One thing that is my advantage on shoots, both work and film, is to be portable. Part of my “thing” is that I’m basically a one man crew. For the most part doing interviews and B-Roll rarely requires a lot of people. In fact, I have almost never been in a situation where having several people around was necessary. Now if I was doing a commercial or something along those lines then that would be different. But in most cases there is mainly two of us on these shoots and that is plenty.
I made the decision a long time ago to own my own gear. With that comes a big cost. Not just in purchasing the equipment but in upkeep as well. The part that a lot of people don’t think about. Most of the time it’s minor things like extra bulbs and gaffer’s tape. But other times it can be more expensive things. I recently had a light blow so I had to buy a new one. It adds up. However, it also buys freedom. I can be ready to shoot at almost the drop of a hat. I don’t have to wait for a rental house to open. I can just go. This is especially beneficial in situations where a client contacts you last minute on something urgent. Or when working on a film and you need to shoot something because something becomes available. Pluses and minuses to everything but in this case I feel the pluses far outweigh the minuses.
I drive a small car so hauling my gear around can be a challenge. Or is it? Luckily years of playing Tetris have allowed me to figure out how things fit into a space. At least … I think it was from playing Tetris. One key is that I have compacted as much as possible everything into as few cases and bags as possible. I also try and keep things together. So the lights are all together in their own case(s). The gaffer’s stuff is in one bag. The stands are in one bag. Everything involving the camera is in a camera backpack. It really helps. So the back of my Hyundai Tiburon is filled as is the front seat. So no one gets a ride from me. Which is fine since I don’t have a crew.
Another key thing is to have a cart to haul everything around on. It is pretty much essential. It allows me to be mobile which is key for a lot of what I do.
You don’t need a grip truck if you’re doing “small” shoots like I do. Keep everything compact and easily mobile. And as with everything know what you’re doing. Don’t fake anything. If you don’t understand something look it up. And learn by doing. Get out there and shoot. The more you know the more you’ll be in demand. And knowing is half the battle. G.I. Joe knew that. And now you do too.