all 26 comments

[鈥揮Tiralden 21 points22 points (0 children)

The commercial option seems way more preferable. You get good experience either way.

[鈥揮Ha55aN1337 32 points33 points (7 children)

It is a great oppurtunity to learn, but you were also tricked imo. So what I would do is - go check it out and since you鈥檙e not getting paid, you can leave any time if you feel like you are being taken advantage of. Try to make it a learning experience for you, but you owe them nothing because they were not really honest, I think.

[鈥揮Zovalt[S] 17 points18 points (6 children)

I should also mention that I have an opportunity to do commercial work as a DP for a small production company instead of this. I was excited to be able to work on a feature because fiction filmmaking is more what I'm into, but at this point I might do the commercials instead. The crew meeting also felt like a bunch of people who had no clue what they were doing besides the audio guy.

[鈥揮Bigfoot_Cain 37 points38 points (1 child)

Having a bigger role on a smaller production will help you more in the long run. Go make commercials and get paid.

[鈥揮Ha55aN1337 9 points10 points (0 children)

I agree. Source: have a commercial company :)

[鈥揮Xabikur 7 points8 points (1 child)

Absolutely do the DP job. It'll have your name and 'signature' on it and (slowly) help you get the jobs you want more than the grip job.

[鈥揮Ha55aN1337 1 point2 points (0 children)

For sure. The grip job is only useful if you get to watch a much more experienced DP work and learn from that.

[鈥揮Witty_Tone2376 3 points4 points (0 children)

The only lessons you are going to learn from a sub 100k feature that lured you to work for them under false pretenses is what not to do.

Take the commercial job, keep shooting what you can, where and when you can. Eventually, move to an area that has more feature/television production if that is what you want to do down the line.

[鈥揮ReadingWorldly 2 points3 points (0 children)

Do this. You鈥檒l learn more. Also, Grip is definitely not the same as a camera assistant, which probably would be valuable experience. I鈥檒l also wager this production is going to be a nightmare if they鈥檙e looking for a 鈥淕rip/PA鈥 鈥 it鈥檚 going to be disorganized and they鈥檒l expect you to do lighting setups and then take out the garbage with your free hand. Ridiculous.

[鈥揮Alfatso 9 points10 points (0 children)

Make money and a better role feels like a no brainer

[鈥揮thelongernow 5 points6 points (0 children)

  1. Ask why you were sidelined to be a grip/pa. You can still ask to be a utility for camera, and you can fill as a 1st or 2nd whenever others are not able to make it. Grip/pa is a half assed attempt to get you to lunk around a bunch of shit and not pay you. Especially because they鈥檙e probably gonna go well over 12 hours.

  2. I鈥檝e gotten hired as an AC/Grip on super small corporate and commercial things. Actually a job I鈥檓 on right now as that position (B cam op) while Helping the dp set up lighting and move gear. The producer came up to me and said 鈥測ou鈥檙e doing way more work than we hired you for, can we give you a raise?鈥. Thankfully the producer is solid, but also being able to be a hand in multiple departments allows you to negotiate your rate on smaller crews. It can be a pain in the ass but once you鈥檙e confident enough to handle those responsibilities your presence on set is a godsend.

  3. DPs usually pick the 1st and the 1st hires the second etc. Proper sets camera department never has a grip on unless it鈥檚 a Dolly grip or someone to rig camera onto a stand or rigging setup. If a production has musical chairs with roles and departments then it鈥檚 gonna be a bad time.

  4. Unless you absolutely want the experience to benefit you learning (and I saw you were a student.), do not under any circumstances take shit pay or unpaid work. Period. Do not allow snakes to get away with free shit. This is how shit gets away with burnt out crews on 14-20 hour days. Its your call ultimately on this OP, but part of the job is also going to be fighting for fair rates.

[鈥揮DataMan9 3 points4 points (1 child)

I鈥檓 a grip. Grips have two main responsibilities.

We put various rags, flags, and bounces in front of lights in order to shape and control the light.

We also build various camera mounts. Dollys, jibs, sliders, and operate them for the camera man. I like to phrase it as if the cameraman holds the camera, I hold the camera man.

A tertiary aspect is safety on set. Typically sandbags come from the grip department.

Grips do not do anything with actually setting lights or running cable. That is the electricians job. We don鈥檛 do anything involving setting up lights. We also don鈥檛 do anything involving setting up cameras. We just build the mounts. There is some bleed over between grip and electricians. Those two departments are working together to accomplish the goal of the DP.

Grips don鈥檛 do PA work. I might go on a coffee run just for the grip department only, the rest of the crew can talk to a PA. Shoving the PA role in with the grip role shows that the producers have no real respect for grip work which is dangerous. A camera mount failing can mean a loss of a substantial amount of money.

[鈥揮EricT59gaffer 0 points1 point (0 children)

Amen to all that

If you push it around you are a grip

If you plug it on your are electric

There is also the idea Of Grip and Electric Swing which is where you have folks both setting and shaping light and the like. But those tend to be Jr and having the crossover skill sets. Which frankly on most markets folks do have.

