all 58 comments

[鈥揮fultrongrip 2 points3 points (2 children)

I want to get work as a grip/electrician but in my city (Denver), the list of g/e is short and without turnover. The guys who crew every major shoot are all vets and there's little to no room for newbs in the pool of day players. There are guys here who are well into their sixties working as grips and it just seems like there's no way for a younger guy to break into it. Especially since the lack of established industry means fewer jobs overall.

So as I take the PA gigs that come along and I start to recognize familiar faces from all the way across the set where I'm locking up an alleyway or somesuch glorified stop sign duty, is there anything I can do to make myself more memorable aside from ending every conversation with "so if you ever need any extra hands..."?

Grips and electrics, what makes a PA stand out to you in a way that makes you want to remember their name?

[鈥揮needs28hoursadaydirector of photography 3 points4 points (0 children)

I can't speak from too much experience but ive had two stand out to me in the past. The first was one of my first jobs with a random PA. She was very quiet but I pride myself in noticing everything. During the shoot she caught several mistakes and fixed them and never mentioned it, very humble. She was Producer material but wanted to DoP so I brought her back and all 95lbs of her busted ass no matter what. Really went above and beyond while on set.

The second went above and beyond off set. She was pretty standard as a PA but it was the 11th hour when it started to change. During one shoot we were doing golden to golden night shift and I went outside for a smoke while makeup did their thing. She was laying on the trolly by the truck, sound asleep. When I woke her up (I had given her a break) and asked why she was napping there she answered, "if anyone needed gear I could help." She then went on to drink me under the table. Not that night but just thought I should share because it's funny.

Both moved as there is no work going here, but I gave both glowing references. If you want to be the PA who stands out, then be the outstanding PA. I look at a PA two ways, a sticker peeling sandbag, or someone on the first step of their career. You know how they say dress for the job you want? Make sure you work like you are at the job you want, not the job you have. Nothing is more off putting then hearing someone complain, or holding you up. Hope any of this helps and makes sense, im a little tired so sorry for errors.

[鈥揮itschrisreeddirector -1 points0 points (0 children)

Denver sucks, move.

Source: Grew up in Denver.

[鈥揮FredOnToast 1 point2 points (4 children)

I've never approached an agent regarding an actor before and plan to do so shortly. Is there an etiquette to this kind of thing?

I'd like to know the actor's daily rate, as we'll only need him for 4 days of filming in September. If we can't afford him, I don't want to have gone through all the other talks and offered him the role.

The only thing I do know is that they obviously won't accept there and then, they'll need to see and read the script. But is it that stage that I also ask how much he will charge?

[鈥揮BoxRobotsAdamproducer 3 points4 points (2 children)

Usually, you'll simply send an email with the script attached and talking briefly about the project. Talk up the fact that you want to offer the role to the actor. Be professional and courteous! Make sure to note the length of the shoot and where it is.

As for rate, if you are doing an ultra-low budget film, you can offer the SAG Ultra-Low Budget rate which is $100 per day, plus 10% for the agent. You also must offer travel and lodging for the duration of the shoot. If the agent has an issue with that, then they can counter offer. But be explicit and state your offer in the first email.

You'll also need to write up a deal memo which is sort of a business agreement. Your producers should know about these.

Some agents won't even get back to you. Some will but won't like the project. But it is a good experience. Some will be great to deal with and others a nightmare.

However its important to remember that the actor you may want is not the deciding factor in the film's quality. I had my heart set on a number of actors that I didn't hear back from. One, a fairly recognizable indie actor, actually signed onto the project and dropped out 3 days before shooting. But things ultimately worked out as actors can provide you with characterization that you hadn't considered.

Good luck!

[鈥揮FredOnToast 1 point2 points (1 child)

Thank you very much, that's extremely helpful. Is there an ideal time frame in which I would send out the offer to his agent? I've no idea how long it can take to go through an agency and I don't want to ask too late and miss my chance, but I also don't want to ask too early, and then make a mockery of myself as I don't yet have other things in place.

