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Finding Talent

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Tess SpauldingFinding Talent
by on Jun 3, 2009 at 8:30:44 pm

Hi all .... I just posted this in the Cinematography forum but thought to add it here as well ... seemed to make sense! :)


I've got a small production company and am looking to expand our talent roster a bit .... It's always good to have several people to call upon for projects! :) We are getting busier these days and I'm interested in finding camera ops, dp's and editors of all price ranges. The problem is finding reels! Editors reels aren't difficult to find but I am having some difficulty finding ones for camera ops ... I guess most dp's/cinematographers are camera ops these days as well, but I'd be interested in those that just do camera .... On la411, for example, there are very few reels and most of the camera ops there seem to be steadicam related - not just straight shooters ..

So my question is (finally!) --- Are there any sites that you can recommend where I can view reels for the above mentioned? I'd love to find where camera ops, dps/cinematographers, editors have reels to view! And where do you find your talent? Networking, craigslist, agencies?

Thank you in advance! (I love this site!) :)


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Todd TerryRe: Finding Talent
by on Jun 3, 2009 at 8:53:42 pm

Not trying to quash your request... but that might be a tall order.

In the dozen+ years that I've been principal owner and creative director of my company, I've had a few bazillion reels come across my desk. Lots from editors, lots from directors, quite a few cinematographers, and a fair number of Steadicam operators.

I can't say that I've ever been given a reel of someone's work purely as a straight camera op.

If you're looking for camera ops, then cinematography/DP reels are likely going to be your best bet. Those guys/gals are showcasing their work as DPs, but you can bet that 19 times out of 20 they were the actual camera operator, too.


Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.

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Mike CohenRe: Finding Talent
by on Jun 3, 2009 at 9:07:16 pm

The creative Cow Services section lists production companies in the LA area - no doubt you could hire employees of these outfits to run camera. is a popular place for people to post their HD reels or shorts. You might look there. For example, Tom Guilmette who works in the Boston area posts some cool videos shot for fun with his EX1 as well as from his sports gigs as both operator(Fenway park) and as DP. No doubt there are similar people in your neck of the woods. seems somewhat reliable, and doing a Google or dare I say, a Bing search for "freelance video" might yield some results.

If you "google" someone, do we also now have the ability to "bing" someone? That just doesn't sound right.

People shudder at craigslist, but I use it every so often with good results. At present, it remains a place to look for paying gigs (and lots of scams) but if you are the one posting ads then you may be surprised at the number of hits you get. From an ad for a full time position that I posted last year, in addition to the guy we hired, I also got 8 other candidates to interview and a dozen or so freelance shooters looking to get on my rolodex. Many had their reels on Vimeo as it turns out.

Mike Cohen

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Tess SpauldingRe: Finding Talent
by on Jun 3, 2009 at 9:01:33 pm

Thank you! Some great advice!


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Tess SpauldingRe: Finding Talent
by on Jun 3, 2009 at 9:13:44 pm

Good point, Todd - maybe I should rephrase my question .....

What is the best way to find new talent? Via specific websites or agencies or networking events or ... alla that? :) I know I've got some trolling through reels to do so I'm prepared for that!

Thank you again ....


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Mark SuszkoRe: Finding Talent
by on Jun 3, 2009 at 11:33:06 pm

"What is the best way to find new talent?"

Well, just thinking out loud, mind you, but, you know, offering money in some amount might create some interest. Just sayin'.

To be more precise and less catty, you can throw contests and ask for submissions, you can put up a notice for reels and mention some honorarioum or promise that x number of entries will be guaranteed an interview. The go-getters will find out and apply. The not-getters will self-select out. You just want to make the prize worth a little effort. You could also peruse the winners lists of the various existing contests that have cinematography categories, then look them up. Some stock footage companies list their shooters, that's like having a visual catalog of what people can shoot.

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Tess SpauldingRe: Finding Talent
by on Jun 3, 2009 at 11:51:39 pm

:D Yeah - money is good! We are not the 'copy credit meals' type --- that belongs to the craigslist crowd. I guess I'm just trying to be proactive instead of reactionary to the gig at hand -- having a stable of folks you know will do well vs having a time deadline to find someone that MAY be able to do the job .. I guess I'm a planner at heart :) .... Thank you for the idea about the stock shooters - I hadn't thought of that -- I chase that down tomorrow.


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Richard HerdRe: Finding Talent
by on Jun 4, 2009 at 12:05:43 am

A dude name Elijah posting in the Indie forum is really interested. (Please send my 10% agent's fee to a charity of your choosing :-)

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Bill DavisRe: Finding Talent
by on Jun 4, 2009 at 8:10:15 am

Personally, when I want to add names to my freelanceers list, I drop by and have a chat with the folks at the local RENTAL houses.

They know who's renting what. Who's busy. Who's coasting. They know who has experience with what level of gear. And who's steadily employed.

Plus you can decide if you need the guy who's always renting one Arri kit - or the gal who's always booking the 5 ton grip truck.

Targeted info if you ask me.


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Patrick OrtmanRe: Finding Talent
by on Jun 4, 2009 at 8:14:58 pm

Agreed, although often the rental houses only have part of the picture- for instance, we buy a lot of stuff from FilmTools in LA (Aaron's your guy there, tell him I sent ya!). But we never rent from them, and often we'll rent, say, a doorway dolly from one place and a light kit from another, etc.



Web and Video Design

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Tess SpauldingRe: Finding Talent
by on Jun 11, 2009 at 1:50:54 am

Thank you everyone --- this has been very helpful! I appreciate the cowmunity here very much ... I even got to meet Ron L at Cinegear this year! :)

- Tess

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Ron LindeboomRe: Finding Talent
by on Jun 11, 2009 at 3:39:01 am

[Tess Spaulding] "I even got to meet Ron L at Cinegear this year! :)"

Hi Tess,

It is always an honor and a lot of fun to meet the people that come here and make this a community. Thank you for stopping by the booth and visiting with Tim Matteson and me.

But don't let anyone know that Tim Matteson is a heck of a lot better looking than me, okay?

Best always,

Ron Lindeboom

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