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Finding Work

Lesson 1 from: Moving Your Business from Stills to Motion

Vincent Laforet

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Lesson Info

1. Finding Work

Lesson Info

Finding Work

So, um, I've been doing a lot of directing since about 2008. I was a photographer for most of my career, and I have to tell you that our first course is actually about the five D Mark two. So it was actually video kind of photography, and the video was kind of mind boggling for many of us, especially photographers going into video. And I have to tell you that the past eight years have been like life on speed, meaning I've learned MAWR in eight years, and I had probably learned in 20 years of photography, given the complexity of production of being a director or producer, working with so many people in so many different levels, whether it's actors, how do you cast someone? How do you work with an actor? How do you direct an actor, whether it's a represented from the union? How do you deal with unions when you need to deal with unions? Whether it's working with producers and clients and agencies, how do you bid a job? How do you get a job? How do you do that first conference call? And as...

you go through that you really realize There is no book on this. There's nowhere that I ever seen, where you could find information now on a hot a writer treatment, let alone how to do a bid, let alone how to deal with clients. And I had to learn the hard way the school of hard knocks. I made mistakes I had executive producers at my production company have been through several. Now give me advice on how to better do the next call. And there's also so much boring stuff that's critical insurance, bidding business basics. So I can't teach you what I've learned in eight years in an hour and 1/2. This is my best effort to share that with you, and it is clearly and concisely as possible. And the first thing I want to open up with this, saying that at the end of the day, people gonna hire hire you for two reasons who you are as a person, how you treat others, how you treat them, basically who you are and your work, and also your knowledge of all this stuff. Let's get started. Let's go right in there. Um, this says, moving your business from stills to motion The reality is you could already be in motion and just want to know this stuff. Like I said, I didn't know half of this stuff. I found myself nine months after every a really bad cologne commercial I shot in the five year mark, too, on this very set, with 1/4 1,000,000 watts of light as a DP, I had no idea who these people were, and I kind of did. I didn't really understand everything, and I was really just learning the ropes. But imagine yourselves if you haven't already done this, finding yourself on this set and understand how much you're going to have to learn as you move forward. Um, this was a year and 1/2 ago in a Nike commercial, very different, working with the best athletes in the world again, the amount of pressure that's on you to produce. You have these athletes, the world class athletes or 45 minutes from start to finish. Lots of pressure. First question that we all care about cares about insurance. How do you get hired? Where do you start? We all have that moment. It's always the exact same problem. I'm afraid Italian that we've all had to were, like 15 or 16 trying to find her first job. You know, it's kind of the old cash 22. You gotta have work to find work. All right, You need a resume. Really, This is not your traditional job. People don't really look a paperwork. They don't look at what you've done. They look at your work. It's very, very basic. I should make one comment. What differentiates the video or film world from photography is that bluntly. It's much more nepotistic. It's a lot more about who you do know or don't know. There's a reason behind that. A. Of course, it's a little bit Hollywood right and all the bad stuff that comes with it. But if you think about it, the budgets air 5 to 50 to 500 times the quantity that we're used to in a still world, for example. So when someone says, Let's hire this person to direct this or to shoot this, it's a lot more on the line. And how do you guys really find out who to hire? You look at their resume, can't tell much from a resume. You could tell something about their work. But the best way to really find someone that's good and dependable is word of mouth and references. And that is the single biggest piece of advice I have for you. Go out, meet people, shoot, go to film school. He want not to learn about filmmaking, but to meet other people in your circle and start forming relationships. You'll half of the rest of your career. All right, you know, Website, Obviously today you'd be amazed. This kind of goes to my last point of how few high end VPs and directors actually have a website, because again, it's all about word of mouth. But for those of you starting out, don't know a SC and Academy Award winning directors or people who work in our essay, which is released, got associates maybe might do well to start a website, keep it simple, keep it clear and concise, just as in directing. When I try to communicate, I have to communicate clearly so it's not vague or Cappy mis interpreted. I have to be concise, meaning quickly and precisely on your website here is mine. I do a lot of different things. So about unfortunately these days you will care more about who you are sometimes, then what you do. So that's right up there. I do some fine artwork, which is very different than directing. I do some motion. Obviously, I have commissions. I had a block, which is also a big part of what we all do to self market these days. And now I have a book. So it's all there. People would click on that and they would see my photography work and what I've done. You can see how clean it is, how easy it is to read even my biography I had professionally written, Uh, because when you write your own biography, it's I don't know about you, but it's it's a disaster if you write a. If you hire a professional writer for