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Good evening ladies and gents, I just came back from my C&G BS:7671 18th Edition exam and realised that I'm still missing some information regarding the legal requirements to call oneself a lighting designer/gaffer/spark in the UK. I thought maybe it would be a good idea to open a thread about these details especially here where(UK) you cannot just decide overnight that you want to be a gaffer but actually need to get qualified. My questions are What are the minimum requirements to call yourself a Spark or taken seriously as one? (besides BS:7671, I heard that also NA7909(3) is recommended to get things started) Do you need to get certified as an electrician to even begin your journey towards becoming a gaffer? In your experience as a gaffer, which qualifications/courses you absolutely had to get to be part of larger productions? Can you be part of an union if you are not fully certified as an electrician? (e.g. BECTU) How far can you wing it as an unofficial gaffer? (uncertified) Which is the point where the law prevents you from working on set no matter your experience? Thank you for your time and hope other users will find this helpful ^__^ Best, TheDragon
Hi, I'm currently a junior studying at NYU. I will be graduating around January 2015 and I am trying to plan for my future afterward. Long term, I'd like to become a cinematographer but I'd like to get there through gaffing because I genuinely enjoy working with lighting. I figure I gotta start getting grip and electric jobs. I am pretty skilled working with most basic to intermediate grip equipment and lights and am able to run power from breaker boxes to distro boxes to lights while adhering to the ring of fire. I'd prefer to join a union as soon as possible in order to get consistent work rather than freelancing too long. I'd love to stay in NYC if possible but it seems pretty difficult to get paying work for legit productions and impossible to get union gripping jobs without being in the union. From what I hear and can tell it is extremely difficult to join Local 52 the NYC gripping union. Alternatively, I could move to LA. Joining Local 728 seems decidedly easier than 52 with lower union dues. Also, from what I hear, it seems much easier to get legitimate production work in LA. Does anyone have advice on how to start gripping in NYC and joining the union? How much easier is it to get work in LA and how difficult is it to join 728? How plausible is it to join 728 soon after film school? Thanks guys.
TL;DR: how do I Los Angeles? I know there's a few threads on this topic already, but it looks as though they're a year old or so, and I'd like to take the temperature of LA locals re: the current and future prospects for younger people in the film industry. There's an awful lot of cynicism out there. I have about five years of experience freelancing in the industry, but it's hard to imagine getting much further in my career without moving. It just so happens that my current SO is interviewing for a job in LA (which may be her own "big break"), and I'm contemplating moving with her... I'm not going to sacrifice my career to stay with her, but moving to LA hardly seems like the worst idea for someone who wants to be a director of photography and filmmaker--especially considering that I'd have a SO with a job in an unrelated industry to mooch on while I get established. I have a few friends out there as well who seem to be doing alright, and could at least make first introductions. I also know people who have moved back or to satellite cities after a few years in LA because they couldn't get out of low rent indies with abusive labor practices. I've read that while the jobs are still there, the day rates are plummeting (I was shocked at how little my friends said they made on some shows--less than I get for a day on a light corporate gig). I hope we can refrain from a flame war about tax incentives and runaway productions--just the facts!