If you’re reading this then you’re safe and I’m safe. It means we survived the impending rapture apocalypse that was predicted to take place yesterday. So now you can stop watching films like Mad Max and Terminator in preparation of a post-apocalyptic world and go back to a predictably normal life.
And what a better way to get back into the regular swing of things than the weekly column here at The Black and Blue where your comments teach the rest of us something?
This Week’s Comments
Here are this week’s comments in no particular order
1. Colleen on The Cattle Herd of Movie Extras
I was an extra on the film “Real Steel” that was filming up in Michigan this past summer and it turned out to be a wonderful experience for me. I should mention that I had just graduated with a degree in film production :]
At the time there were absolutely no film opportunities happening in Ohio, and I was eager to see a large production in full swing. It was honestly the best experience I could hope for. I was very lucky to have a chance encounter with the director of photography, who openly invited me to set for a few days after I told him of my aspirations in the camera department and how I admired his work on Avatar.
However, like Larry said, I knew when to be respectful and not ask questions/get in the way of anyone who was busy. And I was smart enough not to ask questions, like “whatcha shooting on?” and just observe and soak up the entire experience for what it was worth.
I too got frustrated with the extras around me who complained of being tired and bored — I couldn’t help but say A) you didn’t get up as early as the crew did, and B) they’ve been doing a hell of a lot more than you have, so what do you have to complain about?
I guess what I’m trying to say is that not all extras are bad — most are pretty irritating — but every once and a while you’ll find someone like me, who just wants to learn :]
2. Dominic on The Cattle Herd of Movie Extras
It is easy to think about extras as the non-educated, naively fame pursuing persons, who think that THAT role as a background artist will get them to Hollywood. That is, because all of us have met that one annoying extra, and we’ll always think of him (or her) when we see other extras. But most of them are nice people.
Of course, there are also a bunch of them who think they are the greatest and annoy you with just being there. But then you have to think, that even they are potential customers of what you are producing at that very moment, thus, paying you indirectly (by watching the show on TV, recommending it to others or just telling about the great day they had on the set of that movie).
3. Martin Warrilow on The Ultimate Guide to Eyepiece Chamois
It makes you look professional if you dress your camera with an eyepiece cover. It’s appreciated by the operator, acknowledged (perhaps not mentioned though) by the DOP and makes you feel good that you’ve done your upmost to provide comfort for anyone who presses their eye to the viewfinder.
It is also a shining beacon of protection against any ill wishing prankster that might have covered the rubber eyepiece with shoe polish / dry wipe marker pen! Oh the hilarity, when the operator finishes looking through the eyepiece and later discovers to their horror the black ring surrounding their eye and that their appearance is that akin to the majestic Panda Bear. Eyepiece chamois covers soon put an end to any such devious activity!
I agree with most of what you wrote, but frankly I’ve never had a cover letter. I’ve sent resumes now and then, but only to establish some sort of “initial contact” and to give myself a reason to make a phone call to the people I had sent it to.
Maybe it’s different in the US, but here in Italy resumes, cvs and cover letters matter very little.
If you’re unknown and at the beginning of your career, no one really cares about your cv. If you’ve been working for many years, it could help, but at that point your professional network should be large enough. Doesn’t hurt to keep the CV updated, though, just in case :-)
As for #3, well, I have mixed feelings (I’ve recently quit both Facebook and Twitter). Most DPs I admire, both “famous” and not so much, are not online, and the same goes for operators and assistants. Things have changed a little bit thanks to Facebook, but that’s used more for personal relationships rather than professional ones, and while it’s true it’s useful to keep in touch, I’ve found that a text message or a phone call every once in a while is more effective.
IMDB can be useful, but I know amazing crew members who only work on commercials and don’t even have a page there, so it’s very limited.
5. Adam Richlin on 5 Mistakes that Hurt Your Chances for a Job
There have been so many times that I have left voicemails for some of the younger guys I refer for work “ANSWER YOUR GODDAMN PHONE! I was calling for work!”
Gigs always fill within hours unless they need something odd, so be prepared to make fast decisions and keep your calendar with you.
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