Week 7: My Career Timeline – Unit 3

Introduction:

This piece of work will document how I plan to get to my dream job. Going through things like university and how to get into a job.

If possible I’d like to be an editor of some sort. Preferably in visual effects.

After college I’d like to go to university if I felt that there was no opportunity for work that I could get into that was to do with my job prospects. This would be my dream course if I could get the grades to get in: http://aub.ac.uk/courses/ba/ba-film-production/

This is one of the most prestigious universities for arts and film so I’d like to go there. After university I’d like to get a job in as an editor. The ultimate goal would be to work for a company like Industrial Light & Magic (http://www.ilm.com/) who do the visual effects for huge movies like Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015), and Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015). There is also an ILM outpost in London so I could work there without having to work in America.

If I wasn’t able to go to University for whatever reason then I’d try and get a job as a runner on a set or as an apprentice on a set. This wold then be a good start to work my way up to an editing role, but this would probably be a harder and longer method.

Evaluation:

The research has helped me, as i have got to look at many different university courses and potential options that i have in life in order to get to a job that i want and will enjoy

 

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Week 7: My Career Timeline – Unit 3

Week 6: Working practices in the media industry – Unit 3

Introduction:

In this task i will be looking into the different types of contracts and working practices that people who work in the media industry have.

Freelance:

Freelance work is when you have no permanent contract, but work for a few days or weeks here and there for different companies and productions in order to earn money. The job is very flexible and there may be times when there is no work or too much work. This means when work is available it’s very hard to turn it down as there may not be any more after. This means there is a lack of security in the job; most freelancers on average work 1/3 of the year, and so have to save money for the time they’re not working.

Working on a variety of projects also means that your skill base will improve. You’ll work with a wide range of people; which will help with networking if you ever want to become self-employed and run your own business. However if you haven’t networked before becoming a freelancer it may be hard to get work. It’s also very important to be organized or you could be at risk of losing reputation.

http://www.productionbase.co.uk/film-tv-jobs/freelance-camera-assistant-operator-branded-content-southampton-10.15.0120294

Here is an example of an advertisement for a freelance camera operator, as their main camera operator is on a sabbatical and so they need someone to work.

Permanent Contract:

Permanent contracts are when you have a full contract that tells you how many hours you’ll be working each money and you’ll get a set amount of pay each month too. This is good for older people with more responsibility (mortgages, family etc) so they have a set income. However the pay is far less than a freelancer,

This job can get very repetitive though, for instance having a permanent position at a shopping channel, and having to zoom on different rings everyday could get infuriating. This is a very safe job compared to freelancing.

http://www.productionbase.co.uk/film-tv-jobs/camera-operator-plymouth-11.15.0122032

Here is an example of a permanent job working for a news company, these are harder jobs to find, as most work in the media industry is not permanent.

Short term contract:

A short term contract is when a company takes on staff members for a short period of time to work on multiple projects for them. It is usually somewhere between 3-6 months, but can be up to a year. This job is more secure than a freelancer but there is less pay. The work for this is very seasonal and is usually more available over Christmas and the summer.

Once the time period is over the work will be over and you will have to search for another job.

Project contract:

Project contract is similar to freelance in that you work for lots of different companies, however for this you work on the entire project instead of just a part of it. This is more of a secure job than freelance, but once the project is done you will have to find another job. There is also less pay than freelance on this.

Self-employed:

This is when you run your own business that makes videos and films instead of working for someone else. This is much more independent than permanent contract, as you get to pick and choose what you want to create, however there is a lot more risk, as you have to set up the company, pay staff, buy equipment, and more. This is all very expensive and if you can’t get clients or lose clients then you could lose a lot of money. There is also the potential to make a lot of money though.

The harder you work the more money you earn in this type of job. As if you take on more clients then you can get more jobs done.

Personally I think that project contract is the best job for me. As you get to do a variety of different types of work, yet have a little more security than freelance. You still get decent pay and are likely to work much more of the year. You also get the feeling that you’ve worked on the whole production and that you’ve contributed to the production of it.

Evaluation:

I wasn’t aware that there were so many different contract types when working in the media industry that i am aware of now. I knew there was Freelance and permanent contracts but didn’t know about others. I think this is important to learn about so that when i work in the industry later in life i know all about what type of practices are in place.

