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Honestly, I Just Want to Help

I often think back to how I felt when I was first starting out in film. I remember a distinct feeling of aimlessness, because there's really no roadmap to getting started. Working in film is such a unique career because there are so many paths to success. Unless you know somebody who is willing to hire you on a string of long shows, coming up with a plan to break into the industry can seem like a daunting task.

Remembering that feeling of being lost and aimless is why I'm starting this blog. I want to help newbies coming into the industry get traction and jumpstart their careers. "But Kyler," you may ask, "who are you to give career advice to anybody? There are so many people with more experience and success in this industry." That's true, and some of those people helped me out a lot in the beginning. I still take advice from the old-timers every now and then. I'm in a unique position to help the younger generation though, because I'm not so far removed from my first day on set. During my seven-ish years in the film industry, I worked my way up from part-time walkie PA to union A-camera operator. I imagine that, if you're reading this, you may feel a bit stuck in your current position, without a clear idea of what to do next. If that's how you're feeling now, would you rather learn from the guy who has constantly changed jobs and tried new things or the guy who's been in the same position for 30 years? Learning from my experiences, successes and mistakes may help you find your true north.

My rationale in starting this blog is that there's shockingly little out there in the way of practical film career advice. There is a ton of advice based in theory. You can find books on how to create a scene, how to direct actors, even which colors to use or avoid. The problem with these books is that they approach filmmaking as an art. For most of us in the business, the art comes secondarily. Our first priority needs to be getting on set so we can pay our rent on time. I'm not going to break down scenes and tell you why you'd choose this lens over that one or how actor blocking effects the mood of a shot. That breakdown has been done a million times, and you can learn almost everything you need to know simply by being on set and paying attention. In this blog, I'm going to tell you how to get on set and stay there.

I hope you're able to draw inspiration from my experiences. If not inspiration, I hope you at least find the humor in the stories. At its heart, the film industry is a ridiculous place to work. It's a traveling circus full of clowns and misfits, and I've been proud to include myself among them for the better part of the last decade. In your career, you'll work with all types of people, from the most seasoned professional crewmember to the barely coherent background actor who cornered you to tell you an insane story about his past. You'll run into a lot of delicate situations and strong personalities, and you'll have to navigate all of those with grace and a deft hand. Whether you're just starting out in your career, looking to take the next step, or are just looking to kill five minutes of your day, I think you'll be able to find something of value here.

So, that's it for the first post. No advice today, but check back in every Tuesday and Friday for updates. Next week, I'll begin by tell you what I did to get my first job on set, and how that job turned into others.


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