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Working in England/ London


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#1 Dominik Muench

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Posted 06 May 2005 - 11:29 PM

Hi,

i plan on moving to London at the beginning of next year and was wondering if someone here in the forum comes from that area and could tell me a bit about the working situation there.

thanks
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#2 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 07 May 2005 - 06:20 AM

Hi,

> i plan on moving to London at the beginning of next year

I presume you have some overriding reason for doing this, such as requiring an urgent medical treatment that is only available here, but really all I can advise is don't do it - London and the surrounding area is a dank, ugly place covered in vomit and chewing gum which offers about as many career prospects as long-term incarceration.

The working situation here, such as it exists at all, is absolutely dismal, based as it is largely on the popular myth that a successful film industry exists in London. The reality is that there's so little going on that the rental houses are dropping out of business like falling rocks and what little production there is suffers so relentlessly from PD-150 infection that it generally offers neither quality output nor financial recompense.

If you want to work for free, forever, on awful, artless productions, if you want to live among persistent back-slappers who believe themselves to be the second coming of Kubrick without an ounce of ability, come to London. If you actually want opportunities to work in commercial filmmaking at a professional level, I find it difficult to imagine that anywhere else in the world is a poorer bet.

Phil
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#3 Dominic Case

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Posted 07 May 2005 - 07:26 AM

Well that's encouraging to anyone, Phil!

For a long time I've wondered what it is that keeps you in London since you seem to have such a pessimistic view of life and work there. Surely anyone with half an ounce of get up and go would have got up and gone by now.

But now I've realised that it's just a deliberate ploy to keep the secret of how great the UK film industry is, to yourself. No point in encouraging people - it'll only make the competition harder.

Perhaps you should come to Australia (and the Gold Coast in particular, which is where DMuench is based) if you realy want to exercise your skill. It;s a shocking place. Awful weather, dreadful negativity among the natives, beaches you wouldn't want to go near, food even worse than English food, nned I go on?
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#4 Dominik Muench

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Posted 07 May 2005 - 08:54 AM

thanks dominic :) i am hoping that phil exaggerates. it cant be that the situation is that bad anywhere ? i am aware that a spot in the camera department for a big hollywood movie doesnt flytowards you, but i was hoping for a position somewhere maybe in a smal production company or similar, for tvcs or musicvideos. anyone elese got some experience with england ?
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#5 Richard Boddington

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Posted 07 May 2005 - 09:27 AM

Phil,

Don't you write the pamphlets for the UK tourist board?

I'll be shooting in London from June 1-6, I'll need at least two days of sunny weather, please contact your people for me and make it so.

I know you'll say I'll get zero, but, I have the most amazing luck where ever I go. Getting shots the locals thought where impossible ie, "Tarnation that volcano has been dormant for over 1000 years then you show up with your camera gear and it goes off!!" That sort of thing.

I'd also like a day with dark ominous storm clouds with lots of rolls and contrast in them, not just flat and over cast, know what I mean?

Thanks mate.

R.
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#6 Richard Boddington

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Posted 07 May 2005 - 09:32 AM

Oh and Dmuench, if you want the low down on work in London, try the Cinematography Mailing List (CML)

Which is found here...

http://www.cinematography.net

There are lot's of UK DOPs that post there, it's a different crowd than here, all pros. The admin guy is a professional London DP, Geoffe Boyle (sp?).

But watch out for Phil, he posts on that one as well :D

R.
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#7 Benjamin_Lussier

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Posted 07 May 2005 - 12:11 PM

Clearly Phil has doesn't have the big picture...
London IS one of the major cities for film/TV/commercials production...
Ive been there.... and compared to Montreal... its a goldmine!
I mean.. lots of big movies are shot in Montreal... The aviator, Day after tomorrow, Gothika, The terminal... big commercial directors come here... Like Bruno Aveillan.
We have major post production houses like Hybride ( Sin city, Racing Stripes, Sky Captain), Buzz ( Eternal Sunshine of the spotless mind, Brokeback Mountain (Ang Lee))

All the post-houses headquarters are here... Discreet started here, so did Softimage and the biggest studio in the world is currently under construction in Montreal.