 

Week 6: Working practices in the media industry – Unit 3

Week 5: How to become a Sound Engineer and what they do – Unit 3

Introduction:

In this task I will be looking into how to become a sound engineer, and the different roles that come under that like Sound Assistant, Boom Operator, and Sound Designer.

What they do:

There are 4 main job roles in in sound, Sound Assistant, Sound Engineer, Boom Operator, and the Sound Designer. There is also the very specialized Foley Operator, they create the sound effects for a movie, for instance in order to get the sound of people walking on gravel they’ll push an object in and out of cat litter to get the right sound effect. There are also 2 areas in which Sound Engineers work which are location and studio. Some people work in both areas and some specialize in one, as there are different skills and techniques used when on location compared to in a controlled studio.

Sound Assistant:

The Sound Assistant is the entry level job in Sound. Usually a lot of young people will have this role, as it is usually used to work their way up to becoming a Sound Engineer or Sound Designer. The Sound Assistant is responsible for setting up and prepare the equipment for the Sound Engineer and Boom Operator before the shooting starts. They will also most likely have to deal with any problems to do with unwanted sound, for example talking, cars, sneezing/coughing very quickly so that there is no problems with the shooting schedule. They will also be in charge of packaging and labelling all of the sound discs at the end of the day.

Sound Engineer:

The Sound Engineer is what most people train for at University, a lot of people in this role started out as Sound Assistants and worked their way up to this job. The Sound Engineer physically operates the sound equipment with the help of the Sound Assistant. They can work in both production, being on set and recording the sound, and post-production, working in an editing studio and producing the final track. They use the equipment and place it to fit with the instructions that the Sound Designer gives. The Sound Engineer may also be responsible for playing sound effects or music on a live TV show.

Boom Operator:

Boom Operators control the long boom arm by holding it as close to the action as possible, it can be handheld or attached to a dolly. They may have to memorise the script and know it off by heart in order to know when they need to move to achieve the best sound quality. They must have a basic knowledge of camera angles and focal lengths in order to not get the muff in shot. They must also have knowledge of basic lighting techniques so that there are no shadows in shot either.

Sound Designer:

The Sound Designer is in charge of all sound in production and post-production. They tell the Sound Engineer where to put their equipment and will tell the Boom Operators where to stand and where to move through the scene. In post-production the Sound Engineers use the latest software to clean up the audio tracks in order to get the best dialogue, they will also spend time editing the original recordings in order to create a new sound they need, using plug-ins, synthesizers and samples. This links with what the Foley Operator does.

How to become one:

The easiest route to get a job is to go to University and do a degree in Film Production and specialize in Sound in the final year. This will show potential employers that you’re passionate about sound and you will probably start off in the job as a Sound Assistant. Another way to get in is luck, if you have any contacts in the industry then you may be able to start as a runner and eventually move onto a job as a Sound Assistant, however the pay probably wouldn’t be as good and it would take longer to progress due to not having a degree.

Evaluation:

I have learnt that there are lots of different jobs that come under the sound category. I wasn’t aware that the Boom operator was a job in itself and thought that the sound engineer did it before this task. I also learnt that it is helpful to go to university and specialise in sound to get a good job.

Week 5: How to become a Sound Engineer and what they do – Unit 3

Week 4: Cameraman – how to become one and what do they do? – Unit 3

Introduction:

In this task I will be looking into what a cameraman is and what they do, ill also be looking into what the best way to become one is and if there is more than one way.

There are 4 main jobs revolving around camera work, they are:

  • Camera Assistant
  • Camera Operator
  • Focus Puller
  • Director of Photography/Cinematographer

How to become one:

Most people start out as a Camera Operator on medium or low scale movies, or a Camera Assistant on a large-scale operation. The usual route into one of these jobs is to have a degree in film production that you specialize in Camera/Cinematography in the third year.

http://aub.ac.uk/courses/ba/ba-film-production/

At Arts University Bournemouth you can do a 3 year course in Film Production and then specialize in BA (Hons) Film Production (Cinematography)

Another option is to start out as a runner on a set, but this route requires a lot of luck to be able to get a job as a Camera Operator, as you will be the Camera Assistant’s assistant in a way. It also requires you to have family connections of some sort in order to get the job in the first place.