two or $300 to really reduce who you are, down to the main talking points, not to mention about what about you guys? I don't like to talk about myself, but when a writer says you're the best so in some, like she said it or he said, it's not my fault, Um, and then this is some of my work. We'll talk about this as well. Uh, these air my commercials. Now this goes back the chicken in the egg thing rials versus your work on. I think it's a slide that's coming up, but I'll get to that in a second. Let me first show you a commercial. I did a year and 1/ or so ago for Nike that I just referenced earlier your idea of a little, but I do, Um and this is on The higher end, of course, is not much more higher in the Nike, But the pressure of this job, I think I lost two or three years of my life in that two month period. Given the amount of pressure that was on this job, here's the commercial a little bit, an idea of who I am, where I come from, and we'll keep going after that. She so, uh, thank you. Uh, would you rather see a riel or commercial as a client? And why commercial is everything from the beginning to the end and then a realist, just the highlights. So you don't get to see the pacing or story or, well, focus on. So as a photographer, you can put 20 images together, that's your portfolio. And frankly, when you start off in video, you're gonna have no choice but to do a really more than likely right or do suspect commercials. But you're not being hired for how wonderful your shots are unless you're a DP. Your job is a director is to work with great DP's and other people on your crew, but to produce something that starts and ends and makes you feel something or think something, and your role ultimately is to produce a finished product that stands on its own. And that's why clients ultimately want to see commercials or finished products and not rials. Took me a long time to figure that out. A lot of you will spend a lot of time doing rials again. You have no choice initially, but just so you know, the big clients and even most clients want to see finished pieces for obvious reasons. Production companies and reps. All right, we have reps and photography in the this world. You go and hopefully get hired by a production company. They're there to do several things. First of all, they hire their own reps across the country that show your work. They have relationships with clients and obviously, whether it's direct a client or whether it's agencies and they pitch you and that again is a very nepotistic world. You don't get a Nike commercial, no matter how good you are unless you have a production company behind. You may be changing a little bit today, but I would say not Nike, right? Also, they hold your hand. There's so many layers of bureaucracy and steps you have to take, especially when you're a new director. They help you through the process. That's their job. They succeed, you succeed, and vice versa makes sense. So if you can get a production company, no matter how small, how do you recommend it? Because this is not a job you can do by yourself, in my opinion, unless you're doing relatively small jobs. And even then it's such it's a mind Bob Litt boggling job. So are they essential? Not necessarily. But I recommend them all right, everything. All the models are changing today, but this is the model has been around for a very long time. Social media, How important is that for you? Well, thes days is becoming more and More important, you'd be amazed at how many Instagram people are being hired directly by companies. Aziz, well as clients, for the most part, find me directly now, whether it's companies or whether it's agencies. They call me directly, and I'LL four them back onto my production company. Sometimes I do the work myself. It's not covered by that contract, but being socialist is nothing new at this point. It was a big deal, and we started, You know, six years ago, seven years ago, I think it might have been. Now you guys all know that, but post your finished work up there regularly. Your ongoing projects behind the scenes, sadly, is often more of you than your work. But people like to see that on. It's great to do personal projects. The book air that I did last year, maybe two years ago and I can't keep track of time was a personal project, you know, it was not a business endeavor. Percent Facebook. YouTube used to be Twitter. I don't know if that's still around. It's hard to keep track Snapchat If you're under 30 Andi, uh, put videos like this and you'll be a surprising how many art directors come up to me and say, I watch your time lapse Syria's I love it where your behind the scenes stuff Because they're geeks like us. They love this job and they discover how you do things like I'd like to be on that person's set. I used to watch chases stuff and I'd be like killers, like fun to hang out with Chase and be on his jobs. You know, it's not this, like, nervous, angry, stressful place. And put yourself in the shoes of an art director or a client saying, Do I wanna hang around without really famous person That's, you know, ogre and unhappy and throws things we don't want to hire. Hang around with a really famous person is nice and cool, and I'm gonna have a good time with that's gonna show in the work. So how you represent yourself behind the scenes is really important. Here is, I believe, a video that I produced for air that shows you a little bit of how I show my behind the scenes process. I've been flying since I can remember, and every time I would look out the window, I would see these incredible little stories outside little police cars, the stadiums. I've always wanted to capture that somehow this has to be one the most amazing projects I've ever been part because of the reaction to these images. I've had incredible feedback on these photographs from people who aren't even photography. And that's part of the single most special thing that you can ask as an artist is for everyone to engage with and to share them. More than 40 million people have seen these images. That's unbelievable. When this assignment came up to photograph