The other day I ran into an old high school friend and fellow female filmmaker. We spent several hours, working and talking about how our careers had developed since we last saw each other. We attended Perpich Center for Arts Education together and both decided to seriously pursue filmmaking and photography as a career. However, we each took our own path to get to where we are today. I decided to go to film school, I spent 5 years consumed by film projects, grades, stress, and debt. But now I have that BA, that degree, something no one can ever take away from me. I am now highly specialized and prepared to make my way in the film world.
My friend took a different path and after graduating high school got right into the local Minneapolis film world. She worked, developed her reputation and made those connections which are so important to a successful career. Her path allowed her to travel and most importantly, get paid, to work on films.
I am just now working on building my reputation and making connections. I am also starting to build my own equipment cage which I am hoping will make me more marketable to directors and producers. My desire to be a cinematographer basically demands that I have as many of my own tools as possible.
Right now my film/video capabilities are limited to a Sony HandyCam and a Super 8 camera. Not exactly state of the art. But I am a firm believer that at the independent level, the quality of the equipment doesn't matter as long as there is a story to tell, strong characters, and the shots are executed with perfection.
I may not have all the bells and whistles, but I am a fabulous rigger, an even better problem solver and I can always make due with what is available.