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What is the best path to take?


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#1 Todd Pritchett

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Posted 04 May 2005 - 08:31 PM

Here is my situation. I graduated from from the Rochester Institute of Technology in fine art photography in 2003. Since then I've moved to Los Angeles and have been working as a digital printer printing gallery shows for other artists and photographers as well as working on my own personal photo projects. Printing is not really where I want to be (though it offers me great access to printers and scanners and artists), neither is commercial photography and though I love still photography I don't feel this is where my heart truly lies. My passion is for film pure and simple. I love the cinema, everything about it. I watch everything I can get my hands and love to absorb every frame, love to be moved by the story, love to analyze the cinematography, the editing, the color balancing, music, acting, direction...everything. Nothing fills me with as much joy as when I'm sitting in the dark watching a great film. I've always wanted to be a part of it and for some reason didn't take the path of going to film school as an undergrad. Now I'm 26 and have come to the conclusion that film is what I want to do with the rest of my life. Sure at some point I think I'd love to direct and make my own movies. Right now I'd be really happy to handle the visuals and work with other creative film loving people.

So my question, where do I go from here? I'm looking at graduate schools, trying to figure out what to do till school starts and trying to figure out how to learn the most I can about film production and cinematography. What would be the most productive avenue of approach? (I wouldn't be able to start school till fall 2006 if I get in) Should I quit my job and just start working as a PA? Is there anybody I should talk to or any place I should try to get a job or volunteer my time? What schools should I be looking at and what should I be doing in the mean time to better my chances of getting in?

I'm a very passionate and hard working person and I'm very excited to start this new phase of my life. My current job has left me pretty bored, I want to throw myself into this and do all I can before school. I own a canon GL2 which I use for personal projects and daily videoing (still haven't made a full blown movie with it yet...) Could this come in handy to possibly get some no to low paying DP gigs for practice?

I know this was a long post but I have many questions and concerns. I really appreciate anyone who took the time to read this and thank in advance anyone who can give me some help or advice. Thanks so much!


Todd
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#2 Pipo-X

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Posted 13 May 2005 - 03:09 PM

I'm somewhat in the same position as you, but I graduated from a 3d animation school 3 years ago and I want to write and direct my own stuff. I think I found a way: DIY : Do It Yourself.

I bought a little camera (Panasonic camcorder (about 1000$) and I write my own stuff by myself. I can edit and make some special effects cause I went in school for that. But schools of arts, wichever art it is, don't garentee a job. The only thing that matters is your own motivation and work. Write a short movie that you can do with your knowledge and do it. That's the path I go trough. It's hard and sometimes I get depressive because time is flowing out but I continue working and working.

I think it's when you abandon that everything is lost. As long you work and put motivation and passion to it, there's hope that you'll realize your dreams.

But still, asume tha fact that there's more chances that you'll fail. If not, you'll drown in deep endless sadness... believe me.

It's when everything seems against you and that you can pull the strenght out of your soul to move on that you'll be sure that you do it for passion, not for success or fame.


Remember, faillure is the inevitable path to success.

I hope that my hope messages will help you, I can't do more cause I'm like you... dreaming all day long. Dream + work + passion = maybe you'll succeed. We'll, that's my way of seeing things.
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#3 Dan Salzmann

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Posted 14 May 2005 - 03:05 PM

I would suggest working in the camera department of a rental house. Maybe a lighting rental house. It really does take many years before you can call yourself a DP. Your GL2 is useful to teach you about framing and composition but not much else. Your photographic education is a definite plus. If you are passionate about cinematography and a hard worker you can get there.
I started as a photo assistant, then a professional photographer while working on little films on the side. Just be patient.
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#4 Jon Amerikaner

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Posted 14 May 2005 - 11:16 PM

