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Hello. I am happy to say this my first of hopefully many more posts on this board. If I may introduce myself, my name is Mayer Chalom and I am a 19 yr old student who has currently finished a year of architecture at Pratt Institute. Since high school I have worked as an event photographer (and continue to do so) [my portfolio can be viewed at www.mayermaxphotography.com]. Currently I am employed as a photographer and draftsmen for a design firm in New York. To make a long story short, I have quickly realized that I do not enjoy the professional aspects of architecture (there is very much a disconnect between practice and academia for those unaware) and have switched to Pratt's film/video program. At this point in time I am extremely interested in pursuing a career in cinematography and have some questions about ways of achieving my goals. First I would like to know if I am at a disadvantage for not attending the A list film schools (i.e USC, NYU, Chapman etc.). I currently have the benefit of a large scholarship at my university and would most likely not be offered a similar package if I transferred. I also believe I am apart of a rising program because of Pratt's completion of a brand new 20,000 sq ft facility that will be in close proximity to Steiner Studios. My past experiences in photography and design have definitely assured me that where you get your diploma is a moot point but there is a 1 percent of doubt that I would like to assess. Onto a less pedagogic matter, in the professional realm of cinematographer what is the job structure like? Are all jobs freelance? Are there production companies that employ full time directors of photography? Are there advertising agencies that ever have cinematographers on staff? Does the cinematographer have the responsibility of organizing the film crew (i.e gaffer, key grip, etc)? Does the cinematographer take on the role of the editor/animator/set designer now that we live in an ever increasing digital world with blurred professional delineations? Also lastly, are there still opportunities to enter the professional world as an assistant/runner/grip and slowly move up as a cinematographer or are "those days" part of a past époque? Thank you so much for sifting through the monologue. I appreciate any feedback and please visit my website at www.mayermaxphotography.com Thanks! Mayer Chalom