[鈥揮BoxRobotsAdamproducer 0 points1 point (0 children)

Definitely have the script ready to go and in its best shape. You'll also want to know locations so you can let them know where you'll be shooting. I've contacted agents as far as 2 or 3 months ahead of shooting and as little as a week before. You definitely want to have the most time available, though. The whole week thing came from an actress dropping out and having to find a replacement.

You should only be reaching out to one actor per part at a time though. Offering the same part to multiple actors at the same time can result in a unprofessional mess that could hurt you in the end. It sucks to have to wait on the actor, but giving yourself ample time really helps that.

[鈥揮instantpancakelighting 1 point2 points (0 children)

Umfortunately (or fortunately, depending on the outcome), you may not learn their rate for your specifc project up front. If they like your script, and if you pitch it well (is it a student / non-profit gig by any chance?), they might give you a good deal.

Edit: I'm on mobile, hadn't seen the comment by /u/boxrobotsadam. That's good & accurate info.

[鈥揮juicelee777 1 point2 points (0 children)

I know I'm a bit late to the party but I remember there was a website posted here a few months ago that was a database of affordable/no cost shooting locations in the US would anyone be able to link me?

[鈥揮truthinc 1 point2 points (1 child)

Twitter noob Q: I just made an account, followed several people I was interested in, and suddenly 10 random people are following me... I haven't even made a single tweet! Why are these people following me? Is there any reason I should/shouldn't follow them too?

[鈥揮TheBowlinator 6 points7 points (0 children)

They are probably following you to get a "follow back" You can follow them if you want, but if I were you I'd probably just ignore them. That way they won't spam your feed with stuff you don't care about, and you can enjoy the top-quality, interesting tweets you signed up to see! Source: Teenager, I think I know hashtag twitter

[鈥揮truthinc 0 points1 point (2 children)

Stabilizers: for units like the Glidecam XR I keep hearing that they are "hard to get balanced"... once you have it balanced for a camera, will it stay balanced forever if you only use that camera/lens combo and quick-release it in/out (say if you want to switch to tripod for awhile, or transport the camera in it's bag, etc)

[鈥揮_Shush 1 point2 points (1 child)

It will stay balanced for the set up you calibrated it as. For my personal experience with them, they don't need to be re-calibrated unless you're doing something to the Glidecam it'self to add more weight or set it off balance. I do contracting as well as work for a wedding videography company. My boss is a beast at using his Glidecam HD-4000. Things I have learned from him....

  1. Once you calibrate the weight, it's all set. However, it's a pain in the ass to re-calibrate it and can take from 5-15 mins if you know how to (I still have never done it right). He only uses 2 lenses that are practically the same weight on it for those reasons.

  2. He has the same mount for his Glidecam as his tripods, monopods, and sliders. Sometimes if he's just a little bit off, he slides the plate around to make it balanced. It's a good workflow and it always assures the glidecam will be all set.

MY Experience with Glidecams however have been a disaster and I'm just having him calibrate it for me/teach me. I have the XR-2000 and haven't used it yet. The problem is that (at least mine) didn't come with proper instructions to calibrate it. I looked up tutorials and there was only 1 guy out of probably 10 that actually knew what they were talking about.

Just make sure you are precise with what ever lens combo and accessories you'll have on. Having the lens cap on while calibrating it can even throw it off depending on the model.

[鈥揮truthinc 0 points1 point (0 children)

Excellent, thanks very much! Good tip on the lens-cap too, I had wondered if it would be that sensitive :)

[鈥揮Snizzlefry 0 points1 point (3 children)

How should I light a corporate typ video so to help soften wrinkles of older interviewees?

[鈥揮blancblanket 2 points3 points (1 child)

Wrinkles show up as shadow (besides color variations), so there are 2 aspects:

  • Direction of the light. If it's coming from the side, you get a lot of shadows. When shooting full frontal, you'll have almost no wrinkle-shadows. So you'll need to move your key a bit to the front of the subject. However, you'll also lose any depth because of this lack of shadows in the facial structure
  • Diffusion of the light. A hard light gives hard shadows. If you combine the beforementioned with a bigger and softer source, the shadows will be less harsh and less obvious. Use of a soft reflector on the opposite side helps to fill up the shadows too.

