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Benjamin Guerrero

F.O.M.O. Post-Film School Venting

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It's kind of a personal post, so I'm sorry if this is not the place where it belongs. Anyhow, after almost 4 years in "film school" , graduation is nearing very quickly. A lot of my classmates and very close friends/collaborators have been talking about getting a MFA degree in foreign countries. Thing is, it's very probable I can't afford it, since it's already a miracle in and of itself that I was able to enroll in the Cinematographical Arts program in an important Uni in my country. Maybe some of you have had the same experience. How do you deal/have dealt with the fear of missing out in this situation, seeing the people you have been working with for so long and know are so talented, being able to develop their craft academically further than your current finantial capabilities allow. Plus, while the film program in my uni is not bad, it's very very general and I want to specialize in Cinematography, so I have some quite large learning gaps in that area that I wish I could fix and been already trying to fix on my own.

TL;DR: Friends are going for the MFA, and I can't. FOMO about that.

PS, I know the battle for me is not yet lost, maybe I can get a scholarship since my grades have been good/have some valuable local projects in my reel, but I still want to post this in case someone else in the future falls in the same mental rut.

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Well, school isn't a great way to learn cinematography. Maybe the basics of cinema, but actual cinematography requires experimentation and working with a professional cinematographer and learning. The only good thing you can do with a MFA degree is teach, otherwise it's a waste of money and time. Remember, the longer you aren't working, the less people will know about your work.

Wanna be a cinematographer? Buy a decent camera and go shoot stuff! Wanna learn more? Work on low-budget film sets for free as an intern and learn. Wanna get really good? Find a mentor, even in a different country, someone who can train you the last bit you won't know. Wanna work in the industry? Ya need a damn good demo reel and probably need to permanently live somewhere there is a need for cinematographers, like central Europe, US, Canada, Australia, etc.  

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Grad school won't teach you anything you can't learn with youtube tutorials. Move somewhere with a film industry and find a PA gig. Your grad school friends will have to do the same thing, but with a mountain of debt on their backs. 

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Lots of ways to progress and the success you might get from doing a Post grad is also dependant on the programme. The NFTS MA in cinematography for instance is the exact opposite of Tylers comments.

However the money factor is an issue, I wouldn't recommend loading yourself up with debt to attend a programme you can't afford. Debt can kill your chances of success in this industry way more then not going to Film School. With debt you can't afford to take advantage of interesting opportunities or pick jobs for what they do for career. The reality of too much debt is you'd have to take any job (probably not creative) to service the loan repayments, it limits where you can live and you became a slave to the repayments. You trapped into picking the better paid job. 

Early on in your career you won't make much money, but you want to give yourself a chance to try before you give up and "get a real job". Debt forces the issue and can be a dangerous trap to fall into. 

I would recommend the NFTS programme because I've seen what it can do for peoples careers, but it only works if you can afford it. I attended the TV directing course and one of the reasons I've struggled to capitalise on the experience was that I couldn't really afford it. I graduated with a lot of debt, so rather then pushing myself as a filmmaker and taking advantage of the learning and contacts. I just had to take any job and stay constantly in work to stay on top of the repayments. In my case post film school my opportunities were reduced, because their were so many job's I couldn't afford the pay cut to take. 

The 2 years I spent at the NFTS were among the best 2 years of my life. But they are in most countries, elitist organisations only catering to those that can afford it. Its a real problem for the future that only the wealthy will be able to access training in the Arts. And you see it all the time in the creative sector, many successful figures come from wealthy backgrounds and could afford to take a risk on a creative profession. 

Fortunately, there are other ways to proceed and their are plenty of ways to develop your craft as a filmmaker. Its never been so accessible. In terms of online learning tools and affordable tools to practice on.  There are no barriers to you just going out and making stuff, learning and showing it to people. 

If your stuck in a rut, trying to get an assisting or trainee role on a bigger production is going to help bring you along. Its likely you can progress just as quickly as your friends by picking up more professional work experience.

