i saw your website and wanted to respond. i graduated from chapman in may with an MFA in cinematography. i’ve been in LA since november, but am probably going to move to NY in august as it seems to be a better balance of what i’m looking for.
i’m curious as to what the filmmaking climate is like there and the sort of independent filmmaking opportunities that are available to starting filmmakers such as ourselves.
Thanks for emailing. Nice reel, by the way.
The filmmaking climate in New York is less active than that of Los Angeles, but it’s still the second biggest in the United States. There is a little work in television and a few big productions crew up here, particularly for lower-end positions, but as a cinematographer, the majority of your work will wind up being in student films, web exclusives, events, and if you’re lucky, indie features.
Owning your own equipment makes it much easier to get hired in New York. Being flexible about crew and job titles helps too. Sometimes you’ll have an army behind you, sometimes you are the army.
Build up relationships with good ACs and crew. It helps you become faster and more desirable as a hire if you can solve many problems.
I suggest diversifying the range of things you can do on a production, even as a DP. Getting credits as a producer or an AD will show indie filmmakers that you know how to run a set and can keep to a schedule (even though your directors won’t).
But ultimately, when I look to hire a DP, the quality of the reel is paramount. And if I can make a suggestion, you should cut your sizzle to 15-30 seconds and add links to completed projects and full-length scenes. A website would also add credibility.
Best of luck,