But guess what....
We`re treated as foreign entity... Fillmmakers come here and they bring their own DP of course, their own gaffer, their own make-up artists, their own set designers, their own everything... they have no respect for the talents in Montreal, they`re afraid.... Cuz.. oooh most of them speak FRENCH and english.... how spooky.

Talent is respected in London... it is... artistically speaking, London`s on the map.

So Richard, if you have the choice between L.A or London, stay in L.A... but if it`s seattle or London, or Toronto or london... or any other city and London..
Go for London...That`s what I did b4 I came back here for personal reasons... But Im going back

Edited by Benny_the_kid, 07 May 2005 - 12:13 PM.

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#8 Richard Boddington

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Posted 07 May 2005 - 01:02 PM

Ok Benny_the_kid, I'm confused, so yes you like Montreal or you don't?

As for....

"We`re treated as foreign entity... they have no respect for the talents in Montreal"

That is Quebec's own fault, try not voting for the BQ or the PQ, and you'll see the image of Quebec around the world start to change. Slowly.

I assume film workers in Quebec are smart enough to know that separation will doom Quebec's production industry along with every other sector of the Quebec economy.

R.
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#9 Stephen Williams

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Posted 07 May 2005 - 02:29 PM

Hi,

i plan on moving to London at the beginning of next year and was wondering if someone here in the forum comes from that area and could tell me a bit about the working situation there.

thanks

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Hi,
London is a very expensive place to live. Crew working on high end commercials earn a good living. However as Phil points out there is a lot of competition and its very tough lower down the scale.
Good Luck

Stephen
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#10 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 07 May 2005 - 03:02 PM

Hi,

> Surely anyone with half an ounce of get up and go would have got up and gone by
> now.

At the first opportunity, I'm gone, believe me.

Unfortunately, as I believe I've made abundantly clear in the past, I don't have the same ancestral-visa options as a huge number of Australians (and Canadians, significantly), so unless that's a job offer I'm terminally stuck here.

> it cant be that the situation is that bad anywhere

Why not? Somewhere's got to be the low ebb.

> London IS one of the major cities for film/TV/commercials production...

Based on what? It's an ugly, awful city, barely recovered from the architectural apocalypse of 1960s rebuilding after the second world war. It's ridiculously expensive to do anything from eat a meal to buy an apartment, it's filled with the most backward, ignorant boors imaginable. Your feet stick to every paved surface. New York has snowdrifts; we have litter drifts of almost equal size. One James Bond movie (with all the profits going back to the US) every four years does not make an industry. Neither does Working Title and their endless remaking of the same tired, pointless Hugh Grant movie.

It's absolutely hopeless. Do not come here. You will not like it.

Phil
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#11 Benjamin_Lussier

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Posted 07 May 2005 - 04:14 PM

Phil... its alot harder for a canadian to get in the UK than the opposite believe me. The only reason I can move there is because of my UK ancestry.

We're the second biggest country in the world and we're only 30, 000,000 people... england is more than the double on a very small territory. We depend on immigration because of the lousy birth-rate. We need immigrants. If you hate it so much over there... move out, don't wait for the "right opportunity". These don't fall from the sky you know. But you'll realize that it's hard to get a break no matter where you are on the planet.

> London IS one of the major cities for film/TV/commercials production...
Based on what? Phil asks.
The BBC is the biggest documentary mogul on this planet, theres alot more than James Bond in the UK in case you havent noticed. After the Hollywood/L.A, London's the biggest exporter of television shows. London is the capital of design and motion graphics for commercials and ads. Design students from all over the world go to the U.K for that reason. London has the biggest theatre concentration per mile. (I know its not TV, but still, its a close medium), commercials from the U.K go all around the world for their artistic and quality value , we even have TV shows dedicated to them over here! Post-Production houses like The Mill, Moving picture company, Double Negative, Framestore CFC share more than 37% of the feature film FX industry. Alot of musical scores are recorded in London .. from John Williams to Howard Shore to Fatboy slim...

