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#1 Allen Achterberg

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Posted 06 July 2005 - 01:44 AM

Just graduated highschool, dont plan on filmschool, so what do I do now? I want more work, my resume as a First isnt bad, but I dont know where to take it, and who is going to take some highschool 18 yr old serious...and what I'd really like to be doing more of is DP work, but my reel consists of 16 short, and a buttload of minidv (most looks pretty good) but I just dont know how to fullfil my buddies advice "shoot on someone elses money and build your reel" if I'm in a smaller town north of LA with a reel full of minidv. someone please give me some insight, anything helps. what do I do?

Thanks,

Allen Achterberg
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#2 Richard Boddington

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Posted 06 July 2005 - 10:39 AM

Since you clearly lack the connections to get you right into the industry, either friends or family, I really think you need to look at film school.

This topic has been debated to death on this forum I know, and you can read the past threads on this. But attending a university with a film program will at least help you connect with others who have the same goal. There are endless examples of how people succeeded in this biz because of the people they met at film school and where able to build a network around themselves.

You can always quit if you hit it big, but it's a good place to start.

Geez apply to USC you're right there in S. Cal. That's what I would do.

Borrow the money you need, if you can't pay it back, just leave the country or declare bankruptcy.

R,
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#3 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 06 July 2005 - 11:57 AM

You're young, you have time to stumble through the long process of establishing a career, but I honestly think you should go to college and just learn something, anything. Literature, art history, computers, whatever excites your intellect. Pick a college in Los Angeles so you can start to get a feeling for the industry here and make some connections while you go to school. Or go to a film program -- it could be something smaller, like the one at CSUN.

You need time to get established in Los Angeles without the pressure of earning a living in the film industry from the moment you arrive, hence why college might be a good idea. Plus I personally believe that any artform benefits from having people with a wide array of interests, knowledge, and experience -- rather than someone who just shot films from the time they were a kid. You can get too insular that way.
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#4 Elhanan Matos

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Posted 06 July 2005 - 12:34 PM

My suggestion would be to go work at a rental house, there are tons of them all over LA. You'll be able to make a living (not a great one though) and you'll be able to meet alot of people who are working.
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#5 Richard Boddington

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Posted 06 July 2005 - 02:59 PM

This rental house route has been suggested before.

I'm not knocking it per se, but how many people have gone from the bottom floor of a rental house to DP?

Is the plan to ask the DPs that come in, "hey can hang out with you on set and learn?"

R,

Yes I know there are plenty of film school grads selling insurance as well, no need to point that out ot me.
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#6 Allen Achterberg

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Posted 06 July 2005 - 09:44 PM

This rental house route has been suggested before.

I'm not knocking it per se, but how many people have gone from the bottom floor of a rental house to DP?

Is the plan to ask the DPs that come in, "hey can hang out with you on set and learn?"

R,

Yes I know there are plenty of film school grads selling insurance as well, no need to point that out ot me.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>



Fine, any DP's around here want to let me hang out and learn?

I just talked my buddy into letting me use his Aaton XTR cam package for free if I share some telecine time so I am going to start replacing the Minidv stuff with Super16.

But still, If anyone of you guys want a hardworking dedicated kid watching you and learning from you on set please let me know.
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#7 Annie Wengenroth

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Posted 06 July 2005 - 10:36 PM

I don't know, maybe you could just start hanging out with film students even though you don't go to film school. Show them you're into it, and start climbing up the ladder. Don't worry, I don't think you're completely screwed. I don't really want to go into my feelings about college in general on this board, but let's just say that I don't think it's necessary; if you don't go to college it just means you have to do things a little differently because chances are they will be harder. But hell, if you wanted an easy job, you'd probably be doing something else anyway, right? Anyway, just start finding people to talk to and network with and see what you can figure out from there.

Don't let other people try to scare you or tell you that you're worth less than the guy with the college degree. And don't let the guy with the college degree try to bust on you either; I had a friend try to tell me that I should pour even MORE money into school and take more film classes; I told her my classroom is the film set and my tests are the film shoots and I really like my money where it is- in my wallet, not in the hands of the bursar! Whatever path you end up taking, if you have confidence, you will get there and people will respect you.

Oh man I sound like such a hippie. I do hope this has been helpful, if not somewhat cynical advice.
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#8 J. Lamar King

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Posted 07 July 2005 - 12:14 AM

I wish you lived in Texas, I could use you. There are always those low paying indie gigs but you can't find an AC to work them because lately it seems you can always find good paying AC work. I think there are about 8 features between now and August in Dallas alone. Which is good for us.

You should investigate doing some of the lower paying gigs in L.A. or your area because it seems you always meet at least one person who's got something better coming up. On these indie things it seems everyone is a producer/director and the camera crew is always getting hit up to DP or AC something. I got a couple of paying digital features on my line right now because I took a low paying gaffer job and got the chance to show the producer my reel. This is how you build a reel on someone elses dime.

Another thing to try once you have a good reel is to approach established DP's and offer to shoot second unit for them.

Edited by J. Lamar King, 07 July 2005 - 12:19 AM.

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#9 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 07 July 2005 - 01:55 AM

I'm not saying that a college degree means anything in the film industry, only that it's not a bad idea when you're young (or old) to study other subjects besides film.

