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Jeremy Parsons

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About Jeremy Parsons

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  • Birthday 12/06/1974

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  • My Gear
    ALEXA, Panavision, Aaton, Canon, Sony, Black Magic, Panasonic, 35mm, 16mm, RED, Technocrane
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    Cinematographer, IATSE Local 600 1st AC, Assistant Adjunct Professor at Pittsburgh Filmmakers.

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  1. This is not my first reel. It is a semi-annual recut with my latest work folded in. Whenever I’ve cut a reel in the past, I’m generally pretty confident that it reflects my best work at that time. This time, however, I’m feeling a little “Meh”. I need another, more objective, opinion. Maybe there is content that shouldn’t be there anymore. Maybe there are shots that shouldn’t be juxtaposed. What do you think it is? Or do you think its fine? Please ignore anything relating to color. I will finalize that once I have a picture lock. Thanks. https://vimeo.com/239534774 Password = demodemo Jeremy L Parsons, MFA Cinematographer / IATSE Local 600 1st AC Pittsburgh, PA
  2. Contact Contract Services Administrative Trust Fund (CSATF). They will give you the details of how to submit paperwork to get on the experienced roster. Joining the union is useless if you are not on an industry roster. Contracted producers are obligated to hire from the roster before hiring non-roster. That might not make a difference in your region. In summary, you submit proof of employment days in ONE category you are applying for membership: Assistant, OP, DP, etc. So if you worked 60 days of AC and 60 days of OP, you have 60 days of one or the other, not 120 days. I don't know how they will view it if you are field producer. CSATF has strange ways of determining what qualifies as days: I worked an industrial as AC where the DP was 600, the grip and electrics were 728 and 80. We were using two Alexas. But because it was an industrial production, and not for broadcast or distribution, it did NOT qualify. On the other hand, I did a bunch of days as an assistant on a low budget reality show where the most I did was wipe a lens and swap cards/batteries on a couple of 5D's. Those days counted only because it was on TV. Go figure. The other thing to realize is getting into the union does not get you work. If there is not a lot of union work in your area, it might not be worth paying the significant initiation dues Last I checked, it was $7000 for AC, $10,000 for OP
  3. I am less concerned if a film is going to suck and more concerned if my director is going to have us do things like a "quiet scene" outside next to a highway in the pouring rain without any shelter with my own gear. No matter how much the story sucks. I will do my best to make it look visually interesting. When my ability to do so gets hindered because the director or production failed to think ahead is when I start thinking about bowing out.
  4. When I was in school, they highly encouraged us to work as a "hands off" DP on our thesis projects. Most of my classmates did not. I did. It was the best thing in the world. It made working a scattered director a lot easier when I had a crew I could give instructions and they would happen. Finally I had the manpower that could keep up with my brain. I more constantly engaged with the Director and AD as the day progressed and changed. This shoot is not so big of a budget that we can rent a monitor or even have a full crew. I was operating camera and had one grip and one AC...kind of. I missed a lot of details I wouldn't have otherwise missed if I was solely attentive to the image. We finished our first weekend today. As I review the footage, I am happy with...probably only a few shots...but the director is loving everything, so mission accomplished, right? But I am happy with a few shots:
  5. I started out with the rolling Husky. It was fine. I got scoffed at by all the guys who have $250 ARRI bags and carts. Most of the work I do is too small and mobile to require a cart. When I wanted to upgrade, I looked long and hard for something else. I loved the rolling bag, but the Husky pockets really weren't suited for the type of tools I carry. Then I found this: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00BD5IC2O/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o05_s02?ie=UTF8&psc=1 Its a Range bag for carrying your firearm bits and tools. I've had it a little under a year and it suits VERY well. The pockets are all well sized for carrying cable coils, markers, allen wrenches, etc. It was only $100
  6. The "unempowered" director didn't like my reigning her in when she went off track. I had a little more invested in the success of that project because it was one of my final Cine projects. I invited her in on it because I didn't feel like writing-casting-producing-directing-lighitng-shooting on my own again. I did get an A, not that it matters anymore. On the more extreme end. I have talked to other directors who complained of DPs pushing for shots that look pretty, but don't fit with their vision of the story. Or they pushed for fancy, expensive gear that was ultimately unnecessary to telling the story. That is the DP I never want to be. I think this will be the last freebie I shoot for someone else for a while. It seems if I want to be part of a good visual story, I'll have to do it myself.
