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Taking Care of Business
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Old January 2nd, 2004, 06:14 PM   #1
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Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Ft. Myers Beach, Fl
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Advice for entering the business...

Well Im sorry for posting a million questions ever since I joined this board but you guys are an awesome source for help.

Okay Im 18. Out of school and I dont know what I want to do. I only have one skill and that is shooting and editing dv. Ive never done any kind of editing or shooting job. I am just the average hobbiest. I want to start doing some small projects for money. Wedding videos or any other kind of event videos. But I have no idea how this business is ran. I have a single trv950, an Azden SGM X shotgun mic, and Im getting a Bescor vs65 light with a Bescor prb-18atm battery. Im using Premiere, After Affects, Photoshop and Encore to edit/author. I have no idea where to start. What equipment must I acquire? What should I charge? Where can I go to watch sample wedding videos online so I can see how the layout is? What extra skills do I need? What do I need to do?

Also, if there is anyone in the Ft. Myers, Florida area looking for an apprentice to work for free to learn/gain some experience points please contact me at I can fill you in on details about myself and my skills.

Thanks guys.
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Old January 2nd, 2004, 07:31 PM   #2
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Location: Fort Worth, Texas
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Hi Dustin:

I'm no pro, and I've little experience with DV. However, I will tell you my thoughts.

In the final analysis, the most fundamental business question is "How will I get people to give me cash, checks, or allow me to charge against their credit cards?" Who spends money and what do they pay for? In digital video?

How important is developing your own creative ideas to you? Shooting weddings is a far cry less creative than doing independent films. Are you technical or creative, or both?

Being young, I think your idea about an apprenticeship is excelent. If you could hook up with an experienced wedding or commercial shooter, especially one just moving into video, I think you'd be an excellent asset. Don't underestimate the value of your knowledge of software and computer savvy. Fertile young minds absorb and grow in these technologies much more quickly then experienced folks who can be a bit set in their ways.

Good luck.
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Old January 2nd, 2004, 08:05 PM   #3
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Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Toronto, Canada
Posts: 4,750 has advertisements for jobs (paying and not paying) for video shoots and things like that. You can volunteer on a set just to see what some fields of video/film work is like. Working as an extra will put you on a set too.

If you want to get a job in post production, then you probably have to work your way up. Get any kind of a job/placement at a post production facility. Industry publications will have listings of all the places in your area. Not sure what the best way of finding out available jobs are but you can research the companies and call em up and ask if there are job/internship openings.

If you want to work on your own (wedding, corporate videos) then it's mostly marketing that'll make you succeed. Before you market yourself it's good to get a few projects under your belt, so network and tell everyone you know that you are looking for work in that kind of thing.

That's what I've gathered from everyone else.
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Old January 2nd, 2004, 09:22 PM   #4
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Thanks alot. That info should help me get a good start.
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Old January 2nd, 2004, 09:36 PM   #5
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Boston, MA
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Don't fret, it gets really good now. You're old enough to do anything that anyone on this board does...except drink. You're well on your way to success because you took the time to learn those tools and now you're asking for more advice.

One little suggestion - work for free on any production you can find. You'll meet tons of people...and it always end up doing some else's job! The camera guy won't show up..or he'll show up late. Who's going to fill his shoes? You are. So, make sure you tell them upfront your a newbie...and willing to work hard. They'll love you and you'll be on their call sheet for the next paying gig. It's about being cool...friendly and polite more than anything. Anyone can point and shoot a camera nowadays...but, not everyone is trustworthy. Rememer that part more than anything cool.

If I lived in FL - I'd help you out. However, I only know one guy on this forum in's Heath McKnight. He's the moderator of the HDV forum JVC Cameras.

