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Adam Johnson

Just Starting Out; Need Experience

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I have a degree in Photography and I've been writing script for over ten years, even had a few options. I was gonna be a writer for a long, long time but I don't think it's the life I want. I know I still want to make movies and want to put my degree/training to use, and I've decided I want to be a cinematographer.


I don't have a film degree. I dont have connections. I cant go back to school, well, very easily. And I've got no experience.


I'm planning on saving up and moving/transferring my day job to Los Angeles. I live in D/FW and there's nothing really here and if I'm moving I'd rather just go to LA than, say, Austin.


If anybody can guide me to some resources or opportunities, I really want to just hit the ground and go fast. I know it's something I can do with a little practice but I cant seem to get any!



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New York has a lot of oppurtunities now with the Tax Incentive till 2019. You can always join Local 600 as a assistant work your way up and shoot every chance you get.

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Shoot whatever you can whenever you can. Do good work, and network with people. I personally believe in being nice and helpful to everyone, and while many people have/do take advantage of that, I think it has helped me inasmuch as people tend to like and appreciate me, and some even value my opinion.

LA is a jungle, vast, wild, and full of bats. But, if you can keep your bearings, minus the few false steps and stumbles, it is quite fruitful. New York is the same way, though I think really it's about just picking the point to say you are this or that, sticking to it, and somehow backing it up. Since you can't currently, you should practice on your own with whatever you have,and work with other people just starting out-- directors, actors wanting reels, ect to make films-- and forge real friendships. Sometimes too you'll have to shoot for free for a stranger. This sickens me, and I think it degrades the whole industry, but it is the way of things these days. Try to limit those you do do for free to people and projects which are actually worthwhile.

Learn how to make good coffee. Make it for everyone on set when you can, no matter what your job is. Every PA isn't always a PA, for example.

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