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Working in Germany (3 replies and 8 comments)

Sarath R
2 weeks ago
Sarath R 2 weeks ago

Hi Forum members ...

Im Sarath ..From India ...

Is there anyone from Germany ? Im looking for assistant cameraman job in Germany...Actually Im a amateur cinematographer ..I want to learn cinematography ...

But the problem is , I can't have a financial support  to study cinematography in film school ...(if there is any scholarship for film making students , please suggest )

So now Im looking for a assistant cinematography job in Germany ...The reason I select Germany is because ,i do know german language ..(not fluent ) ..I too have some experiences in Indian film industry also ,but I always want to explore other culture and their style of film making ..Thats the reason I choose Germany ..

So can you guys please give some informations and tips about Germany film industry and also how to get a job there ?

The Byre
2 weeks ago
The Byre 2 weeks ago

Well, of course, I couldn't resist it - I had to go and test myself as I had never heard of the A2 and B2 tests - and you be happy to hear that I passed the B2 with flying colours.  Hardly surprising as German was my first language!

https://www.deutsch-lernen.com/virtual/e_test_kurz_einleitung.php»

But the only way you are going to get a job is by going there.  That means getting a student visa or a work permit first.

It sounds as if you could be trying for the apprenticeship 'Mediengestalter Bild und Ton' (production assistant for picture and sound).  The usual way in is to have a good secondary education (A-Levels or in Germany 'Abitur') and be able to show some experience in audio and video/film production.  So we're back to that pesky show-reel again!

But without paperwork showing that you are able to live and work in Germany, a prospective employer cannot offer you a job, even if they wanted to.

The Byre
2 weeks ago

P.S. Follow Mike's advice! The German film industry really isn't much to write home about!

Mike
2 weeks ago

I‘Ve just ordered a round of drinks for everybody and put it on your “tab”, hope that’s alright with you!

The Byre
2 weeks ago

Yer, that's OK! Absolutely no problem. I'm in room 17 - the one marked as registered to 'Deakins'.

Mike
2 weeks ago

In that case, I will make it best champagne and caviar, let’s throw a party!
Maestro, music please.

The Byre
2 weeks ago
The Byre 2 weeks ago

I worked in German TV and film up to about 20 years ago, so sadly all my contacts have moved on - but this question seems to have my name written all over it.

Firstly, my background - I worked in audio doing sound for OB and fly-aways in the very early days of private TV in Germany.  In those days, nobody knew anything, so if you knew a little, well, you knew a little more than anybody else!  Although I'd worked in UK TV and radio, today I cringe at how hopelessly clueless I really was in A-for-V back then!  

After that, I moved on and built up a career as a journalist, writing about film and TV technology and on the back of that, I developed a news agency selling trade news to UK and US trade magazines.  We covered all kinds of goofy subjects, from plastic moulding machines to back-hoes and diggers, from air flight to cars, from cell-phones to medical supplies.  Everything has a trade magazine and many subjects have a dozen or more - all competing with one another!

I sold the agency and moved to the UK in 2000.

Today I am starting a little film production unit making only local movies and covering only local subjects and themes.  'Just-for-fun!' as they say!  That's why I'm here - I, like most others, am here to learn!  (And a huge 'Thank-you!' to Roger for making the diagrammes and explanations about how he achieved certain things in movies.  It means I can look at the movie and see the finished product and study the way that was done.  That is invaluable IMO.)

OK, let's deal with your situation - can you get a work visa for Germany?  Without one, the whole plan is a non-starter!  The nearest German consulate in India will tell you what is required.

But the question I would ask you is - do you want to go to Germany?  Or do you just want to get out of India?  And do you really, really want to make movies?  If so, pick up a camera and get going!

There are study visas available for the UK and you have to enroll in a UK film school and buy a return ticket.  The NFTS do short courses that are relatively affordable and are really respected World-wide.  Keep a million miles away from all sorts of bogus private schools who gladly take your money, promise the moon and deliver nothing!

