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Guest Christian Film Project

Finding a girly DP!

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Guest Daniel J. Ashley-Smith

No, there isn't enough jobs for EVERYONE, but there is for all the good DP's out there.

 

Thing I've always found is that a lot of DP's don't have that natural, pro edge to them. Working on a film a while back, the DP had done TV commercials e.t.c. The guy was quite experienced and owned a 10 thousand pound DVCAM to work with. I on the other hand, haven't had nearly as much experience as he has and I don't have the credentials either. But I still didn't like half the shots he did, they had thought behind them but, when I tried to imagine them, they just really didn't work. They looked too cheesy in a way.

 

I hate to sound big headed, but I can imagine how the shot will look before hand. I ask myself, does this work? If it doesn't, I find another method of framing until I do think I have a shot that WILL work.

 

Thing is a lot of people on this board like to show off with all their technical knowledge, but out in the field it?s usually quite irrelevant. It?s all down to the basics. Shutter speed, aperture, and framing. I mean, my camera technical knowledge is far from good, but I can still create good looking shots. Because I know the basics and I know how to work them. Knowing the X-Y characteristics of spherical aberration e.t.c. doesn?t create good shots, framing the characters and setting the aperture correctly on the other hand does. THEY are what make good looking shots.

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Guest Daniel J. Ashley-Smith

Experience helps with a lot of things yes, but believe it or not it IS possible to be natural at some of these things. Take some younger actors and actresses for instance, Natalie Portman was about 12/13 years old when she first got her big break in film (Leon). And she put on of the greatest performances in her entire career, and she hadn't had any real film experience before that. So it IS possible to jump straight into things and be great at what you do.

 

Experience doesn't always come as practice when making good shots. It just gives you a better idea about film, ways around things e.t.c.

Edited by Daniel J. Ashley-Smith

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"Thing is a lot of people on this board like to show off with all their technical knowledge, but out in the field it?s usually quite irrelevant. It?s all down to the basics. Shutter speed, aperture, and framing

Knowing the X-Y characteristics of spherical aberration e.t.c. doesn?t create good shots, framing the characters and setting the aperture correctly on the other hand does. THEY are what make good looking shots."

 

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

 

True, but what if you're up against someone who's as gifted as you are but who also happens to know the X-Y characteristics of spherical aberration, for example,

who will ultimately get the job and more importantly who will do a better job?

 

As much as framing, exposure and lighting are crucial to getting those powerful shots we're all after, to deny the importance of the seemingly "less important" aspects of cinematography and exposure is not only unprofessional it's a big mistake.

 

Personal example -- I thought I was a good guitar player because I got compliments and had a lot of stage experience. I thought I knew my instrument like the back of my hand.

But when it came time for my solo bit during a jazz jam session with some friends I realized something - I don't know 'modes'. My guitar solos that day were boring and weak, to say the least.

So I decided to learn modes and picked up a book on music theory. Now I know modes. I may never be the best guitarist to ever walk the earth (that's not the point) but I know modes. I'll never lose a gig or ruin a jazz solo ever again because I took the time to study something which at the time seemed like an abolute waste of time. Not to mention that learning modes opened my mind to a whole micro-cosmos of hidden musical wisdom...

In fact, only now can I actually start referring to myself as a true musician.

 

Pay close attention to these forums. When someone asks a question there are usually many quick, good informative reponses.

The TRUE professionals on this board have proven time and time again that they are where they are today because they are like walking encyclopedias. They took the time to act like professionals do, and as life would have it, they are slowly but surely being rewarded for their hard work.

 

Read this post:

"All Advice needed

Newbie needs advice on documentary film"

 

look at the responses Jamaica got. read them carefully. only the pro's answer her questions with informative ANSWERS.

 

why?

 

because they are professionals and they know how to.

 

now THAT'S admirable.

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I agree with TSM. A true professional is willing to teach and mentor, and takes every opportunity to do so. :) One who is insecure in their profession tends to view everyone as a potential competitor, and doesn't readily share their knowledge and experience.

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"A true professional is willing to teach and mentor, and takes every opportunity to do so. One who is insecure in their profession tends to view everyone as a potential competitor, and doesn't readily share their knowledge and experience."

