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Shooting non-repeatable events: weddings, recitals, plays, performances...


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Old June 3rd, 2013, 09:22 PM   #1
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What's the best way to find second-shooter gigs?

I live in a suburban area outside of NYC so there are definitely gobs of shooters around. I've shot three weddings myself, so I could easily put together a demo reel. Aside from a couple Craigslist ads (one which paid squat and one for which I didn't have the 'requisite' equipment) I'm not sure where else to look for second-shooter gigs to gain experience. What's the best way to go about it?
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Old June 4th, 2013, 10:19 AM   #2
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Re: What's the best way to find second-shooter gigs?

See if there's a videographer group or club in your area and join it. You can also find other video people in some of the chapters of the American Advertising Federation. There are several, including me, in our local chapter.
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Old June 4th, 2013, 12:32 PM   #3
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Re: What's the best way to find second-shooter gigs?

That's a good idea Roger. I'll look for some groups around my area. Is it appropriate or desirable to send a message to videographers I've rubbed elbows with and offer services?
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Old June 4th, 2013, 12:49 PM   #4
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Re: What's the best way to find second-shooter gigs?

You could honestly always cold call people. Make a reel, start googling local wedding videogs you like, then send them the reel and a day rate.
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Old June 6th, 2013, 02:43 PM   #5
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Re: What's the best way to find second-shooter gigs?

To tell you the truth, I found most of the people I work with through Craiglist so keep looking. However, I only find the videographers that I would like to learn from through connections.
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Old June 7th, 2013, 11:54 AM   #6
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Re: What's the best way to find second-shooter gigs?

Although my primary goal is to make some cash on the side, I definitely want to learn from someone who is talented and experienced. Not hand-holding, but just to observe the ways they organize themselves and plan and execute shots. My biggest drawback to doing this, is that I'm a terrible planner. If I can't be good at this sort of thing I'll be unhappy, and then of course there's no point in even doing it at all.

Luckily, I've got 3-4 potential gigs lined up (other than the three I've already done for free or VERY reduced fee) lined up just through the photog I work with. This takes some pressure off, as I can use his clients and underlying shot planning to prop me up and leave me with one less thing to worry about.

I've chatted with two videographers at events already, and plan on dropping them a line. They were both younger guys so can't have been doing this very long, but it couldn't hurt.
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Old June 7th, 2013, 02:03 PM   #7
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Re: What's the best way to find second-shooter gigs?

Look for a videographer as if you were a bride, find someone who's work you admire, then call them.
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Old June 10th, 2013, 01:15 AM   #8
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Re: What's the best way to find second-shooter gigs?

I actually think it's pretty hard to find regular second shooter gigs. First, you need someone who works with two or more shooters. Then, of the companies with two or more shooters, presumably most will have no vacancies and will already have established relationships in place.

But there are some companies (I've worked for several like this) who are booking so many weddings that they need a little black book of names to call on. These companies, to be honest, tend to be more lower-end; the primary reason they're attracting business is their low prices. There are also lots of photographers who are dying to get more into video, and you may be able to offer them video as an add-on to their existing photography services, where you're only the second shooter in the sense that the photographer has the call on what you should shoot and how, but otherwise you're the only video person.

Two more thoughts: (1) if you can use a steadicam proficiently, that's a huge, huge selling point -- around my area at least, steadicam operators are in demand for wedding companies; (2) it's relatively easy to get work experience as a non-paid second or third shooter, and maybe this is the better route -- simply do half a dozen weddings to get the knowledge, and then strike out on your own as a first shooter.
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