Jump to content




Photo

What's your experience on your first big job?


  • Please log in to reply
12 replies to this topic

#1 L.t. Chang

L.t. Chang

    New

  • Basic Members
  • Pip
  • 2 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Los Angeles

Posted 23 March 2016 - 06:56 PM

I would love to pick on someone's brilliant brain on this topic.   

 

I have been a DP for about 10 years, and have mostly dealt with indle low budget features.  Now I might get a chance to film one of the studio budgeted project.  While I'm very excited to have all the toys I could be playing with, I'm also freaked out a little and wondering if I am really up for the job.  

 

Could someone share their experiences when they landed on their first big job?  Besides doing all the homework on technicality, how do you prepare yourself to have the correct mind set and not worrying about screwing up?  and how did it go?

 

 


  • 0




#2 Justin Hayward

Justin Hayward
  • Sustaining Members
  • 720 posts
  • Director
  • Chicago, IL.

Posted 23 March 2016 - 07:45 PM

My first big job was director/Dp on the 2nd unit of a McDonald's commercial.  I was only 24 or 25, but I had been working with the main director for a couple years and after some "helpful" suggestions here and there the producer told me they were going to put me in charge of 2nd unit on the next job.  I was nervous, but it was a blast.  Truth is, the instinct and ideas are already there, so it's not like you're flying blind.  I knew what worked and what didn't, so it was just a matter of execution and taking the time to get it right.  Funny thing was I had been working with the same crew for a few years in other capacities, so they were pretty quick to chime in with their ideas when they saw I was put in charge.  Ya know, one of their buddies.  It's funny, I actually didn't notice how many people were talking in my ear until the 1st AD screamed at everyone to leave me alone.  At the end of a day like that, you can really kick back and feel like you accomplished something (even if it was just a McDonald's commercial :).  It was a really good time and a fond memory of mine.   I'm actually glad you asked because it was nice to relive it for a moment.  It was a really great feeling.  

 

Congrats on the gig.  I'm sure you'll have a blast.


  • 0

#3 Satsuki Murashige

Satsuki Murashige
  • Sustaining Members
  • 3081 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • San Francisco, CA

Posted 23 March 2016 - 09:37 PM

Well, it's all somewhat relative, isn't it? Hopefully, the jobs keep getting bigger and bigger and you are never completely comfortable because you are always stretching slightly beyond what you already know how to do.

One of my first jobs out of school was loading on a 35mm commercial and I thought that was big. A while later, I pulled focus on a commercial with a Jimmy Jib and Steadicam and I thought that was big. A while after that, I was the A Camera 1st AC managing logistics and a crew of five on a $500k+ music video and I thought that was big. Then I got to operate on a Shane Hurlbut commercial along with 100 other camera operators across the US, with all of us rolling on the same sunrise: http://creativity-on...l-sunrise/23403. And I thought that was big. So on and so forth. I am still waiting for my first really big job! ;)

I think the important thing is to keep a level head. Act like you belong, because you do. You already know how to do this, just focus on doing the job one day at a time. Arrive early every day. Remember everyone's name. And don't forget to have fun! Good luck.
  • 0

#4 Justin Hayward

Justin Hayward
  • Sustaining Members
  • 720 posts
  • Director
  • Chicago, IL.

Posted 23 March 2016 - 11:44 PM

Well, it's all somewhat relative, isn't it? 

 

Yes, for sure.  I didn't mean to diminish moving up.  We all have line-in-the-sand moments.


  • 0

#5 Phil Rhodes

Phil Rhodes
  • Sustaining Members
  • 11224 posts
  • Other

Posted 24 March 2016 - 04:30 AM

Once, I worked on a job where there were C-stands!


  • 2

#6 Robin R Probyn

Robin R Probyn
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1035 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Tokyo

Posted 24 March 2016 - 07:50 AM

A US crew then.. 


  • 0

#7 Michael LaVoie

Michael LaVoie
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 603 posts
  • Cinematographer

Posted 24 March 2016 - 08:48 AM

It's a big job for you but the job may be "slumming it" to other crew members or production staff.  You never know which of those others may be your next contact for an even bigger job so best to, "curb your enthusiasm".   ;)  Just be friendly and professional and treat it like any other gig.


