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Benjamin Guerrero

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

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9 hours ago, Phil Connolly said:

The downside is my CV/resume can look a bit confusing to potential employers and I've not fully mastered one thing.

You hit the nail on the head. This is one of the difficulties for sure. I've had to make specialized resumes for each job profession and honestly, I just lost a lucrative job because I mixed resumes by accident. They saw me being more of a 'creative' and didn't hire me for a more technical position. It's a real issue and you've gotta keep a lot of what you do to yourself unless the job allows it. I'm lucky because I just got into a regular gig that loves the fact I have such a broad range of experience. 

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these are tough decisions and there is not one simple answer to them... 

a cinematographer needs both a enormous knowledge base, lots of practical experience in filmmaking and the right contacts and resume. The cinematographer is basically the leader of the technical crew on set so great team working skills and fast problem solving abilities are absolutely needed... these need to be learnt with bigger crew. ultra low budget indie does not work for it .

the film school can help with contacts and internships and beginning building the knowledge base but for practical experience it is not enough for HOD positions and you will need lots and lots of real work gigs to build up your practical experience and resume. For paid work the student projects and freebie indie projects don't tend to matter much as resume so you will need real paid work with great quality results to show to your customers. and you will need the real paid job contacts as well who can help you get more work in the future.

I would say it could be good to advance in steps to ease it out. Finish the school, work a little bit, learn new things. Then when ready, seek further education to advance to new level to avoid getting stuck to same type of low of mid level stuff for the rest of your life. After further education you need to work again and build more experience and then repeat education to advance even further. 

It will be long and difficult and very expensive road no matter how you would try to proceed. And it will get exponentially harder when you have a family and mortgage to take care of. I think a good estimation for time and expenses without any tuition fees or living expenses could be something like at least 200 000 dollars and at least 10 years or more if you use all the time and energy you can possibly spare (not much time for the family or other jobs or partying or anything else. Just sleeping and cinematography related stuff. Maybe sometimes eating if you have time for it 😮  

From personal experience I can tell you that concentrating 10 years using only half of your time and "only" 100k of money will get you nowhere yet. I probably will still need another 10 years and another 100k if wanting to get to shoot any kind of feature films (I am not even sure if I want to anymore... there is lots of nicer jobs for a person even in the film industry) 

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student films and freebie indie films: build up your knowledge base, try new techniques and equipment, develop you style further, possibly make some contacts if the project is right. 

paid jobs, small or big:  build up your resume, find new client contacts and enhance the existing ones. collect great stuff for your reel and other marketing material. get money for living or at least for using it for further education.

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