The NZCS recently held a one-day intensive workshop aimed at providing an overview of the Assistant Camera role for those hoping to move from camera trainee to 2nd AC role, or 2nd AC to 1st AC.
The course was tutored by 1st Assistant Cameraman Michael Paletta, who has worked extensively in the US and NZ. Michael designed the type of course he wished had been available when he was first starting out. The emphasis was on attitude, professional approach and philosophy of the job, rather than an overly technical session (which would take much longer than a day!)
Because numbers were limited to a manageable twelve places (to give everyone a chance to participate in the practical exercises) applicants were chosen who the NZCS felt had the right level of previous experience, and a strong desire to make this a serious career path.
Feedback was very positive from the course and because demand was so high, another course is planned for late August, when Michael finishes a current run of full-time work.
Here is a sample of the feedback from several participants:
“The course was definitely what I expected and super helpful in highlighting the kind of attitude, behaviours and set etiquette needed to get work in this field. I think It was helpful to my career moving forward as it highlighted the differentiation of roles, from trainee to 1st AC, and it also gave a wide overarching insight onto all the different factors required when you’re starting out such as: cold calling, rental house liaison, communication skills and being personable."
“It was really nice hearing Michael stressing the importance of balancing your work and personal life. I feel like many people in the industry have quite a fanatical work ethic that makes them vulnerable to getting burnt out. It was really refreshing to hear someone like him not say something along the lines of 'you have to tough it out to make it in the industry'.”
The course was sponsored by Screen Auckland with venue provided by Unitec Screen Arts. Camera gear was supplied by Imagezone and Topic Rentals. DP’s Will Prosor, Kirk Pflaum and Murray Milne also supplied gear and operated cameras, and Esther Mitchell explained the 2nd AC role.