With almost 5,500 jobs under my belt and just short of 50 years as a shooter (5 studios in NYC) I hope my students overlook my spotty computer skills and tap into what I call a career filled with excitement, adventure, travel, creativity, financial ups and downs, problem solving, lasting friendships and I could go on for a page, all good.
Bottom line is that in this highly competitive, over crowded, fickle, fast moving and changing profession/art form, if you love it it will love you back.
I think my job at PPSOP is to turn this love into financial gain and still keep the love fires burning.
Some of the courses I'm working on are: (and I would love some feedback about your interest in them)
ESTIMATING-I'm not talking about the big budget national adds I was lucky to work on but the kind of jobs for small firms like an Italian Restaurant, a Law firm, a Day care center, a small manufacturing firm, a fitness center. I shot plenty of jobs like these and whatever the budget they require production value and that means a well thought out, realistic estimate.
LEARNING TO LIGHT IN THE DARK-For about 20 bucks spent at your hardware store, Staples and/or an art supply store you can put together enough stuff to take this course and ONCE AND FOR ALL learn the basics of lighting. I WILL take the mystery out of lighting with my 4-D's of lighting program.
DIRECTING NON-PROFESSIONAL TALENT-Stock is king and those photographer expecting to make a living on original assignments are unrealistic and if you don't live in a city with a decent supply of models you will have to tap into your local market of farmers, fireman and florists for your stock pictures. I can help you get the best out "real" people.
CHOOSING A SHOOT THEME-My years as a commercial shooter taught me many disciplines, one of which was to focus on the problem at hand. ( the shooting assignment). If Art Directors could shoot their own pictures, they would. I found out pretty quickly in my career that my job was to take their idea and make it better. One of my favorite things to do was to location scout. I was very often too busy to do it and had to hire a location scout to do it for me.
My ability to focus (not the camera) on the job also pretty much closed the door on my interest or ability to do personal projects. About 7 years ago I headed toward Nova Scotia after one of my daughters wedding (in Maine) and spent two week shooting for myself. Never did anything with the pictures and in the fall of '06 pulled them out. 2 images got my attention and I decided to take the plunge into taking pictures after so many years of making pictures. They were images of back (dirt) roads. In January of '07 I took off on the first of 9 2-3 day trips through out New England. My theme was back roads and that's all I was looking for. It was like location scouting without specific location in mind. I had a ball! Each trip yielded between 5 and 15 images. Ended up with about 65 keepers and almost keepers. Narrowed it down to 35 and I don't give a damn If anybody likes them, it was a totally liberating experience. I did it again this last summer ('08). My theme was "boats out of water". Did 2-5 day trips from the Canadian border down to New Haven, Conn. Again about 65 "images of interest" with about 25 or 30 keepers. I had another ball! Why were these projects such great experiences for me, that's easy. No restraints of any kind except the ones I put on myself. TAKE pictures of back roads and boats out of water. I would like to put together a course that would teach students to choose a theme to really focus on and cover it 8 ways to Sunday. I call it "Covering the job" whether it's a personal project or an assignment from a class or a real job for $.
SPECIAL EFFECTS- In this age of Photoshop big productions and special effects have taken a back seat. The last couple hundred jobs I shot were often ended with this phrase form a young Mac-jockey art director, "don't worry Dave, I'll fix it in the computer". I love to do the effects in camera or on the set. Making white clouds w/dry ice, smoke machines, snow machines, sweat a glass, can or bottle that stays sweated for hours, zoom during exposure, fog filter, shaking the camera, twisting the camera. using a camera stabilizer and on and on.
CAR SHOOTING-I shot every car manufactured in the world except Russian and Chinese cars. Once you understand the concept of shooting cars your halfway there. Here's a clue. The most difficult car in the world to shoot is a black VW Beetle and the easiest is the DeLorien. (not sure of that spelling) Anybody got the answer?