Jump to content

Moving to L.A.


J. Lamar King IMPOSTOR
 Share

Recommended Posts

So the time has come when I feel the opportunities here in Texas have petered out and I've decided to move to L.A. Any advice would be appreciated and I would be interested in any rooms to rent, floors to crash on, good parks to sleep in :P etc. with other film people (message me). I'm planning to move around July 23rd.

Link to comment
Share on other sites


  • Premium Member
So the time has come when I feel the opportunities here in Texas have petered out and I've decided to move to L.A.

Well, there's no better place for opportunities to peter out than L.A...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Dude, I lived in LA and now live in El Paso. I'm probably on of the few people besides Randy Newman that truely LOVE LA, but I can't afford to live ther. It's obsenely exspensive (It's getting almost as bad a New York as far as apartment prices go. A small home goes for a half a million dollars, for Christ's sake) Gas prices are ridicules compared to here. You have to have a GOOD job just to make ends meet. Your gonna find yourself working your ass off just to pay the bills AND because everybody and their cousin who whats to be in the movie business LIVES in LA, there are 50 guys for every job and they're ALL more quailified than you (or so it seem when your there). That's the reason I'm here. I've been able to do more here than would have ever been possible in LA. I'll make my films here, where it's cheap and sell them there. If you want to move, move to Austin. They have a thriving film community there. I'm kinda surprised Dallas isn't happening. It's called the third coast after all. B)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

When I moved to Barrie Ontario I thought for sure my film career was dead.

 

Now I'm about to shoot my first feature here of all places, at a location that will clober any thing LA has to offer. In fact the place I'm shooting in has never been seen on film before. I had no idea it was all right under my nose, if I could find a similar facility in LA I'm sure they'd charge $5000.00 a day for it.

 

Once the DVD is ready I FedEx it to the many distributors in LA and Toronto I've been in contact with. I can run FCP here at my home just as easily as I could in LA right?

 

So I get to live outside of Barrie in a clean safe area on a golf course, in a home that would sell for millions in LA, but is quite affordable here. I've been to LA many times and I would only live in an upscale area with a fence, barbed wire, and guard dogs. It will be a long time before I can afford that, so here I stay for now.

 

It's true what Ivan Reitman always says, you have to make your own opportunities in the film business, LA will be no different if you want to be successful.

 

R,

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Premium Member

I'm a native Californian, born in San Diego, family living in Orange County and up the coast to Santa Barbara. I love to visit but I wouldn't live there on a bet. If you don't mind living in a provincial place film-wise Oklahoma is hard to beat. Great people, cheap houses, plenty of work if you've got a good skill, and absolutely beautiful four season locations to film in.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Premium Member
If you want to move, move to Austin. They have a thriving film community there.

 

He's actually moving FROM Austin...

 

And he's the second person I know from Austin who just moved to L.A. to find more work.

 

Sort of depends on what you're trying to do. If you want to shoot regularly as a cinematographer, it helps to be in a major production center like Los Angeles. If you're trying to be an independent producer/director, it's less necessary since you are essentially generating your own work.

 

And even when places like New Mexico or Louisiana -- or Texas, North Carolina, etc. -- get busy with productions due to tax breaks, whatever, the majority of the time the cinematographer is not hired locally but is brought in by the production.

 

I shot a small movie in Austin two years ago and judging by the level of activity I saw (two features going at the same time would be considered busy), I don't think I could support myself as a cinematographer if I lived there. There is only room for so many camera people in that community.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well the guy's post says " J. Lamar King DP/Fort Worth, Texas" (I just copied it from his post) which is the Dallas/Fort Worth area but OK. The thing about LA is there are a LOT of guys like you there, guys with a tremendious amount of expirence, contacts and quite frankly the luck you need to meet the right people at the right time. He's not going to be a DP when he gets to LA. He's going to try to get work anywere he can and try to meet people who will give him a chance. Hell he may not be able to get work as a PA for a few years. You know what it's like, you've gone through it. Unions rule in LA and it's a bitch to get into any of them. Catch-22, you can't work unless you've already worked. If he gets something in Austin that gets noticed, new ballgame. Then people might start taking his calls or calling him. But if he's bound and determined to take Hollywood by storm, nothing I say will make the least bit of difference anyhow so this is pretty much an academic conversation anyway B)

