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A Good Read For Those Considering Work In Film
16 replies to this topic
Posted 28 April 2014 - 05:47 PM
Great article. I love No. 6. It's so true. Trying to explain to family and friends what I do as a DP does is pointless. Everyone asks but no one wants to hear it. 30 seconds into a true explanation just results in a glazed over faraway look in their eyes. So now I just say "I make the actors pretty with lights and lenses" and leave it at that.
Posted 28 April 2014 - 07:12 PM
You think that's bad? Trying telling people you're a "film director." Next question that always follows....oh really what have you done? Well my last film was called Against The Wild. Response.....never heard of it.
Unless you're making tent-pole movies there is little chance anyone has heard of your work.
Posted 28 April 2014 - 07:34 PM
Richard! Shock image tactic. A scary biter. Reminded me of the pranks my son plays on the computer, sudden image of monster etc.
Posted 29 April 2014 - 01:42 PM
Richard, I'd suggest taking the 'Well, I just made a film with Natasha Henstridge...' route. 'Species' cred has gotta count for something surely?!
Posted 29 April 2014 - 02:28 PM
Funny you should say that, I was discussing the other day getting an A-list Oscar winner for my next project, only to hear the other person say, "who's that?" I don't know why I bother?
Posted 29 April 2014 - 02:31 PM
Because you love what you do and you love driving Ferraris?
Posted 29 April 2014 - 02:36 PM
I went into this because oceanography and law required that you get like really good grades and stuff.
The great thing about the film industry is that it accepts everyone, and the industry does not discriminate, it treats everyone like crap with total equality.
Posted 29 April 2014 - 02:38 PM
If I knew how much it would suck to make and finance my own films, I would have became a DP, OP, Grip, or anything other than a Director. I'm sure you know all too well.
Posted 29 April 2014 - 02:40 PM
Other than director? Then who will direct your epics?
Posted 29 April 2014 - 03:00 PM
You're right. That is the thing that makes it all worthwhile. Directing would be so much easier if, like you said in another post, "people would set things up and then leave the set."
Posted 29 April 2014 - 03:26 PM
I'll tell you one thing, the ONLY reason I go through so much BS is so I can direct the movie, otherwise, what is the point? That is the best part of the entire process. 5-6 weeks once every 2-3 years, that's all the ride you get. But it's worth it!
I have had so many people say to me, Richard, why don't you just produce the movie and hire someone else to direct it? I always burst out laughing at the mere suggestion of the idea.
Posted 29 April 2014 - 03:45 PM
Indeed. I am confusing the duties of Producer with Director. It is hard for me to separate it since, at my lowly level, they are merged together. I guess what I really hate is the Producing aspect. Once the aces are in place and production starts, its actually fun. It's the prep, negotiations, and money budgeting that I hate.
Posted 29 April 2014 - 05:50 PM
Regarding wishing the crew would just "Set things up and leave" - As a DP, I've worked with many types of set technicians and production staff. Union and non. There are some that are downright grumpy no matter the conditions or pay and some that are a joy to be around no matter the conditions or pay.
It's tough to book the latter on short notice because they work a lot. Finding crew with great attitudes who are quiet on set and who get the job done but with a smile even at hour 14 are in high demand so they can demand a higher rate and you have to book them way in advance cause they're always working.
I have my first choices for every position and even months in advance they're rarely available. I get recommendations from them who are also often never available and they give me recommendations who may finally be available. By then it's a crap shoot of whether their "on set demeanor" is on par with my first choice. So it goes. . .
But when you have a set with those sort of friendly technicians and really nice production staff, it feels like a team and not like you're making your movie against the odds by yourself. When it feels like you're alone in your effort, that's when you wish you actually were.
Edited by Michael LaVoie, 29 April 2014 - 05:51 PM.
Posted 30 April 2014 - 01:27 AM
When I was younger I actually did wonder how I was going to make a living schmoozing with people and passing out my business card, when I was needed for was to push a dolly or set up lights, and/or run errands. But the further you go, the more you progress, and the more you make until you can realize your projects.
It's a lively industry that keeps the pounds off and is fun.
Posted 30 April 2014 - 03:04 AM
Well, it is to a degree. I'm sure we've all had fun jobs and miserable jobs.
It is easier to appreciate the upsides when you're in a location in which it's actually possible for the majority to make a worthwhile living. Most of the British film crew I know are, frankly, so poor it's honestly difficult to get much fun out of life after you're finished worrying about the rent. Some of the best people I've ever worked with now have tedious day jobs because the upsides of film and TV work simply couldn't compensate for, well, a pension.
Or, to put it briefly, film and TV would be awesome if it paid something like a living wage, which for anyone but the top 1%, it doesn't.
Posted 30 April 2014 - 11:39 AM
It depends on who you're hooked up with, and where you're working. I've known a few skittish directors, some who were even perpetual paranoids, but I've never really known anybody who was unprofessional to the point of being unpleasant to work with. I was stage managing at a small but solid studio off Harrison way back when one day. My day had started at 5AM. I prepped the stage, made sure the dolly was delivered, cleared space in the prop room, cleaned the eating area and kitchen, then after the crew struck and left, I then proceeded to sweep and then sand the stage with an Orbital all by myself. I had one half-hour lunch break that day.
The director came in to use the stage phone, saw me put down the sander, take off my goggles and dust mask, and sit on a stage riser I was using as a work bench.
The director told me the following; "George, get off your ass and get back to work!" And yes, he did yell at me. I didn't take him seriously because he was a blow hard (still is). I stood up, turned around, and told him I was taking a break. The time was 7:30PM.
I think the senior stage manager came in to smooth things over.
So, yeah, you do get guys like that. I've got some war stories, but I still miss the work. It's like any other job. You have good bosses, and not so good bosses. Oh well.