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Michael LaVoie

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  • Occupation
    Cinematographer
  • Location
    New York

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  1. One of the many odd counter productive practices of the business is appearing unreachable and above "for hire" contact. The most often used tactic is to only include an agency's company contact email on your website or sm. This leaves anyone wanting to reach out to you no choice but to follow up with your agency. Not even the agent necessarily, just the agency. If you're worthy, you'll get the actual agent's contact info. It's a filter to keep away crazy people and "dreamers". But unfortunately, it also keeps away realistic collaborators with funded projects. Because even with a very legit casting director and a 2M budget, getting agents to forward your script is difficult.
  2. If I were you, I'd ask the key P.A. on the shoot. Or the 1st A.D. how they are filling in their time sheets or invoices. So yours looks like everyone else's and you're asking for the same penalties and breaks that everyone else got. Using the same, template, form and language as people who are indispensable on the film is a great place to start.
  3. Michael LaVoie

    Airpeak S1

    Finally now you can get a drone that has actual tech support in the U.S. This looks so sweet. A real controller. Non appbased. If something goes wrong call any number of Sony support services in the U.S. This has been long overdue.
  4. This seems simplistically cynical. Even to me. You can't give a total newbie tons of responsibility without setting them up to fail miserably and embarrass themselves and the person who recommended them. Climbing a ladder is different for each department and personal relationships may allow you to jump in at a rung above where you were on your last gig but there are typically mechanisms in place keeping everyone where they ought to be based on skillset and experience level. These include but are not limited to unions, guilds, bond companies, insurance companies etc. That's the Hollywood way. It's a byzantine hierarchy of legalese and economics.
  5. Inflating a budget is hardly unheard of. Happens all the time. The budget sales corollary demands it. Expanding on the crew is more of a perception factor. You want to appear like someone who plays well with others, enjoys collaborating etc. All good qualities. Assuming of course that you actually want to one day make a movie with a crew and a budget. I've definitely met people who, if they could make a film entirely on their own without any outside involvement at all, would. So this advice won't apply to everyone.
  6. If you directed the short, then you are the connection. You've proven you can make a film. Just don't make the mistake so many others do and try to take every crew credit on the short that you can. Or brag about how you did it all in a day for $10. That looks terrible. Make up names for the jobs you did but don't care that much about even if nobody was there. Inflate the budget to something realistic and make it look like you are someone that people can trust to work with and give money to.
  7. I wouldn't worry that much about runtime. Most festivals are still online only now due to covid. It costs a ton of money to run a film festival and I doubt they are going to be live in person anytime soon. If they are they will mostly likely be a sh*tshow with attendance due to covid. The key thing to remember about major film festivals is that they are overwhelmed with submissions and they won't watch most of them. They can't. I ran the math on Sundance and the amount of entries they get. They'd need a team of 20 screeners working every day fulltime in a nightmarish clockwork orange style screening capacity and that's only to get through 5 minutes of every feature film submitted. Then there are the countless shorts on top of that. It's just impossible. Not enough hours in the day. Most festivals are a total scam. Don't imagine anything else going on other than insider deals, marketing campaigns and vain accolades for passion projects from Hollywood players looking for artistic credibility and oscar consideration. If you have a good film, just use it to pitch your feature. Festivals are a waste of time and money.
  8. Isn't the shogun $1400 with accessories? I'd say the biggest drawback is bringing that onto any set where they aren't able to rent it. You're always going to be worried about it getting lost, stolen or damaged. Just something to consider. I picked up a Portkeys P6 recently which is super cheap. Image is great. Just a reference monitor but has a waveform, LUTs etc. $160. The kind of purchase where if it's lost, stolen or damaged I won't really sweat it. Not that bright in daylight but one battery lasts 6 hours. haha. The downside to 3000 nits on higher end monitors is you'll burn through a lot of batteries all day long.
  9. That would be surprising if that was permitted as the A-cam on a feature. Very cool though.
  10. What is the camera you're using for the normal 800 footage?
  11. The Matthews DC slider "floatcam" was an awesome piece of gear and could do everything a jib could and also act as a slider. I think the main problem with this product was the price. It just couldn't find a home anywhere in the market. No rental house had it and nobody bought them for personal use. Adorama has a used one if you are willing to go beyond your budget.
  12. Stephen already mentioned the issue of lining up the camera with the head. You could always buy a VCT snap plate and throw that on that Bcam. Then you can use any tripod you want and it won't matter if it has a touch and go plate or a sliding plate because you're never taking it off. You'll just use the VCT snap function to pull the camera on and off. In general sliding plates on tripods suck because if you have hand grips or anything below the rails in front a sliding plate will be a huge pain in the ass cause you'll have to take it all off to line up the front of the camera with the tripods. Something to keep in mind. The V'lock snap plate is an easy work around as it lets you drop the camera from the top down versus sliding from the back to the front. Plus it's cheaper than buying a tripod with a touch and go plate as most of those are on the higher end.
  13. I've used entertainmentcareers.net and indeed.com to find development executives. Those sites worked for those types of people. VP of Finance, Global sales etc. I got a lot of responses. I'm not sure if either works for crew. My educated guess is probably not. When it comes to crew jobs, I've only tried Staffmeup, Mandy and that was to look for gigs. Not for crew. Both used to be great and were free for job seekers but not for employers. Which is, as it should be. This is key. NEVER pay to look for work. That's a total scam. Cause the incentive then is for the platform to create bogus ads for jobs that don't exist. Just to keep you subscribed and seeking. You'll never know if what you're applying for is even a real posting. Believe me I've seen plenty that seemed totally fake. When I did see real looking jobs they were ads to shoot reality tv, commercial, event, and potentially documentary work though there was never any kind of work that was at all career elevating whatsoever. Could be different now as I haven't looked in years. Doubt much has changed though.
  14. Have to agree with Stuart. First pic looks realistic. You could try a different approach to continue with this experiment... Pick an ISO and Tstop that you want to film at and adjust the fixtures and lights to suit that. Place a lit candle and put it in the frame next to the light. If the candle flame looks like a tiki torch in your monitor, chances are your ISO is way too high. Adjust it so the candle looks normal, then adjust the lamp accordingly so both look right within the same shot. A candle flame should look like a candle flame. Nothing more or less. So you can use one as a general benchmark to see if your ISO or whitebalance is completely off. The reason why this works is that you should be able to light a scene where an actor, could pull out a zippo and light a cigarette and it wouldn't look completely ridiculous like he just sparked a flamethrower.
  15. Funny. I almost made this point yesterday but I thought it was too negative. haha. I agree and I think the last thing that any insecure producer/director/actor wants is to be surrounded by far more competent crew as it could make them look green. So they employ a top down approach of bottom rung candidates so that nobody on set knows more than them. This practice is industry agnostic although in film, you can see it everywhere. Take a wander through Linked in at some of the resumes of junior and even senior VP's. You'll find a ton of people with zero background and education in entertainment who landed jobs at top development companies. Truly a head scratcher.
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