 

(See what I mean? Also, notice how almost every film/exposure/stock/processing related question asked on these boards is ANSWERED almost immediately by Mr. Pytlak -- and always with a link to back it up. That's a professional for ya, and it just goes to show you the learning potential this website and these forums can offer if you ask the right questions. A 30K/yr film school is not a luxury I can afford at the moment, but this is the next best place to learn about cinematography...if not the #1 place)

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Guest Daniel J. Ashley-Smith
True, but what if you're up against someone who's as gifted as you are but who also happens to know the X-Y characteristics of spherical aberration, for example,

who will ultimately get the job and more importantly who will do a better job?

When people look for cinematographer they look for a show reel, they want to see results. Something where technical knowledge isn't all that important.

 

I mean ok I'm not saying knowing technical knowledge is completely irrelevant, but some people make it seem as though if you know all of that, you are automatically a great DP.

 

If I came across someone as gifted as me with framing e.t.c. AND he knew all the technical science, then hell he's a better DP than me.

 

But on the other hand my point is that a lot of people on here can boast their technical knowledge however much they like, but can they deliver on set? It's like the difference between learning about all the insides and mechanics of a car, and actually being able to drive. Someone who can drive might not know about all the science, but at least they can use it and judge how much they need to turn e.t.c.

 

That?s exactly why at the moment I have lost most of my interest in the science behind cameras, I'm more into learning the theory behind things, cinematic codes and meaning.

 

A true professional is willing to teach and mentor

Yes, because a true professional has made it into the film industry, it's not as though he has to worry about giving away all his information and then find it backfiring on him in threat of his job because some other suck knows too much. I on the other hand, still like to give people advice where I can, but I've learnt it just doesn't work on this board. It's like people don't like the idea of me showing off some knowledge and getting appraise from whoever asked for it (Even if I am right, someone will still come back with some kind of an answer to either prove me wrong or degrade my answer)

Edited by Daniel J. Ashley-Smith

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I was young once and Kevin Zanit is a rather young guy -- the issue is not age, it's attitude and knowledge.

 

If it were simply a matter of you posting undeniable facts, your age would be irrelevent. For example, if someone asked when the first Kodak color negative movie film hit the market and you replied "1950", nobody would give you a hard time because that's a fact. And if they did, you'd be in a position of strength to argue back with factual evidence.

 

It's when you veer into OPINIONS on filmmaking -- which is fine, opinion away -- and you expect your opinions to be just as valid as any professional, which comes off as arrogant. When I was your age, I never expected people to take my opinions on some adult profession or enterprise seriously unless I was talking to people my own age. Maybe because you can't see us, you think we're all teenagers here.

 

Getting to what you were saying, I sort of agree but with reservations: technical skills matter tremendously but only as a base from which to work artistically. Outside of other people's contribution, 90% of good cinematography is putting the camera in the right place and putting the light in the right place. That's it. But the other 10% is a lot of technical knowhow to keep from screwing something up or tracking down what went wrong. You have to learn it ALL but you also have to keep your priorities straight and be results oriented.

 

I learned a long time ago that to earn respect on the internet, keep your posts filled with more factual information than personal opinion, unless you are asked for it. People will start to see you as a reliable source for information, and THEN they will start to also take your opinions seriously, especially if you are hesistant to offer them and especially if you try and stick to things you have direct experience with. No one likes a backseat driver, some guy outside the system who likes nothing more to do that offer his "expert" opinions on things he has little direct knowledge of.

 

If you acted a little more humble, you'd be treated nicer. I'm just surprised you're even asking WHY a teenager's opinion on filmmaking is not taken just as seriously as working professionals.

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Guest Daniel J. Ashley-Smith

I see what you are saying, but honestly sometimes I really do think people argue my opinions/facts just for the hell of it. i.e. He's just some kid starting out, I'm experienced so he better had do what I tell him otherwise I'll call him arrogant.

 

Obviously I'm not saying that about everyone, but I can safely say it's happened before by some people.

 

Not that I wish to moan, hell this is life.