the city at night, I said, This is the time to go up really high and makes a very unique images, and that is really organically how air was born. It's something that I want to shoot. Since I was 13 years old, I've waited 27 years for the technology to catch up. And now, just like you guys, I'm giddy as a kid every time I go up at night and photographed scenes from high altitude because I'm seeing things. But I've only dreamed of seeing let alone capturing, and being able to share with you is unbelievable. I have lots of inspirations out there in the world. But the reality is people inspire me everyday people. There's something incredibly special about flying above the city at night. It's very peaceful. It's a very meditative process, extremely special. And the only word I can come up with this. It's a privilege. When you're high above these cities, everything feels more within grass. When you're up above it all, and you can see how close things air. You realize that things are much more within reach them. We all realize, and that's the power of photography is to show you this. You can see those hundreds of thousands or millions of lights below, and you can imagine the lives and stories underneath you. And there's just something truly, ironically, incredibly intimate about being up above it all and being able to capture it in a still image. If I had to ask you guys to break down to break down, why I did that? Go ahead, tell someone Why do that? Yeah, well, it also gets people to see all the effort that goes on behind it. Your point of view, who you are, what's important to you, what catches your eye and then the final results. Yeah, and I mean it showed you the process. You can see Connick pick up on the mood. It's not a heck. I think, you know, crazy mood is pretty relaxing. It's complicated. Anyone does every day. How much you guys think I spent on that out of my own pocket? Couple never hired a helicopter with Cineplex $14,000. It's a lot of money, but we were trying to raise several $100,000 to fund the project. So I take that gamble. If you'd come to me 10 years ago and tell me would ever spend $14,000 God for bid on promoting myself. Little my project out of told you you're crazy. But I have to do this because it's one thing to talk to potential investors and try to communicate is verbally or show the final work. But when you show the process, it really resonates more with them because they see how it's done, how different it is. But also they understand Maura about how they can relate to this, and by the way this footage was used on CBS Sunday morning, they did a piece on the book air so it paid off wonderfully. Was the best $14,000 I could have spent. Now you only have spent $14,000. I had to spend that because we have to have two helicopters with sin. Affleck's very expensive. And I hired my friend Lucas Gilman to direct it. And you remember that Helicopter banks, like crazy? We don't do that. He did that. Torture me. Don't ever higher your best friend or one of your best friends to direct you. All the times I'm sticking my head out of 100 knots. I'm tiling in. My Sinuses are about to bleed is like I don't care. Shut up. You look cool. All right. But the point is, you don't have to spend any money. Just have someone of an IPhone, follow you and do a little something. Have a little Osmo or whatever it is. You want to make a little more stable. You don't need a movie. You would just use. I use, um, hyper laps all the time on my phone, and I save it at one X. It's like walking on the study. Can't have your, you know, it's not child labor. Have your kid film. You are whatever but just do something to show people about your process on this also obviously helped raise money. Alright, networking. Hey, if you're gonna sit at home and do nothing, you better be really, really good, like so good, or at least be good on the computer and interact virtually. There's nothing that makes up for going out for a coffee or dinner with someone and meeting face to face I Network for a living. That's how I get my jobs. My work speaks for itself, hopefully. But I make a very big effort, as does Chase as every photographer and filmmaker that I know so much of our job is getting out there and meeting people, pitching ideas and trying to find work. I can't overestimate how much how important that is New thing these days. Director client versus legacy. Meaning. Do you work directly with just the client direct, or should you work for an agency? It's changing a lot towards director client for me. Is that good or no? Well, it makes things less complicated. There are fewer layers. It makes the job less expensive because the agency of obviously is a class of the client not to mention it. If you give them a $10 bill, they put a 30% or 20% markup on it. So it costs more the client but have respect for the process and what the agency provides. They provide an intimate knowledge of the client, their marketing. They've worked with the client in terms of developing that marketing. And even if you're the best director in the world, you may not be the best market or let alone having idea about what you're doing. So I have no problem working direct with clients. But I have to say there's a very good reason that for the most, the majority of history, there's always being agency in between to not only be a buffer, but also to help you creatively and help you get the best result. Because directing is a lot of work in and of itself, trying to deal with all the marketing aspects of on top is quite a challenge, and if a client comes to me with a storyboard at least or a basic treatment of what they're looking for, I'll consider doing director client. If they come with me, the one line idea? I have no idea. I'm gonna consider that a lot more. That's so much more work to come up with. An idea in concept. You're not only on the hook for how you direct the peace, but also your idea. Fair enough.

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It was super interesting! Vincent you are a kind of a big deal! )) Thanks!

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