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Can you handle it?
A steadicam is a heavy rig, and is not known to be the easiest thing to operate. The weight alone is something to get used to and moving is a challenge (think dancing the waltz with a 45 lb weight attached to you).
Strength and endurance are a big help if you want to operate. The better condition you are in, the better you'll operate the rig.
Other good things you'll need:
- No back problems
- No problems with dizziness or disorientation
- Good eyesight.
- A working knowledge of the film and/or video industries.
Also prior experience on a film set will help as well as good connections with your mentors, as they will likely hook you up with your first job.
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Go to film school and work as a key grip, and gaffer for a year, train and practice.
It's all about preparation, and film schools can give you the space and help you need to grow and learn.
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Workshops sound pretty much like a waste of time, but in truth they are time and money well spent.
A workshop is a great investment for a variety of reasons. First, you will get quite a bit of time flying quite a few rigs over the course of the workshop. You will learn how to properly set up and balance a rig. You will learn about the principles of how a steadicam works. Professional steadicam operators with extensive knowledge of the industry will teach you everything you need to get started.
At the very least you’ll find out whether or not you’re cut out for this industry, because not knowing that will cost you more money and time in the long run.
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Putting out Feelers
If you have a solid footing and have paid your dues, your mentor will have something lined up that he or she couldn’t take on. Get a recommendation for that job! Another great idea is to browse the market to find out what the pay scale is and offer to work below that. Getting your foot in the door is the primary goal, you can haggle prices after you have a few more gigs under your belt.
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Research the market for new talent
Right now Steadicam is the newest smoothest technology - capitalize! Take advantage of the need and showcase what you’ve spent years perfecting. The market is open and waiting for fresh faces and innovative techniques for filming. There really is no secret to landing a job, it’s all about getting what you put out, so put out all you’ve got.
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It sounds cliché and common sense, and it’s true! Even a seasoned vet needs to stay on his toes. You’re only as good as your last reel, so always keep training and trying out new things.