Edited by Capt.Video
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Premium Member

After film school, I worked for a decade and shot over twenty features BEFORE I joined the union... there's plenty of non-union work in L.A. And the camera union is one of the easier ones to get into; by the time I started getting offered union work and had to join, I just got a letter from a payroll company proving that I had worked 100 days over a three-year period as a paid DP, paid my fees (that part was the only bitch) and was in the union.

 

My impression from shooting around this country is that in most of the states, most of the good work goes to the same half-dozen local crew people who have climbed to the top in their communities. I know because all it takes is more than two or so productions in those areas for all the decent crew people to be snapped up by the bigger production. My own experience shooting in Austin, TX was a good example -- every experienced person was working for Robert Rodriquez and Richard Linklater at the time.

 

I'm not suggesting that succeding in L.A. wasn't a struggle -- and still is -- only that the notion that it is easier to succede in a smaller market as a cinematographer with fewer productions happening with greater irregularity, competing with the few people that have the field mostly locked up to themselves, well, if that were true, then every beginner would be flooding AWAY from major production cities to get their careers going.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have to bow to your expirence. You've gone through it and I haven't, at least not as a DP. I can't help but suspect that you probably did catch some lucky breaks here and there that made it a bit easier for you at the time. Not to say your talent wasn't a factor, just that everyone may not have the same expirence as you did. I can only speak from my own expirence and for me the money it took to survive in LA was a big factor. Here I've been able to spend my resourses towards my chosen profession. But there again, I concider myself a filmmaker more so than a DP (which I 'm not even close to being yet) So your first statement concerning producer/directors may be more accurate in my case. He may luck out and have the world fall at his feet, who knows. I do hope it does. I like to hear abotu people succeding. It's always inspirational to me. B)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well David has hit the nail on the head with everything he said. I live in D/FW but I do work Austin as a local. You do hit a wall where they just go for the people they always hire and have been hiring for years. Out of town indies have always brought DP's from L.A. I've ran into several L.A. Dp's who had come from Texas. I was called back three times for a good sized indie feature here last year but the job went to some guy who's from Texas but lives in L.A. I think his L.A. cred won out.

 

I'm not in the union so the bigger features that come here which hasn't been that many, they all went to Louisiana and New Mex because of tax incentives, they hire local union guys and certainly bring their DP who usually brings his AC's. So the locals wind up on B cam etc.

 

There's just not the kind of opportunity I want here to be a cinematographer. Kevin shot a Super35 short recently and I almost can't believe that. Something like that never happens here. They shoot several small student shorts on 16mm in Austin but that's about it for shooting film on small projects.

 

Plus stuff goes down in L.A. all the time that doesn't happen here. They get to see new cameras months before they get here. New filmstock tests etc. On and on. All the equipment companies are there, the ASC is there, the top guys are there. You know being around mentors is just as importantant to me as having an opportunity to improve my craft.

 

I know it's going to be a struggle and I'm probably going to be doing a lot of AC'ing, Gaffing and gripping to pay the bills.

 

Anyway, I remember we had a thread about this before that had some tips about good areas of town etc. I haven't been able to find it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I know it's going to be a struggle and I'm probably going to be doing a lot of AC'ing, Gaffing and gripping to pay the bills.