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

 

Yeh knowing the science is useful, but unless you have the talent to frame and setup shots correctly it's almost worthless out in the field. Thing that kind of annoys me is that I KNOW I can set up framing and shots very well, but on the other hand my technical knowledge isn't great. Unfortunately A lot of people around here only seem to go by the technical knowledge. I have some 35mm snaps I could and have put online, didn't make a huge amount of difference though.

 

I will admit that I used to be a right arrogant sod, but now that I've started filming seriously I can respect others a lot more and see their views. Before for instance I never used to listen, because in a way I thought I was different and I was capable of doing it anyway, now I can see that I was a complete fool to think that. But just so that everyone knows, that was THEN and this is now.

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I used to teach animation at a summer camp and the level of talent coming out of these kids (ages 8 to 15) was- still is!- phenomenal. But even more amazing was how humble and down-to-earth they were about it. I think truly talented people know where they're at and don't necessarily feel the need to talk about it all the time; or if they do, it's because they are very passionate.

 

Learning a craft well is a perpetual balance of technical and creative knowledge, and personally I don't think there is ever a cut-off point for either of these things- we are constantly learning new things no matter how old we are.

 

One of the hardest things about learning anything is admitting when you screw up. I myself am still overcoming this. Oh sure, a Professional (capital P!) might do this or that a certain way, and not mess up. But a Professional would also tell people, "Hey, I'm sorry, but I messed this up" instead of trying to cover his/her ass. I screwed up somebody's equipment order the other day at work and I didn't even have to think about letting people know right away so that my mistake wouldn't cause further problems. Of course by doing this, I was taking the risk that instead of appreciating my honesty, people would give me a hard time for not doing things right. But in my opinion, it's a risk that's worth taking. It's easier to take the heat right away rather than quietly sitting on your mistake for weeks and then coming out with it.

 

I think that's a quality that comes with age and experience. Wow I sound like such a hippie. What do I know, I just turned 23! :lol:

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Hi,

 

> What do I know, I just turned 23

 

You know what, birthdays start coming disturbingly quickly from this point on, and with every one it slowly becomes more and more obvious that the world doesn't quite work as advertised. I'm now staring 30 in the face in a depressingly small number of years and while in some ways it'll make certain things easier (car insurance for one, if I owned a car!) I generally find that it's best to avoid reflecting on all the things that have gone wrong over the last twelve months!

 

Phil

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" I generally find that it's best to avoid reflecting on all the things that have gone wrong over the last twelve months!"

 

Hey Phil,

 

I drive a close friend of mine 1.5 hours each way on Tuesdays for his cancer treatment. He's 38 years old with four kids, and it's not looking good.

 

My film career has not exactly gone the way I would have liked it to either, but seeing my friend under going cancer treatment puts it in perspective.

 

I am not dying, yet, and neither are you by the sounds of it.

 

If you have your health you have a lot, it's more than many people have.

 

Richard

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Hi,

 

One of the things that went wrong over the last year was my father undergoing chemotherapy for bowel cancer. Happily, he seems to have got away with it and is still following me around with a mic (sound recordist, black sheep of the family, we don't like to talk about it....)

 

Phil

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As a "chick," I'm not sure if I have a "woman's touch" or what exactly that would feel like -- but hell, if it gets me an interview for a good script, I'll figure it out :rolleyes:

 

I have often been asked what it's like to be a female DP. Unfortunately, I don't know cuz I have nothing to compare it to. Being a DP is a rough and wonderful road for anyone.

 

Lisa W.

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You honestly think any white males feel responsible for the plight of women and minorities? 

We will continue to dominate the film industry and every other industry that really matters for as long as we feel like it.

As for the white males here that think other wise, first, give up your job to a woman or a minority.  Then you can criticize me for saying what I'm saying.

 

Frank

 

You don't seem to understand that all we're really saying here, Frank, is that the best person should get the job, regardless of race or sex. No-one's talking about charity.

 

Look, many women will continue to choose to stay at home with their kids, and I think that's great because more kids need their parents (mom or dad) to stay at home. And let's face it, women are better at raising kids than men are. Because of this, there will never be as many women as there are men in the workplace.

 

It doesn't mean that they aren't as capable, Frank. It just means they have more important things to be doing. God knows we need better parenting in this country.