I mean... travel Phil... come to america... it might help you to gather perspective on London. You seem to be blaming London for your career problems... maybe you should ask yourself some serious questions.

Richard,

I love montreal... but what im saying is this:
Theres alot of films and commercials being shot here... but its a closed process...
People from quebec dont have access to it... mainly because of the Californian policies regarding Canada and the culture/language barrier.

"I assume film workers in Quebec are smart enough to know that separation will doom Quebec's production industry along with every other sector of the Quebec economy"

Do you follow canadian politics? If so, Im sure you've heard about the sponsorship scandal thats tearing the country apart.

Im not pro-seperation, but you obviously dont understand Quebec policies. Theres the language issue of course, they're the only french nation in north american and they dont want to be assimilated, but most importantly... the economy. The federal government hurts Quebec more than any other province. They fear the seperation and re-centralize services to get more taxes from Quebec and then only give back the bare minimum. And whats happening right now is this... the money was stolen. Bills have been falsified by the federal government and hundreds of millions went into the pockets of some of our politiciens...
The rest of canada is also angry as hell... so the opposition will demand a premature election, after just a few months of the new liberal mandate... so bye bye Liberal party. Hello conservatives, and the people in quebec will NOT want Harper as prime minister... He's pro-war on Iraq and anti-environment.... So.. if quebec touches the bottom of the barrel, it'll probably say goodbye to the rest of Canada. Im not saying thats what I want... but the idea that the seperation would destroy Quebec's economy is a false one. But it will hurt the international film industry in quebec for sure yeah...

Cheerios

Ben

Edited by Benny_the_kid, 07 May 2005 - 04:17 PM.

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#12 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 07 May 2005 - 04:46 PM

Hi,

> its alot harder for a canadian to get in the UK than the opposite believe me. The
> only reason I can move there is because of my UK ancestry.

My God, you don't know anything, do you?

This is exactly the problem, because huge numbers of people in ex-colonies like Canada, Australia and even to a lesser extent the US have by definition a huge number of people with links to the UK.

I'm not griping about immigration in general; it would probably be quite easy for me to move to some third-world African state. However, Australia, Canada and other ex-colonies are not developing countries and their inhabitants have no reason to come here other than the change of scene, resulting in the outright theft of desirable posts in many fields, particularly I notice in banking, software engineering and film production. I have never worked on any broadcast television job in the UK where there wasn't at least one Canadian or Australian involved, and that's grossly disproportionate.

I wouldn't have a problem with this - fine, if you're a glutton for punishment, come and see London - but for the fact that the governments of many ex-colonies simply do not reciprocate. Almost everyone in the UK who isn't a recent immigrant has family history here going back to the Magna Carta, so we get no opportunity to move anywhere. It is impossible for people like me to obtain status in either the US, Australia or Canada without corporate sponsorship.

> The BBC is the biggest documentary mogul on this planet,

Again, based on what? Where do you get your information from? The standard of general fact-checking in the world is abysmal these days...

> theres alot more than James Bond in the UK in case you havent noticed.

Name five. There isn't. You don't know what you're talking about.

> Post-Production houses like The Mill, Moving picture company, Double Negative,
> Framestore CFC share more than 37% of the feature film FX industry.

And if they collectively employ three hundred people I would be very surprised.

> I mean... travel Phil... come to america...

I regularly do.

> You seem to be blaming London for your career problems...

I'm not blaming London for anything other than being a despicable, rancid, stinking pit of filth, which it is. I figured out when I was about 17 that the costs of film school were high enough to preclude it and therefore make a career in feature production impossible. That's ten years ago. I'm just trying to avoid anyone else putting themselves in the same hopeless situation by choice. Again, do not com here. You will not like it.

