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How does one get a job on a Mahor film set?


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#1 Landon D. Parks

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Posted 06 October 2005 - 04:15 AM

You see all the time people wanting crew for small, Indie films... But what about the major movies? Who do you go through to get an entry level (or maybe even mid-entry level) possition on these production?

where do you send your resume? lol...

I'm really interested in the "Clapper / Loader" Possition.. Nice entry level, camera department job..

Edited by Landon D. Parks, 06 October 2005 - 04:17 AM.

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#2 Mike Panczenko

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Posted 06 October 2005 - 08:07 AM

To work on major filmsets in the camera department, you usually need to be a union member, since almost all, with very few exceptions, major movies are unionized. Some productions do offer a job as a camera PA, though, which is not a union position, so that is a great place to start, get your hands on the cameras, and make contacts. That having been said, it is the contacts, above all else, that will get you work. The first AC usually crews the camera dept, and will bring along his usual crew memebers, if possible, or will bring along a 2nd, who then might bring along you, etc. In my experience, I have found that crews are usually very charitable in hiring people as camera PAs, and will often add the position where there wasn't one, if you write them a polite letter expressing your desire and eagerness to learn. Your film comission should have the phone or fax numbers of the movies being shot in your area, and you can fax in a letter with instructions to have it forwarded to the camera dept, and see where things go from there!
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#3 Tim J Durham

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Posted 06 October 2005 - 08:12 AM

I'm really interested in the "Clapper / Loader" Possition.. Nice entry level, camera department job..

You and 30,000 people who've just graduated film school. First off, if you have no plan/inclination to go to film school I'd say you need to be out in California. Second, once you're out there you need to meet/know some people making films. Since you have no experience, you need to be relentlessly responding to ads on CraigsList.org and Mandy.com that seek entry-level people willing to work for low/no pay. You may only get one response out of 100 or even less but it only takes that first one to get you started.

But in my opinion, you are a perfect candidate for film school. Try to claw your way into Chapman:

http://ftv.chapman.edu/

Getting into USC or UCLA is probably impossible and I've heard good things about Chapman. You're only 18 once. If what you want is to work in the film business, you should start now and quit making excuses to yourself.
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#4 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 06 October 2005 - 08:55 AM

There are a large number of paid PA jobs on every major film shoot; contact the production office. Trouble is that they would probably expect PA experience on smaller films first.

"Clapper" is 2nd AC; both that and the "Loader" are Local 600 Union positions. Camera PA is possible, or if you're affliated with a school, camera intern.
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#5 JA Tadena

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Posted 01 January 2006 - 12:15 PM

Hi there. Im sorry but I really have no experience with unions here in the country i live in (Philippines). Lets say Im working as a freelance DP locally and I plan to move to the States. Im sorry I havent been in the U.S. yet. Lets say again Ive done a few local full length feature films and commercials here and have compiled a reel to show.How hard is it to apply in the union? What are the requirements? I know that also depends on how good you are but do you have any suggestions or inputs on where I would probably start( especially if you dont know anyone to start with?) Thanks a lot in advanced.
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#6 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 01 January 2006 - 12:25 PM

There is plenty of non-union work, for starters, so you probably be trying to get that work at first when you get here rather than immediately try and join the union as a DP (which would cost you $10,000 to join as a DP, by the way, plus about $1000 a year in dues.)

The basic IATSE Local 600 requirements are proving that you've worked 100 days total of PAID work as a DP (or whatever category you wish to join under, operator, AC, etc.) within a 3-year period dating back from the time of application. However, the work has to have been done in the U.S. and its territories. Don't know how foreign DP's get around this requirement, unless they are "grandfathered" in (i.e. are hired to shoot a non-union job that becomes union in mid-shoot.)

So I suspect that you'd spend some time getting the 100 days of experience here doing non-union work first (don't know what the work visa issues are). There's no reason to join the union and pay those prices unless you are at a place in your career where you are being offered union work.

Save any paycheck documentation because it becomes necessary once you decide to join.

Edited by David Mullen, 01 January 2006 - 12:27 PM.

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#7 Jason Debus

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Posted 01 January 2006 - 02:52 PM

Hi Landon,

At my school they are always handing out e-mails they get from various TV & film production companies looking for unpaid PA's (production assistant). That is basically the entry level position on a film set. I've never done it (i need to get paid), but from what I gather you work those positions and try to impress someone that you can do another job and then you can 'move up' the chain so to speak, maybe even getting a paid job!

Chapman U. is somewhat expensive, so know that you can go to LA City College if you can't get in anywhere else.

Good Luck!
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#8 Rick Pearson

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Posted 12 January 2006 - 04:08 PM

Would work performed as a full time staff member at a television station or production house count towards the union requirements if it applies to the field being applied for ?
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