 

Just don't be surprised if you end up waiting tables to pay the bills. Life is tough in LA and expensive. Know what your getting into, and if you do end up waiting tables, just remember this- NEVER GIVE UP!!!!, Do not get discouraged, do not stop trying because EVENTUALLY someone will give you a chance. Perseverence is the ONLY thing you can control, so when things look their bleakest, that's when you you have to pull yourself up, hold your head high and struggle on through until things get better. Also, don't get caught up in the Hollywood scene, don't spend you hard earned cash trying to keep up with everyone else, keep your eyes on the prize and don't stop until it's firmly in your hands. B)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Premium Member

The nicer spots to live in L.A. tend to be more expensive, of course. I've lived all over town since moving here in 1982, starting out in Panorama City in the Valley but then moving to Westwood to be closer to UCLA where I was going to school. Then after that, I was living in the Westside until I went to CalArts and moved to Newhall / Canyon Country, then after graduation moved to Winnetka in the Valley, then back to the Westside, then to the mid-Wilshire area near LACMA, then finally to Mar Vista near Venice.

 

The San Fernando Valley tends to have the cheaper places to rent. It's hotter out there in the summer, but if you're from Texas, maybe you'll be used to that. It's a big place; the nicer areas are along the hills (Sherman Oaks, Studio City, Woodland Hills, Glendale), except maybe not so much the hills at the north (Pacoima, Sylmar, etc.)

 

I like the cooler weather near the Westside but the only affordable areas tend to be parts of Palms near Culver City, although a few spots here in Mar Vista aren't too expensive (hence why I can afford to live here...)

 

"Hipper" areas include Los Feliz and other neighborhoods closer to Downtown. Eagle Rock closer to Pasadena is also becoming popular.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Premium Member

Capt.,

Weren't you the one trying to dissuade him from moving in your earlier posts? But now you're telling him to go for it and to never give up. Why the change of heart?

And by the way, why is it that you still won't use your real name? Almost everyone else on this board uses their real name out of respect for the other members. Why not you?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Burbank is nice, if I was just moving in I think I'd try to find a place there. Lot of post houses, rental houses, etc in the area, fotokem, arri and whatnot. Panorama City is my own home town; there's some nice places here as well, though it's got it's not-so-nice parts too. CSI briefly had the habbit of shooting at houses around our neighborhood, once they used our house which was pretty sweet.

 

It seems some productions have been shooting in Newhall/Santa Clarita recently, that's where I was this past school year. But I would NEVER want to live there permanently. The people tend to annoy the crap out of me and it's the worst place to drive ever. I'd rather drive in Hollywood where at least the streets are laid out in a rational manner.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Premium Member
It seems some productions have been shooting in Newhall/Santa Clarita recently, that's where I was this past school year. But I would NEVER want to live there permanently. The people tend to annoy the crap out of me and it's the worst place to drive ever.

 

Rush hour to/from anything out there SUCKS. There's exactly one freeway connecting everything North of the Valley to the rest of LA, and there's no other way through that pass, period.

 

The most dense locus of new/young/hip/starting out film people is in and around Hollywood, including Los Feliz. The Southern part of the Valley is close enough and has quite a bit of industry folk, too.

 

I read in a book when I first moved out here about "the diamond"; an arbitrary five-pointed region surrounding Hollywood where most of the industry activity takes place (work and social). I'm just outside of that in South Pasadena, but I'm no farther from the relevant points than someone on the Westside.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Capt.,

Weren't you the one trying to dissuade him from moving in your earlier posts? But now you're telling him to go for it and to never give up. Why the change of heart?

And by the way, why is it that you still won't use your real name? Almost everyone else on this board uses their real name out of respect for the other members. Why not you?

 

I still think he may do better where he's at, but he's made his decision so you've gotta respect that and I'm not an expert on becoming a DP in LA. David knows far more about this aspect of the industry than I do so as I mentioned before, I bow to his expirence. What I DO KNOW is if that's what he intends to do, he's gonna be in for some rough times and there are gonna be times he feels like quitting and going home, but if he's going to make it in LA, he's gonna make it because he didn't quit even when things looked totally black. That's the secret to success is most things.