 

BUT- for those women who choose to be a part of our field of work, YES- they are now competition, so that just means that everyone has to be that much better in order to compete in a growing pond.

 

Bring it on!

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how about if someone wants to hire a woman to shoot their film let them hire a woman? i have to admit i am opposed to any kind of discriminatory hiring practices including affirmative action, but if an employer feels more comfortable with a certain race or sex, and can make a reasonable argument defending the preference, then i see no reason to go crazy with accusations. if one is going on location in a violent area dominated by a single race, you may want to have someone of that race on the crew. if you're shooting a woman giving birth, maybe you would prefer to have female ac's. the problems arise when people are rejected based on imagined limitations or general prejudice, such as female grips being to weak or french ac's being lazy or something. people, of course, always have the option (at least in america and most other nations represented by members of this forum) to take litigious action should they feel descriminated against, and the possibility of this action should in turn act as a deterrent against prejudicial hiring practices by employers.

 

jk :ph34r:

 

p.s. i wish we could avoid "yelling" at each other.

 

p.p.s. phil you are usually pretty funny, but some of your best material has appeared on this thread! "what is this "sun"?" just killed me.

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Frank, you don't happen to be divorced, do you? Ha, ha. Usually when men are so nasty toward women it's because they've been burned.

What's your axe against Affirmative Action? How many times have you been screwed out of a job by it? My guess would be none. Maybe you are not aware of this, but in the U.S. most of the jobs affected by Affirmative Action are poop jobs which nobody aspires to work at. Office jobs, middle management jobs at unimportant colleges, public school teaching jobs, etc. A similar argument is made by some people against immigrants "coming over and taking our jobs". That's pretty accurate if "our jobs" are working as a line cook in a restaurant or picking vegetables for less than minimum wage.

I think you're out of touch. You're getting mad at the theory of something and ignoring the real effects of it.

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Man, there is so much laten distrust among people it seems humanity will never end up on the same page. True change will never come with legislation, it's all trapped in our hearts.

 

Men and women are different, thankfully. I'm a scrawny guy and have met a lot of women stronger than me. Whenever you speak in generalizations - and both sides of these arguments often do - you are asking for trouble. Even so, while it may be true that 'generally' women may not be as physically strong as men, it could also be said that they are often more empathetic and creative - which I would think is more important when following an artistic path than body strength. We complement each other - it's in our design - and I think the best work will ultimately come from collaboration between all kinds of perspectives and voices.

 

It's sad because the world has been so heavy on the white male side for so long, and now the change is coming in a political sense - PC and all of that sort of thing - which only serves to make people defensive and cheapen the contributions of women and minorities. I'm a white guy and I know i have stereotypes that creep into my heart too, and i try to be conscious of those and fight them. We all do, regardless of our background, i think, if we are honest. Sometimes I feel like it is hard to truely be yourself when interacting with people from other cultural backgrounds because I want to be genuine and friendly and whatnot to the point that it becomes more cerebral than authentic. It's a strange double bind and I'm working on that.

 

In the end, you should hire the best person for a job. But keep your eyes wide open.

 

I think I laughed out loud when one of the offenders here spoke about his arms hurting from carrying a PD150 all day. Darn shoulder strap. If you have to tout how great you are it begins to feel like hot air. However, there are so many open and giving people on this board and their self confidence and knowledge speaks volumes.

 

Take care all.

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j.m.,

 

disagreeing with a policy like affirmative action which chooses to cheapen the legitimacy of the very people it pretends to help, while at the same time discriminating against qualified peers, does not qualify one as an "axe grinder". I know it's hard to see the evil in things when they hide behind the guise of righteousness, but as shakespeare wrote "one may smile, and smile, and be a villain". he's no henry rollins of course but it was the best i could do off the top of my head. :)

 

if you're car busts a flat you don't pop the other tires to make it balanced, do you?

 

jk

Edited by jasonkollias

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Affirmative action? I don't think anyone's pushing that. I believe MJ misspoke when she referred to it. After all, we're just talking about making sure everyone has an equal shot, not artificially forcing people to hire more people of a certain sex or race, just to even out the numbers. I think most rational people would agree that there's plenty of evil at both ends of the spectrum.

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