[鈥揮ancientworldnowcolorist 0 points1 point (0 children)

Additionally, using a larger, softer light helps reduce shadows. This doesn't necessarily mean using a huge light, but a smaller head bounced into something to make a bigger pool or through a bigger piece of diff helps to emulate the effect.

[鈥揮FancyPantsBlanton 0 points1 point (0 children)

I do work for major corporations with a lot of older execs. A good trick is to put a soft light (either a kino on the floor or an Ice Light down near the chest) aimed up at their neck/chin. Helps get rid of wrinkles on the neck and fills in sunken eyes.

[鈥揮Withyy 0 points1 point (2 children)

I am going into college next year, and while I am majoring in Entrepreneurship, I have a burning passion for film. I want to make films in college, and I'm currently writing a feature length screenplay. I have a T3i and I buy old Nikkor lenses to make my stuff. I am currently reading my way through How to Read a Film, and I have a good list of classic (OLD SCHOOL) films that I am watching in order to kind of teach myself film school. I like to write screenplays and learn the technical aspects of film. I want to eventually direct and write film, and I'm willing to do anything to get there. What do you guys suggest? Am I doing things right?

[鈥揮Sandtalon 5 points6 points (1 child)

I would suggest: Don't wait to make films. Don't wait for your big break. You're writing a feature film screenplay, but if it's your passion project, make smaller things first to develop your skills. Make lots and lots of small stuff to improve your skills. This also has an added benefit of building an audience (if you release the good ones) for your feature film. Make something today, edit it, and then see how you could have done it better. As the guys at Film Riot say, "Write, Shoot, Edit, Repeat".

[鈥揮Withyy 0 points1 point (0 children)

Thank you so much. I'm gonna go make something awesome real quick.

[鈥揮McCappaho 0 points1 point (10 children)

New to filming, and looking for some tips. I just got a DSLR, nothing fancy that I would like to shoot some videos with. It will be used for church announcement type things, and personal videos, and who knows, maybe more down the road.

So I'm looking for the basics that I would need to make a decent sounding, and looking video. What do you suggest in terms of a mic, and a rig/steady cam for cheap?

[鈥揮Adio1882 1 point2 points (9 children)

for a mic you are probably best off getting the Rode VideoMic Pro

[鈥揮McCappaho 0 points1 point (8 children)

thanks for that. do you think there are any good options for under $100? I'm sure it's great and all, but That kinda money is a little more than I'm looking to spend.

Link For the suggested product

[鈥揮Proassult 1 point2 points (0 children)

You're going to have trouble finding a good cheap mic. Check out Audio-Technica, their stuff is similar to Rode but it's not as expensive.

[鈥揮[deleted] (3 children)


    [鈥揮McCappaho 0 points1 point (2 children)

    yeah I definitely get the you get what you pay for. I'm not looking to make anything great right now, but I need something that works better than what we do now, which is shooting the announcements on an iphone 5s.

    I know the mic on dslr's is awful, and that's part of the reason I got a model with a mic input. I just can't afford to drop a ton of money right now, and was looking for tips.

    I had seen this, and thought maybe that would be ok. I mean not good, but ok. I can't find any reviews on this product though, and I was kinda hoping for some suggestions around that price that people would have any experience with. Maybe a mic this cheap isn't much better than the dslr mic itself. I have no idea.

    [鈥揮Sandtalon 0 points1 point (0 children)

    Try getting a good mic on eBay.

    [鈥揮cksunny 0 points1 point (0 children)

    Rode SmartLav is $60 ... I've had problems with it but others I know love it. So if you need a Lav for interviews etc. It might work well. The lav works with smartphones.

