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Sean Elder

A few questions on a particular career path

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Okay, guys and gals!! I have a few questions that hopefully the wealth of knowledge here can answer. First a disclaimer, (I actually like disclaimers for some weird reason): My goal is to lens commercials, films (short or long format), and the occasional music video. If given the opportunity, of course. I currently work for a production house that does very little in all those categories. So in the best interest of my personal goals I'd like to submit the following questions.:

 

  1. Is there a benefit to aligning oneself (as a cameraman/cinematographer/DP) to an ad agency?

  2. What are the challenges that arise when you build up a narrative reel, when trying to get into commercials and other types of work?

  3. Is it easy to get pigeon-holed as a “Insert Category” DP, or is that something that one unconsciously gravitates to?

  4. If most of your current work is primarily short form narrative; How do you branch out into other categories of work?

  5. There have been several examples of DPs rising through the camera department ranks, getting the nod for commercial work, narrative, etc., or gaining an opportunity for narrative work through documentary work; how often does that happen nowadays?

  6. Is there something that I may be missing as far as learning about how the political climate of our craft is going? Does that vary from region to region? If so, what is it like currently in Texas? (I live in Houston, where the bulk of the work is news and oil & gas.)

  7. Should I talk with a Union Rep. to figure out how I can better align myself with shooting productions in the aforementioned categories?

  8. There are only a handful of people in my state, that have any dealings with unions, and I'm wondering; Would it be better to move to another city, and start all over with the title “aspiring DP”?

I'm sure I'll have a ton of other questions, but these are the most nagging to me!!

 

Thank you in advance for your epic help!!!

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