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This is a particularly illuminating case in the logic and ethics of working for a knock-down rate.

Anyone given the opportunity to work on a project of the quality of Northfork, for more or less any amount of money, would be crazy to turn it down.

Of course, you only tend to be offered that opportunity if you have the ability to do it justice, but the point remains: some low-paid or unpaid jobs are massively worthwhile, and some - most, frankly, the overwhelming majority - aren't.

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Words fail me.

Freedom? You live in a place where you are so afraid that you feel like you have to carry a gun for self defense and you call that freedom? You are a slave to your paranoia. You're not free at all.

I wonder what this information- that you carry a concealed firearm in the street- adds to a thread about film work.

7 hours ago, Josh Gallegos said:

But I understand the circumstances in LA right now are dire, I know it's not just LA, it's the whole state of California where many have fallen into poverty, there are rising crime rates. It's the only state where you have to have a plan in case you become homeless, I mean you don't really see that in Texas, "shanty towns", starvation, high crime rates. It's insane something like this is happening in the US. 

I've lived here for 18 years, most of my adult life. I've only spent 6 of them working as a full-time freelancer and even with some excellent connections, even having a wide array of skills AND lots of equipment, the best year I ever had as a freelancer was 25k. 

Where I wholeheartedly agree that LA is the place. I also think today things are very different than they were when I moved here. Back in 2002, you couldn't buy a camera that looked like 35mm film for a few grand. You couldn't afford the audio equipment either. Forget about editorial, not possible. So you really needed a place like Hollywood, but I think in the last 2 years A LOT has changed. 

1) Hollywood has left California. Little pockets of production have spread around the country due to tax incentives. Many of those crews are from LA and those people no longer live here. Many people have given up living here in the last few years due to the expense, but also because decent low-budget production is dying. The days of making a grand a week as a feature cinematographer, and going from gig to gig, are over. 

2) Good Cameras, Sound, Lighting and post production are all easy and affordable. You can build a $5k DaVinci Resolve edit bay that will rival the best of the best from 2015. Spend 10k on a camera/sound package and another 5k on some lighting/grip equipment, you're all set. Just add a script and talent, which by the way is cheaper to find in Texas than So Cal. 

3) Film school is trivial. If you want to be a professional XYZ in the industry, you don't need or want film school. You want a degree in a backup career that will feed you whilst you're mucking around with your film live, you can make money. You can't land here without knowing anyone and expect to pay the bills, it's not gonna happen. The days of craigslist freelance gigs that are enough to pay the $1200/month rent, all gone. I miss those days, but you need a real job when you land, maybe in the film industry? But something real that has a pay check every two weeks. Preferably not waiting tables and something you can take time off from without too many issues. I did tech support for the post industry and wound up being an engineer for broadcast/post for a decade.  Made good money, had a lot of fun, did not miss the life of a freelancer at all. My degree's saved my ass. 


 

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5 hours ago, Josh Gallegos said:

Those are pretty daunting non-union numbers, but it's better to walk the path you know you were meant to walk as opposed to doing something else just to exist, I guess not everyone is willing to take those risks. I noticed with most DPs that it takes them about 15 years to land that one life-changing film. For Roger it was Barton Fink around 1991, though Sid and Nancy has become quite popular today which was made in 1987, but I remember hearing about Northfork because I always watched Roger Ebert review movies, so I know I was in the 9th grade when it came out, I wasn't a huge film fan then but I was into Tarantino movies and Roger Ebert. 

Roger Deakins break through film was 1984 .. way before Coen and Villeneuve..   I think its very true that all the big name DoP,s as well as obviously talent , all had that lucky moment ..  a guy who shot some of Hand Maids tale was employed because one of the producers was sitting behind someone, playing one of his early small budget films, in a plane ..  he asked what the film was , and they contacted him.. !!  ..

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4 hours ago, Tyler Purcell said:

I've lived here for 18 years, most of my adult life. I've only spent 6 of them working as a full-time freelancer and even with some excellent connections, even having a wide array of skills AND lots of equipment, the best year I ever had as a freelancer was 25k. 

