It’s time to find out whether or not you have what it takes to make it in the camera department. While I got lucky when I fell into camera assisting, I want you to be aware of some of the demands you’ll be met with if you decide to pursue a career in camera.
In this video, I also take the time to announce a brand new, free eBook that I’m going to be releasing in the next couple of weeks. To sign up for instant delivery upon release, input your email in the form below or learn more about it here.
Update: To get Becoming the Reel Deal, head on over to this page.
Transcript of Video
Hi everybody this is Evan Luzi from The Black and Blue and today I want to ask you a really simple question:
Is the camera department right for you?
Now whether you’re first starting out in the film industry or whether you’re trying to pivot crew positions, this is a very important question to ask yourself.
Why? Because you don’t want to waste your resources, your effort, and most importantly your time pursuing a career path that just never pans out.
So let me ask you one more time: is the camera department right for you?
Now I never had the opportunity to ask myself this question when I first started. I just sort of fell into the camera department and was lucky enough that I enjoyed camera assisting. But now that I’m more informed, I want to help you answer the question and hopefully save you some time and effort if you ultimately decide that the camera department isn’t real your thing.
So I want to talk about three specific things that come up often when you’re working within camera on set.
And the first is pressure. There are immense amounts of pressure when you’re working within the camera department and this runs from top to bottom.
It runs all the way from the 2nd AC [assistant camera] who has to load the film magazines. There’s a lot of pressure not to flash those magazines or, if it’s a digital shoot, a lot of pressure not to erase any footage that they’ve transferred onto hard drives.
There’s a lot of pressure on the 1st AC [assistant camera] who’s pulling focus and there’s a lot of accountability for that too. If the director’s at the monitor and he sees the focus goes soft, he knows exactly whose fault it was. So you have to be very accurate when pulling focus.
And then there are creative pressures on people like the camera operator and the director of photography. It’s a little bit — it’s a different type of pressure than for the AC’s — but it’s still pressure nonetheless and you could argue that it’s even greater pressure.
The second thing I want to talk about is time.
When you’re working in the camera department, you don’t get a lot of free time or a lot of breaks. You’re pretty much gonna show up, you’re gonna be one of the first people on set, and while everybody else is having breakfast, you’re probably just gonna grab something to go, and eat it while you’re building the camera. Then you’re gonna work all the way until lunch — you’ll get your lunch break. And then you’ll work all the way until wrap.
As long as the camera is shooting, you’re working. And that means for about 99.9% of the day, you’re standing on your feet.
And so it’s not like the grips who can sometimes walk in on set, bring something, go back to the grip truck and sort of hangout. I’m not saying grips do not work hard, but camera department is a different type of work — it’s constant work — and it’s throughout the day because if they’re shooting a scene with the camera, you better be there.
The third thing is details.
You have to be very detail oriented if you’re gonna be a camera assistant or if you’re gonna work in the camera department.
You can’t overlook anything. You can’t overlook one hair in the gate. You can’t overlook one missing clip from a card that you’ve downloaded. You just can’t overlook anything at all.
Think about it this way: there are thousands of dollars being filtered into a production every single day and all of it is running through the camera department in one way or another.
That one hair in the gate, if you don’t catch it, could cost a lot of money in re-shoots. Or that one missing clip — the same sort of thing.
And so if you’re going to be successful in the camera department, you have to be willing to get down to the nitty gritty details, which could end up costing you huge mistakes.
With all that said, now that I’ve spread all the doom and gloom, the camera department is awesome and I really want to help you be successful in it.
And so that’s why, right now, I’m announcing a brand new ebook that I’m writing about getting your start in the camera department.
Already I’ve got about 15,000 words on this thing and I’m going to be releasing it within the next couple of weeks.
So if you’re interested and you really are serious about getting started in the camera department — and, most importantly, if the camera department is right for you — go visit this URL at the bottom of your screen [url].
Or insert your e-mail in the sign-up box below and I will send you the ebook immediately when it is ready to be released which should be very soon.
And one last time, did I mention it was free?
So go ahead and sign up and let’s get you started on getting work in the camera department!