Also never compair yourself to others, that way lies madness. Sure there will be times when you see your friends getting opportunities you don't get. Its even more frustrating when its due to money issues. Its best to be supportive of their choices and in your own situation focus on what you can do. Its a long game anyway, people my have success very quickly in their career and for others its a bit of a slog. 

As long as you enjoy what you do and fine ways to express yourself creatively - thats whats important. 

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So I'll give you another example, coming from a High School and College professor. 

We had a student who graduated high school and didn't go to college. He applied to intern on a feature (for free) and since he was still living at home, his expenses were minimal. He worked with the AC's for the entire show, it was a big show. They liked him so much, they offered him an opportunity to head over sea's and work on the most recent Star Wars film. Since then, he's already been a 1st AC on a few commercials and some music video's, both Digital and Film, all before his 20th birthday. 

Now look at the college students I've worked with. I spent an evening with seniors from California State's film program. Now I know it's not as illustrious as some of the big film schools, but hear me out. The kids were on average of 21 years old as seniors. They all have left home, they all had part time jobs to pay rent, they all had been in school for 4 years, some of them even longer. They can't afford to work on a 2 month feature for free? Who is going to pay their rent? They can't afford to buy cameras and start taking gigs, they've got massive debt and the moment they graduate, they've gotta start paying it back.  Where it's true, some of them had pretty decent reels by senior year, none of it would get them a feature or tv show gig. They'd be lucky to work on commercials and music videos for peanuts. 

Yes, these are two very specific examples, both in Hollywood as well. So I get that perhaps it's irrelevant if you live somewhere else. I mean I worked as a cinematographer right out of high school whilst I was going to college in Boston, not a hub for the film industry at all. The only reason why it worked for me is because I didn't need to pay rent and I could skip a day of school or work in order to work on a film set. I think it worked nicely because right out of college, I shot a pilot for a TV series in Boston and then moved to Los Angeles where I shot two features back to back. 

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3 hours ago, Tyler Purcell said:

in Boston, not a hub for the film industry at all

I think it should be mentioned that because of tax incentives, Boston (along with Atlanta, New Orleans) has been a major shooting destination for a lot of movies over the past 10 years or so. Sometimes it's easier to break-in to the industry in cities/states like that where productions don't want to bring in crew from California.

I spent a good chunk of time on-set in Boston for the Ted movies. Some great crew out there!

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22 minutes ago, Webster C said:

I think it should be mentioned that because of tax incentives, Boston (along with Atlanta, New Orleans) has been a major shooting destination for a lot of movies over the past 10 years or so. Sometimes it's easier to break-in to the industry in cities/states like that where productions don't want to bring in crew from California.

Ohh I agree! It's way easier to be a small fish in a small pond then a small fish in a big pond. The difference is that, here in Hollywood, there is simply SO MUCH WORK, it's a lot easier to stumble upon it. In Boston, there is so little work, you've gotta be hooked in with the top crews and if you wanna be a Director or Cinematographer? Forget it, those people are generally coming from Hollywood anyway. 

Funny enough, I moved away from MA before the tax incentives kicked in. I don't think it would have helped me however, work was always tough to find and people didn't understand how much it cost. That's why I got stuck doing commercials, not because I wanted to, but because it was the only thing I could get on. Honestly, working for a small production company as a freelancer, really was the best experience because they'd let me go do things nobody else would. Heck, even today I find it hard to get gigs because even if you have a great reel, all the good working directors, already have DP's the normally work with. It's a lot easier to just be an AC and follow around a certain DP until they can't take a job and maybe they'd toss it onto you. 

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I hope you realize from these stories that there are lots of ways to get where you want to go. An undergraduate degree is a great achievement for a lot of reasons—it means you are a person who values knowledge, isn't afraid of difficult subjects, and is capable of pursuing a long-term goal. You also have a head full of information which is always valuable on a film set.

