I help people tell stories, so that I have the money to tell mine.
I just watched the trailer and I'm really confused/disappointed.
The initial look made me think of the movie, "Sky Captain", which was somewhat cutting edge at the time, but became the default look for budget scifi. I think you should be looking to the look and feel of something akin to Predator or Alien if you want to take cues. They had a similar small cast against a few monsters story world and what you see there is the need to make everything feel very real, gritty, and visceral. This just felt like a metric ton of green screen......and that's it.
The entire 6+ minute piece made almost no sense to me? It boiled down to kill the monsters and save the world I guess?
Our anti-hero's rejection of his call to duty, was wooden and....just sad.
The dialogue! I could see the line for "we're not asking you, but telling." coming from a mile away.
I'm a small one man band producer, director, and editor. I know what it is to struggle with budget. This budget was mishandled though.
A 6 minute piece that tells you no real story and could have been down better if you focused on your best 1:30. You have a bunch of horrible looking aliens that you've obviously spent too much time/money animating.
Why was that blonde lady constantly glistening with sweat? Even in the middle of the night when they check out the enemy base. Why did they shoot a close up that demos how bad the gun effects look?
Why does the anti-hero look like the dude you met at the bar whose girlfriend just left him and he won't shut up about it. He's supposed to be a lead or at least look like one, give me badass, asshole, brooding loner, or anything. Make some casting decision. He just reads as....."some guy".
To me the best example of their style missing the mark is when the anti-hero and his love interest/ex are crouched down avoiding gunfire. Why the wide shots of there bodies? Give me a closeup where you can fake the drama and gunfire better by mixing in some practical effects.
I admittedly don't work in this end of the industry for a living, but.....wow.
This all makes for a confusing purchase decision to me, but does show me that.....you gotta get out there and make something. First and foremost I have to look at myself and maybe take up the challenge to do something like this myself. Maybe then, I'll have an idea of what these guys went through.
It would be a great No Film School Project to take select shots form The Garden and reproduce our own versions. Just a thought.
My take away from this isn't so much that I should use film, but the concept of the "spirit place". That isn't necessarily some abstract spiritual pursuit, but the attempt to approach every stage of the filmmaking process with the feeling that it deserves my full attention.
I don't intend to ever shoot film for pretty much the rest of my life, but I would like my next few projects to have shooting ratios closer to 6:1 than 233:1. I think that sense of "process" isn't exclusive to film. Film may be more likely, to force you to approach your work like that, but it's not a rule. There were people who shot ridiculous ratio's on film in it's heyday and people who shoot digital as if they own the only CF Card, SD Card, or SxS card in existence.
That's my take away. To give every step of the filmmaking process my full and respectful attention. I think that's a grounded/spiritual take away that can improve my work. Spray and Pray is not a shooting methodology that I want to take with me throughout my career. After that, in regards to the look? Plugins!
Before anything else, I'd suggest the following:
Make a list of the last 5 types of videos that clients have asked about......that you don't have an awesome example of in your reel.
Find a way to create those 5 videos.
What I've found is that the thing that made me more money is versatility and the ability to show that I've done "that type" of video.
That's made me the most money over the last few years. I couldn't get a kickstarter video to save my life, but then I did one early last year. I've now done 5 in the last 12 months.
I'm suggesting this because I see a problem in your question. You are asking about DOP rates, but you seem to be repping yourself as a Director/Editor or a small production company on your site. No problem with that, I'm the same, but Directors make money different from DOPs and Editors.
In this day and age, Director is also the Producer. Your may charge $5000 and only end up with $500, which can be a bummer. But a below the line DOP or Editor can charge a sweet rate like $250/day and rack up 15 days of work in a month. They may be UNDERPAID, but they made rent that month and they can also greatly bolster their portfolio very quickly.
I know this doesn't directly answer the rate question, but it seems like you have a deeper question to answer about your career path.
Having seen your demo reel, I think like mine, it feels a little to eventy/documentary like. I don't see many shots that let me know, "Ok, this guy can light a scene or has people who can." If you look at your reel from the prospective of the clients you "want".......is it good enough to get you hired?
Remember, if they don't like your reel, they often won't bother with digging through your portfolio.
-You have a lot of contrasty work with crushed blacks. Can you show them some work that's got more of that low contrast Alexa look?
-You've got a ton of MCU and MS shots in your reel, but almost nothing wider than that. Can you show them that you can do a wide that sets the scene?
-You've got no talking head stuff, that looks produced. Not produced in an obvious way, but catch light in the eyes, a little separation from the background, stationary camera, tack sharp focus, considered composition.
-Think you're in a good place, don't get me wrong, but I think some of the things above will help you and naturally raise your rates. I've found that as you improve, better clients seem to just show up and assume your day rate is higher than it is.
Absolutely beautiful work. Film vs. digital was the least of their production obstacles.
Saying film sucks in low light is a bit off. There are film stocks that are developed to utilize less light, so your statement sidesteps the entire concept of ISO. That said, I'd shoot this digital anyway.
Simply saying something sucks, just doesn't strike me as a constructive addition to the conversation.
This shoot seems like a logistical monster. I think the filmmakers would have made something wonderful, no matter the medium. Perhaps, the focus should remain on that.
Alex, the way you comment on my bringing up a "5 figure gig" smacks of you having a chip on your shoulder.
I already mentioned my bread and butter work is much smaller, so I don't appreciate you trying to present me as a snob.
As for the redheads you mentioned? They aren't consistent. I've used them and the sheer amount of aggravation they caused. Redheads are great to get started, but they burn through bulbs like nobody's business and still can't beat a used Arri 3 light kit over time.
Attack people all you want, but the truth is that when you begin to do work that has a cast and crew of more than 3-5 people, gear reliability and quality becomes a huge issue.
Plus, I return to the fact that renting gear isn't that expensive.
As a way to turn this into a productive exercise, what's an example budget level that you feel represents your demographic best?
P.S. It's my demographic too, no matter how much of a snob you think I am.
I laughed an inappropriate length of time at that.