In film school, I knew one 18 year old who had gone directly from an arts high school to an arts college. She had no idea when the Civil War had taken place! We're talking about one of the defining historical moments for this county.

So I'm not such a believer in people focusing too early on an art career at the expense of a general education. You have to bring something to the table from outside disciplines and experience or else it all gets somewhat inbred and insular.
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#10 Allen Achterberg

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Posted 07 July 2005 - 02:23 AM

Really appreciate that. Would Love to further my education but I'd never be able to fit it into my budget, Time an money wise. Although I do find myself very interested in Philosophy, and Meteorology. as odd as that sounds. Or I'd even study Business, the spark to learn is there for me, But barely making it and being completely independant of my parents makes it difficult for me. I'm just freaking out because I guess I'm finally free of highschool responsibilities and understand that I must build a life for myself career included, I just feel as if I dont want to waste time, at the expense of a furthered education.

Really appreciate your responces,
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#11 Richard Boddington

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Posted 07 July 2005 - 09:01 AM

"I just feel as if I dont want to waste time, at the expense of a furthered education. "

Look at it this way, if you spend four years in film school how old will be four years from now if you didn't go. Answer: just as old.


R,
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#12 timHealy

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Posted 07 July 2005 - 10:19 AM

Allen,

Don't freak out. It is not neccesary. You may start on the road towards the film business and relize you may hate it. You should be comfortably exploring at your age. Keep an open mind and you'll be OK and don't pressure yourself so much.

David always has good advice. But I if may build upon it:

Film school or any college is not completely neccesary. Your degree will be meaningless to others when it comes to getting a job, but it will be invaluable to you in terms of education and information that you carry with you everyday. At 18 or so you really don't know much about anything. I know I certainly didn't.

What is really great about going to film school is you get the overview of filmmaking from beginning to end. You don't get completely educated about any one craft or trade so you don't know everything about one thing when your done. But it is the overview which I suggest is important. And this all depends on the schools program and focus, but generally you get some film history, some criticism, learning about preproduction, production, post, writing, editing, lighting, perhaps some drama and working with actors, etc, etc.

If I may, all film schools are not the same. NYU or USC have more competitive programs so much so that I understand at USC, you may not get to even make your own final thesis film and you have to work on other students projects. At a smaller school you may get to make films from the first day to the last day. You will need to research the programs if you decide on this route. I went to RIT in Rochester, NY and other than the winters, and for many reasons it was a great choice. For me anyway.

Now David has a point that other studies may give you a broader view of the world which is just as important as a film school degree. Films are about people and life, and if you don't know about that life, your films may be about things that no one cares about. I have aways thought that the technology involved in making films is not all that hard to learn. It can be done later.

What can be invaluable to a DP is some sort of art background especially when being able to express yourself in an artisic manner and involve art, painting, and color histories into your shooting rhetoric. The creative types really love that when you may working with film and TV directors and commercial clients. You may get noticed from a reel, but it is in the interview process where you get hired.

Additionally when you go to film school, you will meet alot of film students and your carreers may grow together.

Now having said all that, you may do alright if you get a job at a rental house, learn the gear, shoot on weekends, meet camera assistants, beg borrow and steal transfer time, look for shooting jobs on mandy.com and the like. But if you take that route I would suggest you don't join the union as a camera assitant. The work and money will become attractive. Just keep shooting and focus on shooting. Don't take any other work than shooting.

OK just my 2 cents. Good luck.

Tim

Edited by heel_e, 07 July 2005 - 10:26 AM.

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#13 timHealy

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Posted 07 July 2005 - 10:34 AM

PS Being completely independent from your parents may be able to help you finacially when you go to school. If you reallly have no help, they'll give you more money to go. Don't let a lack of funds stop you from going to school. You will make more money later from an education. Go through the application process, apply for financial aid, and figure it out later. Or go to a junior college first for a few years too save money, but do consider going. There is so much to learn out there.


Tim
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#14 Tina Coggins

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Posted 14 August 2005 - 09:10 PM

Really appreciate that. Would Love to further my education but I'd never be able to fit it into my budget, Time an money wise. Although I do find myself very interested in Philosophy, and Meteorology. as odd as that sounds. Or I'd even study Business, the spark to learn is there for me, But barely making it and being completely independant of my parents makes it difficult for me. I'm just freaking out because I guess I'm finally free of highschool responsibilities and understand that I must build a life for myself career included, I just feel as if I dont want to waste time, at the expense of a furthered education. 

Really appreciate your responces,

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Allen, I'm in Santa Maria, too. Casey Case is no longer at Hancock college, but AHC still has a decent film program for a community college. But the cool thing about going there is that if you go, and you get your units to transfer, CSUN will accept you as long as you meet their requirements -- some sort of a symbiotic/reciprocity thing, dunno. But you can apply for scholarships while at AHC (and you will likely qualify for a BOG grant at AHC that will pay your tuition there), and you can make it work. If you'd like some advice on how you could maybe make it work for you, private message me, or I can post it here, if you like. I'm not trying to tell you what to do, but rather let you know that you have options, and that if you really would *like* to go to school, not to give up too easily. In this life, tenacity is important. :)

I'll be going to CSUN within the next 1 1/2-2 years (I'm finishing my AS in Graphic Communication and a certificate in Film & Video Production). The best to you!

Edited by Tina Coggins, 14 August 2005 - 09:11 PM.

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