This is also an opportunity to learn the lesson that you can't compare your path to anyone else. Yes, a few kids from your school are going to MFA programs but the reasons they're going probably has little to do with career success. Yes, some of them have a clear idea of how they'll make an MFA into a stepping stone. But instead they might be going because their parents want the social prestige of a kid in grad school. They could be going because they really love school and plan to teach some day. They could be going because they just don't know what else to do or they feel they need a little more time in the oven before they're fully cooked.

 

 

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Work is a place where they pay you what you are worth, you are selling your skills. School is a place where you pay them to teach you, where you learn how to learn, but probably don't learn the skills you will need on the job. The diploma may get you an interview, but how you do on the job is mostly a function of  how well you can manage the relationships with your bosses and co-workers, how eager and capable you are to learn and get up to speed quickly, and your overall attitude and enthusiasm. You can't count on getting many lucky breaks in life, but when they come, take full advantage of them and do whatever is required to make them work.

If you can't get an MFA now, concentrate on getting that first job, on getting your foot in the door. You can always find out what is being studied in the MFA program, and study on your own. Doing that while you work will be more meaningful than doing it in a classroom.

Edited by Bob Speziale

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Hello everyone! Sorry I took so long to respond, was doing the required internship in my uni program and it took a lot of my time. To my great surprise, it was a very very rare oportunity to "work" filming the Behind The Scenes of an important local movie and I'm over the moon. Learned so so so much by watching the camera team in action, from the focus puller, the clapperloader, the grips and gaffers, and obviously the DP. Such an amazing experience.

Certainly my anxiety has waned a bit, but something I realized was how limited has been the capabilities of applying all the knowledge I have gathered either from film school or on my own. Not to ditch my alma mater, but a film school without cameras/equippment?? The studies and the people I've met have been really really amazing, but what's the point if you can't apply anything outside the shoestring budget of an in-debt student who only has a DSLR and a flimsy tripod, figuratively and literally. Doesn't that beat the purpose of a film school (and a fairly costly one)?. Maybe its just a consequence of the country I live in, but the resources have been very limited. Maybe that's the reason I want to go abroad to get an MFA so badly. And I get that limited resources help you be more resourceful, but we all hope to join the big leagues and not screw up big time, right? Filmmaking is an art that largely depends on money, sadly.

Getting the job in this field depends on your ability to get the shot and let people know your ability to get said shot. I fear the day I have some kind of budget in my hands and know there's probably a better resource out there to capture the image closer to the way I intend, and can't use it just because I don't know or can't remember due to the lack of application of said resource. Until then, I'm trying to define my style and refine my taste, by literally writing it all down, in the hopes I don't forget.

Thanks everyone for your kind words. Phil, your words have really really touched me, I really mean it. I hope they can help everyone who feels the same struggle. Tyler, you also have given solid advice. I have been working as a freelancer and have amassed modest savings. Lack of a decent camera is an obstacle I'm facing, since there's a kind of discrepancy between the "reputation" I have, and the images I'm able to get due to the limitations of my equipment. Also renting isn't so much an option, since there's really not that much affordable rental houses for small productions.

I will try my best to get a scholarship, but if not, maybe I'll try some good courses or an intensive program so I can polish my craft and fill some knowledge gaps before diving in fully in the industry. If anyone has any recomendations on good courses/intensives, it would be greatly appreciated! Personally, have been checking the Arri Academy course with Mo Flam, but I dont think I can attend to this year's one.

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On 11/7/2019 at 12:11 AM, Tyler Purcell said:

Well, school isn't a great way to learn cinematography. Maybe the basics of cinema,

Fun little story on that. I was teaching a workshop to a guy currently attending film school and he wanted me to go over how exposure, stops, and dynamic range worked like essential knowledge within the technical end of cinematography. I asked why his school wasn't teaching it and he said they only did that end of education for the advanced students.