Camera Assistant:

The job of the Camera Assistant is to help the Camera Operator in any way he needs, but mainly to set-up and prepare equipment (including Camera, Tripod, Lens etc) before the Operator turns up. This is to save time so they can get straight into shooting the scene.

Camera Operator:

The Camera Operator is in charge of physically controlling the camera and pressing record. It is more than standing still with a camera on a tripod though, aerial shots may mean the Camera Operator is on a crane or cherry picker and is filming from there. More creative films like “Birdman” that uses lots of Long Takes require the Camera Operator to use a steady cam and be very versatile and film for a long continuous amount of time. Tracking Shots usually take place on a dolly and require the Camera Operator to sit in a small trolley on a track and get the Camera Assistant to push it along.

Focus Puller:

During a shoot the Focus Puller changes the focus on the lens of the camera, as it is impossible for the Camera Operator to do this whilst filming. This is usually to divert attention to another character in a shot. Focus Pullers start out measuring the distance of the characters and then doing calculations to figure out what they need to change, however experienced Focus Pullers will just know the distances and be able to do it. If an actor moves from 2m away from the camera to 8m away from the camera then the Focus Puller will change the distance setting on the lens in order to keep the sharpness on the actor.

Director of Photography/Cinematographer:

The Cinematographer is in charge of all of the camera crews working on the set of a movie. They create the “visual identity” of the movie in accordance to what the Director wants. He will select the Camera, lens, different filters, and film stock in order to realise the vision of the directors film. The Director of Photography also is in charge of Framing and composition in some instances of the film, and helps out the Editor in post production with colour correction.

Evaluation:

I now understand how there are different roles of people that all work with cameras, and that the cameraman doesn’t change the focus, but instead there is a separate job, the focus puller, for this.

Week 4: Cameraman – how to become one and what do they do? – Unit 3

Week 3: Lighting Tech – What they do and how to become one – Unit 3

Introduction:

In this task I’ll be researching into the different job roles in the lighting part of the film industry, what they do and how to become one.

There are 3 areas in which lighting technicians work, Theatre, Corporate/Concerts and Film/TV. Being trained in one of these areas gives you the skills to work in any of the other areas. Someone trained in Theatre Production, specialising in Lighting could end up working on a Film set, as the skills are transferable. Some people will work on a Film set one week and then work in the Theatre the next week.

In Film and TV there are 3 main job roles for Lighting. These are Lighting Assistant, Lighting Technician and Lighting Designer.

Lighting Assistant:

This is the entry-level job in lighting and usually young people will take this job to work their way up to becoming a Lighting Technician and Lighting Designer. The Lighting Assistants main job is to prepare the lighting equipment for the Lighting Technician. They will change light bulbs and open barn doors under the instruction of the Lighting Technician, as they are their superior. The Assistant will also help the Technician set up the lighting by the design of the Lighting Designer.

Lighting Technician:

This job is usually taken by people who started out being a Lighting Assistant and have worked their way up to this role. The Lighting Technician does what the Lighting Designer tells them to do and tries to understand their vision. They make what the Designer designs happen in real life. The Technician does all of the physical labour by putting out and positioning all of the equipment along with the help of their Lighting Assistant. They are also in charge of keeping the equipment safe and not damaging any of it by keeping to health and safety requirements.

Lighting Designer:

The Lighting Designer works with the Director, Writer and Producer a lot to try to encapsulate their shared vision into what they design for the scene. A lot of Lighting Designers recreate the location on 3D modelling software and then plan their lighting through that, however some still use methods of drawings and pictures and actually being on set to plan it. They also have to do a lot of work with Set Design and the Costume Department so that none of the clothes worn in the scene or props will interfere with the lighting. Also so that if there is anything in the set or on the clothes that need to be in light or in the dark.

How to become one:

The best way to become a Lighting Technician is to get a degree in Film Production that you will be able to specialize in lighting in the third year. This will show employers that you have knowledge about all roles in the Film Production process, but have specialized in Lighting and so have a more in-depth knowledge of lighting. Usually you will train to become a Lighting Technician at university, but will sometimes get a job as a Lighting Assistant as a starting point anyway.

Another way is to get an apprenticeship with a lighting company that could lead onto a job as a Lighting Assistant and start that way. However you would have to go to college at least 1 day a week and wouldn’t be paid much at all whilst still an apprentice. This route may be quicker than going to university, however when in work the pay may not be as good and it may not be as easy to move up the ladder into a Lighting Technician or Lighting Designer.

