How To Choose A Camera Guy
I made this mistake when I first started so listen closely.
I had some guy that was like “Shooting video is my life man. This is what I wanna do with my life.” and then he showed us all some video he shot in high school that was SUPER wack. But in my head I was thinking “Hey! This guy wants to help. This is awesome. I have a guy to shoot my videos!”
Well here is where the problem comes in.
This guy had ZERO work ethic, ZERO creativity and ZERO ambition to actually be a camera guy who shot and edited videos.
Here is what happened.
I was an artist making a name for myself and he just wanted to be a part of it. I didn’t have anyone else to shoot my videos so I said… why not! Right?
Well this guy didn’t even have his own camera gear, he couldn’t have been that serious. That is the FIRST red flag. If someone doesn’t even have their own camera, they can’t be that serious about being a camera guy.
This guy was on my team for 2 years. In the 2 years, he shot 2 videos for me on someone elses camera. He never went out and got a job to be able to buy his own camera to actually move forward towards his dreams.
But let’s look back at me in 2013 when I realized how VITAL it was to be shooting music videos. I dropped my ego and I went and got my ass a job getting at 4AM delivering bread in a big ass bread truck. I NEEDED that camera! So I went and I worked for it! On top of already doing all the other music stuff. As soon as I got that camera, I quit the job! lol
My camera guy said his DREAM was to be a camera guy….. He didn’t even have the drive to go work for a camera to get started in 2 YEARS! It’s not even my DREAM to be a camera guy but you know what…. I went and got a fucking job and I worked for it and THEN I taught myself everything I needed to know about shooting and editing my OWN music videos.
Because this is MY DREAM and I know I have to work for it.
What I am saying is, your permanent camera man needs to meet these requirements:
1) He needs to own his own camera. AT LEAST a decent camera.
He can’t be that serious if he hasn’t even worked to aquire a camera. PLUS you can guarantee he isn’t very good at filming if he has never even gotten the experience of holding a camera in his hand for AT LEAST a few months!
How can he be great at something he has never practiced?!?!?!?!? Every skill needs to be practiced.
2) Make sure the person has work that you can ACTUALLY see.
People talk too much! Don’t let them tell you how great they are, then 3 weeks of set up goes by and BAM, they are garbage.
They need to be able to link you to music videos that you can watch for yourself that THEY SHOT AND EDITED THEMSELVES. It’s not complicated! It’s as simple as knowing that they are actually capable of shooting a video, editing a video and posting it online.
This brings us back to point 1. If they have videos online, there is a good chance that they have their own camera.
I was at a show of mine in Chicago and after the show a fan walked up to me and was like “YO I got this dope camera guy man he will shoot your videos.” I said “oh cool let me meet him.” I walked up and met the guy and I asked him what camera he had, he didn’t even know, I said “Where can I see some of the videos you shot?” he said “Aw, I don’t have any videos done yet.”
See how even I was almost tricked by someone telling me that their guy was good. Then upon talking to the guy, he hadn’t even shot a video yet!?!?!?! People are all WANNA BE’S. I want you to be the REAL, that’s why I made this guide.
3) He needs to know how to edit in a video editing software.
Sometimes guys DON’T own their own camera but they can edit. It happens! Or maybe their camera is broken or maybe someone jacked it from them. WHO KNOWS! But if they can edit, that is a great start.
The reason I am bringing this up is that you can buy the camera and let your camera man use it! Nothing wrong with that!
4) If you are both starting out or around the same level, you need to make sure he is willing to work for cheap or for free.
He needs credits and if you have GOOD music he can build his credits on music videos that are going to gain traction and he can use as a good credit when he brags about who he shoots for.
Try tossing your camera guy at least a bit of money if he gives you a good product. It will keep the relationship healthy.
5) Make sure he is a reliable person.
Ask around and make sure this guy is actually a good person. You don’t want to work with shitty people. You want to work with like minded GOOD people like yourself and get the best quality work you can done and out there.
I had a LAZY camera man for 2 years. Only reason he even got to stick around was because of my lack of knowledge at the time, me being hard headed and refusal to learn and grow, my inability to understand I needed to have better people around me and a bunch of other factors. I blame no one but myself. But now I know better and I want you to know too.
PS. This is the same guy I mentioned in Level 3 when we spoke about shooting your own music videos. He left me to shoot and edit my own video days before It had to be shot. You need reliable people, not lazy people. Only reason I am glad this person was in my life was because I no longer trust people from their words, I trust them on their actions.
To Find A Camera Man
1) You can use Instagram or Twitter to find hashtags in your city + #cameraman #camera #cinematic #videographer etc. And look that way.
2) You can always ask around! The most obvious answer lol
3) You can Google people in your area
4) You can look on your local craigslist
5) You can wait till one approaches you, which WILL likely happen eventually. But till then you still need videos.
6) Or you can always shoot them yourself which I recommend. I’d shoot them yourself until you find someone to do them for FREE or until you can cough up $1,000+ a video. But If you’re like me and you only release music that is music video worthy (which is my rule of releasing songs.) than you are spending $10,000 per project just on videos.
You got this! Good luck!