Film school is a joke.

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58 minutes ago, Max Field said:

Fun little story on that. I was teaching a workshop to a guy currently attending film school and he wanted me to go over how exposure, stops, and dynamic range worked like essential knowledge within the technical end of cinematography. I asked why his school wasn't teaching it and he said they only did that end of education for the advanced students.

Film school is a joke.

Except when it isn't - as stated earlier the NFTS isn't. It has excellent equipment,  A decent size soundstage for ambitious set builds and full service post production including Dolby Atmos mixing.

There are plenty of rubbish film courses, but don't make sweeping statements.

What ever flaws the NFTS has, its an excellent place to learn cinematography

These clip of NFTS student work look's pretty good to my eyes:

But of course not the only route.

I've worked with great NFTS trained DOP's and great self taught/industry trained DOP's - attitude and approach is the most important thing.

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20 minutes ago, Phil Connolly said:

There are plenty of rubbish film courses, but don't make sweeping statements.

If I'm only right about 98% of them being a joke then that's still an A grade, no?

Edited by Max Field

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51 minutes ago, Max Field said:

If I'm only right about 98% of them being a joke then that's still an A grade, no?

That's not what you said. Be precise in your language. 

Also I don't think 98% are a joke, what evidence do you have for that? If you don't have direct experience of many courses you shouldn't make sweeping statements.

Film education needs to be looked at in a nuanced way and there are plenty of people that come to this board looking for unbiased advice to base life changing decisions on. Banding around "everything is a Joke" when you really don't know, isn't that helpful.

I do think there are problematic film courses and fee's charged can be very high. But it's not  really possible to gauge the value from an external view point. Even if you encounter a student that has a bad experience and is critical of a course, that could mean so many things - from either the course is bad, to they just had a bad time. Measuring the success of a course and its value is really difficult, you need a lot of data to do it properly. 

There are plenty of people the don't need film school, they have a good work ethic, natural aptitude and an ability to "self-learn". There are plenty of self-taught filmmakers that do amazing work. 

Other people learn in other ways and many students do benefit from the structure imposed by a formalised education. You can't lump everyone in the same boat. 

 

 

 

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17 minutes ago, Phil Connolly said:

That's not what you said.

No what I'm saying is, let's say you're correct about a couple schools here and there. They are still massively outweighed by the bad schools which have far more money for advertising. Hence why I graded my accuracy.

You being from the UK and me being from USA might have a big part in our disagreement. In USA kids exit secondary school at 18 and are forced to go to a University straight out of the gate. Secondary education ends for you guys at 16? Then there's some college thing that's 16-18? Then you go to Universities? That difference there probably leads to a very different way higher education is marketed.

The American University system is not only ineffective for creating competent set workers, but also exploitative by coming into high schools and advertising that they're the only route to kids as young as 15.

I say they're ineffective because the staggering majority of media/film schools here teach film theory, only providing education for producers/directors/screenwriters, when we both know the number of jobs for those positions is minuscule compared to camera department, grips, gaffers, set builders, etc.

Kids going to film school in the NYC area told me that NYU owns the rights to your picture if you shoot using their gear? Like maybe the NFTS doesn't do that? But I don't think most kids here have the money to study abroad.

 

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(old man rant - not directed at anyone in particular)

I don't understand people who go to film school without some basic understanding of the process and who wait to be taught the fundamentals. 

Film School should be for making contacts, honing how you interact with others, refining advanced techniques and cementing your choice of career paths,  not learning fundamental concepts. 

In this day and age, I am bewildered by anyone who asks for information that is easily obtained with a few clicks of a mouse or a brief visit to a library.

In my books, you have almost already lost the race if you enter with this little initiative and expect an institution to hand you all the knowledge required to be successful. 

(old man rant off)

I need coffee...

