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-   -   Questions for Charles Papert (http://www.dvinfo.net/forum/these-people-your-neighborhood/2936-questions-charles-papert.html)

elusive_kudo July 30th, 2002 05:27 PM

Questions for Charles Papert
I've read a lot of your posts on this board and thank u 4 your active participation.

I've also checked IMDB site and seen the list of some impressive credits that u gathered in the past few years. Although, IMDB is not always 100 % accurate I will assume that in your case it is.

So, u have worked on some big profile shows such r: Six Feet Under, American History X, 3000 Miles to Graceland, West Wing...

It's also says there thay u were born in England in 1966. If that's correct can u let us know how did u managed to get where u r now today and what r your plans 4 the future. I think a lot of newcomers would be interested to hear what u personally have to tell on that and related subject.

And, finally, let's say I was shooting an low budget indie picture and I wanted to hire a good operator/dop, would u fit the bill? And what kinda rates one is expected to pay 4 your services on such project?


elusive_kudo July 30th, 2002 05:30 PM

And do u really regret this :))


Charles Papert October 16th, 2002 11:37 PM

Jeepers, I found this thread by accident (how did I manage to miss something with my name in the title?), thanks for the posts.

I never did one of those "These are the people in your neighborhood" introductory posts with my background, so I guess this is an opportunity to fill in some back story.

When I was about 12, growing up in the Boston area, I got to play around with the Sony black and white reel to reel video system (the precursor to consumer video as we know it). I was pretty well hooked.

With dreams of becoming a cameraman firmly planted all through high school, I went off to film school (NYU) but became quickly disillusioned with the presentation. I cold-called a top Steadicam operator whose articles I had read in "American Cinematographer" magazine, and he invited me onto the set of "Ghosbusters".

Needless to say, as an impressionable 17 yr old I was enthralled, and decided to quit school and work up to becoming a Steadicam operator. In those days, Steadicam only existed as a high-ticket, high end device...there weren't any camcorder-sized versions yet (or camcorders, for that matter!)

After a number of years of shooting corporate and local commercials in the New England area, I was able to buy my first beat-up Steadicam from a rental house. I hung out my shingle and starting working.

Some years after that, I had established a decent living working as a DP and Steadicam operator in the New England market. But I couldn't get on any of the features that came into town.

I had been teaching Steadicam at the Rockport workshops in Maine, and that led to being invited to doing the same at the Malibu workshops in California. Meeting the LA operators and becoming friends with them turned into some jobs being passed my way--I was crashing on one guy's sofa for the weekend before heading back to Boston, and he told me he had been called for a feature that he couldn't do, would I like to interview for it. Sure enough, I got the job the next day, which was "American History X". Suddenly I was working as the camera operator on a studio feature in Hollywood...just like that, it seemed. I moved out to LA a couple of months later, and the jobs kept coming.

So now, after working as an operator and DP on all kinds of great features and series, some of which you noted, my future plans are...(what a surprise)...directing. Episodic TV operating such as I am currently engaged in ("Scrubs") means you work pretty closely with the directors in blocking scenes, and there's been a few operators that have moved on to directing in recent years, so I know I'm not crazy...!

The Instant Films project that I have been co-producing this year (www.instantfilms.com) has resulted in my getting to direct five short films, which has been terrific practice (and my resulting involvement in DV explains my presence here).

As far as shooting indies, I certainly have done that and probably will be doing more of that. One short that I worked on is currently on iFilm (called "First Born") if you are interested in checking that out--that was the first time I had used DV for a narrative film.

Rate-wise, it depends on the project. Let's just say somwhere between pro bono and full rate? Elusive (no pun intended), I know, but my time being short I have to pick and choose the indie projects, so it really comes down to how much I like the script.

And I can't say that I truly regret "Last Night at Eddie's", because it was my first feature as a DP, shot on 35mm, and was a solid learning experience. However, it was massively draining both emotionally and physically, and not a particularly strong film to have put that kind of energy into. After all these years, it's odd that it popped up on the web like that, but that's the web for you. The funny thing is, I don't even have a copy of the film! It screened once at a beautiful theatre in Boston to a sold-out house, and never again as far as I know.

Hope this answers your questions, and sorry I didn't find the thread until months after your posts!

Rob Lohman October 17th, 2002 11:52 AM

Great introduction Charles! Thanks for that. A really interesting
little story to read too. Very nice to hear that you worked on
American History X, which I have sitting on DVD here on my
shelve! Think it is a very good movie. Some people might find
it very offensive, but I still believe it is a very good movie and
I enjoy watching it everytime.

Thanks for that movie too!

Aaron Koolen October 17th, 2002 03:56 PM

Rob, if movies like American History X, don't offend then I don't think they're doing their job. :)

Robert Knecht Schmidt October 17th, 2002 04:06 PM

This thread might be better filed away in the "People in Your Neighborhood" folder.

Thanks Charles for sharing your story and being such a great contributor to the forums.

Chris Hurd October 17th, 2002 04:37 PM

RKS is right -- so I've moved it! Thanks everybody,

Paul Sedillo October 17th, 2002 07:12 PM

Medical Mayhem: John Inwood brings inventive visuals to NBC's 'Scrubs'

"We are all big fans of the 'oner' - the one-shot scene," says Inwood. "Bill Lawrence, the show's creator, the directors, the actors and the crew all enjoy the excitement of pulling off the one-shot performance. Our actors are not only great performers, they're excellent technically, hitting marks and adjusting for the camera. My operator, Charles (Papert) is incredible!"

Full article can be found here:


Hey Charles is that you in the picture?

Charles Papert October 18th, 2002 12:56 AM

Aww jeepers, youse guys make me blush. Thanks for the kind words all.

Yeah, Paul, that is me in that pic in the Scrubs article. Good job finding that site, I hadn't seen that particular one. I look a little scowly (not to mention jowly, too many craft service treats lately!)

Glad you guys like "American History X", it is indeed a powerful film. I wish there were more extras like a making-of doc on the DVD, it would be cool to see the madness again. A movie I worked on called "Big Fat Liar" came out recently on DVD. Very different than "AHX", more of a young-teenage comedy (with Frankie Muniz), but lots of goodies including a deleted scene that was the longest Steadicam shot I've done to date, makes me winded just watching it! If any of you guys have kids that may bring this one home, checky outy....

Paul Sedillo October 18th, 2002 02:45 AM

<<<-- Originally posted by Charles Papert :

Yeah, Paul, that is me in that pic in the Scrubs article. Good job finding that site, I hadn't seen that particular one. I look a little scowly (not to mention jowly, too many craft service treats lately!)



I was out doing research on the Panasonic AG-DVX100 and happened to run into it. Thought you might get a kick out of seeing it.

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