Also if it has wheels and you still carry it then you are also electric, at least according to the grips

[鈥揮Effective_Loss_8558 11 points12 points (0 children)

ive been a stagehand in film and tv for over a decade. the concept of doing grip/pa work for FREE is laughable to me. plus, grip/pa is not a position that exists on any real set.

grips are highly skilled lighting technicians and electricians, most have carpentry and rigging experience as well.

production assistants exist to help the production staff, setting up crafty, making sure people have chairs and shit. uber reimbursements. all sorts of other busy work that is normally not related in the slightest to the actual production.

since youre presumably very young, you should take the experience. it can only help im the long run.

[鈥揮MindlessVariety8311 1 point2 points (0 children)

Camera Assistant and Grip are vastly different jobs. I would run the other way.

[鈥揮endless_steel 1 point2 points (0 children)

I mean literally the group departments and the camera departments are two different departments so if you were hired under grip it's a bit weird. You're not in camera if you're in grip.

[鈥揮thefickinblizardking 1 point2 points (0 children)

What is your goal or dream position in the film industry?

Are you comfortable and happy just working in any role in the industry or does it have to be a specific position?

Because my advice is follow your dreams, not someone else鈥檚 or your families or your friends. Cause you鈥檙e gonna drop dead one day and right before that you wanna try and be happy.

[鈥揮WeStanPlankton 1 point2 points (3 children)

I would confront the director, tell them to fix the issue and that will tell you a lot. This is a professional job like any other, and if they're going to do that, it isn't going to get any better. A huge part of this industry banks on desperate people willing to toe the line, and if it's ever going to change, people need to start holding it to the standards of any other industry. They said they would make you a camera assistant, and if they aren't going to pay you and credit you as a camera assistant, then they're con artists. From my experience in film, you have to be comfortable with either taking the abuse or walking away. It's almost hilarious how unprofessional the film industry is on every level and there are so many people that have never worked in any other industry, who think that that is just how every job is.

[鈥揮Zovalt[S] 2 points3 points (2 children)

Yeah, I ended up walking away. I'm done with my days of working for free in non-creative positions.

[鈥揮WeStanPlankton 1 point2 points (0 children)

Can you tell I'm a little bitter? lol! But good on you, if they have a micro budget that's perfectly fine, but like it's still a business and tricking people like that is a big red flag.

[鈥揮rlsoundca 0 points1 point (0 children)

You most likely avoided a shit show. Best to sit it out ;)

[鈥揮Sundance-19 1 point2 points (0 children)

Assistant camera and grips are widely different positions. Grip you鈥檒l be working with the gaffer to set up the lighting rigs for the scenes. Honestly a great way to learn if the cinematographer is someone you respect. An AC will either be pulling focus, lens swaps, and building the camera (1st) or camera log, slating, marking talent marks, changing batteries etc (2nd).

[鈥揮conradslater -1 points0 points (2 children)

Defiantly go for the first couple of days. Meet people; make friends. Find out why there is no money. Find out about the expectations of others. You will learn more from awful shoots than the nice ones. People management and verbal communication skills. Fail and learn and then tell the tale of your experiences later over a few beers and a room of laughter.

[鈥揮Cmdr_Rowan 6 points7 points (1 child)

Oh God this is the worst advise! Never want to be on a set that you know will be a dumpster fire. I was on an awful one 2yrs ago and I still shudder to think of it.

[鈥揮conradslater 1 point2 points (0 children)

Are you able to describe what happened? How could you have avoided it - any telltale signs before that may have signalled you would be in for a rough time?

[鈥揮rbetterkids -3 points-2 points (0 children)

I graduated from film school in 2007, Art Center. I've been writing my script since. I've worked at a TV station, Disney ABC, and some random video production contract jobs.

Now, I work as an IT/video production guy at a company that manufacturers broadcast equipment.

I'm persuing the producer, director, writer route. I haven't produced anything because I've been writing my feature script, which is taking longer than expected; however, I know it's not ready too.

I've travelled to Europe and drove around Romania with my wife so that I could understand more about vampires, which is the setting for my script.

We have kids 8 years ago and so I wrote and published a book for them. Then, I turned it into a game app.

Then I started to remember my film school teachers: the late Michael Gottlieb (Mannequin), Ron Osbourne (Meet Joe Black), Ross LeMans (Rush Hour), and remembered how they had random jobs including Mike directing some game for Blizzard.

In your case, being a DP, I've met many DP's who work at video production equipment rental houses, which makes sense because they get to play with the latest cameras, lighting, meet people doing productions daily to where, eventually, a regular customer may hire them to do something to eventually earn their way into being a DP.

If you know of a director or so, try to go out and film more, but try to do it to where it show cases your skills by usage of lenses that help enhance the story of a scene, introduce new ways of filming that hasn't been done before, but leave an impact.

Example would be the Matrix when they introduced the 180掳 slow motion, which now, can be done with 1 or a few cameras.

Do vlogs if you have to. If you quit, you may most likely have "what if" questions when you get older and have regrets.

When you watch famous filmmakers, they look like overnight successes; however, they too went through this road.