This is something many of you may have felt before and just not articulated it, or you didn’t even realize, but it’s definitely true – there’s a lot of similarities to going to a summer camp or going on location for an extended period of time to shoot a feature film.
How to survive in the film industry: from setiquette to crafty
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The art of giving your opinion treads a fine line between brutal honesty and delicate lies. So here are five steps for whenever the director of photography (DP) walks up and asks you, “So what’d you think of the shot?”
I know it sounds counterintuitive, but in some cases, slowing down may actually make you faster. Let’s look at an example…
If you can steal them away for a few seconds, talking to the director of photography (DP) about what’s coming up is a perfect way to save time. You can then start prepping certain rigs, placing equipment on standby, and wrap your head around the best way to approach a certain shot.
At every level of the camera department, you will have to give directions to others. As a 1st assistant camera (AC), you will run the entire department. As a 2nd AC, you will segment some duties to a loader. As a loader, you may pawn help from a camera trainee.
Just think about the last time you tried to tell the story of that time the key grip punched a dude at the bar while also tinkering with the camera. Either the story suffered or the camera did.
Having to leave set to go to get a piece of gear from your equipment cases is already a huge time waster. Having to leave and walk for more than minute to get it is outright absurd. The next time you walk to get something out of a gear case, ask yourself, “Is this too far away for me to reasonably fly-in equipment?”
Asking questions is critical, especially when you’re working lower in the department as a 2nd assistant camera (AC) or loader. Without asking for clarification, you may not know exactly what to do, where to go, or what is expected.
Like any walk of life, the film industry has its fair share of hacks, setting out to make a quick buck and some fame, all while abusing those standing in their way. Don’t let the shiny golden statues fool you — filmmaking isn’t always full of glam. But there are other types of filmmakers. If one type is full of greed and malevolence, the other is full of merit and virtue.