Grip - Electric - Camera
Been freelancing since 2012 and life has been good.
You don't necessarily need panasonic lenses to avoid having to get an adaptor, you just need something with an Micro four thirds mount.
Voigtlander lenses have an MFT mount option. We rented some of these for a student project shot on a GH4. They open to F .09 (i.e. more open that F1) which is crazy awesome. http://www.borrowlenses.com/product/Voigtlander-Nokton-175mm-f095-for-Mi...
If you are able to go pricey, there are CP2s that come with a MFT mount built into them. http://www.borrowlenses.com/product/Zeiss-Compact-Prime-CP2-28mmT21-Micr... I've heard these are really good but never actually used one.
@Jaan Thanks. Will check into these.
Most of it has been said, watch a lot of movies, read a lot of information, practice a lot and get critique. I find it useful to also break a movie apart psychologically. I.E. get back down to the basics of story/character. Who are the people you are watching? What are their relationships to each other? What's going on with them? What's the audience suppose to feel? Now how do the camera movements, composition, and lighting help to emphasis that?
I think most choices (by the DP, by the art director, etc etc) are motivated in some way by whatever statement, mood, or idea the movie is trying to convey at any given moment, so it's a good place to start when you are trying to understand how to break apart other people's process. I'm not sure how simple an idea that is, I've never really heard anyone talk about for some reason.
Also I really like the ASC podcast. If you haven't come across it before you'll probably find it really entertaining. http://www.theasc.com/site/podcasts/
Do you recommend any specific books?
On your networking comment: It's probably best to network outside the internet. The internet it good for information but the largest component of filmmaking is people, and you need to know these people face to face. Not that good connections can't be made over youtube, FB, etc. However there's no substitute for knowing someone in person, having worked with them, and them knowing that you are awesome at whatever you do having seen it in person.
Also don't be afraid to do things you don't usually do. I.E. you want to be a writer but maybe you meet some students or some people in town that are making a short and they need a sound person or a grip or a PA. If you help out on set in other ways than just your end goal, you get to meet the people that are actually doing things. Knowing those people will be the biggest help when it comes time to making your own project.