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Working at a rental house on my path to becoming a DP?


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#1 David Henry Brooks IV

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Posted 01 June 2014 - 07:54 PM

Hey all,

 

I was curious as to how beneficial it would be to work at a rental house on my path to becoming a DP. I'm heading out to LA for the summer to stay with my aunt and was going to look for an internship/job at a small rental house.

 

What are some of the pros and cons to working at a rental house? I know of someone who works at one currently and has gotten on dozens of commercials as well as a big budget feature recently and works as a MoVI Operator and Tech, so obviously the one he works at doesn't seem to be so time consuming that he can't get on gigs. And he's only been working for a little over a year.

 

Also, if I choose to go this route, how could I stand out and make a good impression when applying to one?

 

Thanks!


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#2 Gregory Irwin

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Posted 01 June 2014 - 09:06 PM

If you want to be a DP, be a DP. Working at a rental house can be good but it costs you time from achieving your ultimate goal. Just do it!

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#3 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 02 June 2014 - 02:09 PM

What Greg said.


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#4 Adam Frisch FSF

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Posted 02 June 2014 - 05:55 PM

Let me be the contrarian then. I think any job that gets you closer to what you want to do is beneficial. You learn from everything you do. And it might get you the opportunity to get on sets you wouldn't otherwise have access to. I know of at least one very big DP who started loading trucks at a camera rental house. There's as many routes to becoming a DP as there are DP's.


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#5 George Ebersole

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Posted 02 June 2014 - 11:57 PM

It might help in the long run by making contacts, but like the other guy said, if you want to be a DP, then hang around camera crews and get to know a few DPs.


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#6 Victor Tadashi Suarez

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Posted 06 June 2014 - 07:48 AM

FAKE IT TILL YOU MAKE IT! 

 

I also considered working at a rental house when I first started out. I think the best way to develop your skills as a DP is through practice, and "just doing it". But there are bills to pay when you're just starting out and its going to be very challenging at first to find paying gigs, especially in the super saturated job market that is LA. Any job that puts you anywhere in the film world is preferable to, say, waiting tables. Working at a rental house is definitely great for making contacts, and a wonderful stepping stone for getting crew gigs and an especially good first step towards becoming a gaffer. That said, its also quite difficult to land a job at a rental house. My advice would be to take the initiative - spend a day driving around to every rental house in LA and introduce yourself to the managers and express your interest in working there. And, you know, charm them :)

 

Fake it till you make it but feed yourself first. GOOD LUCK


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#7 Peter Jensen

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Posted 09 June 2014 - 01:19 AM

Visiting the rental house, offering to help, making your presence know.  Even if you are washing employees cars or delivering things for the company or sweeping the floor.   Radiant Images is one of my favorite rental houses, a wonderful group of people, all very helpful and good people.  You might talk with "MIKE".  incredibly nice company.


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#8 Rakesh Malik

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Posted 11 June 2014 - 03:45 PM

"Fake 'til you make it" isn't particularly good advice. Photographers have had their careers ruined by attempting this approach.

 

Don't pretend to be something you're not... instead, go and start shooting and learning, and getting better. Find crews to work with even as a PA to get the contacts as well as to see how things work on set, and keep at it.

 

Most of all, keep practicing cinematography.

 

That said, getting a job in a rental house is probably a more rewarding way to pay the bills than a soul-sucking IT contract, though probably also not as lucrative.

 

Of course, working at a rental house does have one advantage: they want you to know how to use the stuff that you're renting so that you can provide support to your customers...


Edited by Rakesh Malik, 11 June 2014 - 03:46 PM.

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#9 Royce Allen Dudley

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Posted 12 June 2014 - 10:42 PM

"Fake it 'til you make it" is a sure way to build a reputation... possibly a very bad one. In a day when the internet offers a permanent record of your exploits, a little far-sightedness and humility can go VERY far.

 

I have been telling people for 2 full decades that if I had it to do over, I would merely work at a rental house to start. That would have been 1980 had I done it, though a took a less intelligent route; it's even more true today.

 

There are DPs and then there are DPs. Which do you aspire to be ? Another dude with a camera who makes a couple bucks, or the next Roger Deakins ?

 

Digital and DSLRs have created an explosion of interest in cinematography as a career. You can  "just do it" and call yourself a DP, but unless you have phenomenal talent ( a gift which cannot be learned or faked) or phenomenal hustle ( and that can work for some ), you are unlikley to rise above unnoticed projects... even if you manage to make a living at it.

 

If your goal is network TV or studio pictures, it's 100% who you know followed by what you know. The ONLY way to get that remains knowing real, working ACs, then DPs, and getting on set with a variety of them. The easiset way to do that is to be a good rental house employee.

 

Rental houses provide a job and a paid education in both real film gear and how it is treated and used, as well as connections to people working on real projects.

 

In my humble opinion, it's a no brainer... as long as you are at a good rental house that serves big clients.

 

 

 

 


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