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David Willis

Looking for DP for low budget 35mm feature

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Hi.

 

I am a director making an ultra low budget 35mm feature this July, and I need the right DP.

 

The good news:

 

- it's a comedy/romance set in a Renaissance Faire, so there will be some fun visual elements.

- though I have a strong vision, I am an extremely collaborative director. I welcome and crave creative input from the DP.

- it will be on 35mm film (3 perf).

- this is my first feature, but I am not a first time director, having directed 20 short films and also theatre. I know my way around a set, so that means you don't have to do any handholding. I also worked on "Frasier" for 11 years (in another capacity), so I'm not new to the business.

- I wrote for several hit network shows, so the script is good (in fact, Disney and others wanted to buy it, but I want to direct, so no sale).

- I have respect for the crew and am extremely appreciative of professionals working at a discount rate.

- It's not shooting till July so there's plenty of prep time.

 

 

 

The bad news:

 

- it's ultra low budget, so the pay is low. You need another reason to work on this film in addition to the money. Only you can determine if it's worthwhile to you after learning about the project. (We can talk about a dollar figure if you're interested).

- it's ultra low budget, so you won't have all the gear in the world, but we are getting a good package from Panavision.

- it's ultra low budget, so you won't have a large crew. Probably 9 in your department total.

 

 

Basically, I need David Mullen from 1998 when he was doing those Polish Brothers films! It's that kind of collaboration I want, and I won't settle for anything less. What we don't have in money, we will make up for in other ways. Others have done projects like this that succeeded, it's not easy, but it's what we're doing.

 

Email me at favedave@pacbell.net if you're interested.

 

-- David Willis

 

 

"Your film is like a grenade exploding in my head!" -- Terry Gilliam, after seeing my short film "The Disappearing Girl Trick" screen at the DGA. He was smiling when he said it, so I'm pretty sure he meant this in a good way.

 

"I loved your film. Seriously. I wouldn't lie about that, I really f**king loved it!" -- David O. Russel after seeing my short film "Help Me, Oprah" screen at the DGA.

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Low budget are there will be 9 in the camera department????????

 

What on earth will those 9 people do?

 

R,

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It would be very useful to state where you are.

 

 

Los Angeles.

 

You mean there are other places besides here? Hmmmm....someday I must try and see those places on TV.

 

 

And by 9 people, I mean in grip and electric and camera combined. Sorry, I think of all that image-gathering as the same dept.

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Low budget are there will be 9 in the camera department????????

 

What on earth will those 9 people do?

 

R,

 

9 people is reasonable.

 

Camera:

1st AC

2nd AC

 

Lighting:

Gaffer (find a Gaffer that has a genny op ticket)

Best Boy

Lamp Op

 

Grip:

Key Grip

Best Boy Grip

Leadman/Dolly Grip

 

Leaving a spot in the budget for a day call that can be spred out over the shoot, I would use the extra spot for a Rigging Gaffer to lay cable out and throw up a few lights before we land at the next location. He can also lamp op on days where there is no pre light. Lots of reasons to bring in a extra guy in on the big days.

Edited by Chayse Irvin

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I'd add a loader and one more electrician to that list, just to feel comfortable.

 

Aye. It looks like David is looking for a David Mullen of 9 years ago. You know anyone like that David? hehe

Edited by Chayse Irvin

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That was about the crew size I had on "Twin Falls Idaho", which was shot in 17 days for about a half-million dollars. But it was a fairly controllable shoot, mostly in some small rooms at Lacy Street Studios. We didn't have much exterior shooting. We did work many horrendously long hours though, during a heat wave in July.

 

The problem isn't finding a DP as talented as I was (there are always plenty of more talented people out there than me) -- the problem is finding someone as cheap as I was to hire back then! I think I was working for $200/day on that shoot... and I did "Northfork" for even less than that ($1000/week for a six-day week, no overtime.)

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That was about the crew size I had on "Twin Falls Idaho", which was shot in 17 days for about a half-million dollars. But it was a fairly controllable shoot, mostly in some small rooms at Lacy Street Studios. We didn't have much exterior shooting. We did work many horrendously long hours though, during a heat wave in July.

 

The problem isn't finding a DP as talented as I was (there are always plenty of more talented people out there than me) -- the problem is finding someone as cheap as I was to hire back then! I think I was working for $200/day on that shoot... and I did "Northfork" for even less than that ($1000/week for a six-day week, no overtime.)

 

 

Damn. Thats how much I'm making now a days and times get hard. How did you manage to get by?

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My wife worked full-time as a librarian, with a health plan. Now that I'm making more money, she's gone to part-time work, which makes me happy that I can start to return the favor. After a decade, we'll be even and I can ship her off to full-time work... ;)

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Haha. Bringing home the bacon. I better find myself a woman real quick!

Edited by Chayse Irvin

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Truly helpful insight. Hopefully I'm not going to be a huge burden on my GF for too long. :unsure:

You better lock that girl down Matt. Before its to late!

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I think the key, besides finding your soulmate, is to maintain the relationship by not making them ever feel that you take them for granted. I've been with my wife now for 23 years and she always knows when I'll be home, if I'm going to miss dinner, etc. And I make sure to spend time at home between jobs, go on trips with her, etc. I don't just miss a dinner without calling thinking that she'll just figure it out. I avoid giving her lists of personal errands for her to do on my behalf, unless unavoidable. I do my own laundry, for example. And when not working, I do most of the cooking.