 

As for your other question, not EVERYONE on this board uses their name. I show everyone respect unless they are disrespectful to me. Not using my name isn't a question of respect, it's a question of privacy. If I want to remain annomynous there's no reason I shouldn't be able to. I could use some phony name and who would be the wiser? I choose to keep it this way because that's what I want to do. If YOU find it disrespectful, I apalogize, but it has absolutely NOTHING to do w/ you so don't take it personally. B)

Edited by Capt.Video
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Premium Member
Rush hour to/from anything out there SUCKS. There's exactly one freeway connecting everything North of the Valley to the rest of LA, and there's no other way through that pass, period.

 

The most dense locus of new/young/hip/starting out film people is in and around Hollywood, including Los Feliz. The Southern part of the Valley is close enough and has quite a bit of industry folk, too.

I did a movie in Santa Clarita last year, and all I can say is YUCK. What a crappy drive! It's nice up there, but most of the work is in/around the Hollywood or south valley area. I can't imagine doing that drive everyday for years.

Hollywood, Silverlake, and Los Feliz are probably the best places to move to when first starting out in my opinion. They're pretty central to everything and it's easy to find your way around. Santa Monica and Venice aren't bad either, but anything south of that and the drive just gets progressively worse.

 

If I want to remain annomynous there's no reason I shouldn't be able to. I could use some phony name and who would be the wiser? I choose to keep it this way because that's what I want to do. If YOU find it disrespectful, I apalogize, but it has absolutely NOTHING to do w/ you so don't take it personally. B)

I don't find it disrespectful, but quite honestly if someone doesn't use their real name here I generally don't take their posts and the information they provide very seriously. My feeling is that if you stand behind what you say then you won't be afraid to sign your name to it. I'm not saying you're causing problems, I'm just explaining how I feel. And I also don't understand why someone would care about remaining anonymous on a cinematography forum. What's to hide?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My words eather stand on thier own or they don't. What difference does it matter who said them. Truth is truth whether that truth flows from the lips of the village elder or from the lips of the village idiot, either way, it's still the truth and the same truth from the lips of the village elder doesn't make the truth any MORE true. I choose to remain anonymous, my reasons are my own, there is really nothing more to be said on the subject.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Premium Member
I have a feeling anonymous users are going away soon.

I just secured a place in the Hollywood area myself to be closer to school, and I'll be moved by the end of the month. I can't believe all of the theaters/film/tv stuff that's here, it's like cinema heaven.

Fresh in from Chicago, 24 years old, and as green as a pea I broke into the NYC theatre tech community, including a full time technical job at a pretty prestigious institution's theatre. At one point I had the president of the designer's union (829) working for me. Worked with a lot of still famous Avant-Garde people and had a ball. The secret to my success was always giving 125% no matter what I was doing and loving to work on anything.

 

Bust your ass, be good at what you're doing, and love it - someone will notice.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Premium Member
My words eather stand on thier own or they don't. What difference does it matter who said them. Truth is truth whether that truth flows from the lips of the village elder or from the lips of the village idiot, either way, it's still the truth and the same truth from the lips of the village elder doesn't make the truth any MORE true. I choose to remain anonymous, my reasons are my own, there is really nothing more to be said on the subject.

Well, most of the information on this site isn't black and white. There are rarely things that are "true" or "not true" in the discussions that are had here. Most of the stuff here is based on experience and opinions, and if I don't know your experience I probably won't trust your opinion. I think a lot of people would probably agree with me on this. If information comes from both "Capt. Video" and "David Mullen", who do you think people will listen to? You obviously don't care, and that's fine I guess.

The fact that you're a little defensive about it and you think there's "nothing more to be said on the subject" makes me wonder even more why you're hiding your identity. But hey, it's your choice....whatever.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Both sides have legitimate reasons...

 

Identity thieves, they're everywhere, chief.

 

I don't personally care whether or not anyone uses his real name, but since it's a very strong "preference" that the administration of this board holds that each person do so, it just seems impolite to shun the request.

 

The "real-name" thing is something I have appreciated, it separates this board from every other one out there.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...