Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Union-Man Scott's the name

Recently, I sat down for lunch with Tim Suhrstedt, ASC member and DP of such films as Little Miss Sunshine, Pumpkin and Office Space, as well as the new Ricky Gervais feature now shooting in Lowell, MA, This Side of the Truth.

Sandwiches: He had the turkey with cranberry chutney and apple slaw; I had the tuna, with a side of wisdom and advice drizzled in house vinaigrette (tangy but truthful). Besides sharing the last name of his wife (Oscar-winning costumer Deborah Lynn Scott) and half of the hyphenated last name of his daughter, I also aspire to DP features, possibly for the rest of my life and beyond.

His advice: Unionize! A career move strangely not emphasized by any of my professors... Though perhaps they consider it obvious, it seems that so many film graduates have no idea what they're doing once they're out, and simply jump ship to LA and gain a little weight.

The problem: He and I have been working on trying to figure out exactly how exactly for a young guy like me to get into the union (IATSE: International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees), and I have been secretly struggling to understand the difference between IATSE Local 600 and the International Cinematographers Guild, which could possibly be the same thing. Either way, it's key that I get into one or both or all three (IATSE Local 481, inc. Massachusetts area) of these as every major film produced in the US goes through them and, of course, they provide health insurance, disability pay, field trips to parks and training sessions.

Other advice: To keep shooting even if I get gigs as a film loader or AC - to always keep DP'ing because I won't really learn how to do it by watching someone else. And, most importantly, to accept that the film career path is not linear, and that experience does not always beget better, more rewarding experience, and to take it with some humor. And on that decidedly unfunny note, this blog ends (clearly, I've learned nothing).

Updates on the union progress, which I have now made my summer goal, to come.

-EA Scott

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