Edited by Michael LaVoie, 24 March 2016 - 08:49 AM.

  • 0

#8 Justin Hayward

Justin Hayward
  • Sustaining Members
  • 720 posts
  • Director
  • Chicago, IL.

Posted 24 March 2016 - 09:48 AM

It's a big job for you but the job may be "slumming it" to other crew members or production staff.  

 

I guess I took the question as the first "big job" to be a significant leap toward the career you ultimately want to do for a living.  If my dream was to be the head chef of a restaurant, I would consider my first big job to be the job where a restaurant owner put me in charge of the kitchen.  Whether it was a Michelin three star restaurant or a small local diner, being the head chef would be the leap.

 

I went from being an intern on my first job out of college to being a PA, but I don't consider that much of a career leap.  That's just having decent work ethic.  I'm sure anyone that wants to be a professional DP would consider their first job as a DP, no matter what the budget, to be a big leap toward that goal, but I also think someone that's been DPing low budget features for ten years would consider their first bigger budget studio job to be another huge leap.

 

So of course it's subjective.  


  • 0

#9 Bill DiPietra

Bill DiPietra
  • Sustaining Members
  • 2262 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • New York City

Posted 24 March 2016 - 10:47 AM

Once, I worked on a job where there were C-stands!

 

I recall that shoot!  Lights, too! B)


  • 0

#10 Bill DiPietra

Bill DiPietra
  • Sustaining Members
  • 2262 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • New York City

Posted 24 March 2016 - 10:53 AM

Then I got to operate on a Shane Hurlbut commercial along with 100 other camera operators across the US, with all of us rolling on the same sunrise: http://creativity-on...l-sunrise/23403. And I thought that was big.

 

Lovely spot, Sat.


  • 0

#11 L.t. Chang

L.t. Chang

    New

  • Basic Members
  • Pip
  • 2 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Los Angeles

Posted 24 March 2016 - 11:44 PM

Hi guys, thank you for sharing your experience and tips!  Love all the encouragement!  I'll hop on the ride and just enjoy it!   Any tips on remembering names on set?  I always having a hard time putting faces with names together.   @Satsuki, the sunrise looks awesome!


  • 0

#12 Satsuki Murashige

Satsuki Murashige
  • Sustaining Members
  • 3081 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • San Francisco, CA

Posted 25 March 2016 - 12:07 AM

My frame is the Coit Tower shot near the end at 0:53. They actually sent us iPhone pins to pre-scouted spots and a framing template where the horizon and the sun should be so they could all intercut seamlessly. Then we had to text back screen shots to mission control for approval. 4am call and we were wrapped by 9am, which was great!

I have a hard time with names too. My only trick is to pretend I didn't hear it well the first time and ask them to repeat it. And then I repeat it in my head over and over. Then I usually forget it. :(
  • 0

#13 Adrian Sierkowski

Adrian Sierkowski
  • Sustaining Members
  • 6767 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Los Angeles, Ca

Posted 25 March 2016 - 02:19 PM

I try to look up people on social media from the call sheet before the day; then I'll try to print out a page of faces and their name, and then hand write their name next to it. I hide this inside a little book I carry with me and I can refer to it-- I also introduce myself as though I don't know their name.

It works like 60% of the time-- generally depending upon how much I have going on in my mind at one time.


  • 1


Rig Wheels Passport

Willys Widgets

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

CineTape

The Slider

Paralinx LLC

Glidecam

Pro 8mm

Technodolly

Zylight

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Tai Audio

Visual Products

Aerial Filmworks

Ritter Battery

CineLab

rebotnix Technologies

Abel Cine

Rig Wheels Passport

Abel Cine

Paralinx LLC

Visual Products

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Willys Widgets

Aerial Filmworks

The Slider

Zylight

Tai Audio

Glidecam

CineLab

rebotnix Technologies

Pro 8mm

Ritter Battery

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

CineTape

Technodolly