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Film Careers - Where to Begin

The camera Post production There are a few common choices for people who want to work with camera or grip equipment - ether working up from an entry-level post such as runner or starting in a rental house, preparing equipment. Others make a direct entry to higher-level roles (such as director of photography) on independent productions and short fims, honing their craft with the intention of securing higher-level work later on. department 350,000 We'll deal with a few common ways into particular departments, but similar routes exist for many of the allied trades as well. HD According to the US bureau of labor statistics, more than 350,000 people worked in the motion picture and video industries in 2008, most of them as self-employed individuals or for small companies with just a few employees. Ultimately, the way to get into this competitive field is any way you can, and it's easy to find people who have taken various routes. The official route into post production is either through running or working in a tape room. Running It's sometimes possible, especially with personal connections, to secure a minimum-wage position as a runner, a general on-set gopher. Runners may either be assigned to a particular department or, more commonly, assigned to people on demand. For all trades It's difficult to strike a balance between looking appropriately busy and learning anything from the experience. Pursuit of advancement must be done without giving a negative impression of the current role The tape room The Tape Room In the bowels of every post-production facility is a room filled with computers, tape decks and the back-end hardware that makes editing and color grading possible. Nepotism f you have any personal or familial connections, now is Rental house Starting off in a rental house simply means bombarding as many of them as possible with applications. Formal qualifications are often not required. For all trades One can gain an in-depth understanding of the people and the technology that operate the Tape Room, which will serve a future career well. The role involves drawing equipment from storage against a list of requirements from a production, testing it and preparing it for use in collaboration with the production's camera department. This provides the opportunity to leam the equipment and meet potential future colleagues. the time to exercise them, as if you needed telling. I's surprising how many people who are big in the business had family or friends with simlar careers. Film CareerS Money Where to begin Be prepared to work for free, but not for long. Inteming with a company or individual for more than a few weeks full time is generally exploitative, and this is an endemic problem in the industry, even in places with minimum-wage legislation. Ir's important not to shortchange a rental house-they're employing people to do work for them, and those who make it dear they're there only as a route to other things may do less well. Ultimately, the rental house worker may be able to use contacts made at work to move into freelance camera department roles Running Clients in grading or edit sessions need to eat. An entry-level worker may end up doing tasks ranging from fetching takeaways to retrieving media from the tape room. Direct entry Starting out in a more senior position, as a camera assistant, focus puller or even DP, is possible on lower-end productions. Jobs can be found using resources such as Mandy and Craigslist. Running may be a precursor to more technical work, if the facility does not directly Often, owning low-cost prosumer camera equipment such as an HDSLR or lighting gear is a route to work, although it's sometimes necessary to supply the equipment for free in order to secure employment $100 TUU accept newcomers to technical roles. Writing Direct entry It is not uncommon for successful writers to become directors, but the prerequisite is that a writer's work be in sufficient demand in order for his interest in directing to be considered by the production company. Michal Crichton directed several films based on his and others' novels. It is hardly possible to begin directing shorts, independent projects, and then move up to directing major motion pictures. Start a business 3 Other trades Some people have made careers in post production by starting a business that offers the service. Usually, this is done by professionals with prior experience in existing businesses, but it is possible to build a business from scratch, working for increasingly high-end clients as time goes on. Robert Rodriguez famously made Doing a good job with little experience can be tricky, and the available work may be very low end, especially at first. It can be difficult to make a living at first, or to fill the critical show reel with sufficiently impressive material without significant perseverance. People whose tasks involve a degree of direction, in any case, have become directors or occasionally direct. Similar opportunities sometimes open up for directors of photography and some other trades. None of these are entry-level roles the first place, though, so this is not so much a way in but rather a way to move around. Phil Tippett, the visual-effects specialist, directed the sequel to Starship Troopers. this happen, but his fame for doing so is in proportion to its rarity. Director of photography Take heed: the initial investment in Director In the end The director of photography is in charge of the camera department and this position is a common goal, but very fulfiling careers are avalable as a senior camera assistant, grip or as a specialist of a particular piece of equipment such as a Steadicam or cranes. equipment and work space will be large. But I want to direct $100 TUU

Film Careers - Where to Begin

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Infographic - Film Career - Where to Begin designed for SBG magazine (B&H Pro Video & Audio).


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