Where I wholeheartedly agree that LA is the place. I also think today things are very different than they were when I moved here. Back in 2002, you couldn't buy a camera that looked like 35mm film for a few grand. You couldn't afford the audio equipment either. Forget about editorial, not possible. So you really needed a place like Hollywood, but I think in the last 2 years A LOT has changed. 

1) Hollywood has left California. Little pockets of production have spread around the country due to tax incentives. Many of those crews are from LA and those people no longer live here. Many people have given up living here in the last few years due to the expense, but also because decent low-budget production is dying. The days of making a grand a week as a feature cinematographer, and going from gig to gig, are over. 

2) Good Cameras, Sound, Lighting and post production are all easy and affordable. You can build a $5k DaVinci Resolve edit bay that will rival the best of the best from 2015. Spend 10k on a camera/sound package and another 5k on some lighting/grip equipment, you're all set. Just add a script and talent, which by the way is cheaper to find in Texas than So Cal. 

3) Film school is trivial. If you want to be a professional XYZ in the industry, you don't need or want film school. You want a degree in a backup career that will feed you whilst you're mucking around with your film live, you can make money. You can't land here without knowing anyone and expect to pay the bills, it's not gonna happen. The days of craigslist freelance gigs that are enough to pay the $1200/month rent, all gone. I miss those days, but you need a real job when you land, maybe in the film industry? But something real that has a pay check every two weeks. Preferably not waiting tables and something you can take time off from without too many issues. I did tech support for the post industry and wound up being an engineer for broadcast/post for a decade.  Made good money, had a lot of fun, did not miss the life of a freelancer at all. My degree's saved my ass. 


 

I don’t get how everyone talks about how expensive LA is, and then you claim to make 25k a year. That’s $2k a month. Just doesn’t make sense how anyone could afford rent, gas, food, etc 

Some good news today, there’s a chance I will be able to make a feature debut. I pitched an idea to a young pastor in Louisiana who has been offering me to work in his company, he bought about $50k worth of equipment  and he was also interested in making films. So I mentioned how Paranormal Activity was made for $15k dollars and ended up making millions. So I convinced him I could make a horror film for that amount and he agreed. Of course things might fall apart, but I started on the script anyway. Wrote 25 pages today. 

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1 minute ago, Josh Gallegos said:

I don’t get how everyone talks about how expensive LA is, and then you claim to make 25k a year. That’s $2k a month. Just doesn’t make sense how anyone could afford rent, gas, food, etc 

Some good news today, there’s a chance I will be able to make a feature debut. I pitched an idea to a young pastor in Louisiana who has been offering me to work in his company, he bought about $50k worth of equipment  and he was also interested in making films. So I mentioned how Paranormal Activity was made for $15k dollars and ended up making millions. So I convinced him I could make a horror film for that amount and he agreed. Of course things might fall apart, but I started on the script anyway. Wrote 25 pages today. 

that is excellent news!  

I assume you will both direct and be the DP on this project? When making the movie I highly recommend getting an experienced gaffer if in any way possible. You will want a good camera assistant and key grip too. Best to start getting comfortable working with a crew from early on and it is much easier and faster to work that way than to wear too many hats on set :)   If your gaffer and camera team is experienced you will learn a lot from them and will build up your skillset that way. 

It is fortunate that the camera technology has advanced so much in the recent years and the LED lights are very usable nowadays. So you can work fast to stay on schedule and still create some stunning stuff which helps getting more jobs later. 

If the story allows you can go with a stylistic look and mood which is not necessarily expensive but will help getting you noticed better. The film does not need to look "cheap and boring" if it is low budget!

This is something I shot couple of years ago. the budget range of this is somewhere around 10K though it is a bit shorter film. The technology has advanced since so it is easier to get this type of stuff in 2020. By my opinion one could look for something like this type of moody and visually interesting stuff with optical filter effects if you want to build your cinematographer reel (don't mind the story, it is loosely based on Finnish mythology and may be difficult to follow even for the local audience) https://vimeo.com/212097418

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11 hours ago, Tyler Purcell said:



1) Hollywood has left California. Little pockets of production have spread around the country due to tax incentives. Many of those crews are from LA and those people no longer live here. Many people have given up living here in the last few years due to the expense, but also because decent low-budget production is dying. The days of making a grand a week as a feature cinematographer, and going from gig to gig, are over. 