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Perhaps the problem with higher education is that they ought to be more like trade schools. If you go to welding school, you come out a welder and start as an apprentice. If you graduate from dental school you go to work and start filling cavities. If you go to film school, it seems you generally don't come out a cinematographer or get hired as an apprentice cameraman. So the question would be why not.

 

 

Edited by Bob Speziale

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11 hours ago, Benjamin Guerrero said:

If anyone has any recomendations on good courses/intensives

If you can afford it, The ASC Masterclass does seem like a good investment. You'll learn a lot in a very short period of time, but from the top people in the industry like our very own David Mullen. If you want a more basic hands-on approach, it may behoove you to upgrade your DSLR to something like a Blackmagic Pocket 6k and buy a few decent manual still lenses and have some fun. You will learn a lot in a very short period of time because that camera functions very similarly to a real cinema camera. Then all ya need to do is practice prepping, shooting and grading your work. 

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9 hours ago, Max Field said:

Film school is a joke.

I think if you leave high school with a good head on your shoulders and know you wish to be a XYZ in the film industry, it's probably better to go right into that position than it is to pursue a small-school "arts" degree. Where I do think college education is important as a backup, I don't think "film" is the study I'd recommend in 2019. I think a lot of people (myself included) could have benefited from a degree in business, which may seem boring in of itself, but it's a degree that can lead you to a lot of jobs if the film career doesn't work out AND it's skills you can use AS a freelance filmmaker. 

I think the hardest part is to survive whilst you're building your film industry career. It does take quite a bit of cash to live in a media city like Los Angeles, as you work your way up the food chain. Having connections does help, but in my case having gone to Emerson, I've never had a alumni help get me a job. There just aren't enough Emersonians in the industry and that's the real catch. If you do go to a film school that's world renowned like AFI, you have a way better chance of getting in the door right out of school. However, AFI will bankrupt you, so how the F does anyone but rich people make it happen these days? 

Anyway, I always told my Senior high school students that College is important. However, I told all of them to pick a trade away from their key study, so if everything went to shit, they'd have a backup plan. For instance, It's pretty easy to take "film" as a minor in a college setting, if you take business as a major.  

Edited by Tyler Purcell

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Tyler, it would be instructive to know how soon after graduation you got your first job in your field and what was it, and how did you get it. Ditto for your second job in your field. How long before you actually could make a living in your field? It seems everyone's biggest obstacle after graduation in many fields, starting off with no money or connections,   is getting their foot in the door. You need experience to get hired, you need to get hired to get experience. In my own field of computer specialist it took me 20 years to get where I wanted to be, well paid, appreciated, with enough expertise to be left alone to do the work as I thought best.

 

Edited by Bob Speziale

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I guess it depends on the school. But there are some roles that are hard to learn without actually doing it. 

Sure you can now buy and camera and affordable edit software and learn that way. Things also have changed - I went to film school 12 years ago. Film was still a going concern and good colour correction needed to be done on a £250k Quantel/Baselight system. So the advantage of film school then was getting experience on the best tools that were hard for an individual to access.

Now tools are less of an issue, digital gear is accessible to more people. The amount of tutorials on youtube has exploded for technical instruction. You can cover the basics yourself and get crew discipline from working in junior role on set.   

In my own teaching (I teach on two Bachelor of Arts production degrees), I've found myself concentrating less on the technical instruction. Because it's available online. My focus is being rigorous about content, structure and story and that's usually the area the needs the most work. I do have students that are very technically accomplished and on their projects the role of a tutor is to act as a sounding board for ideas and question their practice and ideas. Basically to push them out of their comfort zone. 

 

 

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7 hours ago, Bob Speziale said:

Tyler, it would be instructive to know how soon after graduation you got your first job in your field and what was it, and how did you get it. Ditto for your second job in your field. How long before you actually could make a living in your field? It seems everyone's biggest obstacle after graduation in many fields, starting off with no money or connections,   is getting their foot in the door. You need experience to get hired, you need to get hired to get experience. In my own field of computer specialist it took me 20 years to get where I wanted to be, well paid, appreciated, with enough expertise to be left alone to do the work as I thought best.

