , etc I say quite frankly , you are misinformed , find the right contacts , do some work experience for them work hard for them , and it would appear this industry is far from hopeless .

(Yes I'm a massive Star Wars fan ) I hope everyone has as much success as me .
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#38 Miguel Angel

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Posted 09 December 2015 - 06:32 AM

Congratulations again!!

I wasn't very far away from the list of movies, right?

Star Wars is a massive movie, loads of months (4 or 5 I suppose!?) so enjoy and may the force be with you!

Have a lovely day!
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#39 Pavan Deep

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Posted 09 December 2015 - 06:40 AM

This is a long thread and covers all sorts of things. I do agree with a lot of what Phil has said here, his words however harsh do bear the realities of the ‘little’ British film industry. I would like to add that Britain is a very class orientated country and most people who seem to get ahead and are ‘successfully working’ tend to be middle class.

 

Pav


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#40 Freya Black

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Posted 10 December 2015 - 11:36 AM

Far from wanting this to turn into a topic of me blowing my own trumpet I just want to say , for all those out there that may be in my situation 2 years ago , if I had listened to some of the negative comments when I opened the thread I would have made one of the biggest mistakes of my life .
since April this year I have been in almost constant employment as a trainee , working on two feature films and a major TV series (which I just last week wrapped on )
I'm on a plane to Poland to have a bit of an Xmas holiday and relax , but in January I start on Star Wars episode 8 as the trainee on the main unit .

So to all those who say this industry is hopeless impossible , etc I say quite frankly , you are misinformed , find the right contacts , do some work experience for them work hard for them , and it would appear this industry is far from hopeless .

(Yes I'm a massive Star Wars fan ) I hope everyone has as much success as me .

 

Hey! I thought this thread had good advice, you yourself admitted it wasn't easy to get that first work.

 

There was a mix of people saying things here all of which are somewhat true and especially for the people saying them..

It's often a mistake that people make when talking about forums that they think of things in terms of getting an answer to a question and that answer being right or wrong. I find it's best to go to forums and to expect a wide diversity of opinions and to decide which is right for you and what useful info you can take from them. You see there are often not right and wrong answers but its more about what is right or wrong for your own situation.

 

Heres a good example. Theres a lot of people here saying that the UK doesn't have much of a film industry. The thing is that the words Leavesden and British film industry don't really sit too well together! ;)

 

If you read through this thread I think it's kinda spot on actually, but you have to take it all into consideration.

 

Anyway whatever, I want to say a big congratulations Jake! :)

 

Freya


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