There is no one path to cinematography. Many talented men and women have reached their dreams through many different paths. But what I believe they all have in common is passion, patience, and persistence. In my opinion the best way to become a DP is to just do it. Shoot as many projects as you can, either in school or as an independent filmmaker. While working in a rental house or becoming a crew member can get you there, many aspiring DPs who are good at their crew jobs work so much that they cannot find time to shoot. It used to be that to become a first class DP one would spend a decade or more in all the subordinate crew positions: loader/2nd AC, 1st AC, and Operator. The benefit to this system was by the time one became a DP; one would be immensely qualified to handle the job. Unfortunately do to the high volume of very talented crew people and the very limited number of jobs; this has become less of an option. Personally, I'm going to graduate school where, unlike the industry, I am guaranteed the opportunity to shoot films. Your background in still photography will be tremendous since cinematography is essentially still photography but at 24 frames per second instead of just 1. Clearly cinematography has some unique challenges to it not found in photography, but the concepts of composition, color, and exposure remain very similar if not identical. I would not put a lot of emphasis in filming major projects on your GL. I own a GL myself and I am very aware of its capabilities. If you get on a project I would encourage you to rent a better camera for a fraction of the purchase cost. Right now the only graduate schools (in the US) that offer specializations in Cinematography are AFI and Chapman. At other schools you can make yourself a DP, which can be advantageous because most of your peers will be aspiring directors in need of a talented and dedicated DP, but these schools will not give you the same specialized track as AFI or Chapman. I applied to and received admission to both so I can tell you more about each. Hope this helps, best of luck.


Here is my situation.  I graduated from from the Rochester Institute of Technology in fine art photography in 2003.  Since then I've moved to Los Angeles and have been working as a digital printer printing gallery shows for other artists and photographers as well as working on my own personal photo projects.  Printing is not really where I want to be (though it offers me great access to printers and scanners and artists), neither is commercial photography and though I love still photography I don't feel this is where my heart truly lies.  My passion is for film pure and simple.  I love the cinema, everything about it.  I watch everything I can get my hands and love to absorb every frame, love to be moved by the story, love to analyze the cinematography, the editing, the color balancing, music, acting, direction...everything.  Nothing fills me with as much joy as when I'm sitting in the dark watching a great film.  I've always wanted to be a part of it and for some reason didn't take the path of going to film school as an undergrad.  Now I'm 26 and have come to the conclusion that film is what I want to do with the rest of my life.  Sure at some point I think I'd love to direct and make my own movies.  Right now I'd be really happy to handle the visuals and work with other creative film loving people.

So my question, where do I go from here?  I'm looking at graduate schools, trying to figure out what to do till school starts and trying to figure out how to learn the most I can about film production and cinematography.  What would be the most productive avenue of approach?  (I wouldn't be able to start school till fall 2006 if I get in)  Should I quit my job and just start working as a PA?  Is there anybody I should talk to or any place I should try to get a job or volunteer my time?  What schools should I be looking at and what should I be doing in the mean time to better my chances of getting in? 

I'm a very passionate and hard working person and I'm very excited to start this new phase of my life.  My current job has left me pretty bored, I want to throw myself into this and do all I can before school.  I own a canon GL2 which I use for personal projects and daily videoing (still haven't made a full blown movie with it yet...)  Could this come in handy to possibly get some no to low paying DP gigs for practice?

I know this was a long post but I have many questions and concerns.  I really appreciate anyone who took the time to read this and thank in advance anyone who can give me some help or advice.  Thanks so much!
Todd

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


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#5 J. Lamar King

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Posted 15 May 2005 - 02:35 AM

I come from a stills background but I was the same way as you I always loved cinema. I learned photography through cinema but it was always so impractical to do it that I just started shooting stills and the ocassional motion picture piece. I did that for about 10 years and then I decided at 30 to quit the stills and DP full time. I'm like anybody else now just another face in the sea but I feel Dp'ing is the right thing for me because of my past experience. Now at 34 I've proven that, and I like where I am professionally and I'm still learning, always learning, you can never stop that in this profession. If I didn't have that many years in I would definately spend some time AC'ing to learn the craft and equipment. I just kind of grew into it and it has been like starting over because only your David LaChapel's get to cross over at the top flight of cinematography.

Edited by J. Lamar King, 15 May 2005 - 02:39 AM.

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Willys Widgets

Visual Products

rebotnix Technologies

Aerial Filmworks

Tai Audio

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Wooden Camera

Opal