  7. I've had directors in the past say they didn't feel empowered when working with me. So maybe I'm overcompensating for those experiences by trying to be overly friendly to directors. Then again those directors kept going off track on a very tight schedule. :/
  8. I do like mood boards. I don't do them as often as I like because it tends to override any vision the director might have with my own. Every time I do it, the director says, "Great! lets do that". On this short, for example, I created a rough shot list based on my interpretation of the script and put it in a common spreadsheet shared by the production. The director basically copied the whole shot list adding one or two, if any, shots of his own. So we're shooting my vision, not his.
  9. I did: "I just liked it" :blink: Overall, he liked the look of Sicario. I had trouble getting out of him specifically what. He also liked True Detective (S1) which is thematically closer to our thriller. So I'm going with the soft lighting of Deakins' Sicario combined with the composition and movement of True Detective.
  10. I mainly use storyboards to get thoughts out of the head so everyone can be on the same page. Not everyone can communicate images verbally. The other thing I find helpful - which this guy still hasn't done despite my asking - is providing stills from other films the director likes or would like to emulate for their project. All he's explained to me he really liked was the sunset shot from Sicario where the ops were walking into the desert...Except there are no sunset or desert scenes in this film.
  11. Thanks so much for your replies. I have trouble wrapping my head around why anyone would spend all this time, money and energy into something only to throw it to the wind by “winging it”. I've not yet been DP on a project that could afford a full truck to pull from when the director wants to get creative. I find planning to be instrumental in getting good material out of low/no budget stuff. I spec gear for the shot list of that day (or weekend) and not much else. I would hope the AD would be my ally in keeping the director on target for that we planned. This director is very green. I think he’s directed one short not counting a 48hour festival or two. I am also locally unproven so I have to take what I can get to build the reel and reputation. Right now, we're on our 3rd AD on the project. The first two had to bow out for their own reasons. I do wonder if there is a more common reason. :unsure:
  12. I'm a planner by nature. When I was in school, I meticulously planned my cinematography assignments with storyboards, shot list, schedule, and lighting plans. When we got to set, they ran like clockwork. It was great. When I had to collaborate with a student director, I often had to force them to sit down and make a shot list, storyboard (what they described was not often what they drew). Sometimes we had a 1st AD, but they were also a student and were more of a clock-watcher than involved in the planning process. I still had a heavy hand in the scheduling. Most of my paid professional work is as a 1st AC. As such, I'm not really part of the planning process. If I'm DP on a local commercial, the agency has already dictated the storyboard & shots, those run like clockwork. *** I'm starting to do more narrative work as DP again. I know this planning process isn't my lead but rather the Director and AD. But how is this supposed to work? I mean....I would much rather NOT do someone else's work and focus on my own. How do you usually coordinate with a capable AD?
  13. I witnessed a lot very unprofessional behavior on sets when I was in LA. It seemed like the bigger the job (more money), the more volatile it got. Not everyone in this business came up from a professional training or background. So they might not learn what is appropriate...or might learn the opposite: If they watch their superior get angry and scream, then they may think thats the way it is or what you have to do to get what you want.
  14. I recently moved back to Pittsburgh after living (not sure if thats the right word for what I was doing) in California for a number of years. For starters, definitely go to events scheduled by these two groups: Steeltown.org - Incubator for pittsburgh indie film. They host mostly youth-centric events, but every quarter they schedule a crew connect event. PaFIA.org - Pennsylvania Film Industry Association. Is busiest in Pittsburgh and Philly....but we get all the work. ;) Also try Pittsburgh Filmmakers. Its the Photography and motion picture arm of Pittsburgh Center for the Arts. They have classes (I teach there) and also host industry events, but infrequently. Do you have a particular focus of interest? Always curious for more crew on personal projects.
  15. I'm so glad to have seen this discussion for no other reason than to hear another DP also having trouble with a director (or wannabes director in some cases). I'm on a short film (freebie for my reel) where the director has been rewriting the story every time he sees a new location. Now he wants a dolly shot in littered woods this weekend and we've not pre-arranged the proper gear for such a shot. It's a shame because the story has potential (written by the director), but the captain of the ship is really green. Sorry to vent. Sometimes I want to go be a director just so I can be the kind of director a DP wants to work with. *headdesk*
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