 

Sadly, I agree with Tyler. It’s sad because I’m a native Southern Californian, having made my  home for years in beautiful Newport Beach, CA. I chose to leave California because I never got to live at home. All of my work took me everywhere but California! In 2016, I left for work in January only to get back home just in time for Christmas. I spent the majority of the time in Atlanta, Georgia where all of the studio, big budget movies are made now. My family and I now live in Atlanta. It was a good choice due to the cost of living is roughly 20% of what California is and the quality of life is much better for us. The work is plentiful.  And, I get to live in my home as opposed to corporate apartments and hotel rooms! Ironically, I am writing this from a hotel room where I am finishing the Disney/Marvel picture I’ve been on for the past year here in Prague, Czech Republic. At least the majority of it was in Atlanta. 

The point is, think about what you exactly want out of this industry whether it’s features, TV, documentaries, etc and where that business mostly is. Compare that with what you can realistically afford and make an intelligent decision. Once you’ve “made it”, you can live anywhere you want as long as you’re willing to travel. In the meantime, position yourself where you can be available at the last minute and take any job that is offered at a cost of living that you can afford. 
 

G

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8 hours ago, aapo lettinen said:

that is excellent news!  

I assume you will both direct and be the DP on this project? When making the movie I highly recommend getting an experienced gaffer if in any way possible. You will want a good camera assistant and key grip too. Best to start getting comfortable working with a crew from early on and it is much easier and faster to work that way than to wear too many hats on set 🙂   If your gaffer and camera team is experienced you will learn a lot from them and will build up your skillset that way. 

It is fortunate that the camera technology has advanced so much in the recent years and the LED lights are very usable nowadays. So you can work fast to stay on schedule and still create some stunning stuff which helps getting more jobs later. 

If the story allows you can go with a stylistic look and mood which is not necessarily expensive but will help getting you noticed better. The film does not need to look "cheap and boring" if it is low budget!

This is something I shot couple of years ago. the budget range of this is somewhere around 10K though it is a bit shorter film. The technology has advanced since so it is easier to get this type of stuff in 2020. By my opinion one could look for something like this type of moody and visually interesting stuff with optical filter effects if you want to build your cinematographer reel (don't mind the story, it is loosely based on Finnish mythology and may be difficult to follow even for the local audience) https://vimeo.com/212097418

No! I wouldn’t DP! The young pastor has multiple cameras, he has a BMPC 6k which has a Super -35mm sensor . I told him that would be the camera to use for a 15k horror film project. I’m writer/director, but I know I need to get a more experienced DP. I already see the film, the blue color temperature. It’s titled “ Ophelia”, and it’s about college students who are famous YouTube vloggers/paranormal investigators who stay in an old house where a young girl murdered her family. I would shoot it in Louisiana if it all goes according to plan. So I’m writing so much so he doesn’t change his mind. It’s only a 15k budget but I’m confident I can stay on budget. 

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Aapo, your short film looks great by the way. But I’m remembering everyone like Robert Rodriguez who shot El Mariachi for 5k, the whole Rebel without a crew concept. But I think I can make something that can be shown on VOD, I remember one of my great heroes George A. Romero who created such iconic films with very little money. I do love the horror genre, so I think I can make something worthwhile. Of course it would have to be around a 77-80min movie, because of the budget. I realize good sound is expensive, and talented actors- some of them are willing to work for almost nothing to get their names out there, so I wouldn’t go after SAG-AFTRA , which have very high rates. 

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On 10/17/2020 at 7:09 PM, Josh Gallegos said:

I always carry a small Sig Sauer P365 9mm handgun in a kydex holster

I wonder what this information- that you carry a concealed firearm in the street- adds to a thread about film work.

