How Can a Drone Pilot Get Work from a Big Production House like Netflix?
You’Re listening to the ask of droney podcast, you ask we answer your drone questions, whether you’re here to turn your passion into profit and you simply fly for fun: we’re a community of wares and teachers who aspire to achieve greatness. We are hey everyone and welcome to another fun episode of ask a drone. You my name is Paul. My name is Rob episode. 838 is where we’re hanging out glad you’re hanging with us hope it’s a beautiful day where you are like it’s a beautiful day where we are finally getting some rain around here, which is fantastic.
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That’S the number twenty five and that’s all caps and you’re gonna get twenty five bucks off your order, so check them out. Dynex drones, comm high fall, hi Rob. This is alderic with Hippogriff solutions out of flagstaff. I heard you guys talking a while back about doing video for a Netflix series or a major production. My question is how, in the world, you would get into something like that?
What kind of body of work you would have to have before going after something like that? Also do they post the jobs or do you have to know a guy? Who knows a guy also? My other question is whatever the minimum drone requirements for that be. I would assume, maybe and inspire to with an x7 camera on it, something like that.
Any help would be appreciated. Thanks guys, Thank You elder for getting your question appreciate. It ask drone ucomm if you’ve got a question like all Dirk, did so there’s a couple things that come to mind about this Paul. So certainly networking is a huge part of it. One of the things that you’ve reiterated over and over for a while now is that this line of work or that element of the business is not all it’s cracked up to be.
I’M really glad that you brought that up, because I was really trying to say how can I be really positive and give this guy a formulaic response which he can go, get work, but also be very honest about the type of industry that it is. The type of people that work in it and what you can really expect, because I’m you and I know, we’ve actually interviewed multiple producers who have come from the cinematography film production industry at the very top level and they’re coming to work for us for a lot. Less money, because they’re so sick of how they’re being treated how they’re, working and everything you know, money can only go so far with work and you’ve got to have some passion, some love and something that makes you truly enjoy being there right. That’S the culture of where you work, it’s the culture, it’s the people, you work with. Are you having fun?
Is it like working with a family? If not your job sucks? Sorry, but you know you may not be in control of it. I’M that’s! Okay!
You can always be the light in your office and I can always be the good person. But, and all that said I will say, I’ve read some articles and and have heard some people that love the industry right. They love being apartment. I know just depends on. What’S your thing, you can’t generalize about anything right.
There are people that love alkaline water and they’re people that have no idea what it is. So you know there’s just all different kinds of people: not everyone loves alkaline water. You can’t say these general isms about anything and I will say there is something I got it. I have to say this: there is something really powerful about making it in the film industry and being like okay, I did this I’m here, I’m getting paid three grand a day like this is cool. You know whatever great, for the resume, it’s great for the resume.
You know I’m on the procurement for different big networks like AMC HBO, but I really impede out who I work with, because I don’t like the industry, it’s very egotistical and it had a big effect on me. I mean like once it once I made it there. It was so powerful because, like ah I’ve done it, I’ve made it. I can do it. It’S that self belief that self realization, oh man, I can do it.
I am that good. I am that good, but you can’t let it get to your head because, often times you could just get hired on set because their regular guy couldn’t make it or they need to get someone in state for a tax credit and oftentimes executive producers will do anything To save a dollar, so don’t let it get to your head. That being said, it’s also really important to understand is the most nepotistic industry on the planet. Everyone has their own opinion about how every things should be done and if you really want to make it in this industry, it’s very easy because you just have to follow their weird effed up formula of getting in, though effed up formula is number one you have To be really danged at what you’re doing and number two you have to be able to show it and visualize it to people number three. You have to build all of that portfolio in one.
You know they literally a one-page website, so it they don’t have they can’t go anywhere. Location scouts can’t browse through your page and get lost and distracted one page everything that you’re good at. Why and a way to contact you to get rates. Your rental rates and your day rates and all that understand that pricing for these film jobs is a little different. You’Ve got your day rate.
You’Ve got your labor rate, which is people that are there to help you and then you’ve got your rental rate. Your rental rate is typically 10 % of the total cost of all the equipment when you bought it and 10 percent is the rate per day of the equipment that is charged to the production company itself. Oh keep going um. Now you have to be really good at what you do. You have to show it visualize it.
