Invest in Yourself

Canon Boot Camps: Invest in your filmmaker skillsThe only way to land bigger and better film jobs is to increase your skillset as a filmmaker. Whether that means reading blogs, conducting your own camera tests, trying out equipment, taking workshop classes, or spending hours on online courses, it’s up to you. In order to become better, we have to improve our toolbox, literally and figuratively.

One of the best thing I did for myself, after I graduated from college with the goal to work in production, was to invest what little money I had into a Canon 7D. I had never used a digital camera, but the Canon HDSLRs were becoming very popular, so following the lead of a mentor, I purchased the 7D camera kit. I went on to a trip to Asia to start gathering b-roll on a documentary I am still planning to film and produce. I was basically shooting blindly as I did not know much about controlling the camera. I’m pretty sure I was on auto during the entire trip. Still, having the camera put me in charge of capturing some beautiful scenery.

Celine Duong, Canon Boot Camp Instructor, Former InternWhen I got back, I started volunteering on shoots that needed a Canon HDSLR. Once there, I slowly got the grasp of how DPs set up their cameras for different scenarios. They would tell me what ISO to set my camera, what f-stop, etc. I learned so much from these small jobs and started getting hired as a freelancer. I credit this camera for getting my career started. It also got me hired as an intern at The Association since Fletch was and still is running the Canon Boot Camp. I participated in a Boot Camp, which helped me fill in the gaps.

Now, I am one of the instructors at the Canon Boot Camp and frequently shoot with the Canon HDSLRs. As a poor college grad, purchasing the camera, the CF cards, and the gear was a big deal, but now I see how well the investment paid off.

Spending that extra money or extra time on something we are passionate about never goes to waste as long as we use it to improve ourselves. Always put the money back into yourself if you want to keep moving forward. Sometimes not making money and working for free is also an investment. This industry relies on a lot of free labor. I wish it wasn’t this way, but everyone is always looking for an intern. Depending on what you do as an intern, working for free for six months can really pay off. I would not have learned so much about the Canons and about editing had it not been for my willingness to work for free my first year out of college. If you are dedicated and passionate, someone will reach out.

Whether it is new gear or a workshop, don’t hesitate to invest in yourself! We may have pelican cases full of the best lenses, and the best rigs out there, but having the sharpest camera does us no good if we don’t understand how to use our tools. Taking an online course or a hands-on course helped me to understand what I was holding in my hands and how to best utilize it to create my visions.

For example, I always appreciated the look of depth-of-field in images, but it wasn’t until I understood every aspect of the camera’s functionalities working together that I understood how to achieve it, especially in a high-key outdoor situation. Without my first investment in the Canon HDSLR, I never would have landed where I am today, as one of the instructors of the Canon Boot Camp and the producer of the workshop!

Always move forward! Hope to see you at one of our workshops!

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