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Noah Hellum

Starting Out

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Hi I'm a fourteen year old student in New York. I've shot and directed six shorts and I was PA on an indie shoot. I aspire to be a DP, Director or maybe a gaffer. I was wondering what's the best way to ascend to one of those positions and whether it's better to work up the budget ladder or the crew ladder. Also, if anybody has an any advice on something they did that really helped that would be great.

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There's no right or wrong path -- you forge you own path. Talk to a dozen cinematographers and you'll hear a dozen of ways they got to where they are now.


You do whatever it takes to learn to be better and to network.


I taught myself cinematography, mainly by research and by shooting my own short films, but by the time I was 26 I still wasn't sure how to get jobs as a cinematographer so I went to film school. They didn't really teach me how to find jobs either but my first cinematographer jobs came from fellow students connecting me to directors looking for a cinematographer. After that, I climbed the budget ladder rather than the crew ladder. I think I recognized that I might make a better cinematographer than a camera assistant, and electricity, frankly, scares me a bit, I have a healthy respect for it, so being an electrician was possible but unlikely. I like grip work but am not athletic enough to do that full-time...

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