You know upload it to Vimeo showcase, good color. You may want to showcase RAW files and files that you’ve actually graded, because here’s the thing you could be a really good pilot and have a really crappy editor and you’ve got to make sure that you’re, showing the best of the best of the best of what You do, but you have to be able to deliver on it at any. Given time you can’t get nervous. You can’t get weird because there’s a bunch of actors like I’ve flown the three or four feet from Jeff Daniels face, like you know, like an actor’s face the moment. You start thinking about what, if what can go wrong who’s watching all this you’re, not thinking about what you’re doing you’re, not focusing on what you’re doing, and you have to have that upmost focus so step, one be really good at it.
Step two show it and have it in a deliverable format. That’S very easy step. Three go to your state! Now, the guy that was talking in Atlanta. I literally have friends moving from New York City to Atlanta, because there’s so many production jobs in Atlanta.
So when I was like there’s no opportunity here in Atlanta, I wanted to scream well. He was talking about real estate, he was talking about the market and that was fine and that’s real estate. You know not. Everyone has to start in real estate. The only reason people start in real estate because of two things number one.
It’S easy and number two, the subject doesn’t move. It doesn’t move yeah you’re flying around something; that’s fixed, okay, right, very easy right on. I love real estate, but I really like ranches. I like working for certain people and I’ve learned that over time, so anyway long story short going back to it so step one we talked about, you know being really good at it, step two showing it having it in a deliverable format. That’S you know easy for people to have step.
Three is now getting in with the state office of film and production and getting your business on the vendor list. Typically, there’s no stipulations other than you have to prove that you’re from the state, and you have to do a couple other things which is typically pretty easy. The next thing you want to do after that is you want to rub. Elbows with everyone’s super important. Only decision makers screw everybody else, because you could be nice to all those people, but don’t let them waste your time, because everyone will waste your time, telling you how important they are.
You only need to go. It’S actually true in that industry yeah. You need to go right to the top and don’t and be like. Look, I’m not here to waste your time, but I want to grow this economy like you do, and I want to bring more businesses in here like you do, and I believe part of that is having a huge talent pool, that’s very skilled and connected, and I Want to introduce myself to you, because I believe I can be an asset to this state, this economy and an asset to you yourself, and I was hoping that maybe I could go out and buy you lunch sometime and we could talk about the industry as a Whole and get to know you and hopefully make a new friend. Is that sound good to you?
Anyone says no to that anyways, one of the things that I’ve noticed that has happened to you is that the my step, the domino effect and we can get back to that step. Obviously, but once you make it really takes one right connection. Yes right, so you keep plugging away. You keep plugging away and you’re meeting people you’re going to the functions where the film people are at you’re gonna have to do that. I guess if you can get into them, I don’t know if that’s difficult or not, but once you get into them, you meet somebody, you, you click with that person.
They are a decision maker they’re able to get you involved in some sort of a production. Then word-of-mouth in this industry is humongous, because I think once one and trust you other people will trust you, because that person trusts you and I’ve seen that happen with you in this industry. So it’s just making that first and obviously more connections are better, but I think you can get a long ways or at least get a really good start making that one connection. So I want to encourage you in that way. Go fight for that one connection, and I also want to end this.
With being really honest, I don’t go after these jobs anymore they’re often you work a lot upfront with very little guarantee you’re, often working with people that I cannot stand working with, because everyone is just absolutely entitled to the entitled entitled: okay, um and not okay. Let’S can’t generalize not everyone is like that. There are some really cool people. Actually, the AMC, the AMC, procurement director think or forget what her title is: Belinda MA she’s one of the most inspiring and motivating people on the planet like that girl has her stuff. So, together, it’s not even funny like if I look up to anyone in production, it’s her because she’s the hardest-working human I’ve ever seen in my life, loving, like she’s, crazy in the best of ways and the reality is there’s a lot of people like that in The industry and Sara knows are too by the way.
Really, yes more so you said, there’s a fourth step. The fourth step is so that, once you rub, elbows with the right guys go to your local film office, the film permitting office, the people that actually write the permits, because they’re they’re, the ones that know every single. You know production that’s coming into town, and this is why this is another reason why I love hate this. This industry they’re the gatekeeper, the local permit office, is the absolute person that you need to get to know they’re the secret entity, but if you pissed them off, or they disagree with you for any reason, they can actually ruin your life and there’s a good example Of that here in Albuquerque the lady who was just let go, you know she removed people’s information from the website. I have proof of that.