My tip to anybody who is taking their first steps and trying to open doors in this industry is to put together a killer show-reel and put it on YouTube and then when you contact people, you can send them your CV and point them at that killer show-reel.  Make that show-reel as cinematic as possible - lots of eye-candy!  Download DaVinci-Resolve and get the colours as pretty as possible!  (Admittedly, that's not how you should be making movies, but we are not talking about a movie here, but a show-reel.  It has to impress!)

We are talking about YouTube and not IMAX, so any small 4K camera with a zoom lens will do the job.  Lights can be old PAR cans with gels rigged up to dimmers.  Your jib can be a long stick of wood with a hinge at the end and the dolly can be anything - four wheels and two lengths of plastic guttering!  Make it look good, but make it personal and local.  Tell people about where you live!  Make it vibrant, make it exciting and overlay it with funky, local music from the streets!

But once you pick up that camera and start making movies, you may not want to come to Germany or the UK (they are both rather expensive and cold and wet!) - you may find that there is just too much going on where you are and too many stories to tell!

Good luck,

Andrew.

Sarath R
2 weeks ago

Really thanks Andrew and Mike ....

The reason I choose Germany , is because I can't have a financial support to study ..In Germany , the public film school has kind of low fees structure ..(filmakademie)..But I have to complete B2 level Language exam to apply those film schools..But right now Im in A2 level , I have to complete two more ..So now Im try to find a job in germany ,so i can come in germany next year ..Thats the reason Im looking for a job there ,if i find some job which related cinematography ,i can learn something too...At that same time ,Im trying to get a seat in germany film school....

The reason why Im leaving India is , actually I have worked as a assistant cinematographer in two Indian films ( both films are trash )....I dont like the way of film making here ..I always want to learn something unique ..Thats why i try other countries ...

PS : Not all Indian movies are trash ,now-days some Good movies are also making here ...

Please guys suggest some ideas for me ...

Mike
2 weeks ago

How did you become an “assistant cinematographer” if you had no experience?
Sounds like you are starting half way up the ladder anyway. Just because you didn’t like the way films are made in India, doesn’t mean that you should ‘abandon ship’ and move to another country, you can only afford to that when you have years of experience. Stay in the Indian film industry and learn the craft, you will not gain any more experience moving to Germany! You are going to be very disappointed if you do. Think this over again, India has a power house of talent, they make more films than anyone else, learn from them, gain the experience, then one day you can call yourself a cinematographer! Unless ofcourse, you have rich parents and then you can buy your way in. But you still need experience which ever road you take.

Vanniyan
2 weeks ago

Good advice Mike!

Mike
2 weeks ago
Mike 2 weeks ago

I acknowledge your determination to succeed but am puzzled why you have chosen Germany. You do speak German but is it fluent enough to be understood, your English seems to be better, so why not go to London or Los Angeles as the film industry is more active than Germany’s. However, they do have a vibrant TV industry where you could gain experience.

Have you thought out the logistics of moving, first you have the flights to consider, then the accommodation issues and living expenses. If you do find some kind soul who needs a camera assistant, how much do you think he is going to pay you. It not cheap living in Germany, especially Cologne and Berlin, you cannot sign on and receive unemployment benefits until you properly reside in Germany and get established with a fixed abode and are registered in their job opportunities system. This takes time.

In the U.K. there are thousands of people trying to get into the Film and TV industry, many of these have media studies degrees and other film, TV and Theatre experience. The BBC offer short courses in TV production, journalism and even writing for television course but you do NOT get paid, it’s a voluntary only basis and there are 250 people to one vacancy but you must have a fixed address to qualify. So where do you go from here? I suggest you try and find a work place in India but I know you have a ‘cast’ system which you must overcome in order to find employment, maybe you can get around this if you have connections.

Don't shoot yourself just yet, there are still other ways, it all depends how bad you want this, there is going to some hardship along the way, if you can overcome the bad times then you will succeed but there is no fast track up the ladder. Don’t be impatient but do listen to people who have been there and got the “T” shirt, it will happen but ’when’ is going to be your problem.

You have made a start by writing to Roger’s forum so all you have to do now is to keep the momentum going.

Let us know how you get on.

ravikantrai
2 weeks ago

This is such a great response, so well written, full of hope and realistic encouragement.

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