 

I mean I started doing professional work when I was 14 years old, at 15 I was a director of live news programming on our local cable access channel and eventually won awards for the programs I produced. I also started going to film school, the summer of my Junior year of high school. So I was way ahead of the curve, already putting myself out there as a filmmaker by the time I went to college full-time. I also didn't immediately go to film school, my grades weren't good enough. So I was rejected and was forced to spend 3 years at a community college part-time, whilst I worked nearly full time at my 2nd career; apple certified technician. So I basically graduated from my 2nd college, already being a apple certified technician AND having a pretty decent resume to boot. Back then it was super hard and very rare to have the access to equipment I did at my age. It wouldn't be for another 10 years or so, before things started to be democratized. 

I thank my parents for pushing me and being involved in my filmmaking activities to help me grow when I was younger. I got super lucky on that front, even though we didn't have any money. 

When I moved to LA, I got work immediately on craigslist. I got lucky tho, the IT job I got, was with a film producer and when a DP dropped out of the movie they were making, they needed someone right away. I got shoehorned into being the DP for 2 features, both shot with the first generation Varicam. We shot both simultaneously and I didn't finish either one because they ran out of money and my producers left, taking me with them. I was pretty upset, not just because I was pulled away from a project right at the end, but also because my producer "friends" fucked me over and I wound up not getting credit for one of the films I shot OR getting paid. With no money, I had to get a full-time job and from 2003 - 2013, I worked full-time as an engineer for various broadcast and computer (IT) companies around Los Angeles. I reached my peak in 2013 when I had the best job, the highest pay and best hours ever, but the company went out of business and I decided to work freelance again. I got lucky and had a great deal of skills already, so I was able to secure a few decent freelance clients pretty fast and had been 100% freelance since 2014. 

I think for cinematographers in 2019, the key is to have SOME sort of camera at your disposal (even if you don't own it) and to have a killer demo reel/website. Those two things will garnish you some work for sure. If I had a 4k digital cinema camera, I would probably be way busier then I am, but honestly I have a lot of work most months. 

I think diversification is critical for any freelancer. You need to know at least 3 trades that go along with your normal trade. For instance, I learned how to become a pretty good editor and I can color ok as well. So those two skills help me get work because I can shoot, edit and color pretty much anything. 

Today it's so easy to shoot things with your iphone, there are really no excuses to not produce content. Heck, I'm ALWAYS producing something, even if it's just for fun. So kids these days do have it better then we did by a fair margin.

 

Edited by Tyler Purcell

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8 hours ago, Tyler Purcell said:

I think diversification is critical for any freelancer. You need to know at least 3 trades that go along with your normal trade. For instance, I learned how to become a pretty good editor and I can color ok as well. So those two skills help me get work because I can shoot, edit and color pretty much anything. 

I've found the same, be versatile or be out of work. I've had a varied career that's covered everything from Broadcast Engineering, Camera Operating, DOPing, Directing, Editing, entertainment development and most recently I've been writing the scripts for a BBC Documentary series, which I would never have seen coming 5 years ago. The downside is my CV/resume can look a bit confusing to potential employers and I've not fully mastered one thing.

I most like directing drama and I'm pushing in that direction, but have to take jobs in multiple fields - which at this point is frustrating. Because I have less time to develop my career in my preferred direction.  I'm not complaining its good to have interesting work. I'm enjoying the challenge of researching and writing 4 x 50 min scripts for this current gig. But on the flipside progress on the edit for my short narrative film has stalled because all my creative energy is working on the doco thing. 

Still you have to take the work that's offered and I'm happy I'm able to pay the bill's working in a creative field - regardless of the specific role. 