She has, you know, talked negatively about certain vendors over other ones. I have recordings of that. You should be smarter about where you talk and it’s just like. No, I’m sorry, but I’m not the one to like just talk about people. I will have evidence every single time so that I will never lose credibility anyway.
Long story short, I didn’t have to use any of that. The Lord took care of it himself and it was fantastic. But anyway you you can’t cross that person and those persons also have a lot of responsibility. So if you’re in those shoes don’t be mean nefarious and negative and pick people, because you will get sued anyway, there’s that so okay, so what was step four just go to that purpose. You’Ve got to go to the permit office and make good friends with them.
Like really I mean they are the key, they are the key key key. So when the new permit office director came in this year, oh man, I was like bring it on in [, Laughter ]. I I just. I hate the process of those jobs. Yes, a lot of money but you’re getting like one job a quarter or one a month, yeah, it kind of depends on where you live, and you could be on a if you fortunate enough to get on a big production.
It could be a three month or engagement right. Those are probably pretty rare. The other thing to his family, because oftentimes those big productions like I got offered a production by a three-letter company in New Zealand, but I’d be gone for three months yeah. I don’t want to do that right. Well, you kind of have a business that you’re.
I was more worried about Sarah, but you know well, I’m just kidding, as you should be 1a and 1b. One thing we haven’t talked about. I want to just mention briefly. I’M a little nervous to bring it up because you’re a little hot today, but that is the unions, because in some areas in particular the reality is they’ve sort of captured the market as it relates to drone pilots right, they haven’t. No, I totally disagree.
They’Ve been they’ve been fighting for a long time, the eight the I 80s IATSE 480 grip Union and the IATSE 600. The cinematographers union have been battling over who’s controlling drone pilots, because the grip guys are like we’re controlling the thing that holds the camera, its grip and then the guys are like well we’re controlling the camera, its cinematography guess. What? When you’re working as a separate entity and a company on set in a vendor style subcontract, you don’t need to be a union. This was actually just proven in the Supreme Court just about two weeks ago and sorry but uh.
Not only am I fired up about the but my dad made his living and we built a law firm on suing unions for misappropriating money. So I’m really anti-union to begin with, and I even like I tried to go on the dark side and be pro-union and work things out and work with these guys and and try to do it, but I just realized it was as corrupt as it comes. It’S a power trip, I mean the perfect example was Peter Chambliss from IATSE 600. When I was due, I was doing a class for them to try to, like you know, make friends and say: how can we work together and I want to see if you guys are legit or not, because the bottom line go ahead? Finish long story short, I’m flying inside in a studio, warehouse and Michael Chambliss tries to come up to me and tell me about FAA rules, and I looked him square in the face, and I said, sir, you are wrong and he started yelling at me and I Said sir, I’m gonna remove you from this building.
If you keep yelling at me because I am indoors, there is no FAA jurisdiction here, you have no jurisdiction, I’m not listening to you! You’Re, looking like an idiot in front of 50 people and I’ll just keep talking to make you look like an idiot if you want to, and you stood up, walked away yeah. But the point is, I hate power trips and I have no problem mentally owning somebody. If they are being mean nefarious and on a power trip to hurt other people, because – and this is what Sarah like does understand about me – a lot – I say these things that I make points to put people in their place, because no person should ever put another Person in a disadvantaged situation, I believe in absolute equality – I don’t believe in the type of crap that they pull yeah and it’s too bad, and I don’t want to get into a discussion. My point was not to get into special into a discussion about unions, although I knew that’s where it would go, but I wanted to make sure that is.
Do not you’re aware the Union right, but somebody might tell you that you do and so that’s why I bring it up yeah and you don’t and the law says. No, so let’s ask the Supreme Court: oh yeah, no so yeah right on anyway! Sorry, I’m! I hate those people, it’s like white, I just don’t get it Social Security disability like we have programs for this. You know and then they’re like oh yeah, but you get this sweet benefits and rewards package.
It’S like it’s really not hard to learn how to build a 401 k package for yourself, and you should know how to do that, because it’s your financial future – and that is only your responsibility – is know else’s yeah. That’S anyway, a difference of opinion, I’m sure with some people but and I’m getting political, I’m sorry, but that’s what I believe and I’m very I believe in it strongly because and now you know those people who are able to negotiate for themselves go far. So indeed, don’t hate the game know the game on that bombshell. It’S gonna do it for us today. My name is Paul.
I’M Rob this. Is s drone you, you