Edited by Mark Dunn
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17 minutes ago, Mark Dunn said:

I wonder what this information- that you carry a concealed firearm in the street- adds to a thread about film work.

We were talking about Los Angeles, since I was thinking of moving there and how dangerous of a city it is (for poor people). In Texas lots of citizens are allowed to open/conceal carry for self-defense. Of course you can’t wear it in government buildings etc, and I was thinking how California has banned the 2nd amendment in their state. I was weighing in on the pros and cons. In Louisiana lots of people open carry, it’s just normal in the south; and yes I have a license, so I was thinking about how I’d lose this amazing privilege.  But I’m beginning to discover that I can just drive from Louisiana to the heart of Texas, and work my way up from here. 

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2 minutes ago, Josh Gallegos said:

We were talking about Los Angeles, since I was thinking of moving there and how dangerous of a city it is (for poor people). In Texas lots of citizens are allowed to open/conceal carry for self-defense. Of course you can’t wear it in government buildings etc, and I was thinking how California has banned the 2nd amendment in their state. I was weighing in on the pros and cons. In Louisiana lots of people open carry, it’s just normal in the south; and yes I have a license, so I was thinking about how I’d lose this amazing privilege.  But I’m beginning to discover that I can just drive from Louisiana to the heart of Texas, and work my way up from here. 

Words fail me.

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In Tylers's last post, he makes a good point in #3. 

Maybe those grad student filmmakers with undergrad law degrees are the smart ones.

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10 hours ago, Josh Gallegos said:

I don’t get how everyone talks about how expensive LA is, and then you claim to make 25k a year. That’s $2k a month. Just doesn’t make sense how anyone could afford rent, gas, food, etc 

Right, you can't live off $2k a month. Welcome to years of using credit cards to survive. 

Edited by Tyler Purcell
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33 minutes ago, Mark Dunn said:

Words fail me.

Well, you’re from London. In America we have a little thing called freedom, so things are a lot different over here. But that’s beyond the point, everyone says Los Angeles is a bad idea, and maybe it is, but I get this nagging feeling to go there at some point in my life. 

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8 minutes ago, Josh Gallegos said:

Well, you’re from London. In America we have a little thing called freedom, so things are a lot different over here. But that’s beyond the point, everyone says Los Angeles is a bad idea, and maybe it is, but I get this nagging feeling to go there at some point in my life. 

Freedom? You live in a place where you are so afraid that you feel like you have to carry a gun for self defense and you call that freedom? You are a slave to your paranoia. You're not free at all.

Edited by Uli Meyer
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10 minutes ago, Uli Meyer said:

Freedom? You live in a place where you are so afraid that you feel like you have to carry a gun for self defense and you call that freedom? You are a slave to your paranoia. You're not free at all.

I really didn’t want to get into that subject it was brought up. As a filmmaker, you have to travel to a lot of unknown places and maybe even sleep in your car if you can’t get a hotel. I think it’s better to be prepared for any possibility. It’s an unpredictable and dangerous world. And London has had thousands of stabbing incidents and multiple terrorist attacks. No one is really immune to random violence. 
 

Since this doesn’t relate to filmmaking, I’ll just stop right there, but I don’t see how anyone can be offended by embracing our country’s second amendment. We are a country of patriots, we can overcome anything and anyone. 

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1 hour ago, Josh Gallegos said:

We were talking about Los Angeles, since I was thinking of moving there and how dangerous of a city it is (for poor people). In Texas lots of citizens are allowed to open/conceal carry for self-defense. Of course you can’t wear it in government buildings etc, and I was thinking how California has banned the 2nd amendment in their state. I was weighing in on the pros and cons. In Louisiana lots of people open carry, it’s just normal in the south; and yes I have a license, so I was thinking about how I’d lose this amazing privilege.  But I’m beginning to discover that I can just drive from Louisiana to the heart of Texas, and work my way up from here. 

If guns are more important than work, then California should be stricken off the map.

As a registered gun owner, as someone who has lived in the city for 18 years, as someone who has seen some serious shit go down AND been discriminated against by a conservative (texan) neighbor, I have never felt the need to have a lethal weapon on my person. I can't imagine how much death would be on the streets if people carried in California, it would be off the chart. Too many people in a confined space, LA is nothing like other cities outside of New York or Chicago. 