I think portfolio careers are more common especially in the UK. And sometimes people can have very diverse talents and not be put in a particular silo- e.g Mike Johnson was a really excellent Focus Puller/1st AC who went on to write Guy Richie's  "Sherlock Holmes" and "Mute" with Duncan Jones 

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14 hours ago, Tyler Purcell said:

I mean I started doing professional work when I was 14 years old, at 15 I was a director of live news programming on our local cable access channel and eventually won awards for the programs I produced. I also started going to film school, the summer of my Junior year of high school. So I was way ahead of the curve, already putting myself out there as a filmmaker by the time I went to college full-time. I also didn't immediately go to film school, my grades weren't good enough. So I was rejected and was forced to spend 3 years at a community college part-time, whilst I worked nearly full time at my 2nd career; apple certified technician. So I basically graduated from my 2nd college, already being a apple certified technician AND having a pretty decent resume to boot. Back then it was super hard and very rare to have the access to equipment I did at my age. It wouldn't be for another 10 years or so, before things started to be democratized. 

I thank my parents for pushing me and being involved in my filmmaking activities to help me grow when I was younger. I got super lucky on that front, even though we didn't have any money. 

When I moved to LA, I got work immediately on craigslist. I got lucky tho, the IT job I got, was with a film producer and when a DP dropped out of the movie they were making, they needed someone right away. I got shoehorned into being the DP for 2 features, both shot with the first generation Varicam. We shot both simultaneously and I didn't finish either one because they ran out of money and my producers left, taking me with them. I was pretty upset, not just because I was pulled away from a project right at the end, but also because my producer "friends" **(obscenity removed)**ed me over and I wound up not getting credit for one of the films I shot OR getting paid. With no money, I had to get a full-time job and from 2003 - 2013, I worked full-time as an engineer for various broadcast and computer (IT) companies around Los Angeles. I reached my peak in 2013 when I had the best job, the highest pay and best hours ever, but the company went out of business and I decided to work freelance again. I got lucky and had a great deal of skills already, so I was able to secure a few decent freelance clients pretty fast and had been 100% freelance since 2014. 

I think for cinematographers in 2019, the key is to have SOME sort of camera at your disposal (even if you don't own it) and to have a killer demo reel/website. Those two things will garnish you some work for sure. If I had a 4k digital cinema camera, I would probably be way busier then I am, but honestly I have a lot of work most months. 

I think diversification is critical for any freelancer. You need to know at least 3 trades that go along with your normal trade. For instance, I learned how to become a pretty good editor and I can color ok as well. So those two skills help me get work because I can shoot, edit and color pretty much anything. 

Today it's so easy to shoot things with your iphone, there are really no excuses to not produce content. Heck, I'm ALWAYS producing something, even if it's just for fun. So kids these days do have it better then we did by a fair margin.

 

Thanks for posting this response to my question Tyler. I can see similarities to my own start as a computer hobbyist, self taught, doing computerized accounting and database installations for small businesses as a sideline for about 10 years while working as an audit manager to pay the bills, and getting that big lucky break when a person hired from IBM to head up a computerized drafting project quit and I was offered the shot, which led to a very satisfying 20 year career as a sys admin and dba until I retired.

I think your story and Phil Connolly's is quite instructive in the amount of time and work and flexibility it takes to become established in a chosen field. It's probably not something that is taught in school, but really should be. Getting to make a living in a field we love takes a lot of hustle, desire, talent, learning, experience, patience, resilience, and luck. Luck may open the door, but you must be willing to jump in and work hard to make that luck pay off.

 

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Persistence is the main thing and it can't really be taught.

I've been starting to get what feels like a bit of traction this year... ten years on from graduating film school.  Sure I get frustrated when you see people racing ahead and finding success quickly. But in my own case, it's taken me awhile to actually focus on the thing I want to do and find an approach that works for me. Sometimes you end up going down a lot of blind alley's trying stuff out. But i'm also a better filmmaker because of it.

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