 

I've seen too many other crew people treat their spouse or romantic partner like secretaries and personal assistants, or worse, just ignoring them for huge periods. And it's worse when they have children and the spouse working in the film industry does not make enough of an effort to be there for the family. To some extent, the unequal division of labor in childrearing is unavoidable when one person works more hours and more often than the other, but it comes back to making an effort so that the other person doesn't feel that they are being taken advantage of or taken for granted.

 

Even for all those years of lousy pay, I always paid my half of the rent. But often she had to pay for the groceries during my slumps (we'd alternate other times), so it's great now that I can pay for the groceries...

 

But despite the fact that we often alternate paying for little things, we never add it up. I think it's important to try and do as much as you can for other person without making them feel like you are trying to keep track of what you've done for them, that it's been a spontaneous gesture.

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We've slightly stolen this thread but I'm liking it just the same.

 

Chase

Don't I know it. We are both moving to NYC in the summer to make it rich. And by that I mean live in a one bedroom and eat ramen noodles, heh. We've been going out for 5 years and we've lived together for a good amount, in NYC too.

 

David

Again I really appreciate your advice. Besides the fact that my girlfriend is my set photographer she has no doubt helped me get as far as I am today, however litte that may be. If I'm full of myself or down on myself she is on my side and keeps me grounded. I try to do the same for her.

 

I completely understand the taking for granted syndrome, we went through that and I still have to remain consious about it. I think the false macho standard that is force fed to men in America is partially the culprit. Even though I'm going to be grinding for a few years I'm comforted to know that I won't be alone. DP's have feeling too, LOL.

 

My first feature we had a lot of stress over the hours and the DP and crew said that its really hard to keep relationships in the industry. I can understand their point of view but I also think that its had to survive without a strong relationship. I know I couldn't.

 

I think I'm going to print your last post and put on our fridge!

 

Super-CHEERS guys,

 

Matt

 

PS: I would kill for a 9 person crew where people knew what they were doing. Add an operator and I could catch up on some laundry, jk.

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PS: I would kill for a 9 person crew where people knew what they were doing.

 

Oh, they all have to know what they are doing too... boy that's asking for a lot on a low-budget movie. :D

 

Usually you quickly find out which department or crew person is the weak link on the show.

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I have been with my girl for 7 years now and I travel constantly, living in a small town and going away for work. I am in LA now working as she and I talk 3 times a day. breakfast(phone) lunch (phone) and dinner ( phone). I have seen this line of work destroy some pretty healthy relationships. My girl has been there for me at the hardest times, but she understands the passion. I think this stuff becomes universal in this industry.

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The problem isn't finding a DP as talented as I was (there are always plenty of more talented people out there than me) -- the problem is finding someone as cheap as I was to hire back then! I think I was working for $200/day on that shoot... and I did "Northfork" for even less than that ($1000/week for a six-day week, no overtime.)

 

Well, David, that's what I aim to do--find someone as talented and as cheap, uh, I mean inexpensive. No, I mean "cost effective". Yeah, that's it.

 

We don't even have Northfork money. :(

 

BTW, I posted an ad on craigslist and got over 75 replies. I'm amazed at how many talented and hungry people are out there. (Well to be honest, they're not all talented, but you get the idea...)

 

Thank you all for your wonderful feedback!

 

 

That was about the crew size I had on "Twin Falls Idaho", which was shot in 17 days for about a half-million dollars. But it was a fairly controllable shoot, mostly in some small rooms at Lacy Street Studios. We didn't have much exterior shooting. We did work many horrendously long hours though, during a heat wave in July.)

 

 

Oh, and David, 70% of my movie is exterior daylight in one location. We're building a Renaissance Faire set and so we'll have control over it for 3 weeks.

 

There are a few crowd scenes, but most scenes only have 2 people in them, which is how I think I can pull this off.

 

Any thoughts?

 

 

BTW, the Faire is being built by volunteers! The outpouring of support from the Faire community is heartwarming. The movie would literally not be possible without them.

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Just to avoid visual repetition, I'd have some scenes set under tents and whatnot to create some mood, plus give you somewhere to go if you lose the light or it rains.

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Oh, they all have to know what they are doing too... boy that's asking for a lot on a low-budget movie. :D

 

Are you intoxicated, David? That's a little informal for you. :huh:

Edited by Matthew Buick

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Are you intoxicated, David?

 

I was merely joking... it's one thing to find a small crew that will work cheap, but to ask that they be experienced and good too, well, the odds are high that he'll have to work around some of the weaker members of the crew.

 

I don't drink.

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The most important thing, is that as a director you know EXACTLY WHAT YOU WANT!

you can have a 20 person crew, and suck big time if you don't have a clear goal...

 

Make sure that your plans make everything clear to tell your story.... down the line is the most important

 

-------------------------------

David you are a true man.....

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I was merely joking... it's one thing to find a small crew that will work cheap, but to ask that they be experienced and good too, well, the odds are high that he'll have to work around some of the weaker members of the crew.

 

I don't drink.

 

My mistake. :)

 

You should do that more often...be more loose, I mean. :lol:

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BTW, I posted an ad on craigslist and got over 75 replies. I'm amazed at how many talented and hungry people are out there. (Well to be honest, they're not all talented, but you get the idea...)

 

one of those being mine, I might note. 8)

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