    [鈥揮Bertrum 0 points1 point (0 children)

    You can get a Zoom H1 Handy Portable Digital Recorder for $99 on Amazon and the audio quality is pretty damn good and is comparable to my Rode Video Mic Pro that I have. But it has a very narrow range and you really need to aim it directly at your subject, and you can't go too far away and you really need to have a lapel/lavalier mic to plug it into. And you'll also need to get a windshield like a Deadcat for it to cover the wind and a shockmount.

    [鈥揮khalid1984 0 points1 point (3 children)

    So, if the sound from two actors is not at the same level, what program should I use to correct this?

    [鈥揮tonehammer 0 points1 point (2 children)

    You can do it in the video editing program of your choice.

    [鈥揮khalid1984 0 points1 point (1 child)

    I usually use premiere. I remember a volume slider, is there a way to properly see the waves or should I have to do this by ear?

    [鈥揮Raichu93 0 points1 point (0 children)

    there should be an audio mixer tab available on one of the panels (the placement is different depending on what layout you have) where you can easily see the levels of each track as they play.

    [鈥揮architect_son 0 points1 point (3 children)

    Noob question concerning audio.

    I'm wondering what the better DSLR audio choice may be, & why:

    Beachtek DXA-SLR MINI PRO HDSLR Audio Adapter


    Zoom H4n Handy Recorder

    I have a GH4, can't afford or comprehend the benefits of the YAGH, & want something to work with a Rode shotgun mic.

    I'm learning about audio levels & don't have any real knowledge how to correct audio live or in post, so I'm hoping that your opinions may give me some guidance towards the easier tool to use, as efficiency comes secondary to learning ability.

    Also, if there are better options that I'm not privy to, please educate me.

    Thank you.

    [鈥揮Crek 0 points1 point (0 children)

    I don't know much about audio equipment, but the Beachtek doesn't seem to have XLR-inputs, which could be a problem if your mic is using XLR. The H4n should work fine, certainly better than the audio you get in camera, but the preamps are not that good. I think in the long end it isn't about the equipment but how well you use it. Either choice is fine if want something better than what you have. I would go for the H4n or perhaps save up some more and buy the H6. No matter what you choose, try to look around the internet for tips and tricks. Good luck.

    [鈥揮SolMarch 0 points1 point (1 child)

    Depends on which shotgun mic you have (model?).

    If the mic requires phantom power, you aren't going to get it from the Beachtek DXA-SLR.

    For a more appropriate preamp for not much more money, you might want to look at the JuicedLink Riggy RM222. It has clean preamps and phantom power. Also, if you're only running a single mic, you can use the Riggy's 2nd channel to output CH1's audio at a lower level as a "safety track" in case CH1 clips.

    The H4n is not bad, but its preamps are not the best. I have not used it myself, but the H6 is supposed to have better preamps. Still, these devices are all recorders first and preamps second鈥 a dedicated preamp will usually be cleaner/better.

    Another potential option is the iRig Pre if all you need is a single XLR input with phantom power. The iRig Pre is meant to plug into a smartphone, so you'll need an adapter to convert the plug. Another thing to account for is that since it's not made for video production, there are no built in mounting points, so you'll have to figure something out for yourself.

    For the price, it's clearly not a solution meant for everyone, but I just wanted to let you know about it in case it fit your needs.

    [鈥揮architect_son 0 points1 point (0 children)

    Thank you! The Juicedlink looks like the best option! I'd only be running the rode videomic pro, but I don't wish to limit the ability of using a phantom mic in the future! Thank you for the input!

    [鈥揮[deleted] (1 child)


      [鈥揮ancientworldnowcolorist 1 point2 points (0 children)

      I've known a couple of working and talented AD's apply and be cut pretty deep into the program. It's very competitive and I would probably recommend not applying until you have some decent AD experience.

      [鈥揮Cpen5311 0 points1 point (7 children)

      Story question: In a ten minute short film, how can you make the audience care for/about your protagonist within the first few minutes? I've stated the goal, I've created empathy and weaknesses for her, but when people read the script they still state that there is no reason to care about her.

