Films and Advertising is an intensely competitive business. Production houses are on the constant lookout for new ways to improve their cinematography and wow their audiences. And all this without overshooting budgets.
Drone technology satisfies these two essential criteria - this cutting edge and constantly improving technology presents huge economic benefits too.
And that’s why it is of little surprise that the film industry, like many others has been quick to recognize the benefits of using drones. Remember this spectacular opening sequence from the Bond movie, Skyfall? This Daniel Craig and Javier Bardem movie was the first one to use drones. And then, the trend quickly caught on. Wolf of Wall Street, Expendables, Captain America: Civil War….Some of the biggest movies have used drones to captivate audiences.
Get one thing straight – in order to succeed in the movie business, you have to be really good. And you have to show it convincingly. Putting up an attractive one page website showcasing some of your best stills and videos is a good start. Location scouts prefer simple websites which they can navigate with relative ease.
Create a great demo reel which showcases your most skillful shots. Shooting dynamic subjects instead of static subjects, for instance, requires a higher skill set. And is hence, recommended for your demo reel. Upload your video to Vimeo to share it with your prospects.
It is likely that you will start with independent production companies that shoot corporate videos or maybe, do TV work. And then you can gradually move up the chain. Remember – it takes a long time to make your name, and eventually move on to prestigious jobs that pay really well. Persistence is key. And your sales and marketing efforts should be consistent. Sending out emails, networking and building up a presence on social media is necessary if you wish to have regular and paying work through the year.
You can also make a name for yourself by enrolling in one of the prominent film festivals. Apart from the lucrative prize money, winning will help you build up your brand and eventually land work with one of the big guns.
Pro Tip – It is extremely important to maintain good relations with the local permit office
If you are like me, and your goal is to not just scrape through – but to earn enough to lead a comfortable life, then you need to work on high profit, low maintenance jobs. And working in films can be incredibly lucrative.
Moreover, this is a win-win situation. Just like you stand to gain, the production house stands to gain - a lot. Firstly, a drone is capable of flying a lot closer to the ground compared to a helicopter. A helicopter creates too much rotor wash, and hence, a greater distance has to be maintained. Because of this, you can get intimate and far better shots using a drone.
Apart from video quality, it is far cheaper to shoot with a drone. Shooting with a helicopter can cost a production 25 grand a day. Whereas, hiring a drone pilot can cost anywhere between 3 grand and 5 grand a day.
Sadly, in spite of being financially lucrative, the film industry has a work culture that many can find difficult to digest.
A highly nepotistic culture is deeply ingrained in the film industry’s DNA. So, breaking into this industry will require considerable amount of networking. So, unless you know a friend, or a friend of a friend who works in this industry, getting work will be difficult. If you can get in touch with the main decision maker and build a relationship with him/her, this will greatly increase your chance of getting hired.
You might also have to move away from your family – to New York or maybe, LA if you are serious about working in films. Surprisingly, Atlanta also has a lot of opportunities. However, before making the big leap, we recommend you secure some medium to long term work assignments. This will help ensure a smooth transition.
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