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Phil Rhodes

Well, this is depressing

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Earlier today, a link to a forum thread from about fifteen years ago came up in which I was, as is my wont, soapboxing about the grim state of the UK film industry.

I'm very pleased to have been quite wrong in some of my future predictions, which did not anticipate the success of over-the-top broadcasters and the amount of high end production it would create, but I'm not so pleased to discover that none of this really helped some of the beginners who were posting here around that time.

It seems best not to name people as it's really not their fault, but let's consider a few cases of people who turned up here as beginners and see how they did.

One person was spending a lot of money on a very expensive film school education and was interested in becoming a DP.

Another person had recently graduated and was starting to do low-end music videos, again, with the idea of becoming a DP.

Several complete beginners, fresh out of courses at Bournemouth, started threads with similar ideas.

Did any of them make it?

Nope.

The only example I can find is one guy with credits on shows you'd have heard of who posted here in 2004 as an ab initio AC, was still a camera trainee in 2009, and is being credited as a C-camera second assistant this year. I guess that's a pretty meteoric rise for London.

Back in the day, I'd probably have gloated over the inevitability of it all, but these days, it's just really hard to see all these bright young people who are still flooding into the industry getting chewed up and spat out by it, and losing the best years of their lives to one of the worst employers in the country.

P

 

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I spent my twenties chasing dreams of making it big in bands. Everyone has their young adult learning years. I'm impressed with those kids who stay consistent at such a young age. It's a lifestyle, not just a job—something I wasn't good at as a band member.

I knew a PA who wanted to be a director. He did minimum, didn't learn from mistakes, always got the vegan's order wrong, and complained about having to PA, saying once, "Is there anything else I can do that's not in my job description?"

Not everyone is cut for the lifestyle. And I don't think it's necessarily a bad thing. Who want's to do something it turns out they dislike?

As for the interacting with those kids. It sucks about how you feel, Phil. Personally, I try to never be negative, even if I really want to speak. I find that afterward, it's doesn't matter. Or someone will word it in a less negative way.

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7 hours ago, Phil Rhodes said:

Did any of them make it?

Nope.


It’s a numbers game, isn’t it?

There are other factors in a ‘superstar career’ like luck, talent, and sheer single-minded personal drive that aren’t being accounted for. The very few people I came up with who have ‘made it’ (according to IMDb) had all three things going for them. 

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5 hours ago, Stephen Sanchez said:

I spent my twenties chasing dreams of making it big in bands. Everyone has their young adult learning years. I'm impressed with those kids who stay consistent at such a young age. It's a lifestyle, not just a job—something I wasn't good at as a band member.

I knew a PA who wanted to be a director. He did minimum, didn't learn from mistakes, always got the vegan's order wrong, and complained about having to PA, saying once, "Is there anything else I can do that's not in my job description?"

Not everyone is cut for the lifestyle. And I don't think it's necessarily a bad thing. Who want's to do something it turns out they dislike?

As for the interacting with those kids. It sucks about how you feel, Phil. Personally, I try to never be negative, even if I really want to speak. I find that afterward, it's doesn't matter. Or someone will word it in a less negative way.

This is for some reason an incredibly annoying trait I find most young people possess. hardly anybody around my age is willing to take risks and fail, which inevitably is the only way to learn unless of course paths are crossed with a more wise person who can spot a dent. Now, this may simply be people blowing smoke up my ass, or me blowing smoke up my own ass, however... more often than not, people of my age are impressed with things I do that are, at least what I believe to be things that are not difficult to do. From something I built, or did, or wrote, or a moderately though-out idea, that people not much older than me are frankly not as impressed with because they've seen it built, or done, or written, or thought of before. Nothing more than problem solving things. And of course being in my twenties, this happens to be the age range I am also subjected to work with. It's no wonder many young people give up before they even get a foot in the door. It's sort of comedic in a way because being in our twenties we don't really have much to lose. I know I don't.

