Working on set for the “Cat Herders” Commercial, my favorite

Shooting this spot was the most cold and miserable shooting days I've ever had.   Out in the plains, freezing cold, wind so strong it would catch your car door and bend it back. It took 3 days to shoot.   The production company put everyone up in a motel.   We actually snuck our cat into our motel room because he just had surgery and needed to recuperate.   So he lived under the bed. But he wasn't alone.   There were trucks filled with movie cats.   Each in their own cages. And real cowboys.   No actors.   Real cowboys who had to be skillfully directed to get a natural performance. Cats aren't naturally good at acting.   They want to be cats.   But the animal…

How early jobs on the set lead to acting jobs, music jobs, other high paying jobs

The most common entry level job in the film industry is Production Assistant (PA). When I’m working I always hang out with the PAs. They are some of the coolest and most interesting people, and are really excited about their future in the industry. I love that! Some have gone to film school, some have done their own filmmaking, many are into music. Some are models, actors, dancers, writers. Working their craft from the inside. Smart. Here’s some PAs I met recently: Jim, a musician, gets his music into films by meeting people on the set. Editors and creative directors are often on set, and he gives them a sample of his music. Kevin is an actor. He gets acting jobs by knowing Production Managers and Producers. They get him…

Jobs in Hollywood: What it was like working with Farrah Fawcett

A friend of mine on facebook wrote a small post on the day Farrah Fawcett died to remember her. My friend was the AD (Assistant Director) on a shoot where Farrah was being filmed nude with only paint covering her body. To make her comfortable, he and several other crew members got naked with her and worked all day naked.  Just shoes and a headset! They joked and laughed all day long and Farrah gave him a big hug at the end of the day and thanked him for making the day so much fun. It’s a big family in the film industry. Remember that, and be there for each other <3

Careers in Film: Lessons from a Successful Director of Photography

You don’t typically find many big feature Cinematographers that started out in nature photography. The nature people typically stay in that niche for their entire career. But Will R. is an exception. How you manage your career in film makes all the difference. I asked Will R. how he became a big feature Director of Photography and this is what he told me. It came down to 2 things.

Film Production Jobs: The real ‘scene’ is on the film set

There are many interesting film jobs in Hollywood.  I think that the best way to give you a feel for these jobs is to take you to the film set and describe what happens as if you were there. Today’s shoot, for a high end athletic shoe, started out at a high school close to Compton. Compton is gang central in LA. The projects literally surrounded us. We had security guards and were working within the fenced school grounds, so it was fine. As I drove into the parking lot, I saw some big guys dressed in basketball uniforms having breakfast.   Some of these guys had great physiques and could pass for NBA players. But I knew they were movie extras. You’d never see a NBA player hanging out in…

What Film School will never teach you: Be careful where you poop!

Some things just can’t be taught by film school or any school. Yesterday I asked the VTR guy what was the weirdest thing that’s ever happened during a film production. Here’s what he said: They were shooting in a house and had turned the bedroom into a HUGE bathroom. It looked like a huge luxury bathroom with mirrors, cabinets, sinks and a toilet. Upon arriving early, one of the crew members needed to relieve himself, and instead of going to the bathroom in the ‘small bathroom,’ he went for the ‘big bathroom.’ But it was a big FAKE bathroom. Oops. Well, he apparently noticed that the toilet was fake when he couldn’t flush it. So he just closed the cover. As the day progressed and the lights were heating up…

Film Jobs in Hollywood – Riding dragons, flying through the air

Today we’re doing a commercial for a video game. I want to give you an idea of what it’s like doing film  jobs when you’re doing special effects.  It’s really like any other day, except there are green screens and other cool film equipment. We’re shooting on a quiet residential street and we’ve taken over the whole street with enormous lights, props, carts and stands. As you look down the street you see a long line of cube trucks which belong to the art department, props, camera, grip, electric.  Further down the road there’s 2 motor homes.   One houses the production offices, the hair, make up and wardrobe rooms. And the 2nd motor home is made up of little rooms for the talent to relax and rehearse their lines. The…

A Typical Day On The Set

What I want to share with you in this blog is how you can have a career in the film industry: What kind of film jobs there are, the money you can make, and how to get in, even how to find the best online film school. I also want to give you a realistic view of what it’s like working in this industry. To do that I put together stories about what happens on a film set and what it’s like working on professional sets. One of the best things about working in the film industry, is that you work on fun stuff all day long and you get to work with your friends. It’s a fun, lighthearted environment most of the time. After all, we all left the…