Edited by Tyler Purcell
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7 minutes ago, Tyler Purcell said:

If guns are more important than work, then California should be stricken off the map.

As a registered gun owner, as someone who has lived in the city for 18 years, as someone who has seen some serious poop go down AND been discriminated against by a conservative (texan) neighbor, I have never felt the need to have a lethal weapon on my person. 

I’m not a conservative, I deeply embrace the ideals of Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, I just don’t see how supporting 2A makes someone an undesirable person to work with, it’s just short-sighted and discriminatory. You all seem to have this idea that we go around shooting at things. I’ve never even drawn it from my holster in 2 years. I mean I do practice at the gun range twice a month. Maybe I should make a documentary to make people see how it’s not a bad thing. 

Edited by Josh Gallegos
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11 hours ago, Josh Gallegos said:

Some good news today, there’s a chance I will be able to make a feature debut. I pitched an idea to a young pastor in Louisiana who has been offering me to work in his company, he bought about $50k worth of equipment  and he was also interested in making films. So I mentioned how Paranormal Activity was made for $15k dollars and ended up making millions. So I convinced him I could make a horror film for that amount and he agreed. Of course things might fall apart, but I started on the script anyway. Wrote 25 pages today.

That is good news! 

For the record, Paranormal Activity was a blip. There are literally thousands of indy features made each year but only a few ever see the light of day. 

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2 minutes ago, Tyler Purcell said:

That is good news! 

For the record, Paranormal Activity was a blip. There are literally thousands of indy features made each year but only a few ever see the light of day. 

That doesn’t discourage me. I’m fulfilling my destiny either way. And there’s always an audience for horror, I know sites, Facebook groups where many fans will watch anything. So I know it can be seen. Plus it’s only 15k dollars, it’s not a budget that can ruin anyone, and I know I can make a great film. 

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3 minutes ago, Josh Gallegos said:

You all seem to have this idea that we go around shooting at things. I’ve never even drawn it from my holster in 2 years.

 

16 minutes ago, Josh Gallegos said:

It’s an unpredictable and dangerous world.

Josh, on the one hand you justify wearing a gun by saying you need it for self defense and then you say you never had to draw it from your holster. It just isn't clear to me why you fear the world around you so much. Maybe come and live in Europe for a while and experience a life where there is absolutely no need to carry a weapon and nobody does.

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6 minutes ago, Josh Gallegos said:

I just don’t see how supporting 2A makes someone an undesirable person to work with, it’s just short-sighted and discriminatory.

Supporting the 2nd amendment can be done at home and at the range. 

6 minutes ago, Josh Gallegos said:

I’ve never even drawn it from my holster in 2 years.

Sure, but you can't walk around on a film set with a gun on ya... I'd argue, anywhere in the country. 

6 minutes ago, Josh Gallegos said:

Maybe I should make a documentary to make people see how it’s not a bad thing. 

You should, but the moment you crack into the FBI data, you'd see that places where people carry, have more gun deaths than places where people don't carry, per capita. 

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1 minute ago, Josh Gallegos said:

That doesn’t discourage me. I’m fulfilling my destiny either way. And there’s always an audience for horror, I know sites, Facebook groups where many fans will watch anything. So I know it can be seen. Plus it’s only 15k dollars, it’s not a budget that can ruin anyone, and I know I can make a great film. 

What's the distribution method? Give it away? 

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2 minutes ago, Tyler Purcell said:

Supporting the 2nd amendment can be done at home and at the range. 

Sure, but you can't walk around on a film set with a gun on ya... I'd argue, anywhere in the country. 

You should, but the moment you crack into the FBI data, you'd see that places where people carry, have more gun deaths than places where people don't carry, per capita. 

Who ever said about carrying it on a set or any job for that matter? Why would anyone take a gun to their job? There’s a glove compartment in your car and you leave it in a lockbox. You follow safety rules, you take classes for a license. It’s a sign of responsibility. 

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