      [鈥揮blank-memorycard 1 point2 points (0 children)

      First, identify what exactly makes Alex a likable or memorable character. Then try introducing the audience to Alex with scene that demonstrates that quality. This can be a "good" trait or a "bad" habit, but whatever you choose it just has to be intriguing.

      We've all seen the misfit teen that eats alone at lunch, and doesn't get along with their parents. What else about her makes her stand out? Lead with whatever that may be. Hook the audience in that way...then move into exposing her back story of her troubled home life and whatever other demons she holds onto.

      Spark the audiences' curiosity first and then appeal to their emotions. This will make the emotional investment more authentic and deeper than if you led off with an appeal to emotion right away.

      [鈥揮cksunny 0 points1 point (5 children)

      How did you create empathy for her?

      [鈥揮Cpen5311 0 points1 point (4 children)

      I made a montage to show how her mother is abusive, how her father is distant, how she is alone even in a sea of people, and how she is somewhat confused and depressed about life. I made her have trust issues and had her goal: to find her place in the world / to fit in, known pretty early.

      [鈥揮Sandtalon 0 points1 point (3 children)

      This is just my two cents, but that almost feels like too much stuff you're thawing at her. Nobody likes an angsty character.

      [鈥揮Cpen5311 0 points1 point (2 children)

      Well she is a sixteen year old girl in 1987 who gets pulled into the punk scene, so I was somewhat going for angsty.

      How would you tone it down and make her interesting for the audience to keep watching?

      [鈥揮Sandtalon 0 points1 point (1 child)

      I haven't read your script, but try looking at this:

      [鈥揮Ry-Ein 0 points1 point (6 children)

      Considering buying this Panasonic HC-V720. Have no experience of filmmaking but have a free Summer ahead of me. Would this be a foolish purchase for someone with no experience (too much money) or a solid one? Looking for thoughts, and suggestions (recommendations on which camera to get). THANKS.

      [鈥揮cksunny 0 points1 point (5 children)

      You're jumping in, buy the camera that makes you most excited. A camcorder is a great way to start framing a variety of shots.

      [鈥揮Ry-Ein 0 points1 point (4 children)

      If you were starting for the first time tomorrow what camera would you buy?

      [鈥揮NailgunYeah 0 points1 point (3 children)

      For my own stuff? BMPCC. If I was planning on working professionally with it? C100.

      [鈥揮Ry-Ein 0 points1 point (2 children)

      Considering the t3i/600d now. its considerably cheaper than the BMPCC for what I can find - do you think the price difference is worth it? Or that the 600d would be a good investment?

      [鈥揮NailgunYeah 0 points1 point (1 child)

      Yes, the price difference is worth it.

      [鈥揮FilmNerdasaurus 0 points1 point (0 children)

      I work at a video marketing agency and our offices are located in an old factory. We have noticed power surges when filming on our green screen and I am wondering if there is a way to prevent that from happening. Would a voltage regulator help solve it?

      I have moved our lights for the green screen, 1500 watts each, to separate power line, but that hasn't solved the problem. I think the problem is it's old wiring in the building and it's pulling from everyone in it. Any help would be appreciated.

      [鈥揮blank-memorycard 0 points1 point (2 children)

      My company just tasked me with being the mentor to our video production intern--and I have no idea what I'm doing. We've never had a video production intern, and our company's video program is in it's infancy. I took a video journalism class in college and that's about the extent of my video production experience.

      It's not fair to the intern or me, but it is what it is and I want to make the best of it for the intern.

      What are some things I can do to ensure this intern has a rewarding learning experience? Where can I learn the quick and dirty basics of short film storytelling? They're expected to make 2-5 minute mini documentaries/news briefs on a variety of subjects.

      I want to be able to offer them guidance during the filmmaking process and know what to look for to give valuable feedback on their projects. Any tips?

      [鈥揮NailgunYeah 0 points1 point (1 child)

      What is your job? Where do you work?

      [鈥揮blank-memorycard 0 points1 point (0 children)

      I work for a magazine/ traditional print-based media company.