So you wanna be a Hollywood cameraman...

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Brent_H, May 31, 2005.

  1. Brent_H

    Brent_H Second Unit

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    Well, I am probably going to be transferring to the University of Texas Pan-American this fall to continue my education in Theater/Film/TV production...I want to go to UT Austin, buuut being that I am not a Texas resident, and am not a brainiac, they don't want me. My question is this...what is a recommended road to take or the education needed to get into operating a camera in Hollywood? Of course, I know it probably takes a long time to get to where you'd want to be, so I use "Hollywood" loosely. I'm sure some of our forum members are in this field, so if you all could just share about your background, etc....oh, and how much should a kid wet behind the ears expect to make right out of college? what is the earning potential?

    any comments or advice would be appreciated...

    oh, and if this career path doesn't work out...I wanna be a film history professor or something, so maybe your comments will sway me.....?

    later,
    brent.
     
  2. Joe Szott

    Joe Szott Screenwriter

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    I'm not a cameraman so I can't offer anything specific, but in any liberal arts type jobs, there are those that dream and those that do. The doers tend to be the group you want to be a part of (and they last a lot longer.)

    Just be sure to get behind the camera as much as possible, filming whatever the heck you can. Like a gig filming a local band in concert and editting it for them to distribute, or a PSA that you volunteer time on, whatever. Don't get too wrapped up in going 'Hollywood', keep that dream in mind but be open to pursuing any opportunity to get more experience behind the camera. Once you get into it, it's much easier to keep going and aim towards whatever your eventual goal might be, rather than start from zero and shooting at a highly competitive dream job.

    All just IMHO...
     
  3. Jeff Ulmer

    Jeff Ulmer Producer

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    I have to agree. Theory will only get you so far. If the money is your incentive, you are in the wrong business IMO. Get on a film crew in any capacity. Live in the environment. Get as much practical experience as possible. Buy a video camera and shoot. A lot. People hire based on the work you've done, not your education. You could have degrees up the ying yang and still not have any creativity or be able to convey what a director wants to see.
    "Hollywood" is about connections. Working on set makes you those connections. You aren't going to get hired to shoot anything until you can prove you can shoot. Learn about everything and anything. If the process excites you, you will learn what you need to know. Ask questions, but don't be a pest. Knowing how to light is half the battle in being a good camera person. If you really want to make this a career, you need to do whatever it takes to get near a camera in action, even if it is filling water bottles. Be attentive. Learn. Be helpful, become indespensible.

    Most of all, good luck!
     
  4. Brent_H

    Brent_H Second Unit

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    It really would help if I did have a camera and didn't have to rely on the school's...they only let you check out the equipment for three hours at a time...booo...anyways, i have only had one class in video prod. thus far, but i did enjoy it a ton, and my prof. was very encouraging, so it makes me want to pursue things more. thanks for the input thus far guys...

    keep it comin!!

    ~brent/
     
  5. Joe Szott

    Joe Szott Screenwriter

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    Get a cheap-o handheld consumer camera (used) off of eBay and carry that around with you. Don't be lashed to film (and film cameras), be open to shooting on video as well. Just shoot everything you can: family gatherings, friend's b-day parties, whatever you can.

    Attach that camera to your hip and you'll be working steady before you know it. You won't realize how much more competent you will become, but it'll happen for sure.

    Good luck!
     

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