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Alejandro Ramos

Finding Gigs/ Gigs Finding you

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Hey everyone,

I have a question I'm sure that gets brought up a lot, but I'd figure I'd ask anyway.
How do you all go about finding your gigs and your work? More so, how do gigs/ producers find you?

 

It seems in this industry when you ask someone these question, everyone wants to stay very secretive about it because they feel the need to protect where they're source is. So I wanted to post this here to see if any one would be willing to discuss this.

Thanks in advance and happy filming!

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Well; there's a few ways.

1) you look online-- craigslist, mandy, staffmeup, such like that. There are generally VEEEERRRRRRYYYY slim pickings therein; but I have had and continue to have an auto-search marco which runs and e mails me any job with "cinematographer" or "director of photography" in it. Generally ever 15 min it runs-- and works sometimes. I rarely every get or see anything good on there; but once in awhile you may find a new-comer to LA who is looking for someone to shoot something simple with them, and if you're free and they're not an ass about it,, nothing wrong with meeting new people and maybe getting a few bucks to cover your cell phone bill for the month.

2) social media. Facebook has a huge amount of film groups on it which post jobs, and on which you can put up your availability. The rates often suck; but it's not as bad as craigslist or the like and combined with what you might get from #1 and 2 leads to:

3) Networking-- you're network, people who know you or who know of you and they call you because someone they know or know of needs someone like you. This is by far the VAST majority of gigs which seem to come. It's people you've worked with before, or people who have heard of you before from someone you've worked with. Everyone on set, from the PAs on up to the Producers are part of this, they are all on their own career paths and you never know what they may come across so really treat everyone well, with respect, on set, and try to keep up your contacts. I'm bad with it, I am terrified, honestly, of people, in real life. I hide it very very well but personally I always get skittish when it comes to interacting where there may be strangers.

4) People seeing your stuff-- either from your own website, or a google search or seeing your film somewhere. I actually booked 2 shorts this month (this weekend and end of the month) from a Husband and Wife team who happened to see a short I shot last year at some point and they sought me out.

5) Random interactions. I often go to this coffee shop where I feel "myself." I sit and I read, or I'm looking at scripts. Sometimes seating is at a premium and you wind up interacting with strangers (shudder, but I have coffee so it's typically ok) and a good deal of them, given my neighborhood, are in some way connected to film. They are almost ALL just starting out as well, young, and ballsy. You'll get into conversations with them, and often that'll turn into a job on occasion.

 

I'm sure there are other ways, but that's basically mine. I should note, this year, according to my own spreadsheet, I've gotten:

2 jobs from Craigslist

4 from facebook

and everything else was either from networking or referral (but that would take too long to count since I don't keep track of that)

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I check Twitter and Craigslist every now and then, most of the time fall flat.

 

More commonly I have potential clients emailing me. I used Youtube as a self-marketing platform to display my A/V production value. I can't sit here and tell someone that's a realistic path to pursue though. Cinematographers are great, knowledgeable people, but their training doesn't include knowing how to grab an audience in under 30 seconds. 2 minutes? Yes. But Youtubers click off in under a minute.

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Well; there's a few ways.

1) you look online-- craigslist, mandy, staffmeup, such like that. There are generally VEEEERRRRRRYYYY slim pickings therein; but I have had and continue to have an auto-search marco which runs and e mails me any job with "cinematographer" or "director of photography" in it. Generally ever 15 min it runs-- and works sometimes. I rarely every get or see anything good on there; but once in awhile you may find a new-comer to LA who is looking for someone to shoot something simple with them, and if you're free and they're not an ass about it,, nothing wrong with meeting new people and maybe getting a few bucks to cover your cell phone bill for the month.

2) social media. Facebook has a huge amount of film groups on it which post jobs, and on which you can put up your availability. The rates often suck; but it's not as bad as craigslist or the like and combined with what you might get from #1 and 2 leads to:

3) Networking-- you're network, people who know you or who know of you and they call you because someone they know or know of needs someone like you. This is by far the VAST majority of gigs which seem to come. It's people you've worked with before, or people who have heard of you before from someone you've worked with. Everyone on set, from the PAs on up to the Producers are part of this, they are all on their own career paths and you never know what they may come across so really treat everyone well, with respect, on set, and try to keep up your contacts. I'm bad with it, I am terrified, honestly, of people, in real life. I hide it very very well but personally I always get skittish when it comes to interacting where there may be strangers.

4) People seeing your stuff-- either from your own website, or a google search or seeing your film somewhere. I actually booked 2 shorts this month (this weekend and end of the month) from a Husband and Wife team who happened to see a short I shot last year at some point and they sought me out.

5) Random interactions. I often go to this coffee shop where I feel "myself." I sit and I read, or I'm looking at scripts. Sometimes seating is at a premium and you wind up interacting with strangers (shudder, but I have coffee so it's typically ok) and a good deal of them, given my neighborhood, are in some way connected to film. They are almost ALL just starting out as well, young, and ballsy. You'll get into conversations with them, and often that'll turn into a job on occasion.

 

I'm sure there are other ways, but that's basically mine. I should note, this year, according to my own spreadsheet, I've gotten:

2 jobs from Craigslist

4 from facebook

and everything else was either from networking or referral (but that would take too long to count since I don't keep track of that)

I appreciate the response! I'm pretty much doing all of these currently. I wanted to check also if I was in the same ball park as everyone else. But it seems like I'm looking in the right areas/ talking with enough people!

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It's a process. Honestly, though, I don't think there is any singular "this is the way" type thing. If memory serves, the documentary cinematographer style has some funny anecdotes ab out how other DoPs in times past got started-- such as printing a resume on sand-paper so they couldn't just ball it up and throw it away.

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When looking for gigs in my realm of expertise (vfx/animation) I would say that Craigslist is THE WORST. And so depressing. Every once-in-awhile there's a great ad posted by someone as an "answer" to all of those wannabe producers who are looking for free labor (the classic line is that it's "great exposure"), those are pretty entertaining.

 

The best gigs always come from people you know, your network. Word of mouth. Facebook helps with that.

 

There's also a few new "virtual studio" companies on the internet that are interesting - they sort of "crowd source" for commercial work. I haven't worked for any of them yet and my understanding is that it's very hit-or-miss in terms of landing the gigs and they don't pay well. But it seems to be a growing part of the market. Check out: www.tongal.com

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To add to Adrian's list, there's also an app called Up Work. It has a ton of creative categories, from video production, to gfx, to scripting.

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This stuff varies internationally.

It's extremely easy to chat people up in LA and end up collaborating with them. It's almost impossible in London.

P

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