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  1. #1
    Camera Operator/Producer lake54's Avatar
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    How the heck do you get experience?

    OK this is a bit of a whinge post, so just bear with me :-)

    Right, to get hired as a cameraman (freelance or career) you need experience.

    To get experience, you could do work experience, or make your own films etc

    To do work experience, you need to be over 18.

    To make your own films, you need kit.

    Kit is expensive

    To hire kit is also expensive

    To hire kit you need to be over 18

    To shoot at proper events etc you need to have insurance.

    Insurance is minimum 18 (and possibly expensive)

    End result = little experience, or films of possibly low quality, or on the flip side, not as good as it could be, due to the lack of decent kit.

    Now, I know you're all going to say that you don't need decent kit to make decent things, and that's true. However, put that aside, there's nearly no way to get any sort of experience these days, except through a few narrow channels.

    Advice/opinions?

    James

  2. #2
    Camera Operator/Producer lake54's Avatar
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    OK just to revise what I said about hiring kit - you can only enter a contract (i.e. terms and conditions) if you're over 18, so technically (and one company have explicitly specified that I am allowed to do this) my parents could rent the kit, and I can still legally use it.

    James

  3. #3
    Actually, I would argue that you don't need to hire expensive kit to start putting a showreel together.

    You could shoot on a camera phone, and if your ideas are creative and you have a basic idea for composition and editing, that will show through, no matter how low-quality the medium.

    Remember, Peter Jackson started out playing with his parents' Super 8, pricking holes in the film to make gunshots.

  4. #4
    Hi James

    If you want event experience offer to work with a videographer for free.
    OK, you will probably only be allowed to be a "gopher" to start with but gain his/her trust and you will soon be on a second camera shooting cutaways.

    Clownfish is right..you need very little to make your own stuff. Buy a cheap used camcorder off eBay and so some stuff with your mates and have it on YouTube. Every little bit helps!! Remember having heaps of pro gear doesn't make you a good cameraman!!!!

    You can't jump into the big time ..it takes tiny steps!!!

    Chris

  5. #5
    Camera Operator/Producer lake54's Avatar
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    Thanks for your posts.

    Regarding the cameraphone, I would definitely do this... Except I don't have a video function on it (iPhone 3G).

    I would also definitely use a camera off of eBay, except that it's like you've said before - the quality of such cameras off or eBay is questionable, plus it soon adds up with batteries, tapes, cables etc etc etc.

    Again I would agree with the pro kit hire - however I can't turn up to an event with just one camera, but hopefully for now I can still manage to borrow kit like I have been doing.
    In terms of getting experience with a current pro - you wouldn't believe thae mount of emails that I've fired off over the last few weeks. Most of the time I don't get any response, the rest just say no. The only decent responses have been people in America...

    I'm still trying, but I'm not expecting to get a placement any time soon.

    Thanks again and I'll try my best with what I have or can lay my hands on.

    James

  6. #6
    Senior Member SC358's Avatar
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    No experience = No job

    James, you're question has come across everybody's mind in our teen years.

    You'll have to find out who the small time teams are because the chances of getting into the big game are too tiny. A church, local wedding videographers, schools or even a post-production house will take volunteers. However, it may not be for the position you want to be in. They will place you where they need you but the decision is yours alone.

    When you know find out who the players are on the team, then you may have a chance to move to the next level or side step to another team. This is known as networking. What you know and the amount of experience you have makes you what you are but... WHO you know is your key to other door ways.


    SC358
    Relationships are based on compromises - behavior accepted is behavior repeated.

  7. #7
    SC358 has made a good point, its more who you know than what you know, but at the end of the day just keep trying. You have to do alot of things for free, so try and get in with a small local based production company or videographers, its understandably tough but don't stop trying.
    If your good James your talent will get noticed, perhaps make some small films and get them into young peoples festivals, being a director of my film company when I look to employ freelance persons its great to see someone who has picked up some awards or screenings at various festivals. Thats the way I did it and it paid off big time.

    Tom

  8. #8
    Camera Operator/Producer lake54's Avatar
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    Cheers for your responses

    Just found another local company (well, local as in 'near') - http://www.perfectweddingvideos.co.uk/

    I'm getting into as many places as I can, such as filming a documentary on my school, filming it's speech night, filming (possibly) the drama production, as well as another local school's drama production.

    I'll get in touch with the guys on the above link and let you know their response.

    I've also got a line of contact with a presenter on Five's The Gadget Show - I'm hoping that once my email reaches him, he'll put in a good word for me, and possibly get me in there as a runner or something (even if it's carrying the camera, I don't care lol).

    Believe me - I know it's not going to be plain sailing!

    James

  9. #9
    you're question has come across everybody's mind in our teen years

    Hey, I went back to art school in my late twenties, finished my course and worked for people on spec, etc., just to get my name out, experience, etc. Now I'm in my forties, and still learning.

    One of my lecturers at art school said the same thing. He started out as a graphic designer, went to England in the 60s and wanted to get into film making, so, as he said, he had to be prepared to fetch coffee for people half his age.

    But that's the best thing about this business: you never stop learning.

  10. #10
    Senior Member SC358's Avatar
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    From my teen years, I was already trying to decide what career track to follow and which college would help me achieve that goal. And I know that there are many others (like my younger brother) who can't decide and won't make a decision - maybe he's just a late bloomer

    I realize it's not as easy for others to figure out what they'll be doing for the rest of their life but I try to emphasize to others to just pick a direction, then just go and explore. Make an honest effort in what you do but don't burn bridges or close off avenues, this way you can make lateral movements or even go back the other direction if you only see a dead-end ahead of you.
    SC358
    Relationships are based on compromises - behavior accepted is behavior repeated.

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