Phil
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#13 Adam Frisch FSF

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Posted 07 May 2005 - 05:32 PM

Well, London is tough - it's no walk in the park, but it's not as tough as Phil makes it out to be. Like everywhere else - you get a break when you deserve it, nothing more, nothing less. Some of my friends are in LA and they've a had a good run - earning much more than I do a day, but I know they got a bit lucky. LA is equally tough if you're not a connected, in the mix or know the right people. So it comes down to where you rather be - Europe or the US? It's basically the same.

I probably would have tried the US if there wasn't such a hassle with green cards - here with the europena union all I had to do was get on the plane.
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#14 Benjamin_Lussier

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Posted 07 May 2005 - 05:44 PM

Phil...
Dont tell me not to come cuz I wont like it...
Ive been there and I like it... what more can you say?

"My God, you don't know anything, do you?"
Putting me down in a cheap fashion won't change what I know about immigration... I travel to London/Montreal alot.. for long periods of times... years even... Dyu really think I don't know anything about the immigration policies of our two countries... Im afraid I know more than you do on this subject my friend.
And Yes... even with UK ancestry.. I had to think of the best immigration deal for me in the UK... Because UK ancestry allowed you to stay for 4 years and theres an 8 months period where you cant work in the country cuz they dont want you to come to take advantage of social support. Although I believe that has changed last december. In canada, there is none, but you do have to find a job before you arrive. And its no biggie if you have something to offer. I WOULD know, my girlfriend's just 20, she's british, she works as video technician (telecine), we're not married, we havent shared bills in the past 2 years, which means she cannot stay in Canada for those reasons, and I cant stay in the UK for the same reasons. She CAN stay in Canada, not because she's my girlfriend, but because she's got a job. In the UK, the employer has to recruit YOU, and you must have special abilities that another UK citizen in search of a job doesnt have.

Here's you five movies:

Harry potter
Batman Begins
Alfie, Closer, the mummy series (1 and 2),
Bridget Jones series, the new pride and prejudice, sky captain and the world of tomorrow, Star wars episode 1, bits of the 2nd and 3rd one too, Tomb raider 1 and 2... dunno if they're making a third one... anyway... Just to name a few

"I figured out when I was about 17 that the costs of film school were high enough to preclude it and therefore make a career in feature production impossible."

Its perfectly possible to have a career in the film industry without going to a film school ... cuz yes, they're expensive everywhere Phil...

Like Adamn said
"you get a break when you deserve it, nothing more, nothing less. "

Ben

Edited by Benny_the_kid, 07 May 2005 - 05:51 PM.

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#15 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 07 May 2005 - 06:28 PM

Hi,

Oh, make it easy for me why don't you.


> Harry potter

US financed and produced; principal crew imported; profits exported.

> Batman Begins

US financed and produced; principal crew imported; profits exported.

> Alfie, Closer, the mummy series (1 and 2),

US financed and produced; principal crew imported; profits exported.

> Bridget Jones series, the new pride and prejudice,

Working Title.

> sky captain and the world of tomorrow

US financed and produced; principal crew imported; profits exported.

> Star wars episode 1 bits of the 2nd and 3rd one too

US financed and produced; principal crew imported; profits exported.

Need I go on?

Don't waste my time with this drivel; I live here, believe me, I know how bad it is.

Phil
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#16 Daniel J. Ashley-Smith

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Posted 07 May 2005 - 06:43 PM

Based on what? It's an ugly, awful city, barely recovered from the architectural apocalypse of 1960s rebuilding after the second world war. It's ridiculously expensive to do anything from eat a meal to buy an apartment, it's filled with the most backward, ignorant boors imaginable. Your feet stick to every paved surface. New York has snowdrifts; we have litter drifts of almost equal size. One James Bond movie (with all the profits going back to the US) every four years does not make an industry. Neither does Working Title and their endless remaking of the same tired, pointless Hugh Grant movie.

What? Welcome to *life*. Admittedly London is an expensive area to live in, but I'd hardly call it a bad city altogether. Brixton?s pretty rough. You remind me of my friend Andrew who seems to say anywhere he goes on holiday is better than England, yeh well they are holidays, time for fun. Foreigners come to London and think how wonderful London is, but that's because it's something new, and they are having fun. But if they were to *live* in London they might think different. As would you probably think different about it if you was to move somewhere else.