*Cut to me working at McDonalds in 2035*

Seriously though people my age like to talk but don't like to walk. Well in any event, more room for me!

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Well, artists have to dream. If they can't dream , they wont have much creativity. Artist ventures and work has always been a tough go, unless you are very talented or lucky. There is no one formula, so they try different approaches. I wanted to go to Art Center in L.A. But could not afford the tuition. Back in the early 1970's I think it was $1800 a year or so. And it worked out OK anyway. I wanted to be a fashion and studio photog and have no talent for it. When I found out my calling, I set in on it and never looked back. I hate studio work. I guess that is why I'm no good at traditional film work and only like very short experimental projects. 

Never going to school for any of the work I do I started at an early age trying to learn the ropes on my own. Friday nights were always a big deal for me. When I was a kid my parents used to take me shopping on Friday night after they got home from work. I used to spend all the time I could while they shopped looking at photography magazines at the supermarket. 

When I got my first job but didn't have a car by dad used to take me to Hollywood Blvd and I would spend all my little paycheck buying photography books. (I think I got about $1.65 a hour back then.) And I bought my first beat up Super Angulon at Henry's Photo in Downtown L.A. on a Friday night with my weeks paycheck.

Artists, bohemians and free spirts always march to a different drum...or is it beat? Many of them are chronically low on $$. For me I don't care one bit about $$...other than I need some to do my work.

If I have food, a roof, gear and someplace warm in the winter I'm all set. I have no use for $$. And that is how a lot of artists work. Their work consumes them. $$ is an irritating distraction from their art. The problem is photography, film / video and archival work all cost lots of $$. This is especially an issue if you need a sound scanner. Now, if I could draw, I would do so and give up photography. But I would have to be able to draw like Robert Crumb to satisfy me.

When I worked in NYC, before the corrosive virus hit, I used to camp out in my vehicle or tent in Jersey City. But even camping out, when you added up the gas, toll roads, food, PATH and subway, etc. it cost me $800 - $900 a week to work on projects. And I still have 23 various projects going on in NYC that I may not ever be able to finish due to the virus. 

When I was younger and in Pittsburgh, I could take the Greyhound bus for next to nothing to NYC and could sleep out on a bench, Central Park in the daytime or catch some sleep on the subway. But too old for that now.

I wrote a detailed post on it to help broke photogs and artists that want to work in NYC.

NSFW

https://danielteolijr.wordpress.com/2017/01/14/you-broke-and-wanna-shoot-in-nyc-no-problem-you-can-do-it/

Here is a snip from from my chopped up bio. It is chopped up because Tumblr banned me and deleted 48 of my websites in 2019...so all those links are dead. And the Internet Archive deleted a bunch of my stuff, so more dead links. And YouTube and Vimeo deleted my videos...but we keep on keeping on no matter what!

...In a 1979 interview entitled Inside New York’s Art World, artist Louise Nevelson said: “I think that when someone is willing to live and die for something…that means it is in the genes.” That pretty much sums up the sacrifices that many an artist will go through in order to do their art – they are willing to live and die for their art. Whether painter, draftsman, photographer, writer, musician, sculptor, actor or poet, artists use their art as a way to see, interpret and make sense of their world.

If you’re dedicated to your art and freezing time is in your blood, you MUST produce and keep producing, whether you have an outlet or not to make $…or even have any practical use for your output. Irrespective of recognition, fame and riches, we all have one thing in common…as long as we can keep pressing the button and freeze time, we feel the better for it.


So you guys and gals are depressed, keep up with your art. If it is in your genes you need it like you need blood in your veins and air in your lungs. Get some sleep, eat right and some exercise.

Things could always be worse...

IR flash (Candid) NYC

https://archive.org/search.php?query=Living+In+A+Cardboard+Box+IR+Flash

Selection from 'Living a Cardboard Box' artist's book by myself

Good luck!

 

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