Also, volunteer at your local access television station. You'll do some good in your community and have free access (depending on how large your town is) to broadcast quality equipment and editing. Keep those skills sharp as a knife...and go see Cold Mountain. I saw it tonight, it was a great movie. :)

Christopher C. Murphy
Director, Producer, Writer
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Old January 3rd, 2004, 01:24 AM   #6
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thanks guys.
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Old January 3rd, 2004, 03:33 PM   #7
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if i were you i would contact every wedding/event videographer you can find in the area (find a wedding planning free paper) and tell them that you are willing to start out helping them out for little or no pay for the experience. be polite but be persistent, call them back after a week or so if they don't return your call etc.

goto a wedding fair and try to meet them, if you could put together a sample tape of your work it might help a lot!

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Old January 3rd, 2004, 06:00 PM   #8
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Kansas City, MO
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I agree. The best way to learn about things like shooting weddings is to work with an experienced person who does that. If you can find a production house in your area that has an intern program, you might check that out too.
Since you have a decent camera, you might find some wedding guy willing to let you shoot it as a second camera if you want to work for free a little bit...but don't overdo the free stuff. Once you've learned enough to be useful on a shoot, they ought to pay you something. Maybe not a lot, but something.
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Old January 8th, 2004, 12:39 PM   #9
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Location: Clearwater, Florida
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Hi Dustin,

I do wedding and special-event videography in the Tampa Bay area.

I know it's kind of a long haul from Ft. Myers, but if I ever have a job far enough South of Tampa/St. Pete to make it worth your while for the drive, I would be happy to let you help out. (and pay you too...)

Shoot me an email with your contact information, and I'll keep it on file.


-EDIT- Doh! my email address is
Phil Reams
Timeless Studio Productions
Clearwater, Florida

FCC Licensed Electronics Technician (GROL)
Amateur Radio - KC4UVU
Life Member of the PSHA - Pinnacle Studio Haters of America
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Old January 9th, 2004, 12:23 PM   #10
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Location: Phoenix, AZ
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Welcome to the fray. ;)

I'm in my late 20's now but I'm fairly new to video - change of career. Software development just didn't do it for me. I'm in a different stage of life than you, but business is business. If I can break in, so can you.

Looking back at my first 10 years in 'the real world', my best advise is to do what you love. Life is too short to slave at a job you hate. Live on generic mac n' cheese and drink the cheep beer for a few years, and do and develop what you love, if if the check isn't as fat. Sounds like you're doing just this!

Secondly, your number one hurdle will most likely be your age. People see 'kids' right out of highschool and don't give them much credit. I would focus on ways to 'prove' yourself, while learning as much as possible. I would work up some nice, quality demos for starters. Nobody will care about your age if you do quality work and you conduct yourself professionally. I would also consider building a nice, professional looking website to house your demos and serve as a 'resume' piece for you.

The advise about apprenticships should be followed. Having a mortgage and maxed credit cards, this is not an option for me. But having it to do over again, I would have been much better off to learn from someone else. I have had to just spin together some demo work on my own time and share it with people who are willing and able to write me checks.

Finally, a place to start for weddings: Put together some of the best demo work you can, and render it as high quality mpegs. Put together some nice resume pieces about yourself. Get a pack of CD-R's and some stick on inkjet labels. Burn your demo work and resume onto the disks and put nice professional / clean labels on them. Hand these out to people you would like to apprentice with.

A great place to find wedding videographers is at bridal conventions. This is the right time of year for those. Call some local bridal shops, tell them you're getting married and want info on the next major bridal show. Then goto them and politely introduce yourself to the other wedding videographers at the show. I'm just starting in weddings myself and I would love to have someone young (and inexpensive) with some good camera skills voulenteer to help me at events.

Good luck. Be professional. Put your best foot forward. Don't take any BS from people who disregard you as being a 'kid' - and do what you love!
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Old January 9th, 2004, 01:38 PM   #11
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Thanks. I'm trying my best right now to just soak up as much info as I can. I've been so desperate that actually went to the bookstore and bought all the magazines on dv I could find. So far I have never done any kind of shooting or editing other than BMX videos for friends and family. Those seem to be going pretty well. Ive made a few sales in other states and some orders have come in from Europe for them. BMX videos aren't something I can really make money on though. Hopefully I will come across someone soon so I can expand my horizons and learn some new skills and editing styles. Someone that I know should hurry up and get married so I can get some practice in!
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