Don't waste my time with this drivel; I live here, believe me, I know how bad it is.

Yeh well I know MANY people that live in London and think it's great. You may be saying how bad it is, but, take a look around you, who else is complaining?

> Surely anyone with half an ounce of get up and go would have got up and gone by
> now.

At the first opportunity, I'm gone, believe me.

That hard is it? You can get a mortgage on a basic home, on a basic salary working in Jessops at 18!

Edited by Daniel J. Ashley-Smith, 07 May 2005 - 06:50 PM.

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#17 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 07 May 2005 - 07:14 PM

Hi,

> You can get a mortgage on a basic home, on a basic salary working in Jessops
> at 18!

Try it!

Phil
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#18 Dominik Muench

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Posted 07 May 2005 - 09:10 PM

thanks guys thats a really interesting discussion, actually im happy this comparison with canada came up because that would have been another choice apart from london :) oh n by the way, im not blessed with an australian visa, im german :)
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#19 Richard Boddington

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Posted 07 May 2005 - 09:52 PM

Benny.

Re:

"Im not pro-seperation, but you obviously dont understand Quebec policies. Theres the language issue of course, they're the only french nation in north american and they dont want to be assimilated, but most importantly... the economy. The federal government hurts Quebec more than any other province"

I live in Ontario, I know more about the Quebec/Canada situation than 99% of the population in Quebec or any place else.

I'm sorry Benny but you are a typical brain washed French Canadian, who believes the lies and nonsense spewed out by the PQ and BQ. You honestly believe the federal gov't hurts the economy of Quebec more than any other province, what type of weed are you smoking?

Quebec receives billions and billions every year in federal transfer payments from the rest of Canada! Where do you think the money comes from to keep Bombardier alive, Ontario and Alberta that's where. Come on, look at the facts!

As for separation, well voting yes requires guts, and the people of Quebec just don't have what it takes to build their own country. If they did the French language will be gone from North America 40 years after separation. Do you honestly think that the 340 million English speakers that suround Quebec on three sides are going to learn French to do business with a puny 7 million Quebeccers, come on! Quebec will be swallowed up and spat out by the massive English majority of North America. French is an insignificant language in North America and world wide, accept it. How many people in Asia want to learn French? Zero. They all want to learn English.

So how does this relate to the original question? Well now Phil and Dmuench can see that the USA or Australia would be much better options than Canada, as the furture here (thanks to the people of Quebec) is very unstable.

Life isn't just about shooting film, you have to pay rent and eat as well. So it's valid to decide on locations where this can be done more effectively than others.

As for Phil and Benny I don't see any problems here. Phil wants to come to Canada, Benny wants to go to London, ok guys just switch places :D

R.
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#20 Benjamin_Lussier

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Posted 07 May 2005 - 09:53 PM

Phil....

"Oh, make it easy for me why don't you.
> Harry potter
US financed and produced; principal crew imported; profits exported"

You're clearly missing the point...
Are the movies I listed shot in England/London or not ? U asked me to name five... other than James Bond and I did... if u dont know what to say... just leave it there!
Who cares if the movies are financed by big american studios.... you need those kinds of budgets to make big blockbuster hits.... The principal crew imported? Look at the credits... cept Columbus Producing.... no... all british now...
You speculate alot... look at the facts...

Closer, BRITISH CREW... british JOBS, german director, south african DP
Bridget Jones, all brit cept the main actress..
Batman begins, british director, american DP, british crew, american/british cast.
Tomb raider, british director, american DP, british crew.
and I could go on and on about it...
U just copy/pasted the phrase:
"US financed and produced; principal crew imported; profits exported"
after each movie I named... without even checking...

The crew is british... sometimes you get foreign DPs... but it really goes with the director's choice.... cuz theres alot of brillant DPs in London.
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