Apprenticeships can be found using this website: https://www.findapprenticeship.service.gov.uk/apprenticeshipsearch

Evaluation:

In this lesson I learnt about the different roles in Lighting which I wasn’t aware of. I found it difficult to grasp some parts, but I still find it interesting to learn about the different aspects of the Film Production process and now I have learnt some things about lighting that I can use in my own projects.

Week 3: Lighting Tech – What they do and how to become one – Unit 3

Week 2: How Do You Become a Director? – Unit 3

Introduction:

In this task I’ll be researching into what it takes to become a Film director, an example of one successful director, and what a director actually does when a film is being made.

A considerable amount of luck is required in order to be a film director. Your films have to be noticed by the right people in order to make it big time. A good Director must have a film reel in order to show off their talent to prospective studios that could be potential employers.

Christopher Nolan:

Nolan started his career by making corporate and industrial movies. He also mad a 3 minute short called doodlebug, the premise was a man chasing a bug around his flat before realising that it was an alternate smaller version of himself, but he decides to kill it anyway. After this he and friends made an entire movie themselves on just weekends that Nolan self-funded. It took nearly a year and they had to rehearse every scene thoroughly so that the first or second shot could be used to save film. The feature was critically acclaimed and had a good festival run, screening at The Rotterdam International Film Festival and winning the “Best First Feature” at the San Francisco International Film Festival. This gave Nolan the opportunity to make Memento (2000) on a budget of $4.5 million. [1]

This is what Nolan said about the jump from making his own films to a professional feature:

“The difference between shooting “Following” with a group of friends wearing our own clothes and my mum making sandwiches to spending $4 million of somebody else’s money on “Memento” and having a crew of a hundred people is, to this day, by far the biggest leap I’ve ever made. It was a bit like learning to swim once you’re out of your depth: It doesn’t make any difference if it’s 2 feet or 100 feet down to the bottom—you’re either going to drown, or not.” [2]

Career Paths:

University – Courses can be taken at universities in Film Production, and then complete the degree with a named award in Directing. As seen at Arts University Bournemouth here: http://aub.ac.uk/courses/ba/ba-film-production/ This could be a good route as you learn a lot of valuable skills about how to direct and other parts of the film production process, and also a lot of contacts can be made.

Independent – Setting up your own production company is a viable option if you want to become a Film Director. To start with you would make small shorts for local businesses, festivals and charities. If you get lucky and someone notices or likes the style that you’ve used then potentially these films can lead onto getting work on a larger project.

Film Festivals – By inputting your own independent films into lots of film festivals then they could potentially get screenings which could get you noticed in the film industry. Some very popular films and directors were first discovered at film festivals.

5 films that debuted at Sundance Film Festival:

(500) Days of Summer

Reservoir Dogs

The Blair Witch Project

Super Troopers

Whiplash

These films went onto garner large critical acclaim and box office success from starting at The Sundance Film Festival. Quentin Tarantino got his first big break at the festival with Reservoir Dogs and is now one of the most influential and talented directors there is in the world.

Directors work as part of a team, without this team and their advice a Director would never be able to create some of the masterpieces that have been created over the years. Some of the roles that work closely with the Director in order to create his vision are: Cinematographer/Director of Photography, Editor, Set Designer, Storyboard artist. According to the Auteur Theory, “the Director is considered the primary creative force in a motion picture” [3]

Evaluation:

I learnt a lot about the kinds of things that the director does, I previously wasn’t aware of just how much the director did and thought that he compartmentalized the work load, but he is actually involved in everything. It has helped me for my own future projects, as if I am the director I will know what kind of jobs I’ll need to do.

[1] Christopher Nolan. Available: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christopher_Nolan. Last accessed 28th Sep 2015.

[2] Jeffrey Ressner. (2012). The Traditionalist. Available: http://www.dga.org/Craft/DGAQ/All-Articles/1202-Spring-2012/DGA-Interview-Christopher-Nolan.aspx. Last accessed 28th Sep 2015.

[3] Merriam-webster.com, (2016). Definition of AUTEUR THEORY. [online] Available at: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/auteur%20theory [Accessed 28 Sep. 2015].

Week 2: How Do You Become a Director? – Unit 3