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Old September 25th, 2006, 02:10 PM   #1
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Where to find a DP?

Hey all,

I'm preparing a pitch and I would like to have a good DP attached to the project before pitching. I went to the ASC website and yes I saw the list of names, but here's my dilema. We are going to shoot HD instead of film because that's what our budget is allowing - probably using two PDW-F350 Sony cams. This is our first big budget (well it's big to us! haha) so I've never had to find a DP before so I'm not sure of the process.

How would I find someone that could run this camera well? If I had my choice, I would choose someone like Tak Fujimoto, but somehow I think our budget wont allow someone like that to DP the film.

Any help is appreciated!

Thanks
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Old September 25th, 2006, 02:47 PM   #2
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Depending on who you're pitching to and what they're looking for, they may not care at all who the DP will be. The best kind of names to attach to your project are those with marketability- actors, an on-air personality, directors, executive producers.

Who are you pitching to?
What are they looking for? Focus on that.
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Old September 25th, 2006, 02:51 PM   #3
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Thanks Glenn. I'm directing it - which is why I wanted to get the best DP I could find because I've only done shorts before. I want to put their minds at ease by knowing that there is someone behind the camera with good experience.
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Old September 25th, 2006, 03:12 PM   #4
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in general: most ASC's are in the cameramans union, most have agents .. i think min scale is 5K week plus 20% for benefits ... most earn above scale ... so it would seem that if min scale does not fit your budget then move on to DP's from your area or Chicago area..

i would put more time/$$ into finding good actor/actress ...
good scripts attrack good actor/actress
good actors attacts good DP's ..
good DP's attract a good crew ...
good crews want a good salary ...

do you have the $$ now or do you have to raise the $$$ ...
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Old September 25th, 2006, 03:16 PM   #5
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Adam,

The best thing to do sometimes is to go the the rental house where you are going to get the cameras and ask them for referrals. They know all the DPs who use the equipment often. That's how I found my last one...

Good luck.
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Old September 25th, 2006, 03:25 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Barry Gribble
Adam,

The best thing to do sometimes is to go the the rental house where you are going to get the cameras and ask them for referrals. They know all the DPs who use the equipment often. That's how I found my last one...

Good luck.
Ahh.. yeah, good idea. I actually have heard that before, but completely forgot about it.

thanks!
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Old September 25th, 2006, 03:26 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Donatello
do you have the $$ now or do you have to raise the $$$ ...
I'll probably end up going local then. We don't have the $$ yet. We are pitching it to get the funding.

The script is great by the way. :)
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Old September 25th, 2006, 11:27 PM   #8
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I have been asked many times to join projects still looking for funding, but it's sort of pointless -- until you have the money and a start date, there is no reason to get a professional DP committed (which most won't anyway.) I'll only do it for friends of mine who are directing the project and feel that saying an ASC cinematographer will be shooting the movie will help inspire investor confidence, but the truth is that any smart investor will be worried more about your casting than your cinematographer. You get a commercial script plus a marketable cast and odds are higher that you will get money, and with money, you can hire a decent cinematographer and crew.

As far as finding a cinematographer, you can start contacting the below-the-line agencies that represent them, or go through the IATSE Local 600 directory for starters, or talk to the rental house folks.
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Old September 25th, 2006, 11:35 PM   #9
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Thanks David - You're the second person to say "get an actor first". I guess since I'm a behind the scenes kinda guy I would look for the DP, director, composer, and such, but I have to really start to think like the general public and what appeals to them.

I guess, I'll worry less about a DP and get one when the time comes and I'll work on getting an actor(s) with some decent exposure first.

Thanks for the advice and also thanks for the advice on where to find a DP. I appreciated it.

Oh, by the way - You did Northfork? What a wild movie. Gorgeous. I commend you on that.

Last edited by Adam Rench; September 26th, 2006 at 03:51 PM.
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Old September 26th, 2006, 03:28 PM   #10
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Adam,

When it does come time to find one, let your eyes be your guide. What films have you noticed the cinematography in? Check out those DP's. Of course, if you need to go local due to budget, still check out local films until you find something you like. It might be better than trying to qualify every DP available out of a directory.

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Old September 26th, 2006, 03:52 PM   #11
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Great ideas! Thanks. I'm going to be hitting up some local short film festivals soon and my new short will also be in one as well so I can surely see what look are available in my area!

thanks again
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Old September 26th, 2006, 04:03 PM   #12
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An old producer gave me advice years ago... after viewing the reels of the dp's... he told me to go rent some of their movies...

The reason why he said was a guy had two great shots on his reel that blew him away... when he saw the guys movies... the producer thought geez these must be the only two great shots he's ever done...

Pretty much I would follow the advice of the others posted...

And of course talent or a known actor is what will sell your film besides story and production value... but still look for the best dp you can... the great ones will get you though a lot of headaches and troubles...
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